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Tue, Mar 08, 2011 08:15 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 Final
Weymouth 1 0 0 1
Central Catholic 1 1 0 2

Williams, Central roll over Weymouth in Super 8

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Tuesday, March, 08 By David Willis
Staff writer

NORTH ANDOVER — The second the clock expired, Central Catholic goalie Kyle Williams was mobbed in celebration by the entire Raiders team.

“Kyle was phenomenal tonight,” said Central co-captain Nick Leonard. “He saved us. I don’t think we could have won without him back there.”

With the season on the line, junior Williams played the game of his career with 28 often spectacular saves to lead No. 8 Central Catholic to a 2-1 victory over No. 4 Weymouth in the second round of the Super 8 tournament last night.

It was the second time in two weeks Central downed Weymouth, also closing out the regular season with the victory that helped earn them a Super 8 opportunity.

The Raiders now move on to face No. 5 Hingham on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the crossover portion of the round-robin tourney. The location and time of the game has not been announced.

The victory would mark the first time a local school has advanced in the tournament’s 21-year history.

“We made a couple of nice plays for goals,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski. “And the rest was Kyle. He kept us in the game and made the big saves when we needed him to.”

Williams broke the hearts of Weymouth fans time after time. Twice in the final three minutes the Wildcats fans went crazy thinking they had tied the game. But both times Williams turned the puck away, first with a pad save from a sitting position, and then kicking away a puck from a seemingly open net with his skate.

He clinched the victory with a butterfly save in the final seconds.

“Kyle stood on his head,” said center Tommy Evangelista. “We was just awesome.”

Maybe his best string came last in the second period. On the power play, Weymouth fired five straight shots on him. But again Williams was up to the task, combining body saves with butterfly saves and a glove snag.

But after the game, the low-key Williams played it cool.

“I just had to look at it as another game and another puck,” said Williams with a huge smile. “We really feel like we can beat anyone.”

Despite the relaxed personality, Jankowski said the beneath the surface there’s plenty of fire in his goalie.

“Kyle has a different way of doing things,” he said. “But he works his tail off. He has a calm demeanor, but he is a fierce competitor. But it’s not a surprise to us. He has been big for us all year.”

The Raiders fell behind 1-0 just 2:24 into the game, but Leonard sparked the team and the crowd — still recovering from the basketball team’s loss earlier in the day — in one of the rarest of plays with 2:23 left in the first.

After making a steal, Leonard broke down ice on a breakaway before being dragged down from behind with a trip.

He was awarded a penalty shot, and knew just what to do.

“I basically fake low glove side then go high blocker,” he said. “I work on it in practice. I was nervous at first, but once I got into the zone I knew I’d bury it.”

Jankowski was thrilled that it was Leonard that had the puck on his stick.

“If we could pick one guy, he gets it,” said the coach. “As soon as they called it, we had a great feeling he would score. We came out kind of dull, so that helped us.”

Rejuvenated by the goal, Evangelista gave the Raiders the lead 2:32 into the third with his 18th goal of the season.

“Nick took a breakout pass and made a nice pass to me and I put it home,” said Evangelista. “We were really pumped up.”

Central next takes on Hingham, which was blasted by Malden Catholic 8-1 last night in the earlier game. The site has not been determined because Merrimack College will be hosting Merrimack hockey in the Hockey East Tournament. The teams did not play in the regular season.

“We are very confident,” said Leonard. “We put up a fight against MC and took the win against Weymouth. We really feel like we can beat anyone right now.”

Game Statistics:

Goals:  FIRST PERIOD: W — Tyler Piacentini (Riley Flanagan) 12:36; CC — Nick Leonard (unassisted) 2:23

SECOND PERIOD: CC — Tommy Evangelista (Leonard, Ryan Daigle) 12:28

Saves: CC — Kyle Williams 28; W — Brian Brady 13

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