Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Malden Catholic Leaves No Doubt in Super 8 Sweep of Marshfield

 By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

After shutting out Marshfield in game one of its Super 8 quarterfinal series, reigning Super 8 champion Malden Catholic made sure to keep its collective foot on the gas, scoring two goals in the game's first three minutes, then cruising to a dominant 7-0 victory.

Following the 2-0 series sweep, the Lancers now move on to the Super 8 semifinals to face Arlington.

Things couldn't have started much better for the Rams. Just two minutes into the first, Matt Yianacopolus put one home off a feed from Jack Sullivan, and 21 second later, Brendan Maloney finished a breakaway off crisp passes from Tim Matthews and Jagger Benson.

"I love scoring early, but it can be a blessing and a curse," Malden Catholic coach John McLean said. "I thought (Marshfield) came after us after those two goals, but we stayed with it."

It was also a thoroughly dominant defensive performance from the Lancers, who limited Marshfield to just 17 shots on the night, and kept the Rams away from the crease all night.

"I don't even know how many shots (Marshfield) got, but it wasn't a lot," Malden Catholic goalie Kyle Casey said. "And when they did (get shots), they all came from the outside. That was one of our best defensive games."

Malden Catholic kept the pressure on Marshfield the rest of the period, out-shooting the Rams 10-4 in the period, but Marshfield held up until 3:37 into the second, when Joey Guarino finished off a 2-on-1 by slapping home a nifty feed from Justin Collins. Two and a half minutes later, the onslaught continued when Colin Nestor backhanded a bouncing puck to make it 4-0.

But the Lancers weren't done in the period, as Benson, who assisted on Maloney's goal earlier, tipped one in to give MC a 5-0 lead heading into the third.

In the final frame, MC mostly played puck control and rolled over its lines, but a turnover in the Marshfield zone quickly turned into another goal. Cam Lawhorne collected the puck and found Justin Collins for an easy score with 10 minutes left to play.

Collins then showed off his passing abilities, with a crossing feed to Guarino, who scored his second of the game.

The win did not come without its consequences though, as junior defenseman Bernie Gillis took a shot to the head in the third period. Coach McLean expects Gillis to be done for the season, but remains confident in his team's "next man up mentality.

"We're gonna go watch (the Arlington-Hingham game) now, but this is honestly the first I've thought of Arlington or Hingham," McLean said. "It truly is one game at a time at this point."

For Marshfield, it was a bitter end to a fantastic season. The Rams picked up one of the biggest wins in program history against Austin Prep in the opening Super 8 play-in game, but just didn't have enough to skate with Malden Catholic.

For the Lancers, it's more of the same. This program has dominated the Super 8 in recent years, winning five of the last six titles, and appearing in all six Super 8 championship games over that span.

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