With the Catholic Conference title already secured, top-ranked Malden Catholic looked to make a statement against St. John’s Prep, and used a four-goal second period to skate off with a 5-2 victory yesterday at Valley Forum II in Malden.
‘‘It was wonderful winning the Catholic Conference this early,’’ said Malden Catholic coach John McLean. ‘‘There’s not going to be any letdown. We only play one game at a time and just try to get two points each game.’’
The Lancers (9-1-2), who went 6-0-1 in January against Catholic Conference opponents, controlled every aspect of the game from the drop of the puck, but the third-ranked Eagles got on the board first on a Brian Pinho one-timer from Sam Kurker with 2:16 remaining in the first period.
The Lancers continued to mount pressure, which paid off on the power play when Pat Wrenn backhanded home a loose puck in front of the net to even things up 2:13 into the second period.
One minute after breaking David Letarte’s eight-period shutout streak, captain Brendan Collier put Malden Catholic up for good when he wristed home a shot from the slot.
Collier netted his second goal two minutes later, tipping home a blast that Brendan White unleashed from the left point, putting the Lancers up, 3-1.
‘‘It was a big game and we knew we had to come in flying,’’ said Collier. ‘‘We beat them once and it’s tough to beat anyone twice, so we knew it’d be a struggle.’’
Malden Catholic gave the Prep ample opportunities, racking up eight penalties, but the Eagles only capitalized on one of those chances when Pinho scored his second of the game after Kurker pinged one off the crossbar, making it 3-2 with 3:45 left in the second period.
‘‘Our boys are competing so hard,’’ said MC assistant coach Phil Antonelli. ‘‘Any little action is going to get called. No one’s going to give us anything.’’
The Lancers found themselves shorthanded once again as the second period wound down, but the Eagles could not pin the puck in their zone, sending Lancers freshman Ara Nazarian up on the left side, where he made a pinpoint stop and spin move before backhanding it over to Tyler Sifferlen for the fourth goal of the period.
Ryan Fitzgerald capped the scoring on a shorthanded empty-netter with a minute to play in the game.
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