super 8 crossover semifinal
Malden Catholic 3, Catholic Memorial 2
LOWELL -- Freshmen Mike Vecchione and Alex Minter were late-season call-ups to the Malden Catholic boys' hockey team when injuries struck. They didn't look like freshmen on the season's biggest stage.
After Catholic Memorial turned the puck over in its own zone, Minter fed Vecchione alone in the slot. The freshman forward, who already boasted a couple of points on his Super 8 resume this winter, calmly wheeled and slipped the game-winning goal through the 5-hole of netminder Tom Conlin with 2:37 remaining as the Lancers upset the tournament's top seed with a 3-2 triumph at Tsongas Arena.
Malden Catholic is off to its first Super 8 final where it will meet public-school power Reading Sunday evening at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The Lancers, who fell to Catholic Memorial twice during the regular season, overcame a two-goal, first-period deficit to improve to 4-0 in postseason play. This one year after a more veteran squad labored through a dismal 0-3 showing in the state's most prestigious tournament.
In a fast-moving third period, MC never took its foot off the accelerator. They played with an edge -- something Catholic Memorial lacked -- but also didn't make any mental mistakes.
That's what cost CM. The Knights got tripped up around their own blue line and Minter grabbed the puck above the left circle and carried to the high slot before feeding Vecchione. Wearing his now familiar No. 61 (he wore Tony Serino's No. 15 for one game during the tournament), Vecchione spun to his right and watched Conlin drop to the ice before slipping the winner under the prone netminder.
Malden Catholic received second-period goals from Greg Crovo (power-play tally at 5:42) and Jason Yeomelakis (1:23) and the Lancers skate into the second intermission knotted at 2 with rival Catholic Memorial.
Yeomelakis gave the Lancers a spark early on as he potted his goal with assists going to Joe White and Craig Carbonneau. MC enjoyed a man advantage a short time later and Crovo evened the game with a quick snapper from near the top of the left circle that buzzed in under the crossbar.
CM wasn't quite as lucky with the pipes. The Knights hit two posts in the period, including Derek Colucci's zap with 6:33 to go (off a pretty cross-ice feed from Mike Collins). The puck slammed hard off the crossbard keeping the game knotted.
Check out Catholic Memorial's two first-period goals in the video highlight entry below.
Catholic Memorial received first-period goals from Derek Colucci (2:54) and Troy Starrett (8:25) to carry a 2-0 advantage over rival Malden Catholic into the first intermission.
Catholic Memorial's Troy Starrett scored with the assists going to Mike Collins and Shane Walsh as the Knights lead, 2-0, with 6:35 to play in the frame.
Catholic Memorial's Derek Colucci pounced on a loose puck in the right circle and pots
Malden Catholic's Christian Roberto skated in alone on CM netminder Tom Conlin a short time after the first goal, but Conlin made a nice stop on a backhander near the left post.
Colucci appeared to skate off the ice injured with about eight minutes to play in the stanza. He was replaced on the top line by Starrett. Colucci returned with about three minutes to play.
Here are the starting lineups for Game 2 of our Super 8 crossover doubleheader:
LW - 5 - Mike Collins
C - 9 - Derek Colucci
RW - 19 - Shane Walsh
D - 4 - Peter Starrett
D - 22 - Garrett Noonan
Goalie: 30 - Tom Conlin
LW - 17 - Zack Sheppard
C - 9 - Craig Carbonneau
RW - 5 - Andrew Cerretani
D - 7 - Greg Crovo
D - 6 - Jared Tringale
Goalie: 30 - John Carbonneau
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