NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — All it took was the first couple of seconds into the game and one could see that it could be a long day for Hingham.
Ryan Fitzgerald set the tone with his breakaway rush after the opening faceoff as the talented forward and his linemmates helped Malden Catholic finish off Hingham, 7-2, final first round game of the Super Eight.
“I think as a whole we realized we needed to pick it up a little,” Fitzgerald said. “On the first shift we poured it out and it showed. We got a lot of good chances in the beginning of the game and we just wanted to apply it for the rest of the night.”
Lancers head coach John McLean could see that maybe his first line was struggling to find the back of the net and he was happy to see his team find the scoring touch at the right time.
“It was good that our guys finally got on the scoreboard and played the way that they can in the offensive zone,” McLean said. “We talked about it at practice and we rely on them a lot. They really have been struggling a bit, squeezing the stick too much.”
Fitzgerald was the pace-setter with three goals and one assists, while Brendan Collier scored two goals and two assists. Ara Narazarian also potted a pair for Malden Catholic in the victory.
“We’ve just focused on our game plan,” Fitzgerald said. “We practice it every day and we just had to bring it back to the basics and stay with that.”
Lost in the offensive explosion were a number of great saves by Connor Maloney in the second period. Maloney got out of position on two or three rushes by the Harbormen, but he was able to square up those chances that could have seriously altered the complexion of the dominating victory.
“We didn’t do a good job in our end,” said McLean. “[Maloney] came up with some huge saves. The kids felt really good after the second period, but I kind of blasted them. The net was empty. They probably missed three empty nets. It could have been a different game if they put that puck in the net. He saved us on a few.”
“You know you are only going to get so many chances,” added Hingham head coach Tony Messina. “We had two or three. It looked like open nets or partially open nets and we couldn’t put it home. It would have changed the complexion in terms of the way the kids were thinking about it. We could only keep them down for so long.”