BOSTON – Catholic Memorial goaltender Brandon Collett played one of the best games of his high school career Saturday against BC High at Walter Brown Arena.
The junior turned aside 30 shots, including several of body-bending variety, but the Eagles rolled too deep and were able to escape BU with a 3-2 win.
“He was spectacular,” Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson said of Collett. “He played to his abilities. We need that. We played a conservative forecheck so they wouldn't break out with numbers. We succeeded at doing that. Where we broke down were a couple of individual plays. Consequently our goaltender had to come up big.”
Collett's game stood out, but it was BC's relentless offensive attack that earned the win. BC outshot CM 33-15 and was so dominant in the second period that the Eagles outshot the Knights 11-1.
“We had three or four real point blank chances that usually end up in the back of the cage, and Brandon made some great saves,” BC High coach John Flaherty said. “I told him after the game he did his job. I'm proud of our guys for not getting frustrated, not getting overly excited and they stayed with the plan.”
Catholic Memorial's Billy Smith opened the scoring early in the first period but it was all BC for the next 30 minutes. Jack Duffey tied the game late in the second period when he roofed the puck over Collett. Just under three minutes later Kayser Raei found the puck amidst a haze of sticks and snuck it past Collett.
Catholic Memorial's attempt to funnel the BC High offense into the middle of ice worked in spurts, but the offense wasn't enough to hold off the Eagles. Pat Kramer scored on a wraparound less than two minutes into the third period to give BC a bit of breathing room.
“Everyone was hyped up, I think a little too hyped up there,” Kramer said. “We settled down, got into playing our style of hockey.”
Catholic Memorial adjusted to a more attacking forecheck in the final half of the third period. It paid off when Aaron Clancy found a wide-open Paul Hardiman who slotted home CM's second goal, but it came with just 30 seconds remaining. The Knights would not get another scoring chance before the final horn.
POLISH FOR PLAYOFFS: BC High currently sits 11-3-1 with an intense finish to the season coming. The Eagles will see Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial (again), and finish the year with a trip to the ultra-competitive Buddy Ferreira Tournament in Falmouth to end the season.
While BC's place in the Super 8 tournament is all but secure there are seedings to play for and fine tuning to be done all around the rink.
“We're good,” Kramer said. “We got a lot of grit, we got some skill players; I like where we're going right now. We had a stumble against Cathedral, but they're a good team. Bounce back game today which was good for us. We've just got to keep it going.”
BC High's depth cannot be overstated. The Eagles roll four lines offensively, cycle through seven defensemen, and have had both goalies log minutes this season. From the veterans like Kramer and Ryan Shea down to the lone freshman on the squad, Jayson Dobay, everyone plays meaningful minutes in meaningful games.
“We're starting to put it together,” Flaherty said. “We've had some ups and downs this year but we've responded well. I like the resilience we showed today. I'm happy with the direction we're going, but we still have a long way to go.”