BOSTON – It’s always a battle when longtime Catholic Conference BC High and Catholic Memorial meet and Saturday’s latest installment of the storied rivalry was no different. But it saw the two teams moving in different directions.
As the seventh-ranked Eagles held on for a 5-4 win with a wild third period, BC High clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament in fashion with the victory over their rival in the Dr. Edward M. Wright Memorial game played at Walter Brown Arena.
“We qualified, which is big,” first-year Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “That’s been our goal, as we’ve said before, making the tournament is what you want to do and this gets us over the 20-points to qualify. Now, we see where everything else falls.”
BC High (9-4-3, 2-4-1) trailed for portions of the game, but the teams were tied 2-2 heading into the second intermission. The Eagles entered the third period with purpose in a three-goal outburst. CM fought back with two goals to counter, but the comeback bid fell short.
Marc Hetnik opened scoring on a beautiful end-to-end rush on a Knights’ power play with 3:24 remaining in the first.
CM took the 1-0 lead to the dressing room, but Eagles freshman defenseman Matt Doherty tied the game with another unassisted goal. A little more than a minute later, Kevin McCarthy scored his first of two goals with a power-play marker 5:27 into the second.
BC High struck again and the momentum shifted before the period was out on Sean Talbot’s power-play blast from the top of the circle with 1:17 left. Talbot jumped into the play off the Eagles bench, stepping in for Terence Durkin, who was shaken up on a check in the corner. Matt Sullivan found Talbot streaking up the middle of ice with the feed.
“We were on our heels a little bit with penalty kill after penalty kill,” Flaherty said after BC High was tasked with killing four CM power play opportunities until that point, “Then getting that one at the end was huge.”
The Eagles had a jump in their step in the third, stringing together three straight goals from Tom Besinger, Durkin and Jake Tenaglia to knock the Knights on their heels.
McCarthy countered with his second of the game and Jack O’Hear added another one late for CM, but only added up to another missed opportunity.
The third-ranked Knights, who sit at .500 with a 7-7-1 overall record and 2-4-1 mark in conference, still have a ways to go before they punch a ticket to the postseason.
And, with another game down, those opportunities are running short. Not to mention, CM’s slate in their remaining games is far from easy with out-of-state challenges against Mount St. Charles, Bishop Hendricken and Connecticut’s Fairfield Prep, in addition to a final league game against No. 6 St. John’s Prep and non-leaguer against No. 2 Weymouth.
“You can really look at those five goals and say that somebody just didn’t do what they were told,” Knights head coach Bill Hanson said. “BC High is good and they capitalized on it. Obviously, Flash [Flaherty] is doing a tremendous job with them. They got good goaltending when they needed it and that was it.”
MARSTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
Senior forward Mike Marsters was named the game’s MVP and received the 11th Edward M. Wright Award in a postgame ceremony.
Flaherty said it was a fitting honor to a player who oftentimes doesn’t get the recognition he deserves in what he puts into the team.
Meanwhile, Marsters was simply happy to be headed back to the postseason with his teammates.
“We moved the puck really and worked hard,” Marsters said. “We never stopped working in the corners We kept the pressure on them and got pucks to the net. Everybody did their jobs today.”