In its three-year reign as Super 8 champions, Malden Catholic has been blessed with many talented offensive players who had a gift for finding the back of the net. During the second annual Christie Serino Christmas Classic title game at Malden’s Valley Forum II Saturday night, the flashy Malden Catholic offense took a backseat to a sound, defensive game that stymied one of the best teams in the state. Malden Catholic went 9 of 10 on the penalty kill and held No. 2 Austin Prep to 10 shots as the top-ranked Lancers emerged with a 4-1 decision over the Cougars in a rematch of the 2013 Super 8 title game. “What I preach to the guys [on offense] is that it’s 200 feet both ways,” said MC coach John McLean. “You’re not just an offensive player. We’re a team and we have to play team defense. You better come back and backcheck or you’re not going to play.” Following a scoreless first period in which they outshot Austin Prep, 7-1, by a 7-1 marginthe Lancers (4-0-0) received earned some early offense from defenseman John McLean. Seeing an opportunity to jump the play, the junior pinched near the cage and was able to sneak the puck past AP goaltender Elijah Harris (20 saves) at the nearside post to put MC on top, 1-0. Malden Catholic doubled its lead just over four minutes later. Forward Tyler Sifferlen picked up a loose puck behind the AP net and circled it around the cage, drawing Harris to the left post. Linemate Ara Nazarian crashed the slot and roofed a centering pass from Sifferlen over the shoulder of HarrisHarris’s shoulder. Immediately after senior Brian Cameron left the box to cap MC’s fifth penalty kill of the night, forward Jake Witkowski jumped over the boards and skated in up ice on a three-on-two Lancer rush. Witkowski centered the puck to Nazarian, who found Sifferlen in the right wing circle for a tic-tack-toe scoring play and a 3-0 Lancer advantage through two periods of play. Witkowski tacked on a goal of his own 33 seconds into the third — the junior’s first of the season — to put the game out of reach. The Cougars (3-1-1) were finally able to capitalize capitalized on their eighth man advantage after MC’s Brian Cameron was sent to the box. with a four-minute crosschecking penaltyJunior Anthony Cieri sneaked snuck a puck past MC freshman Kyle Casey (nine saves) to cut the deficit to three with 4:09 remaining.
Malden Catholic 4, Austin Prep 1
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at Reading
Updated: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, 10:53 p.m.