LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Before the game began the Chelmsford High hockey team was announced as the Knights.
Their nickname is the Lions.
That bad omen turned into an 8-4 drubbing at the hands of host Central Catholic in a battle between the top two teams in the DCL/MVC Division 1 standings.
“We played well,” Central head coach Mike Jankowski said. “We’ve had some good jump, and we’ve had some good shots and the bounces went our way tonight.”
The Lions (6-2-1, 5-1-0) came out firing early and were able to disrupt Central (6-2-1, 4-0-0) with a physical forecheck. Chelmsford buzzed around Central goalie Colin Soucy, who stopped all seven shots he saw in the first, but were unable to finish.
Everything turned late in the period when the No. 9 Raiders put up three goals in 92 seconds. Juniors Kevin Regan and Lloyd Hayes got the run going and senior Mike Kelleher scored his first of three goals to cap the flurry.
“We knew we had to match their intensity,” Kelleher said. “A few minutes there we turned it on and kept forechecking and it worked out for us.”
The Raiders continued the attack in the second, putting up a pair in the first 97 seconds to extend the lead to five. A goal by Chelmsford’s Jesse Lye put the Lions on the board, but it was already too little too late.
Central added three more before the period was up to go into the second intermission up 8-2. The Lions added two goals in the back half of the third period.
The Raiders had six different goal scorers and 10 players make their way onto the score sheet overall.
“There’s no one guy, it’s a nice team flow,” Jankowski said. “That’s what we’re looking for in terms of leadership. Mike has stepped up. [Nick] Gorski has stepped up.”
The eight goals was the most the Raiders have scored all season.
“This game we all showed we can score,” junior Corey Webber said. “I think it was a statement game for sure.”
HE DID WHAT?
Kelleher had a strong four-point performance, but it was his second goal that will be remembered. Time of the goal: five seconds into the second period.
Webber shot the puck in off the faceoff and Kelleher flashed in to clean up the rebound. No one in the Central locker room said they could remember a goal coming in a shorter amount of time.
“It was awesome,” Kelleher said. “I told Corey [Webber] to get forward on the play because I know that the defenseman liked to take it back. He did and it worked out great. Fortunate to get the goal.”
WEBBER STEPS UP
On a young team like Central, it is imperative that the upperclassmen step up. Yesterday, Webber did just that.
Not only did he set up Kelleher’s quick strike, but he also set up another goal a minute later and netted one of his own.
“Whenever we’re on the ice I always know where he is,” Kelleher said. “Corey [Webber] and I work well together.”
Jankowski stressed that there was no “one guy” his team was based around that it was players, such as Webber, who are the reason why the Raiders are ranked in the Top 10.
“There’s no superstar, but we do have guys who have a lot of speed and a lot of strength,” Jankowski said. “When we’re playing well, we can compete with anybody.”