CANTON, Mass. – For what Cam Mariani might lack in stature, he makes up for in moxie.
After Wednesday night’s 5-1 non-league victory over Coyle-Cassidy at the Canton Sportsplex, the Archbishop Williams sophomore forward strutted around showing off the garment he earned after his two-point game.
“I bagged one [goal] tonight, and got an apple [an assist],” the Lilliputian-sized winger said casually. “I can’t complain.”
Mariani was wearing the sport coat handed out to the Bishops’ player of the game. The green paisley print on the jacket, which is an heirloom of Archies head coach Derackk Curtis, made it look as though it was plucked from Don Cherry’s wardrobe. Mariani’s teammates, who’ve given him the nickname “Nugget,” egged him on as he talked to reporters postgame. He was proudly wearing the blazer, which looked about six sizes too large for his frame.
“He’s a little guy, who we love,” Curtis added.
Mariani earned the right to wear the coat after pacing the Bishops to a fast start in a three-goal first period, dishing out an assist on their first goal and following with his first goal of the season at 9:18.
Mike Sorenti tallied Archies’ third goal, with assists from Mike Davis and Mike Jessman with 1:43 remaining in the period.
“I was happy that I had some playing time, I like getting out there early and getting in to the swing of things,” Mariani said. “My second shift of the game, got that goal, that really brought up the intensity for the whole game.”
Coyle (10-3-0) got back into the game in the second period on Frank Cambria’s slapshot and series of big saves from goaltender Brent Petrowski.
While neither side was able to capitalize on two power-play opportunities a side in the second, the Bishops (9-2-3) closed out the game with two goals in the third. Eric Keefe’s rising wristshot tucked underneath the crossbar at 9:12 of the third for Archies’ fourth before Nick Menzel rounded out scoring inside of four minutes.
MAKE SURE TO FINISH
Curtis emphasized his message to finish to his team, and the Bishops made good on that promise, coming out with a more spirited third.
It’s a trend that Curtis noticed earlier in the season, that his team would become complacent after taking an early lead. But the Bishops have responded of late, posting goal totals of seven, 10, seven and five in the last four wins, respectively.
“I think we still have a lot of work to do in keeping the competitiveness up,” Curtis said. “We have the ability to get on teams right away, but then we’ll ease up on the throttle because kids are trying to do too much.”
BATTLE TESTED, TOURNAMENT READY
For a Division 2 school like Coyle, Warriors head coach Dave Borges always makes sure his teams are prepped for the intensity level of the tournament. Borges schedules up to include many of the state’s premiere programs, such as Super 8 perennial contender Hingham, and Wednesday’s opponent.
While all three of the Warriors’ losses have come against D1 opponents, the longtime bench boss sees it as no worse for the wear.
“That’s why we play these games,” Borges said. “Hingham was a tough battle for us because they skate four lines and they keep coming at you in waves. [Archies] only skated three lines tonight, but this shows us the type of hockey that we have to play if we want to be successful in the tournament.”