Sunday, March 5, 2017

Arlington Tops Hingham in its Super 8 Opener

By Mike Abelson (@ABELS0N)

LOWELL, Mass. - It started strong, got rocky in the middle, but turned out alright for the Arlington Spy Ponders.

Arlington scored two goals in the first period, survived an offensive barrage later on by Hingham, and held on for a 4-1 win in its opening round matchup in the Super 8 quarterfinals at Tsongas Center. Adding in the teams' first meeting this year, in the middle of February, the Spy Ponders have now outscored the Harbormen 7-1.

The Spy Ponders' offensive motored along due in large part to the play of Cam Ryan and Kevin Ouellette. Ryan, a sophomore, assisted on the Ponders first three goals and added the empty netter, in the final minute, to seal the victory.

Ouellette, one of Arlington’s nine seniors, had the Spy Ponders’ first goal and added an assist.

“The Ryan-Ouellette line was pretty dominant for us,” Arlington coach John Messuri said. “I thought Cam and Ouellette were kind of off the charts. I thought they were really good.”

Ouellette opened the scoring midway through the first when he took a pass from Jack Simon and put it home. Peter Scheschareg added a second for Arlington, with 14 seconds left in the first period, when he hacked home a rebound in front of Hingham goalie Robbie Kornack.

Down two, the Harbormen turned up the wick and brought wave after wave in the attacking end. Hingham outshot Arlington 32-8 over the final two periods, but couldn’t consistently solve Jack Pinard.

Stephen Jacobs got Hingham on the board early in the third, but the Harbormen couldn’t get the bounces they wanted, and Pinard was a wall in cage for the Ponders, as Arlington extended the lead back to two goals just over three minutes later.

“He won the game for us,” Messuri said of Pinard. “If Pinard doesn’t make a couple of saves and we’re not in that spot. Take Pinard away and those last two periods are bad. Real bad.  Jack’s a good goalie but I don’t feel like relying on him too much. It’s nice to have a microwave, but I’d rather cook the meal once in awhile. It tastes better.”

Jeff MacDonald had the key third goal for Arlington, a booming slap shot, and had the assist on Ryan’s empty-net goal.

“We just had to get another push, get one more goal, and I happened to get it,” MacDonald said. “It was a nice rip from the blue line that happened to get through.”

For the Harbormen the flaws were on full display early, but Hingham closed strong late, despite not getting the goals it needed, and have the tools to tie this series in game two.

Hingham coach Tony Messina said that his squad will have to find a killer instinct if it wants to keep extending its season.

“It’s easier said than done,” Messina said. “We’ve been working on that, what we’ve got to do to get the guys to go to the net. Sometimes it’s just a natural instinct, but if you don’t have those types of players you’ve got to force it somehow, and that’s where we are right now.”

Game 2 will take place Wednesday night at the Chelmsford Forum.

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