WOONSOCKET -- After a year away from its own tourney championship game, Mount St. Charles Academy is back in the Holiday Face-Off finals.
The Mounties earned their spot in tonight’s 8 p.m. title game by knocking off a physical Cathedral High team out of Springfield, Mass. Senior co-captain Zach Samborsky netted a pair of third-period goals to help the Mounties skate to a 6-2 triumph in their semifinal-round affair at Adelard Arena.
The Mounties will battle a familiar foe in tonight’s game in tournament favorite La Salle College High of Wyndmoore, Penn., which rolled to a 5-2 victory over Fairfield Prep of Fairfield, Conn. in the other semifinal.
MSC and La Salle battled in the tourney finals two seasons ago on New Year’s Eve, and the Mounties were able to come away with a tight 2-1 win.
“That’s going to be a tough game,” MSC coach Dave Belisle said after Tuesday’s game. “We played a physical team tonight and that should get us ready for tomorrow because La Salle is not only physical, but they’re much more skilled.
“But we’re ecstatic about being back (in the finals) again. We played two tough games and we’re ready for a third one.”
The Mounties, who were stunned in the first round of last year’s tournament by Bishop Guertin High of Nashua, N.H., followed up a strong performance in Monday night’s 5-1 win over St. Dominic Academy of Auburn, Maine with an equally-impressive showing against the Panthers.
The Mounties took advantage of a turnover by the Panthers behind their net and turned it into their first goal 4:52 into play. A Cathedral defenseman lost control of the puck, and when Brian Campbell picked up the loose puck, he fed it to Derek Deschene, who flipped it past goalie Zac Rondeau.
MSC then made it a 3-0 game by producing their next two goals 49 seconds apart from each other in the opening minutes of the second period.
Freshman Dom Rivero netted the first goal at 2:28 with a long slap slot from the point that sailed through traffic and zipped between Rondeau’s right pad and the post, and Shamus Maloney scored the next one on the power play by also making good on a shot in traffic.
The hosts got back on the board 2:42 into the final period when Samborsky took a nice centering pass from behind the net by Trevor Plante and quickly whistled it past Cathedral goalie Evan Moorhouse.
At 6:05, Brian Campbell scored his third goal of the tourney by redirecting a pass in the slot from Shamus Maloney. The puck skipped past a defenseman and the left pad and glove of Moorhouse and went into the back of the net.
Cathedral will play Fairfield Prep in the third-place game at 6 p.m., avoided the shutout less than two minutes later on a shorthanded goal by Tom Quinlan. Mickey Foley netted the visitors’ other goal with 5:01 on the clock, but Samborsky added his second goal of the game 34 seconds later by scoring off a faceoff by Mike Magerman.
“I thought our first unit played great, Samborsky, Magerman, and Plante,” added Belisle. “They played a tremendous game and you need that from your senior leaders.”
In the earlier consolation games, Robert Buehrer scored a pair of goals and Justin Finan added a goal and an assist to help Bishop Hendricken High post a 5-2 victory over Bishop Guertin.
The Hawks, who rolled out to a 4-0 lead after two periods of play, also received a strong game from their netminder, William Palmer, who stopped 31 shots.
The Hawks will take on St. Joseph Collegiate Institute of Buffalo, N.Y. in today’s 4 p.m. consolation finale. St. Joseph’s notched a 5-0 win over St. Dominic Academy in their consolation game, and St. Dominic will contest Bishop Guertin in another consolation finale at 2 p.m.
Cathedral 0 - 0 - 2 -- 2
Mount St. Charles 1 - 2 - 3 -- 6
First period: MSC -- Derek Deschene (Brian Campbell, Alex Erban), 4:52. Penalties: C, 4-8; MSC, 2-4.
Second period: MSC -- Dom Rivero (Ryan Berard, Brandon Borges), 2:28; MSC -- Shamus Maloney (Zachary Samborsky, Trevor Plante), power play, 3:17. Penalties: C, 2-4; MSC, 1-2.
Third period: MSC -- Zachary Samborsky (Trevor Plante), 2:42; MSC -- Brian Campbell (Ryan Blais, Shamus Maloney), 6:05; C -- Tom Quinlan (Dante Christofori), shorthanded, 7:58; C -- Mickey Foley (Frank Cinella, Jack Williams), 9:59; MSC -- Zachary Samborsky (Mike Magerman), 10:33. Penalties: C, 5-10.
Shots on goal: Cathedral 5-9-22, Mount St. Charles 12-12-16-40. Goalie saves: C -- Zac Rondeau (12 saves-15 shots), Evan Moorhouse (3:17, second period, 22-25 shots; MSC -- Dan Foster (20 saves).
Bishop Guertin 0 – 0 – 2 – 2
Bishop Hendricken 1 – 3 – 1 – 5
First period: BH – Justin Finan (Ryan Barnes), 8:25. Penalties: BG, 2-4.
Second period: BH – Robert Buehrer (Jeff Giusti, Shane Kavanagh), power play, 1:09; BH – Josh Watkinson (Robert Buehrer), 9:32; BH – David Mitchell (Justin Finan, Mike Fairbanks), 14:20. Penalties: BG, 1-2; BH, 4-8.
Third period: BG – Ryan White (Brian DeFelice, Casey White), 2:28; BG – Brad Cunningham (Tom Newton), power play, 6:13; BH – Robert Buehrer (John McCarthy), power play, 9:43. Penalties: BG, 7-15; BH, 3-9.
Shots on goal: Bishop Guertin 32, Bishop Hendricken 35. Goalie saves: BG – Griffin Scanlon (30 saves); BH – William Palmer (31 saves).