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Sat, Jan 22, 2011 04:30 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 Final
Andover 0 0 3 3
Central Catholic 2 2 0 4

Central holds off hard-charging Andover for seventh straight win

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Saturday, January, 22 By David Willis
Staff writer

LAWRENCE — As the final horn sounded, Central Catholic goalie Kyle Williams leaned back onto the net and looked up at the ceiling, like his teammates breathing a sigh of relief.

“We didn’t want to let the puck back into the zone another time,” said Raiders center Tommy Evangelista. “We got the puck back into their zone and played the rest from there.”

Holding a four-goal advantage through two periods, Central saw archrival Andover surge back for three goals in the final frame before the Raiders finished off a thrilling 4-3 victory last night at the Valley Forum.

“We struggled in the third period,” said Raiders winger Nick Leonard. “Luckily we got the win and we’ll go from there. All we care about is getting the W, as long as we get that.”

It was the seventh straight victory for Central Catholic, ranked No. 7 in Eastern Mass., and third straight victory over the Golden Warriors. The teams had previously played to three ties in four matchups.

“We put the pressure on and started to finally compete in the third,” said Andover coach Mario Martiniello. “We haven’t shied away from anyone this season, and we made it a game in the third.”

The Raiders seemed to take control in the final moments of the first period. Pat Dugan fired a slap shot on goal that Lloyd Hayes tipped into the net with 5:53 left in the first for his second goal of the season.

Then, with 22 seconds left in the frame, Ryan Wakeford hauled in a pass going towards the net, made a move and slid it between Andover goalie Kyle Berthiaume’s pads for a 2-0 lead.

The Raiders continued that success in the second, with Leonard adding to the advantage just 1:57 in, and Mike Kelleher scoring his team-high ninth goal of the season with 2:03 to go in the period.

“We had a lot of momentum,” said Leonard, who also had two assists. “We were getting shots on net and things were going out way. We were doing the simple things and shooting the puck at the net.”

But the Golden Warriors weren’t about to accept the lopsided loss to their rival.

“Our captain Matt (Swett) stepped up and challenged his teammates and they responded,” said Martiniello. “It was a completely different level of competition.”

Swett backed up his words with action, breaking up the shutout with his eighth goal in the last five games. His 12 goals for the season are good for third in the area.

The Golden Warriors continued that surge, with Tyler Weeks cutting the lead in half, then Liam Centrella making it a one-goal game with 1:12 left in the contest.

But Williams was able to turn away a pair of late shots, and the Raiders cleared the puck into the Andover zone to run the clock out.

“We played really well for two periods,” said Central head coach Mike Jankowski. “Give Andover credit for having character and fighting back. It was a good lesson for our team, and luckily we learned the lesson with a win.”

These two teams will face off again on Feb. 19, the second-to-last game of the season for both teams.

“We are playing them again in a few weeks,” said Martiniello. “So this gives us confidence we can beat them the next time. Winning a period against one of the best in the state is an accomplishment.”

Central Catholic also felt confident following the victory.

“We’re playing good hockey,” said Leonard. “We’re scoring goals and finding each other with passes. We have learned all the new kids after a tough start. Seven straight wins, and hopefully we’ll keep winning.”

Game Statistics:

Goals: CC — Lloyd Hayes, Ryan Wakeford, Nick Leonard, Mike Kelleher; A — Matt Swett, Tyler Weeks, Liam Centrella

Assists: CC —  Leonard 2, Pat Dugan, Josh Gallagher, Tommy Evangelista, Wakeford, Nick Pelrine; A — David Belluche, Kyle Wakefield, Ryan Oteri, Swett, Jim Burns

Saves: CC — Kyle Williams 27; A — Kyle Berthiaume 25

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