Sunday, March 5, 2017

Quick Hits: Malden Catholic & Central Catholic Open Super 8 with Wins

By Mike Abelson (@ABELS0N)

LOWELL, Mass. - If anything is a sure thing it’s Malden Catholic winning its first round games in the Super 8.

The Lancers have never lost a first-round series since the tournament realigned in 2013, going 8-1 and outscoring their first-round opponents 33-13 during that stretch.

MC scored first and never looked back as it notched its ninth first-round Super 8 victory with a controlled 3-0 win over Marshfield in the fourth, and final, game of day one of the Super 8 at Tsongas Center.

The hero for the Lancers was Matt Yianacopolus. The senior co-captain had the first two Malden goals and assisted on the third. Leading the defensive unit, Yianacopolus was instrumental in keeping the Marshfield attack off balance from start to finish.

While the skaters did what Malden Catholic has done for so long, junior goalie Brian Cannata had a solid game in cage. The younger brother of Merrimack College great Joe Cannata, Brian Cannata stopped all 23 Marshfield shots that came his way.

The second game of the series will take place Wednesday night at the Chelmsford Forum.

In the second game of the day the Central Catholic Raiders were dominant, and only got better throughout a 5-0 dismantling of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis had defeated Central twice during the regular season, 1-0 on Dec. 30 and 4-1 on Feb. 23, but the Raiders turned the tables Sunday.

The Cardinals were never able to get consistent offensive zone pressure and the Raiders made them pay. Senior forward Matt O’Rourke took a breakaway and finished, on the backhand, with 3:26 to go in the period.

Central added another before the period was done when Sean Brown cut through the slot, spun around, and backhanded the puck into the top corner to send Central into the break up 2-0.

Brown added another goal, 2:25 into the second period, and the Cardinals responded soon after by replacing sophomore goalie Zac Roncarati with senior Zac Steigmeyer but the Raiders were in total control.

Thomas Manty added a fourth late in second period, and Central added one for good measure, a goal from Will Winship, in the third period.

While the offense rolled the defense did its part to stop a Pope Francis attack that features strong scorers like Jon Tavella and Cam Peritz. The Central defense was anchored by the performance of sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Pasquale who notched a shutout with 29 saves.

Central has made the last seven Super 8 tournaments, but has only made it to the semifinals once, back in 2012. The Raiders will look to close out the series, and get back to the final four, when the teams meet again on Tuesday night, at 5 pm, at Chelmsford Forum.

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