LOWELL, Mass. -- So it was up, then tied, then down, then tied, then up, then tied, then down.
Oh, and then up again after all was said and done.
It was all hard to follow and it had Weymouth boys’ hockey co-captain Tyler Piacentini trying to sort it all out minutes after the Wildcats’ loss to Malden Catholic in their final game of Super Eight pool play on Sunday at the Tsongas Center.
All that was etched in stone was that Weymouth lost, 5-4; everything else was up in the air.
“I don’t even know what to think right now,” the shifty winger said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Then Piacentini went back into the dressing room, where Wildcats head coach Matt Cataldo had called a team meeting. A loud roar emanated from inside and then Piacentini reemerged through the door with a grin on his face.
“We’re in,” he said while giving out handshakes and hugs to teammates and coaches.
After a pause, he added: “We’re moving on, that’s all that matters.”
Although Weymouth lost and finished with a 1-2 record in the three-game first round of the tournament, the Wildcats held the second tiebreaker over eighth seed Central Catholic (also 1-2 in the tourney) and learned they would be moving on only until about a half hour after the final whistle blew. Weymouth held the goal quotient tiebreaker over the Raiders, meaning they were joining BC High, Malden Catholic and St. John's Prep in the tournament's crossover semifinal round.
Still, there was the matter of the final result and, with that, the Wildcats’ bench boss gave his team mixed reviews on their performance.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t win and that’s something we need to correct,” Cataldo said. “Hopefully, we’ll see them again.”
The Wildcats played the game they needed to play in the first period, playing mistake-free hockey while taking the body and largely negating MC’s chances at the long bomb passes through the neutral zone they fancy.
Weymouth’s efforts were cashed in when Ian Sheridan put the Wilcats ahead, 1-0, Lancers goaltender Pat Young was taken out of position after Bob Ganley broke in on a breakaway. Ganley's scoring chance went right of the net, but he pulled Young with him while faking to the backhand. Although Ganley was unable to get a shot off, he regained possession of the puck on the backside boards and slid it out front to Sheridan who was waiting with a gaping net in front of him.
The Wildcats took a two-goal advantage with a power-play tally from Tyler Piacentini. The senior captain’s tally came off a face off after he’d drawn a tripping penalty. Corey Tuplin and Trevor King has the assists.
“I think it was us more of us not competing, not making plays in the center zone,” Lancers head coach Chris Serino said of his team’s first period play. “They were kind of laying back, clogging up the center zone.
However, for everything the Wildcats did well in the first, they seemed to undo in the second with several key turnovers resulting in a trio of MC goals.
Mike Iovanna cut the Lancers' deficit to a goal, turning a Weymouth miscue into a goal 4:53 into the period. The sophmore skated into a goal after Brian Brady misplayed a clearing attempt behind the net. Blue liner Colin MacGillivray lofted a wrist shot toward goal through a thicket of traffic and tied the game two minutes later. Iovanna also picked up his second point of the game with the assist.
Ryan Fitzgerald put away a momentum-shifting goal with 4.2 seconds remaining, scoring on a breakaway off a Weymouth neutral zone turnover. The Lancers outshot the Wildcats 14-4, in the period.
However, Weymouth came back to tie the game again with their second play goal of the evening, with Tuplin blasting one from the point with assists from Piacentini and King. Then, with 8:26 remaining, the Wildcats recaptured the lead, with King banking home a rebound on a Piacentini shot.
The Lancers again finished with a floury though. Nick Roberto tied the game, 4-4, with 3:54 to play, redirecting Garrett White’s centering pass with his skate.
Fitzgerald then completed the comeback with his second of the game, letting go of a one-timer from the high slot with the aid of Brendan Collier’s tape-to-tape centering pass.
“We’ve seen them a lot and our coaches did a great job the last three days, breaking down what we were going to do,” Piacentini said of the team’s game plan against MC. “I thought we were successful doing it, but we came up short.”