|CM celebrates Dan Cornell's first goal - and the Knights' first lead over Hingham. (Jay connor/for the globe)|
Middlesex in middle of things again
For the second straight winter, the championship of the Super 8 hockey tournament will feature a Middlesex League team against a Catholic Conference squad. Yesterday's results guaranteed that, with Burlington and Winchester to face off in one semifinal Wednesday in Lowell and Malden Catholic to meet Catholic Memorial in the other.
Winchester 2, Central Catholic 1 - The Sachems, who needed an overtime win in the play-in round to get to the final eight, advanced to the crossover round with a hard-earned victory yesterday at Tsongas Arena
"Hopefully next year when the rankings come out, the Middlesex League favorite will be at second or third, where it belongs," said coach John Messuri. "Instead of eighth, ninth, or 10th all the time."
The Sachems, runners-up in the Middlesex League and the last team on the board in the Super 8 tournament selection, have a chance to come full circle by playing Burlington, the league champion, in the semifinals.
Winchester scored just 1:59 in when Peter Troiano's top-of-the-slot shot trickled through. But Central Catholic was unfazed, responding less than two minutes later on Cameron Fisichelli's slap shot.
But the Sachems had the final say, thanks to Kevin Carson, as the senior forced one home off T.J. Hickey's backhand pass with 5:41 to go in the middle frame.
Catholic Memorial 3, Hingham 2 - Hingham may have scored first, but there was never any doubt which team was in control.
The goal ignited Catholic Memorial and Hingham couldn't figure out its top-seeded foe from there on at Tsongas Arena and fell out of the tournament.
CM suffered its quick setback at 11:16 of the first period, as Hingham's Jamie Wilson planted himself for a top-shelf score from the left circle.
T.J. O'Brien tied it with 8:46 left in the first, scoring on a slap shot that skyrocketed into the net.
CM took the lead 4:12 into the second as Dan Cornell scored the first of two goals by stuffing in a rebound off an attempt by Vinny Repucci.
Cornell struck again 2:51 into the third, chipping in a loose puck from the right side.
Hingham, with Nate Eagan pulled from the goal, had its last gasp with six seconds left as Tim Driscoll scored on a backhand.
Malden Catholic 3, Needham 0 - Malden Catholic continued to dominate the competition, defeating Needham at Merrimack College in North Andover, for its second shutout in three games.
"We have worked really hard in practice," said Mike Vecchione, who had two assists. "That hard work has paid off for us in the tournament."
Needham came out hard. Although the Rockets were outshot in the scoreless first period, they played MC tough. It was the first time this Super 8 season that Malden Catholic did not have a multigoal lead by the end of the first frame.
In the second, however, the Lancers started to play their game and the balance quickly shifted.
About six minutes into the second period Justin Sencabaugh scored his second goal of the tournament, set up by Craig Carbonneau and Vecchione.
Four minutes later, the Lancers struck again, defenseman Joe Zingarelli scoring his third goal in as many tournament games after scoring just once all season.
Malden Catholic added an insurance goal early in the third on a strike from James Castucci with Vecchione and Carbonneau assisting.
Burlington 2, Xaverian 1 - Burlington worked overtime to earn the right to continue playing this season. Joe Yeadon scored at 1:53 of the extra session for the Red Devils. The victory, combined Needham's loss, enabled Burlington to advance to the crossover round.
"That was a really fitting end for us," said Burlington coach Bob Conceison. "It was a real bounce-back game for our guys after [Malden Catholic] really took it to us on Thursday."
Burlington opened the scoring 2:06 into the contest on a Peter Millinazzo rip, set up by Ryan Collins and Paul Conceison.
After killing off penalties early in the second period, Xaverian began to turn the tide. Ronny Walsh scored Xaverian's second goal of the tournament, taking a pass from Nathan Hardiman and firing past Ben Irwin to even the score.
Great play by Irwin and Xaverian netminder Kyle MacDonald kept it even after three. Each goalie stopped eight shots in the period.
Peter Russo, Sean Duffy, and Yeadon - Burlington's top line - didn't need much time to decide the game in overtime.
Duffy poked the puck away from a Hawk defender in the offensive zone. The puck drifted to the top of the faceoff circle where Yeadon found it and ripped a snap shot over MacDonald's glove, tucking it just inside the post to give the Devils the win.