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WOONSOCKET --- Mount St. Charles has earned the right to defend its own Holiday Face-Off tournament title, but in order to get back to the finals, MSC had to overcome the superb play of a scorching-hot goaltender.
St. Dominic Academy of Auburn, Maine received a brilliant 56-save effort by Grant Carrier, but Mount was able to get key goals from two of its freshmen and skate off with a 3-0 victory on Wednesday night in the semifinals of their 16th annual tournament at Adelard Arena.
Keith Phaneufâ€™s goal in the opening stages of the game and Pat Holmesâ€™ score with 5:27 left in the contest, parlayed with a stingy defense that limited SDA to just 15 shots, helped the hosts earn a spot in tonightâ€™s 6 p.m. championship back at Adelard.
Mount will battle La Salle College High of Wyndmoor, Penn., which reached the finals by winning arguably the game of the tourney, a thrilling 5-4 triumph over Bishop Hendricken that was decided by a close shootout.
Phaneuf needed just 1:13 to get Mount on the scoreboard. Brian Belisle won a faceoff in the Saintsâ€™ end of the ice and fed a soft pass to Phaneuf, who one-timed a blast over the right shoulder of Carrier.
Phaneufâ€™s goal came on Mountâ€™s fifth shot of the game and during a dominant first period that saw the Mounties outshoot SDA, 27-3, but little did the hosts know that Carrier would turn away their next 50 shots before allowing MSCâ€™s 56th shot of the night to slip past him.
Not only did Carrier make some outstanding saves during that stretch, but his defensemen also did their best to ward off the Mountiesâ€™ attack and bat away several rebounds in front of Carrier.
But Holmes finally gave the Mounties the breathing room they sorely wanted 9Â˝ minutes into the final period when he flipped in the rebound of a shot by Tom Crudele, one of the few rebounds the hosts were able to get a stick on.
Ryan Berard, who midway through the third period, fanned on a breakaway, made up for his blunder and added MSCâ€™s final goal with 18.9 seconds on the clock by scoring an empty-netter off a pass from James Casilli.
This game didnâ€™t start until 40 minutes after its scheduled start because the La Salle-Hendricken battle went into its shootout after three periods of regulation and a pair of 7Â˝-minute overtimes were unable to determine a winner.
The Explorers were 2-1 winners in the shootout, which went five rounds. The winners also outshot the Hawks in regulation and the two overtimes, 51-43.
St. Dominic Academy 0 - 0 - 0 -- 0
Mount St. Charles 1 - 0 - 2 -- 3
First period: MSC -- Keith Phaneuf (Brian Belisle), 1:13.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: MSC -- Pat Holmes (Tom Crudele), 9:33; MSC -- Ryan Berard (James Casilli), empty net, 14:42.
Shots on goal: St. Dominic Academy 59, Mount St. Charles 15. Goalie saves: SDA -- Grant Carrier (56 saves), MSC -- Bailey Lessard (15 saves).