STONEHAM, Mass. – Any tie leaves the game’s competitors wanting more. And in the case of Saturday’s contest between Catholic Central Large rivals Arlington Catholic and Austin Prep, both squads could have found things that were lacking.
Arlington Catholic squandered a two-goal lead and had just one power-play goal on seven opportunities with the man-up. On the flip side, Austin Prep took too many penalties, spending too much time holding off AC’s rush.
“When you’ve got to come back after giving up a lead, you have to battle,” AC head coach Dan Shine said. “We did that and I’m really pleased with that.”
Conversely, AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro’s group is looking to find an identity, having compiled an 0-2-2 record in its last four games.
“We’re fighting it right now,” Finocchiaro said. “We’re not playing well, we’re not playing with confidence. We can say we have some guys out of the lineup, you try to maintain, keeping things simple and playing as a team, but we’re fighting it.”
AC (5-0-1, 3-0-1) claimed an early lead with John Rogers’ point-shot bomb on the power play at 4:17 of the first. Andy Somerville then padded AC’s advantage on a one-timer off of Ryan Smith’s feed at 3:33 of the second.
However, AP (3-2-2, 1-0-2) rifled back just 21 seconds later with Cam Russo’s first of two points on the evening – a goal at 3:54.
Not soon thereafter, AP stole a bit of momentum as goaltender Elijah Harris (20 saves) shut down Jason Smith’s breakaway bid.
AP finished the period on a groundswell, with a Ryan McDonough tally from an extreme angle at the right-wing circle.
AC reclaimed the lead at the seven-minute mark of the second as Ryan Spagnoli beat Harris on a partial breakaway.
But again, AP found a way. Bobo Carpenter tied the score, 3-3, on a short-handed bid with 2:19 to play.
It was the seventh AC power-play opportunity AP was tasked with defending, but after a nice cross-ice feed from Russo (1 G, 1A), the point was preserved.
“We have to build on the positives,” Finocchiaro said. “We were down 2-0 and we came back when we very easily could have quit to tie it, 2-2. Then, when we went down 3-2, we didn’t quit either. We have to build on that.”