BOSTON – Don’t be surprised to see Belmont Hill lobby to play the rest of its hockey home games at Fenway Park.
For the second time in as many tries, the Hillies got the better ISL rival St. Sebastian’s as part of a quadruple-header of hockey at Frozen Fenway on Wednesday.
The last time the teams squared off at Fenway, in January 2012, Belmont Hill skated away with a dramatic 2-1 win over the Arrows. But there must be something in the dirty water as the Hillies repeated the feat by an identical 2-1 score on Wednesday, this time propelled by an overtime game-winner from senior forward Will Golonka.
“I just remember Mike Najjar [Middlebury College] scoring a couple goals and it was a great game,” Golonka said of his sophomore experience at Fenway. “It’s always great being here.”
Belmont Hill (6-4-3) controlled territorial play for a good amount of regulation and overtime. However, the Arrows (5-5-1) came out a little bit quicker and claimed a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal from junior defenseman Matt Doherty at 5:17.
The Hillies controlled play in the second period, with a turning point coming at the 3:09 mark when they embarked on a 5-minute power play – the result of a major penalty and game misconduct issued to Will D’Orsi on an open-ice hit on Matt Melanson.
Belmont Hill was able to generate eight shots-on-goal on that man-advantage, but the Arrows defense was able to mitigate any serious scoring chances. Anything else that got through to senior goaltender Teddy Loughborough (34 saves) was easily gobbled up.
“It’s incredible how an unfortunate penalty like that has the potential swing the game either way,” Belmont Hill head coach Jeremiah McCarthy said. “If a team gets a power-play goal, or two, then that penalty has a huge impact on the game. They were able to manage it, kill it and they were really able to build off the momentum. There’s nothing that gets a team really cranked up than a penalty kill of that kind.”
Meanwhile, the Hillies tried to remain optimistic they’d finally crack Loughborough, despite outshooting St. Seb’s by a 21-14 margin through two periods.
“It was tough for a while there, we weren’t getting the puck in the net,” Golonka said. “Our goalie [Ryan McConnell] played unbelievable though and our defense held strong.”
Belmont Hill finally broke through at 5:51 of the third, with sophomore Christian Faggas tying the game.
Again, the Hillies would go on to outshoot St. Seb’s in the period (15-7). But they were unable to find the go-ahead before the end of regulation.
“It was just the belief that the first one was going to come,” McCarthy said. “Once it did, I thought we had the momentum going into overtime.”
Golonka, a UConn commit, wasted little time to send the Belmont Hill faithful happy, potting the game-winner at 1:35 of the extra session, with an assist from Charlie McConnell.
“It’s a game of bounces on this ice and it could’ve gone either way,” McCarthy said. “But we kept moving our feet and competing and we ended up having the lucky bounce in the end.”
Lions bring late roar: In the game leading up to Wednesday night’s marquee matchup at Fenway, St. Mark’s (6-3-3) used a third-period comeback to steal a 2-1 decision from Groton School (8-3-1).
Two of the Lions’ top scorers stepped up to score both goals within about a minute span of the third, with Zach Tsekos and Luke O’Brien scoring their team-leading ninth goals of the season. O’Brien, an Acton native, scored the game-winner with 3:09 remaining.