Central Catholic Raiders Boys Ice Hockey '10-'11

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 08:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team 1 2 3 Final
St. Mary's 1 0 0 1
Central Catholic 0 1 2 3

Hayes surprise hero as Central Catholic heads back to the Super 8

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Tuesday, March, 01 By David Willis
Staff writer

BILLERICA — Lloyd Hayes couldn’t contain his joy, skating nearly the length of the ice to the Central Catholic fan section and throwing his body up against the glass in celebration.

“Everything happened so fast,” said Hayes. “I don’t even know. I didn’t even have time to think at first. We are headed back to the Super 8.”

The baby-faced freshman had reason to be overjoyed.

With 2:19 left in the game, Hayes flew in from the bench and fired home the shot that snapped a tie game and sent Central Catholic on its way to a 3-1 win over St Mary’s of Lynn in the play-in round of the Super 8 tournament.

The victory earns the Raiders a berth in the Super 8 for the third time in five years. They are the only local team to qualify in the 21-year history of the tournament. Central will next take on Malden Catholic on Saturday at Merrimack College.

It proved to be Hayes, an unlikely hero, that scored the biggest goal. A player whose name did not appear in the preseason preview, and who entered the night with just four goals for the season.

Not even he could imagine being the hero — or even being in the spot to be one.

“I didn’t think I’d be playing in the last 10 minutes,” said Hayes.

But with the game, and a Super 8 trip on the line, Hayes wrote his name in Central Catholic hockey lore.

“Josh Gallagher ripped a shot from the point,” he said. “(Kevin) Poulin brought it in. He got tied up, but did a nice job of holding his ground. I had just gotten on the ice and came right down the middle. Kevin got me the puck and I had a wide open net. I couldn’t miss it.”

The smile on the forward’s face — which could pass for younger than his age — was held back just a little by shyness while answering reporters’ questions.

“He looks a little nervous,” joked senior co-captain Nick Leonard. “He’s a very strong freshman with no fear that does what he has to to get the job done.”

Hayes, who along with his fellow freshmen on the team have taken the nickname “the Coneheads” knows he and his team are now set for a special opportunity.

“Not everyone gets this chance,” he said. “Nick Leonard has been there and he told me it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe I was a big part of it.”

Taking charge

Central Catholic struggled to find its way in the first period, falling behind 1-0.

“I think there were some nerves in the first,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski. “We came out and were running around. We had to settle down and remember what we were doing and what got us here.”

The Raiders’ dynamic top line had the answer.

Tommy Evangelista picked up the puck and took it down ice. He passed to Nick Leonard, who fired a cross-ice dart to Mike Kelleher, who buried the puck past the lunging goalie to make it 1-1 with 6:02 left in the second.

Kelleher continued his tournament magic, having scored five goals in three postseason games last year. It was Leonard’s 30th assist of the season, and Evangelista’s 19th.

From there, goalie Kyle Williams was a rock in net. His best saves came in the third, one when he made a quick butterfly save on a rebound attempt and another when he was able to tip a point-blank slapshot wide.

“Kyle was great,” said Jankowski. He almost saved the first goal. He has been the backbone of our team all year.”

Hayes then gave the Raiders the lead, and Ryan Daigle iced it with an empty net tally with three seconds left. It was again assisted by Leonard and Evangelista.

“I was just trying to clear it and Ryan picked it up,” said Leonard. “We stared slow, but once we started to bang it got going we were in it. It’s unreal to be going back (to the Super 8). It is just unreal.”

Game Statistics:

Goals: CC — Mike Kelleher, Lloyd Hayes, Ryan Daigle; SM — Corey Bartlett

Assists: CC — Nick Leonard 2, Tommy Evangelista 2, Kevin Poulin; SM — Cam Kennedy

Saves: CC — Kyle Williams 28; SM — Donald Hesse 30

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