PROVIDENCE --- Another two-goal deficit transformed into another thrilling comeback victory for Mount St. Charles Academy on Friday night.
Zach Samborsky’s goal off a rebound of a shot by Mike Magerman with 1:51 left in the game lifted the Mounties to a wild 5-4 win over Bishop Hendricken in the opener of their Division I championship series at Providence College’s Schneider Arena.
Bobby Buerher, the Hawks’ leading scorer this season, netted a pair of goals to give his team a 4-2 lead 5:23 into the middle period. But the Mounties, as they did in both games of their semifinal-round sweep of La Salle Academy, dug deep and found a way to pull out a victory.
“This hasn’t been good for coach (Bill) Belisle and myself, I can tell you that right now,” MSC coach Dave Belisle offered with a smile. “It seems like the kids need to get behind to get their game in gear. It’s not a good formula for success, but I guess it seems to be for this group.”
The Mounties can sew up the best-of-three series, their fourth straight state title, and their 42nd in the program’s magnificent history tonight at 7:30 p.m., but if the Hawks even the series, the two teams will battle for all the marbles on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“I just hope we can come out tomorrow and establish ourselves early,” added Belisle. “That would be nice to see.”
The Mounties outshot the Hawks, 36-27, but the high-flying Hawks reeled off 15 of their shots in the first period and gave MSC problems with their overall team speed.
“Their speed hurt us at the beginning of this game,” admitted Belisle, “but we adjusted and we started getting physical. You have to slow them down and you have to bump them, and we didn’t do that. We just played back-and-forth ping pong with them and that’s not Mount hockey.”
The Mounties made their presence felt right away and notched their first goal 2:58 into play. Magerman did the honors by pouncing on the rebound of a soft shot by Samborsky and flicking it past goalie William Palmer.
But after Hendricken tied the contest less than four minutes later on a goal by Mike Fairbanks that was set up by Justin Finan, Buehrer gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead with 55.6 seconds to play in the period by rifling a slap shot over the right shoulder of netminder Dan Foster.
And then the Hawks went up by a pair. Just 90 seconds into the next period, Paul Filippone made good on the Hawks’ first shot of the period by taking a pass from Dave Mitchell and unleashing a laser from the slot that Foster had no chance at stopping.
The Mounties responded two minutes later and made it a 3-2 affair by getting an unassisted goal from an unlikely source, defenseman Steve Donahue, who netted only his third goal of the year with a long shot in traffic.
Again, the Hawks answered back on Buehrer’s second goal, and again, MSC sliced its deficit to one, this time getting a goal from Alex Erban on a 5-on-3 power play. He rifled a shot from the left faceoff circle that sailed over Palmer’s right shoulder, hit the bottom of the crossbar, and dropped into the net.
Derek Deschene eventually knotted the contest 3:04 into the third period by redirecting a slap shot from Shamus Maloney on the doorstep of the Hawks’ net, and then Samborsky came through with his late heroics.
“When we were in that dressing room and we were down, they felt they were going to come back,” added Belisle. “They were frustrated, but it was a good frustration -- frustration that they knew they could do better.
“They knew they were going to tie it up, and once they tied it up, they knew they were going to go ahead.”
The Hawks had a couple of golden opportunities to knot the score in the final 1:18, when they had a 6-on-4 advantage, thanks to an interference penalty on the Mounties and the decision to pull Palmer in favor of a sixth attacker.
But Foster came up big twice to preserve the victory. With 46.3 seconds on the clock, he smothered a loose puck in heavy traffic during a scramble for it, and four seconds later, he came through with another big save.
Bishop Hendricken 2 - 2 - 0 -- 4
Mount St. Charles 1 - 2 - 2 -- 5
First period: MSC -- Mike Magerman (Zach Sambrosky, Dom Rovero), 2:58; BH -- Mike Fairbanks (Justin Finan, Shane Kavanaugh), 6:41; BH -- Bobby Buehrer (Dan Nolte), 14:05. Penalties: BH, 1-2; MSC, 1-2.
Second period: BH -- Paul Filippone (Dave Mitchell, Austin Navarro), 1:30; MSC -- Steve Donahue (unassisted), 3:48; BH -- Bobby Buehrer (Dan Nolte), 5:23; MSC -- Alex Erban (Zach Samborsky, Mike Magerman), power play, 9:23. Penalties: BH, 2-4.
Third period: MSC -- Derek Deschene (Shamus Maloney), 3:04; MSC -- Zach Samborsky (Mike Magerman, Trevor Plante), 13:09. Penalties: BH, 1-2.
Shots on goal: Bishop Hendricken 15-6-7--27, Mount St. Charles 11-11-14--36. Goalie saves: BH -- William Palmer (31 saves); MSC -- Dan Foster (23 saves).