WARWICK â Dave Belisle has been associated with Mount St. Charles as a standout player in the late â70s and a member of the coaching staff for three decades, and even he was hard-pressed to recall the last time his team pulled off a comeback in the fashion it did on Saturday night.
Down by a 6-3 score with less than five minutes to play in its showdown for first place with Division I foe Moses Brown, the Mounties reached back and came through with three goals to knot the contest and force overtime.
Unfortunately for the Mounties, they were unable to push out one more goal in the extra session and settled for a tie with the Quakers, but they were still able to leave Thayer Arena with their undefeated record intact and a share of first place with their hosts.
âItâs one of the better comebacks weâve ever had,â admitted Belisle. âWeâve had some great comebacks with dramatic late goals, but to get three against a team like (Moses Brown) that had us probably dead in the water âŠâ
The Mounties (6-0-1) found themselves having to play catch-up for most of the contest with the Quakers (6-1-1), trailing by a 2-1 score after a period of play and 4-2 at the end of two periods.
âWe told the kids at the end of the second period, âSeniors, you have to step up,â â added Belisle. â âYou guys are good, but youâre not showing anything right now.â And sure enough, our white line, which is considered this teamâs top line, came through.â
Alex Erbanâs second goal of the game 7:20 into the third period cut MSCâs deficit to one goal, but a little more than a minute later, the Quakers tried to deliver a knockout punch when Trevor Kacz and Cam Brown notched goals 71 seconds apart from each other.
The Quakers clearly had the momentum, but not for long. They picked up a pair of penalties in the remaining minutes and the Mounties made them pay. MSC co-captain Trevor Plante scored a power-play goal with 4:52 left, and Mike Magerman added a power-play score with 2:44 on the clock.
With 1:02 to play, the Mounties pulled goaltender Dan Foster in favor of a sixth attacker, and the move paid off, when with 8.3 seconds on the clock, Magerman ended up netting the equalizer by pushing a shot between goalie Conor Friendâs right pad and the post.
âWhen we got the power-play goal from Trevor, I really thought we had a chance,â said Belisle. âI think (the feeling on) the bench was, âWe still have a chance. We still have time.â Then when we made it 6-5, I said, âHey boys, just get it to the net,â and sure enough, there it was.â
While the ending was a fantastic finish, the game for most of the night was far from brilliant for both teams, especially defensively.
âWe gave a very good performance in the third period,â added Belisle, âbut I think both teams will go back and say (that in) the first two periods, there were a lot of giveaways that theyâd like to have back. You saw two quality teams that I think could have played a little better defense.â
And speaking of defense, Belisle also had a hard time remembering the last time a Mount team surrendered 10 goals in a two-game weekend against its Division I competition.
MSC had yielded just three goals in its first five games. But on Friday night, the Mounties managed to score a 6-4 triumph over Cranston West that saw the Falcons make the most out of their 25 shots. And in their tie with Moses Brown, the Quakers scored on a quarter of their 24 shots.
This was disappointing and shocking, especially considering how superb the Mounties played defensively to win their Holiday Face-Off Tournament last week at Adelard Arena, a tourney that annually attracts some of the top high school teams in the Northeast.
âWe played very, very sloppy this week,â confessed Belisle. âOur goaltender back on his heels, our defense questioning when to step up and when not to step up. Weâre going to work on a lot of things this week, I can tell you that much.
âWe came off such a great defensive tournament against strong competition, and just as strong as what we saw this weekend, but we were just sloppy.
âIt just wasnât there this week. We played in spurts. Against Cranston West, we took 59 shots, but it just wasnât clicking. Hopefully, this game will give us a good boost to get us back on track again."
The Mounties will surely need a strong week of practice, because waiting in the wings for them is Bishop Hendricken, which is 5-1-1 and on the heels of the Mounties and the Quakers in the standings. The Mounties will entertain the Hawks on Friday at 9 p.m. at Adelard.
The Hawksâ loss came back on Dec. 18 on their home Thayer ice when the Mounties turned in one of their finest performances of the season and came away with a 4-2 triumph, and Belisle expects Hendricken to be very hungry for a âWâ in the rematch.
âWe have to play three periods again if weâre going to have a chance to beat Hendricken,â added Belisle. âWe beat them up here and played a very good game, so theyâre looking for revenge.â