PROVIDENCE --- Another two-goal deficit transformed into another thrilling comeback victory for Mount St. Charles Academy on Friday night.
Zach Samborskyâ€™s goal off a rebound of a shot by Mike Magerman with 1:51 left in the game lifted the Mounties to a wild 5-4 win over Bishop Hendricken in the opener of their Division I championship series at Providence Collegeâ€™s Schneider Arena.
Bobby Buerher, the Hawksâ€™ leading scorer this season, netted a pair of goals to give his team a 4-2 lead 5:23 into the middle period. But the Mounties, as they did in both games of their semifinal-round sweep of La Salle Academy, dug deep and found a way to pull out a victory.
â€śThis hasnâ€™t been good for coach (Bill) Belisle and myself, I can tell you that right now,â€ť MSC coach Dave Belisle offered with a smile. â€śIt seems like the kids need to get behind to get their game in gear. Itâ€™s not a good formula for success, but I guess it seems to be for this group.â€ť
The Mounties can sew up the best-of-three series, their fourth straight state title, and their 42nd in the programâ€™s magnificent history tonight at 7:30 p.m., but if the Hawks even the series, the two teams will battle for all the marbles on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
â€śI just hope we can come out tomorrow and establish ourselves early,â€ť added Belisle. â€śThat would be nice to see.â€ť
The Mounties outshot the Hawks, 36-27, but the high-flying Hawks reeled off 15 of their shots in the first period and gave MSC problems with their overall team speed.
â€śTheir speed hurt us at the beginning of this game,â€ť admitted Belisle, â€śbut we adjusted and we started getting physical. You have to slow them down and you have to bump them, and we didnâ€™t do that. We just played back-and-forth ping pong with them and thatâ€™s not Mount hockey.â€ť
The Mounties made their presence felt right away and notched their first goal 2:58 into play. Magerman did the honors by pouncing on the rebound of a soft shot by Samborsky and flicking it past goalie William Palmer.
But after Hendricken tied the contest less than four minutes later on a goal by Mike Fairbanks that was set up by Justin Finan, Buehrer gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead with 55.6 seconds to play in the period by rifling a slap shot over the right shoulder of netminder Dan Foster.
And then the Hawks went up by a pair. Just 90 seconds into the next period, Paul Filippone made good on the Hawksâ€™ first shot of the period by taking a pass from Dave Mitchell and unleashing a laser from the slot that Foster had no chance at stopping.
The Mounties responded two minutes later and made it a 3-2 affair by getting an unassisted goal from an unlikely source, defenseman Steve Donahue, who netted only his third goal of the year with a long shot in traffic.
Again, the Hawks answered back on Buehrerâ€™s second goal, and again, MSC sliced its deficit to one, this time getting a goal from Alex Erban on a 5-on-3 power play. He rifled a shot from the left faceoff circle that sailed over Palmerâ€™s right shoulder, hit the bottom of the crossbar, and dropped into the net.
Derek Deschene eventually knotted the contest 3:04 into the third period by redirecting a slap shot from Shamus Maloney on the doorstep of the Hawksâ€™ net, and then Samborsky came through with his late heroics.
â€śWhen we were in that dressing room and we were down, they felt they were going to come back,â€ť added Belisle. â€śThey were frustrated, but it was a good frustration -- frustration that they knew they could do better.
â€śThey knew they were going to tie it up, and once they tied it up, they knew they were going to go ahead.â€ť
The Hawks had a couple of golden opportunities to knot the score in the final 1:18, when they had a 6-on-4 advantage, thanks to an interference penalty on the Mounties and the decision to pull Palmer in favor of a sixth attacker.
But Foster came up big twice to preserve the victory. With 46.3 seconds on the clock, he smothered a loose puck in heavy traffic during a scramble for it, and four seconds later, he came through with another big save.
Bishop Hendricken 2 - 2 - 0 -- 4
Mount St. Charles 1 - 2 - 2 -- 5
First period: MSC -- Mike Magerman (Zach Sambrosky, Dom Rovero), 2:58; BH -- Mike Fairbanks (Justin Finan, Shane Kavanaugh), 6:41; BH -- Bobby Buehrer (Dan Nolte), 14:05. Penalties: BH, 1-2; MSC, 1-2.
Second period: BH -- Paul Filippone (Dave Mitchell, Austin Navarro), 1:30; MSC -- Steve Donahue (unassisted), 3:48; BH -- Bobby Buehrer (Dan Nolte), 5:23; MSC -- Alex Erban (Zach Samborsky, Mike Magerman), power play, 9:23. Penalties: BH, 2-4.
Third period: MSC -- Derek Deschene (Shamus Maloney), 3:04; MSC -- Zach Samborsky (Mike Magerman, Trevor Plante), 13:09. Penalties: BH, 1-2.
Shots on goal: Bishop Hendricken 15-6-7--27, Mount St. Charles 11-11-14--36. Goalie saves: BH -- William Palmer (31 saves); MSC -- Dan Foster (23 saves).