READING, Mass. -- Reading boys' hockey got the best of the power play early, but could not hold onto a late lead against fellow Super 8 contender Hingham on Monday.
Despite a six-minute disadvantage in penalties, the host No. 5 Rockets (9-1-4) entered the final two minutes with the only man-up goal and a 1-0 edge. However, a late unassisted effort by the Harbormen’s Andrew Flynn equalized for No. 8 Hingham (8-4-1) to force a 1-1 tie between the public school powerhouses at Burbank Arena.
“Having a lot of power plays is a good thing, but it’s not really a great thing because your top guys are playing a lot,” said Hingham assistant coach John Mahoney, who was filling in behind the bench for Tony Messina. “When you do not convert, they are out there even more. It was a broken play just inside the blue line and Andrew Flynn did a great job keeping the play alive.”
Flynn netted the game-equalizing score immediately after winning a faceoff in the neutral zone. The senior defender caught a one-on-one situation with the goalie off the victory and chipped the puck in off the keeper's blocker for the 1-1 tie with 1:51 left in the game.
“I saw a lot of my players crashing the net and I saw a little bit of shortside, so I just tried to shoot it,” Flynn said. “We had been trying to win it back all game. I was trying to punch it through right away.”
Matt McLelland scored the opening goal during a power play late in the second period. The senior saw an opposite post gap on the net and wristed a shot in from in front of the blue line for the 1-0 advantage at 14:13.
“We are always telling them just to pound pucks on net,” Rockets head coach Mark Doherty said. “The puck dropped back to McLelland who can really snap a puck off.”
Reading goalie Evan Morelli knocked away 28 shots, while opposing goaltender John Grenier made 14 saves (both seniors).
LIGHT ON FUEL?
Reading's defense had no trouble battling off its six penalties throughout the first two periods.
The Rockets faced one minute and fifteen seconds of a six-on-four disadvantage at 9:55 in the first period. Reading allowed only two shots during the penalty then grabbed a hooking for a minute and 18 seconds of man-advantage at 11:03. Rockets junior Mike Thomson nearly slipped a breakaway under the keeper in the final seconds of that power play.
“That obviously was our strong suit today,” Doherty said of his power-play defense. “We have had enough practice. There are systems and we work it a decent amount.”
In the third of four second period Hingham power plays, Habormen center Matt Brazel caught the goalie offset on a two-on-one with fellow junior forward Sam D'Auntuono at 7:45. Brazel slipped the puck in front of net before the keeper could slide to the opposite post, but D'Auntuono shot into Morelli's chest for the save.
“When you have power plays you have to take advantage of them,” Mahoney said. “Get the puck in deep [and] keep it out of our own end. We are not trying to pick corner [just get] shots on net.”