WOONSOCKET --- The defense that played in spurts and gave up 10 goals during a sloppy two-game stretch last weekend took a huge turn for the better on Friday night in Mount St. Charles’ showdown with Bishop Hendricken.
Derek Deschene’s goal off a pass from Shamus Maloney with 4:50 to go in the second period snapped a 1-1 tie, and goaltender Dan Foster turned in an outstanding 32-save performance to help the Mounties grab a 3-1 victory in this marquee matchup at Adelard Arena.
The victory raises the Mounties’ record to 7-0-1 and keeps them tied for first place in the Division I standings with Moses Brown (7-1-1), which also got its 14th and 15th points of the season on Friday night with a 4-0 victory over North Kingstown.
More importantly, the win gives the Mounties a regular-season sweep of the Hawks. Back on Dec. 18, MSC turned in one of its best efforts of the season in a 4-2 victory over the Hawks on their Thayer Arena ice.
“You only play your top division foes twice, unlike other seasons when you play them three or four times,” added MSC coach Dave Belisle. “When you sweep like this, it’s exciting, because they don’t have another chance at you until you get to the playoffs, so obviously, this was a big win for us.”
And it was a huge performance defensively by the Mounties, who benefited from a strong week of practice, Foster’s solid effort, and an excellent job by the Mounties clearing out their share of rebounds in front of Foster.
“There was just one stretch where I thought our defense didn’t play well and that was toward the end of the second period when we gave two 2-on-1s and one of them hit the crossbar,” said Belisle. “But other than that, I thought we played really well as far as team defense goes.”
The Hawks, who slipped to 5-2-1 and remained in fourth place behind third-place La Salle, drew first blood 4:28 into the game on a goal by co-captain Jeff Giusti, who took a pass from Andrew Fera and slipped a shot under the left pad of Foster and just inside the post.
But Alex Erban tied the score for the Mounties 6:28 into the middle period with his 10th goal of the year. That score came on one of the softest shots of the night -- a weak backhand on a rebound in the slot that trickled between two players and around the left pad of Hawks goalie William Palmer.
After Deschene gave the Mounties the lead in the period’s waning minutes, Mike Magerman made it a 3-1 affair 3:52 into the third period by stuffing in a long pass by Zach Samborsky that he slid just inside the blue line and next to the Hawks’ bench.
While Foster and the Mounties played well defensively, so did Palmer, who ended up stopping 33 shots and benefiting from three shots in the game by the Mounties (two by Trevor Plante) that hit the post.
The Mounties have another key battle on their hands next Friday night back at Adelard when they host the Rams, who entered the weekend with a 5-1-2 mark. Game time is 9 p.m.
Bishop Hendricken 1 - 0 - 0 -- 1
Mount St. Charles 0 - 2 - 1 -- 3
First period: BH -- Jeffrey Giusti (Andrew Fera, Liam Watkinson), 4:28. Penalties: BH, 1-2, MSC, 2-4.
Second period: MSC -- Alex Erban (Derek Deschene), 6:28; MSC -- Derek Deschene (Shamus Maloney), 10:10. Penalties: None.
Third period: MSC -- Mike Magerman (Zachary Samborsky), 3:52. Penalties: BH, 2-4, MSC, 3-6.
Shots on goal: Bishop Hendricken 9-14-10--33, Mount St. Charles 10-14-12--36. Goalie saves: BH -- William Palmer (33 saves); MSC -- Dan Foster (32 saves).