WOONSOCKET — Mount St. Charles Academy didn’t have too many low moments in its run to the Division I state championship last season, but one of them came in the first round of last season’s Holiday Face-Off.
In that game, the Mounties turned in one of their worst showings of the season and dearly paid for it in the form of a 5-2 loss to Bishop Guertin High of Nashua, N.H.
It was the first time in the 14-year history of the tournament that the Mounties didn’t win their opener, and it was a game that came to light in the their locker room before the team took the ice for Monday’s tournament opener at Adelard Arena.
And instead of duplicating that performance, the Mounties turned in a dominant showing against tourney newcomer St. Dominic Academy of Auburn, Maine.
Brian Campbell set the tone by scoring a pair of goals in the opening 7:17 of play and the Mounties never looked back, outshooting the Saints by a 43-8 count and cruising to a 5-1 victory that vaulted them into tonight’s semifinal round.
“We warned them about what happened last year,” said MSC coach Dave Belisle. “It just takes the air out of you when you lose your first game knowing you’re in the consolation bracket. You still get to play two quality games, but it’s just not the same.
“But tonight, I thought we played very well. We played three full periods. We were very crisp with our passing, we had a lot of opportunities to score, and all three of our lines — our White, Red, and Blue lines — all contributed. I was very pleased.”
The Mounties’ reward for trouncing the Saints is tonight’s 8 p.m. semifinal-round duel against Cathedral High of Springfield, Mass., which earned its trip to the next round by netting a tight 2-1 triumph over St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute of Buffalo, N.Y. in the third game of Monday’s quadrupleheader.
“That’s going to be a very tough game,” added Belisle. “They play a physical style, but we’re really looking forward to playing them. The kids are excited to get this one out of the way and come back tomorrow.”
There was plenty of excitement that came out of the Mounties’ big win, including their spectacular play in the second period, which not only saw them outshoot their visitors by a 15-0 count, but also received goals from Mike Magerman and Trevor Plante that made it a 4-1 game.
“We were so excited coming in there,” said Belisle. “We played Mount style that period. I was very pleased with the tenacity. Trevor’s goal was a beautiful goal, and Magerman’s goal was very good. We really played well.”
Another highlight of the night was the Mounties’ new white retro jerseys they broke out, which resembled the jerseys the team donned in the late 1940s. They featured a red stripe around the jersey with white MSC letters across the front of it.
“We did that for Coach (Bill Belisle),” said Belisle. “It was a jersey that he wore back in the late ’40s. They’re going to be our home jerseys for the rest of the year.”
Sparked by their new look, the Mounties unleashed the first eight shots of the game, and one of them resulted in Campbell’s first goal, when 3:25 into play, he got his stick on the rebound of a shot by Derek Deschene near the stick of goalie Grant Carrier and slipped it around Carrier’s right pad.
Four minutes later, Campbell doubled MSC’s lead when he took a go-ahead feed from Brian Belisle, broke free on a breakaway from center ice, and was able to beat Carrier with ease.
The Saints got on the board at 10:28 when Alex Parker received a centering pass from Dakota Keene and one-timed it past MSC goalie Dan Foster, but the Mounties responded by ruling the second period.
Magerman scored seven minutes into the period off a nice centering pass from Shamus Maloney, and Plante found the back of the net with 1:55 to play in the period by scoring off a wrist shot from the right of the net.
Brian Belisle scored the Mounties’ final goal 7:06 into the last period off a centering pass behind the net by Mike Rocchio, and MSC probably would have had another goal or two in the closing minutes, but Alex Erban hit a crossbar with a slapshot with five minutes to play and Plante clanged a post with less than three minutes left.
The other Rhode Island entry in the tournament, Bishop Hendricken High, did not fare well, falling to La Salle College High of Wyndmoore, Penn., 5-0. La Salle scored twice in the first period and three times in the initial 6:20 of the third and outshot the Hawks, 28-20.
In the afternoon’s opening game, which began a half hour late because one of the teams arrived late to Woonsocket, Fairfield Prep of Fairfield, Conn. posted a 5-1 win over Bishop Guertin High. Multiple goals by David White and Evan Antisdale led the way for Fairfield Prep.
La Salle and Fairfield Prep will play their semifinal-round contest at 6 p.m., while in the consolation games, Bishop Guertin and Hendricken will battle at 2 p.m. and SDA and St. Joseph’s will face off at 4.