Central Catholic Raiders Boys Ice Hockey '11-'12

Wed, Mar 07, 2012 08:00 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 Final
Central Catholic 2 0 1 3
St. John's 1 2 1 4
CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. SALEM NEWS:  Central Catholic High School battled St. John's Prep in hockey playoff action Wednesday night. St. John's Derek Osbahr scores on this slap shot.  3/7/2012.  » Staff PhotographerMore photos

Central falls to Prep, faces must-win Sunday

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Wednesday, March, 07 By David Willis
Staff writer

NORTH ANDOVER — For Central Catholic senior Ryan Daigle, the thought of a four-day wait until the do-or-die Super 8 third game was almost too much to consider.

“This is going to kill,” said Daigle. “But we are going to use this pain to fuel us for Sunday. I wish it was tomorrow. We can’t wait to play.”

Just three days after shocking No. 2 St. Mary’s, No. 7 Central Catholic looked like another upset was in reach against No. 3 St. John’s Prep.

But despite leading after one period and delivering a late-game surge that saw one goal just miss going in and another puck hit a post, the Raiders fell to the rival Eagles 4-3 last night at Merrimack College.

So, for the second straight season, Central Catholic will head into the second Sunday of the Super 8 tournament with its season on the line.

“It’s disappointing but the important thing is we are still alive,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski. “This is a three-game series and now we have to see if we can win on Sunday.”

Central Catholic, now 1-1 in the Super 8 round-robin first round, will take on No. 6 Springfield Cathedral (10-8-6) for the opportunity to advance to the crossover round for the first time in area history.

While a victory would not guarantee a spot in the second round — since the Super 8’s No. 1 tiebreaker is goal differential — the Raiders would be a favorite with a win with St. John’s Prep taking on St. Mary’s in the other game.

This mirrors the scenario of a season ago, when Central was also 1-1 heading into the third game, but fell to Hingham and was hindered by the obscure “goals quotient” tiebreaker which was eliminated this year.

“It’s the same position as last year,” said Daigle. “But this year we’re going to go in and get a win. We’re heading into Sunday with our heads held high.”

Central came out of the gates hot last night, and took the lead 2:48 into regulation when Alex Lester took a pass from Lloyd Hayes and banked the puck off the goalie and in for a score.

After the Prep tied the game, the Raiders retook the lead with 4:10 left in the first, when Daigle hauled in a rebound in front of the net and buried it for his second goal of the Super 8.

The Eagles rebounded to grab a 3-2 lead after two periods, but back came Central.

Mike Kelleher picked up a loose puck near center ice, deked in front of the goalie and scored to tie the game with 11:47 left in regulation.

“Central is a very physical, tenacious team and they’re always coming at you,” said Prep coach Kristian Hanson. “They don’t stop coming so it really came down to the wire.”

After St. John’s took the lead one last time, Central managed a late flurry that saw Prep goalie David Letarte turn in a few tremendous saves, and another goal that nearly found its way in before the net was knocked loose.

“We worked so hard and played well in this game,” said co-captain Jake Donahue. “A few bounces go our way and the game goes the other way. But we battled and always believed.”

Now, Central Catholic faces a must-win contest on Sunday.

“We lost last year and it killed us,” said Donahue. “This year we are excited and want to get a win. It’ll be a long way, but we will work hard and keep our heads up.”

Game Statistics:

Goals: CC — Alex Lester, Ryan Daigle, Mike Kelleher; SJP — Alex Brandano 2, Derek Osbahr, Sam Kurker

Assists: CC — Lloyd Hayes, Nike Gorski, Kelleher; SJP — Brian Pinho 2, James Brightney, Brandano, John Ryan, Kurker

Saves: CC — Kyle Williams 21; SJP — David Letarte 31

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