Central in command
Williams, Leonard stymie Weymouth
NORTH ANDOVER — Central Catholic’s offense in last night’s 2-1 win over No. 4 Weymouth was epitomized by Nick Leonard, but that wasn’t what coach Mike Jankowski was eager to talk about after the game.
Jankowski gave Leonard his due credit, and plenty of it, but the coach’s highest praise was reserved for goaltender Kyle Williams.
The senior keeper turned away 27 Wildcat shots, including a handful of sprawling saves when Weymouth made a frenetic final charge in the third period.
“Kyle played unbelievable tonight,” Jankowski said. “Every time it looked like they were going to cash in on an opportunity, he was there to close the door on them.”
Williams allowed the lone tally early in the first period, when Weymouth standout senior Tyler Piacentini sniped one between Williams and the post from the right side.
Weymouth was inconsistent but often had spurts of furious pressure on Williams, who was up to the challenge.
“Their goalie, he made some big saves,” Weymouth coach Matt Cataldo said. “But we helped him out a little bit. We know that on that kid, he goes down every single shot and if you go up high on him, you’re going to beat him, like we did on that first goal. But we had a lot of low shots off the ice.”
Leonard knotted the game at 1-1 in the first, capitalizing on a penalty shot awarded after Leonard was tripped during a shorthanded breakaway. Leonard opted for the same move as in his only other previous penalty shot — a backhand-to-forehand shimmy he used during a shootout in a tournament game his freshman year.
Leonard is now two for two with the move, sneaking the shot over the sprawled leg pad of goalie Brian Brady.
“Before I made the move, I knew what I was going to do,” Leonard said. “I was just kind of faking the glove hand and going back to the blocker side. I’ve been practicing it just in case it ever happened.”
Leonard then earned the primary assist on Tommy Evangelista’s winner, setting up the junior with a doorstep one-timer during a second-period power play. Leonard drove the puck down the right wing and beneath the goal line, then dropped a backhand pass to Evangelista atop the right side of the crease. Evangelista slapped the puck low and to the left side, easily beating a sliding Brady.
The win puts Central Catholic in prime position to advance to the crossover round. If the Raiders beat Hingham Sunday, and Weymouth loses to Malden Catholic, CC is in. If Central and Weymouth win, the tiebreaker between those two and Malden Catholic would be goal differential.
Malden Catholic 8, Hingham 1 — Malden Catholic relied on its first line of Ryan Fitzgerald, Brendan Collier, and Mike Vecchione all season, but last night the second line of Nick Roberto, Mike Iovanna, and Garrett White combined for six goals and four assists to power the No. 1 Lancers to an 8-1 victory over No. 5 Hingham.
White stole the show, completing a hat trick before the end of the second period and adding a fourth goal late in the third.
He put MC up, 2-1, one-timing Roberto’s faceoff win from the left hash into the net in the second.