BOSTON – Central Catholic rallied from three one-goal deficits to defeat Catholic Memorial, 4-3, on the heels of Lloyd Hayes' breakaway goal with 1:58 left in Monday’s duel of Super 8 hopefuls at Walter Brown Arena.
“It's huge for us moving forward,” Central coach Mike Jankowski said. “That's the type of game we've been looking for. The tight ones when we haven't been able to pull away and separate ourselves, and today we did.”
Hayes led the way for the Raiders on the ice and on the boards. The senior first-liner set the tone physically from the start and played like a bulldozer for the full 45 minutes. To go with his goal, he had an assist on Central's third goal earlier in the third period.
“That's the way we have to play – going to corners, getting pucks, and getting traffic to the net,” Hayes said. “That's the way we're going to win these teams, especially against good teams like CM.”
The Knights were led by senior captain Aaron Clancy who scored a goal and added a pair of assists. Linemate Mike Stathopoulos had CM's first goal and had the primary assist on Clancy's.
CM coach Bill Hanson had less to say about his team's offense and more about his team's lack of consistency on the back end.
“We had an assist on every one of their goals except for the power play,” Hanson said. “We had two blatant turnovers which they, as a good team, capitalized on. It's just the lack of mental toughness and mental athleticism to make the mistakes they make contrary to the way that they're coached.”
The Raiders found numerous ways to deflate the Knights.
Hayes' goal popped the balloon, and Colin Soucy made several spectacular saves to keep CM from pulling away. Christian Thompson's fluke goal, which was blockered away by CM goalie Brandon Collett only to bounce over him and in, with 91 seconds left in the second period was another guy punch for the Knights.
Central's recent rejiggering of its lines seems to have paid off. Breaking up the original top line of Hayes-Alex Lester-Corey Webber has allowed for other players to step up for the Raiders and jell in different ways.
“I think we've done a lot of different changes and everyone puts certain guys together,” Jankowski said. “It helps to get everyone in the game, and we've seen it game in game out. Everyone's finishing, getting some goals.”
Jankowski was pleased with his team's performance, but Hanson, who gave credit to Central for its performance, was anything but.
I take no positives out of this at all,” Hanson said. “We are killing ourselves.”
ROBBINS RISES: Sometimes it's good to have a Batman and sometimes it's good to have a Robin[ns].
Central's Eric Robbins, who was slotted onto the first line alongside Hayes and Zach Cote, stepped up in a big way. Robbins assisted on Central's first and third goals and was omnipresent throughout the game.
“Whenever coach switches up the lines we try to do something new,” Robbins said. “We usually jell pretty early and we were doing good out there today. I try to help the team out as much as I can. If I get moved up I get moved up.”
Robbins first assist came when his initial shot was cleaned up by Richie Greenberg, who has played alongside Robbins for most of the season.
“We always seem to find each other whenever we're on the ice,” Robbins said.
Jankowski said Robbins' best ability was being able to play with poise anywhere on the sheet.
“He gets his points here and there, but honestly he's a great two-way player,” Jankowski said. “He's a defensive center. He's really made each line move whenever we've moved him around. We talk about mixing the lines to find the best recipe to move forward and he allows us to do that.”