BOURNE, Mass. -- For the past couple of weeks, the Archbishop Williams boys’ ice hockey team has been in a funk, one they hope that they broke out of with a 2-1 victory over Natick yesterday afternoon at Gallo Ice Arena. The Bishops did not play up to their standards at the Cape Cod Classic to close the regular season, and then were embarrassed in a Super-8 play-in game against Malden Catholic.
“I’m going to be straight forward, we haven’t been playing very good hockey down the stretch coming into this tournament, we just had to get the monkey off of our back,” Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis said. “We needed to find a way to win, dirty, scrappy, I didn’t care … Sometimes you just have to exorcise those demons, get the winning feeling, get that monkey off of your back.”
The Bishops scored two first period goals and then hung on for dear life, thanks in large part to the play of goalie Joe Vinay, who stopped 29 of the 30 shots that he saw in the game.
The day’s offense for the Bishops came within a short stretch in the first. In less than three minutes, the Bishops bolted ahead by a pair and then had to make that stand up the rest of the way.
Michael Sorrenti enjoyed his personal home ice advantage. The Archies forward, who hails from Bourne, grew up playing on the Gallo Ice Arena sheet and he was the first one to put a puck in the net for the Bishops. Sorrenti scored on a shot that Natick goalie Griffin Bailey wished he could have had back, as he didn’t cover up the near side pipe and Sorrenti sneaked a wrister inside of it to give his team a 1-0 lead at 8:21.
Shortly later, at 10:48, the Bishops doubled the lead. Colin Boyle snapped a wrister from the high slot that found its way behind Bailey, who was lifted in favor of Mike White for the latter two periods. White was excellent down the stretch, stopping all 14 shots that he saw, including a couple of breakaways.
Penalties were a bugaboo for the Bishops the rest of the way as Natick enjoyed six power plays in the game, and cashed in one. The Red Hawks would have loved to have had more, but Vinay and forward Ryan Dunn led a PK unit that got the job done effectively.
Matt Clifford’s second minor penalty of the second period led to Natick’s lone score. Just 19 seconds after the infraction, Natick junior captain Derek Butler planted himself in front of the cage and tipped in a feed from behind the cage by Max Plasker to cut the lead in half at 5:34, making it 2-1.
With Natick losing its best offensive weapon, Matt Kustra, in the first period with an ankle injury, head coach Karl Infanger said that his team’s power play unit lacked its usual cohesion. The Red Hawks had five power plays over the final two periods, including a four-minute advantage midway through the third, but were never able to find the equalizer, despite outshooting the Bishops, 21-14, over the final 30 minutes.