WOONSOCKET – Dan Foster proved he was up to the task Wednesday, as the Mount St. Charles goaltender fit the definition of a brick wall exactly.
Foster came up with 10 of his 33 saves during a tightly contested third period, a cool-under-pressure performance that paid dividends in MSC’s 3-1 win over La Salle College of Wyndmoor, Pa. in the finals of the Holiday Face-Off at Adelard Arena. Foster was one of four Mountie skaters named to the all-tournament team, but ask coach Dave Belisle and he’ll tell you his netminder deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Trevor Plante, who was named MVP.
“It was a tossup between (Foster) and Trevor, but (the MSC goalie) kept us in there. La Salle came strong and was a powerful team, and we needed that effort from him to get this victory,” said Belisle. “He’s played well for us this year but it hasn’t shown because the scores have been lopsided. For two straight games in this tournament, I thought he was the difference in the game.”
The final period of the three-day, eight-team tournament featured two tired teams at the opposite end of the scoring sheet. The Mounties were nursing a two-goal lead while the Explorers were looking for that extra boast of adrenaline in hope of prolonging the contest. Fortunately for the home club, Foster was on top of his game.
La Salle had three excellent scoring chances in the final six minutes but couldn’t jar the puck past Foster. A turnover deep in Mountie territory resulted in a brilliant chance for the Explorers’ Sean Orlando, but Foster reacted quickly enough to prevent trouble. A short time later La Salle made a 2-on-1 charge that was thwarted by the hero of the evening.
“Both teams were tired in the third period and we just battled,” said Belisle. ‘Our goaltender was excellent and we didn’t give up the second shot. You’ve got to make the first save and Dan did that. ”
La Salle’s last gasp came with 1:32 remaining, when goalie Andrew King was pulled. The Explorers managed just one shot as the Mounties summoned whatever energy they had left in the tank to finish the job.
Mount rolled into the finals after knocking off St. Dominic of Auburn, Maine in the quarterfinals and Cathedral High of Springfield, Mass. in the semis. La Salle advanced to the championship game after upending Connecticut’s Fairfield Prep and Bishop Hendricken, having outscored both teams by a 10-2 margin.
Both teams came out flying at the game’s onset before Plante got MSC on the board first, firing a wrist shot at 4:12. The Mounties continued to apply pressure on the Explorers, which helped set up the team’s second goal when Derek Deschene waited for his teammates to pinch in and surround King. Deschene then delivered a brilliant drop pass to junior defenseman Shamus Maloney, who made the most of his chance to give MSC a 2-0 lead after one period.
The Explorers cut the deficit in half with barely three minutes gone by in the second, when on the power play Matt Williams pounced on a rebound after teammate C.J. Dunton fired a shot from the point. Foster was able to get a pad on the first shot but was out of position as Williams fired at an open net.
Mount pushed its advantage back to two at 9:31 of the second session on Brian Campbell’s power-play goal. In a touching scene senior co-captain Zach Samborsky presented veteran head coach Bill Belisle the team trophy. Samborsky joined Campbell, Foster and Maloney as all-tourney selections.
“It was a great stretch for us and we needed to see where we stood amongst the best,” said Dave Belisle. “The kids feel good about themselves and especially our goaltender. He belongs and he’s a big part of us.”
La Salle (Pa.) College High School 0-1-0 – 1
Mount St. Charles 2-1-0 – 3
First Period: MSC – Trevor Plante (Zach Samborsky), 10:48; MSC – Shamus Maloney (Derek Deschene, Alex Erban), 14:35.
Second Period: L – Matt Williams (C.J. Dunton), 3:02; MSC – Brian Campbell (Dominic Rovero, Brian Belisle), 9:31.
Third Period: No scoring.
Shots on Goal: L 16-9-9 – 34; MSC 13-11-10 – 34.
Goalie Saves: Andrew King (L) 31; Dan Foster (MSC) 33.