CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Who can stop the rolling train that is BC High hockey?
The No. 1 Eagles remained unbeaten in the Catholic Conference and overall, with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Catholic Memorial Monday at Conte Forum. In it, BC High dominated time of possession and the number of scoring chances and shots on goal – at one point of the second period, outshooting CM 22-4.
Although the Knights got their lone goal in the first minute of the first period, the Eagles were in control throughout.
“It was a good effort from everybody, top to bottom,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said.
BC High (11-0-3, 5-0-1 Catholic) netted the game-tying and game-winning goals on the power play.
After Zach Sullivan provided CM (9-3-2, 3-1-1) with a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game, it wasn’t until the final minute of the period that the Eagles found the equalizer. Patrick Kramer scored on the power play with 16.8 seconds to play to send the teams to the intermission tied.
BC High cashed in on the man-advantage (2-for-5) again at 9:32 of the second period on Steve DeForge’s goal.
“He’s a complete player – add on his leadership capabilities and he’s phenomenal,” Flaherty said of DeForge. “This is his locker room, this is his team. He’s a great leader and in games like this his size and his shot come in handy.”
Tim Larocque scored less than a minute later to extend the Eagles’ lead to two at 10:36. Sam Topham and Chris LaLiberte added assists.
Patrick Riley rounded out scoring with 1:56 remaining in the game.
“They were flat-out better than us,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said. “They showed up, they played hard, they played smart and they were flat-out, man for man, better than us.
“They forced the issue, we didn’t respond.”
Difference-maker: BC High sophomore defenseman Ryan Shea was awarded the Ed Wright Cup as the MVP of the game, after putting up a pair of assists.
For Shea, an ever-emerging Division 1 prospect who’s only played on the blue line for the last two years of his hockey career, the learning curve has been made easier by his teammates.
“Sam Topham and Trevor Davis, our two assistant captains, they really control it back there,” Shea said. “They settle it if me or Billy Roche gets aggravated, they settle us down. It’s a good corps, I like playing with them a lot.”
Shea’s game stands out most on the breakout of the defensive zone.
BC High was able to establish a crisp breakout throughout, negating the Knights’ usual aggressive and effective forecheck. But with a stable of slick-skating, strong passing defenseman, the Eagles found little resistance moving it up ice and into the attacking zone.
“They’re a tough team, they come in hard,” Shea said. “When they force behind the net, with the two wingers down low, it’s an easy breakout every time. They caught onto it at the end of the game, we had to switch it up a little bit.”
DeForge added, “Our biggest strength is our speed and it starts in our own zone. When we’re getting clean breakouts, we’re getting back in our zone, those back-checkers are getting back and taking care of the D side.”