BOSTON – Outdoor hockey, by its nature, is unlike its counterpart played in the somewhat friendly confines of the rink. And so Saturday’s participants in a high school triple-header at Frozen Fenway had to adjust on the fly.
Take the case of Malden Catholic senior forward Brian Cameron.
“The puck, it’s bouncing all over the place like a bouncy ball,” the Wakefield resident said.
Cameron and his teammates not only had to adjust to corralling the puck on a sometimes uneven surface, it altered the way the No. 2 Lancers approached their Catholic Conference-opener against No. 9 St. John’s Prep — the day’s final and marquee matchup.
MC head coach John McLean implored his team to begin throwing pucks to the net, after a sluggish start in which neither team registered a shot-on-goal through four minutes of play. The emphasis was headed as the Lancers emerged with a 3-1 victory, thanks for a late second-period goal from Cameron.
“I think it was Jack Adams that threw it to the front of the net,” McLean said of Cameron’s goal with five seconds to play in the second. “We told them, I don’t know if it was intended that way [as a pass], but you go to the net and the puck will get there. To get that with five seconds left was huge for us.”
The Lancers (5-0-0, 1-0-0 Catholic) staked a 1-0 lead at 10:58 on Austin Goldstein’s tally off an expiring MC penalty kill.
That’s the way it stood until the Lancers set up shop in the Eagles’ zone at the tail end of the second.
“Pat [Wrenn] had an awesome faceoff right back to me, we were trying to get it on the net. And Jack [Adams] worked hard down low,” Cameron said of the lead-up to his eventual game-winner. “I don’t even know if he saw anybody out front there, but he made a great pass.”
That made the finish easy for Cameron, who was camped out on the far-side post, beside Eagles freshman netminder Zach Laramie. He tipped home the tape-to-tape saucer into an awning net for the 2-0 advantage.
St. John’s Prep (3-2-0, 0-2-0) whittled the lead back to a goal at 3:08 of the third with Ted McNamara burying Jimmy Currier’s feed.
However, the Lancers quickly volleyed back as senior Jared Silva — who’d taken Cameron’s shifts after he left the game with an ankle injury—scored the answered goal less than three minutes later.
“Brian [Cameron] hurt his ankle, so Jared [Silva] stepped right in and popped one in which is great for us,” McLean said. “We have those guys that are waiting. We’re pretty deep, so we were extremely happy for him.”
Swingin’ for the fences: Despite leaving the game on a stretcher in the third period, Cameron was in good spirits postgame, having left an indelible mark on the game.
Cameron marked his goal with a celebration in homage to the day’s setting, using his stick as part of a home-run swing. While McLean wasn’t thrilled by his player’s histrionics, it befit the moment.
“It’s something you dream about, playing at Fenway and scoring the game-winning goal,” Cameron said, in a near mixed metaphor.
The game was a mere backdrop to the pageantry of the day. The Lancers dressed in the Red Sox clubhouse and, along with the Eagles, wore special-design sweaters for the occasion — with MC’s taking a nod to the game-day blues the “Blue Blades” wore for the 1949 season.
“Coming in here, being the Red Sox locker room, their jerseys were already set up by the time they got here,” McLean said. “It was a special day.”
Enough to fight off the biting cold and a bum wheel.
“The goal definitely helps the pain in my ankle,” Cameron said.