The top-ranked Lancers (12-1-3) snapped a 1-1 tie after the first period with four unanswered goals as they took down second-ranked Hingham, 5-1, at Valley Forum II in Malden on Saturday night.
“They’re a very good team, and I think we’ll see them again in the Super 8,” said MC coach John McLean. “We had some chances early that we didn’t bury, but I thought it was a good hockey game.”
Freshman Ara Nazarian opened up the scoring mid-way through the first period when he one-timed a pass from Tyler Sifferlen to make it 1-0.
Three minutes later Hingham (13-3-1) would respond when Matt Brazel powered one home from the slot, snapping it past Connor Maloney to tie the game at one.
Hingham’s physical defense remained tight on the speedier Lancers, but eventually the skill of MC broke through when Ryan Fitzgerald potted one seven minutes into the second period, for what would turn out to be the game-winner.
“They did a good job clogging it up and it was pretty hard to score the first period and a half, but then we finally broke it in,” said Fitzgerald. “They’re a physical team and they tried to get us off our game, which is speed. We just kept at it, kept grinding.”
Malden Catholic continued to wear down the Hingham defense and Mike Iovanna’s power-play goal with five minutes left in the second put the high-scoring Lancers in the right state of mind.
“They packed it in, their goalie played good,” said Fitzgerald. “We were pressuring them a lot, so the goals were going to come.”
Fitzgerald (20 goals) and Nazarian (10 goals) both collected their second goals of the game in the final frame to ice things for the Lancers.
Hingham came into this game with a 12-0-1 mark since going 1-2 to start the season. This was their first loss since Dec. 21 against No. 3 St. Mary’s.
“We had a good effort, good intensity, but against a team like that, you give them one opening and they’re going to take it,” said Hingham coach Tony Messina. “They can score three goals in a shift, so 5-1, I guess we don’t like the score, but I felt like it was closer and we played tough.”
The Lancers were 12-0-2 coming in since their only loss of the season versus Delbarton School (N.J.) back on Dec. 17. Malden Catholic only had one penalty on the night and are clamping down on what was an earlier issue.
“The key word is discipline,” said McLean of his team’s effort to stay out of the box. “There is no reason to take any retialiatory penalties. You take the hit and make the play. We’re a pretty good hockey team, but we’re not good with four guys, we’re good with five.”
Malden Catholic has scored 32 goals over their last six games, notching five or more goals in five of the six games.
“We’re in a good spot right now,” said Fitzgerald. “We have a good shot to repeat if everyone focuses up. I like our chances this year.”
Craig Forde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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