CANTON, Mass. -- A third-place finish in one of the toughest conferences in hockey today may see Catholic Memorial with a bye in the Super 8 next week.
The No. 7 Knights helped boost their post season stock and solidified the third-seed in the Catholic Conference with a season-ending 4-2 afternoon victory over No. 13 Xaverian at Canton SportsPlex.
“We are getting much more shot production from the defensemen, which is allowing the dirty goals,” Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson said. “The last four games we needed to play well against real good teams to be considered for the Super 8. According to the criteria (of) who is playing well at the end, of strength of schedule, and other factors, we have more than met that.”
Two goals in the second period helped the Knights pull ahead for good on way to their fourth consecutive victory.
Catholic Memorial's Jack O'Hear used a 3-on-2 break to set up fellow senior Liam Coughlin at 6:03 in the second period for a 2-1 Knights' lead. Coughlin caught the back-pass above the face-off circle then finished with a low bullet to the right post for the tally at 6:03 of the second period.
Eight minutes later, O'Hear picked up his second helper of the game, slipping a shot under the keeper. Kevin Hock was there to bang the puck home for a two-goal CM advantage.
“I took it wide and Liam [Coughlin] did a nice job of [moving] into the slot,” O'Hear said of his first assist. “The second assist was a loose puck and I threw it towards the net. Getting pucks to the net and having guys drive wide.”
Xaverian (8-7-5, 1-5-2) threatened late when Tim Sweeney (1 G, 1 A) threw the puck across the crease for Jake Farrell at the 12-minute mark of the third to cut the deficit to one.
“Two to three guys on the puck,” Xaverian head coach David Spinale said. “[You to make] them have to fish one out then take it to the net.”
“I knew Jake [Farrell] is always out front, so I just spun a little and got it out front,” Sweeney added.
Knights senior John Maher grabbed a neutral-zone steal and tapped in an open-net tally to seal the game with 1:09 remaining.
“We play with a lot of energy,” Hanson said. “We had five or six kids who scored in double figures for us [this season]."
Xaverian came out strong by forcing six of their first seven shots-on-target, but allowed the initial score at 4:09 in the first period. CM senior Dennis Medeiros ripped a screened slap shot into the four-hole for a 1-0 lead.
Sweeney caught the goalie offset on the equalizer, when a shot by freshman teammate Jon Beniers rolled over the keeper's shoulder and onto Sweeney's stick at 1:56 in the first.
“Timmy [Sweeney], Jon [Beniers] and Jake [Farrell] that was our best line today," Spinale added.
CM (12-6-2,3-5) controlled possession in the second period with a 15-7 shots-on-goal advantage. Knights freshman goalie Brandon Collett made 26 saves, while his opponent, junior Matt Michals, knocked away 25 shots.
“The difference between this year and last year, Number One is the goaltending,” Hanson commented on Collett. “A goal gets scored on him [and] he does not let it bother him. He learns from his mistakes.”