BILLERICA –– With 4:17 to play, No. 7 Central Catholic’s Tommy Evangelista was sure he’d just netted the go-ahead goal in a tight contest with Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League rival No. 17 Billerica.
Even though the puck whizzed into the net long before any officials blew their whistles, the goal was waived off, and instead, the Raiders (10-4-1, 6-1-1 MVC/DCL) were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Indians (6-1-6, 5-0-4).
“The explanation was the net was off,” Central Catholic coach Michael Jankowski said. “There was never a whistle, but I guess there doesn’t have to be a whistle. It’s hard to swallow.
“It’s called a goal and it’s called back, and it’s tough to accept. There’s film so we’ll see, but that’s a big call to make. Hopefully, they got the call right.”
The win puts the Raiders in an unusual situation. Central is widely considered a Super 8 squad, but with the tie, Billerica is still the only unbeaten squad left in MVC/DCL play, having knocked off the Raiders 2-0 on Dec. 22.
After an even first four minutes, The Indians pinned the Raiders in their own zone for much of the first period thanks primarily to better play along the boards and in the corners. It took most of the frame for Billerica to translate the possession advantage into a notch on the scoreboard though.
With 3:57 to play, junior Jack Jenkins did just that. The forward took in a pass from Arthur Raposa along the right wing as the pair crossed the Central Catholic blue line. Cutting just inside the right dot, Jenkins snapped a shot through a big window left over goaltender Kyle Williams’ left shoulder and put the Indians up 1-0.
The second period started much like the first, with Billerica controlling five-on-five play. That changed when the Indians took the first of four second-period penalties exactly five minutes into the frame.
The Indians kept Central Catholic shotless during the first penalty, but couldn’t replicate the performance two and a half minutes later. After senior John Kelleher went off for an elbowing penalty, Raider junior Tommy Evangelista set up teammate Nicholas Perline with a traffic-penetrating centering pass. As he fell to one knee, Perline swatted at the pass, connecting and pushing the puck 5-hole for the equalizer.
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