BILLERICA, Mass. -- Typically, when Casey Shea is on his game, he isn’t standing center stage. A deft playmaker, the junior forward takes pride in playing an unselfish game, making the key transition pass or setting up a teammate for a goal.
During Monday night’s Super Eight play-in game at Chelmsford Forum, Shea was thrust into the spotlight with a performance to be remembered, scoring each of the seventh-seed Tanners’ five goals in a 5-2 win over No. 10 seed Springfield Cathedral.
“Casey’s at his best when he’s distributing the puck to everybody,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said of Shea. “And he’s a finisher, he doesn’t always seem like that because he’s usually setting somebody up, but tonight he finished.”
Shea netted a natural hat trick during the first period, kicking Woburn (18-3-1) off to a 3-0 lead.
“We put them back on their heels,” Shea added.
He then scored for two more in the second period with one coming on the power play and another coming shorthanded, in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Shea first scratched the scoreboard midway through the first. He beat Cathedral goaltender Zac Rondeau, finishing on the backhand through the 5-hole. Assists went to Alex Holland and Cole Connolly on the play. Shea then transitioned a defensive zone turnover into his second goal with 2:31 remaining, beating Rondeau who was caught out of the crease.
He finished the trifecta with a power-play goal with five seconds remaining.
“We were cycling down low and nobody came near me,” Shea said.
So he stepped out front, in on Rondeau, faked the pass the slot and buried it 5-hole. It was the first power-play goal for the Tanners on three attempts with the man advantage in the period.
“Their goalie is good, but we capitalized on our chances early,” Duran said. “It took the wind out of their sails and they weren’t getting many chances.”
Although the Panthers (12-10-1) were given four power play chances in the second, they failed to cash in with any goals.
Meanwhile, Shea kept up his pace, nabbing his fourth of the game on the man-advantage with assists from Jake Secatore (his second) and Adam Tanner.
Shea’s fifth came on the strangest of hockey sights. With 7.7 seconds remaining in the second, when Rondeau vacated his net on a delayed penalty call. As Rondeau charged toward the net, an errant Panther pass back to the point skipped along the length of the ice into the Cathedral net.
Confusion ensued as to which player should receive credit for the goal. It was originally given to defenseman Brian Dulong by the official scorer. However, video taken by Boston Herald staff pointed to Shea as the last Tanner to touch the puck. The consensus among media row was that Shea had in fact scored No. 5 after taking a look at the incontrovertible evidence.
However, in addition to Shea’s brilliance, the Tanners put forth a solid defensive effort early on with senior goaltender Cam McGlashing making some key saves. Coupled with a pesky forecheck and a quality penalty kill, Woburn took the Panthers out of the game before they could even get started.
“That’s really the name of the game for us, getting turnovers and trying to get the puck to net and, hopefully, get a rebound.”
Cathedral head coach Brian Foley added, “I think if we could play them four times in a row, maybe we’d draw even, but clearly we caught them on their night. They did everything they needed to do to win.”
Sam Burke and Matt Peloquin scored late goals to get the Panthers on the board.
Cathedral now moves onto play as the top seed in the Division 1 South tournament while Woburn moves on to Saturday’s Super Eight play at Merrimack College.