Fast start propels No. 1 Xaverian past Catholic Memorial

CANTON — After navigating an unbeaten file by way of 5 robust nonleague matchups, the No. 1 Xaverian boys hockey crew additional strengthened its case Wednesday night time as an early favourite to get again to the TD Garden.

Behind a quick begin that constructed a three-goal lead within the opening 19 minutes, the Hawks (6-0) opened its Catholic Conference schedule with a 5-2 win over No. 5 Catholic Memorial, the two-time reigning convention champions, in a heated affair that drew 17 whole penalties.

Jackson Morse (two targets) and Jack O’Neil (two assists) every completed with three factors, main the quick begin by setting a highly-energized tone. The Knights had been fast to reply with a bevy of alternatives and even received the shot battle, 32-24, however Xaverian senior Cole Pouliot-Porter (30 saves) put up his typical efficiency in web to by no means lose the lead.

“It’s always fun playing them, they’re a great program,” mentioned Xaverian head coach Dave Spinale. “You know, it’s a long season. So, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. … We want to be playing our best in March, but that was just one more step to show that we can compete at a high level. I was proud of our guys.”

Seven penalties got here within the remaining 2:12 as tempers flared, however there was loads of ardour and stress in a packed barn the entire sport.

The Hawks consumed the environment, shortly turning it right into a lead. Morse put up an enormous hit by the left wall to provide Xaverian possession within the Knights’ zone, and he finally dumped a move into the left circle for Devin Gosciak to bury the sport’s first purpose lower than three minutes in.

Catholic Memorial had a pair alternatives to tie the rating again up, however couldn’t convert. The Hawks did an amazing job blocking photographs, and Pouliot-Porter put up 10 saves in a first-period shutout. The Knights even had an influence play only some minutes after Xaverian constructed its lead, however the closing seconds of it noticed Matt Dion ship a move to O’Neil for a breakaway, shorthanded purpose with 9:04 left within the first.

“CM’s a powerful team,” O’Neil mentioned. “We knew that we wanted to come out fast – have a good forecheck, play strong in front of our net. That was our really goal, we just put the foot on the gas.”

“We knew this team was strong, so we knew D-zone was the most important thing going into this game,” Morse added. “We’ve preached it all year, D-zone first. And I mean, it showed today. When our D-zone was strong, it generated offense.”

Tension solely rose as the sport went on, however Xaverian tacked on a 3-0 lead lower than two minutes into the second interval with Morse’s first purpose. He batted a rebound in whereas falling to the ice.

CM’s Mike Corbett pressured a turnover within the Hawks’ zone a pair minutes later and sniped a rating to the far, high nook to get the purpose again, however Xaverian was relentless in sustaining the two-goal lead. Rebounds had been cleared immediately and gamers continued to place their our bodies on the road.

The Knights practically turned a penalty kill right into a their very own shorthanded purpose, however RJ Donahue’s shot struck iron. With simply eight seconds left within the second, Colvin Callahan scored to get the lead again to 3 targets.

Nick D’Olympio tipped in a power-play purpose with 12:32 left to provide CM some life, however it couldn’t get one other previous Pouliot-Porter. Morse’s second purpose with 2:25 put the sport away.

“That line was going pretty good tonight, for sure,” Spinale mentioned.

Xaverian’s Matt Dion, left, and Jack O’Neil have a good time O’Neil’s shorthanded purpose within the first interval towards Catholic Memorial. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)