MALDEN, Mass. – They sure do finish with flair.
For the second straight game against a Catholic Conference foe, No. 1 Malden Catholic trailed in the third period. The Lancers clawed out of a 2-0 hole to come back and beat No. 3 St. John’s Prep last week, but, once again, MC found itself trailing late Tuesday night against No. 2 Catholic Memorial.
The Knights took a 2-1 lead 2:36 into the third on Liam Coughlin’s goal. That’s when the Lancers clicked into another gear, scoring three goals in a span of 1:12. MC netting six goals on 12 shots overall in the third period to finish in a flurry and a 7-3 victory over CM.
“In that five-minute stretch, we did everything right,” MC head coach Chris Serino said. “We handled the puck and we were moving it like that the whole game, we just weren’t finishing.’
The Lancers (7-1-0, 2-0-0) dominated play for long stretches of the first period and out-shot the Knights, 12-5. However, MC only mustered to sneak one goal past CM goaltender Tommy Knox in the first with Ryan Fitzgerald tallying his 11th of the season on a give-and-go.
The Knights (5-4-0, 1-1-0) evened the score 15 seconds into the second period when Dan O’Hear knocked in a rebound off Marc Hetnik’s shot.
“We played hard, we created turnovers, we generated some offense off of our forecheck,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said of his team’s effort in the second stanza.
The Knights hard work paid off again early in the third period on Coughlin’s marker assisted by Jack O’Hear – his second.
Yet, MC drew even with an unexpected lift from freshman Tyler Sifferlen. Defenseman Connor Evangelista sprung Sifferlen on a breakaway. He beat Knox top-shelf for the first of his two goals in the period.
“That really turned things around,” Lancers assistant captain Brendan Collier said of Sifferlen’s goal. “From there, we were able to keep getting the puck deep, forecheck their D and just wear them down.”
Collier kept the pressure on netting his 10th of the season 42 seconds later with assists from Fitzgerald and Paul Wrenn. Mike Iovanna added his seventh goal of the year on a two-on-one break for a 4-2 MC lead. Garrett White tallied his second point of night (1 G, 1A) with a power play goal set up by Mike Vecchione to give the Lancers a three-goal cushion.
Fitzgerald later added his second goal of the night, thanks to some gritty work in the corner by Vecchione who fed the puck into the slot from his knees.
Sifferlen rounded out scoring with his second of the night with 8.3 seconds remaining. Chris Stathopoulous also scored late for CM.
Serino credited the work of his third line, comprised of Sifferlen, Bob Keough and Jake Porazzo, in helping to keep the Lancers’ legs fresh throughout.
“We run three lines out there and we’re able to wear them down,” Serino added. “It helps us tremendously because we’re able to wear them down and we were able to bury the puck in the third period.”