PROVIDENCE --- Drama? On this night, it only lasted a period.
The Mounties erased a 1-0 deficit by rattling off three goals during a span of 2:13 near the end of the first period and start of the second, and with the way their defense excelled from start to finish, state championship No. 42 was as good as gold.
Senior co-captains Zach Samborsky and Trevor Plante each scored a pair of goals and the Mounties limited Bishop Hendricken to a season-low 13 shots on net in a marvelous 7-2 win on Saturday at Providence College’s Schneider Arena that completed a sweep of their best-of-three series and fetched the team its four straight Division I title.
“I can’t describe the feeling,” said Samborsky, who scored the game-winning goal with 1:51 to go in Friday’s thrilling 5-4 victory and was named the series MVP. “This is great. It’s amazing and I’m just glad I was a part of this whole thing.”
While the triumph caps a tremendous 22-1-1 record against Division I squads (and 28-1-2 overall mark), it also gave head coach Bill Belisle, the winningest high school hockey coach in the country, the 30th state title of his magnificent career.
“It‘s unbelievable,” added Belisle. “The kids did it. We were behind, but we didn’t quit. We got the lead and we kept adding on (to it). It’s Mount pride and it all goes back 36 years ago. It’s all part of it and it’s all part of history.”
“Playing for him is unlike any coach I’ve ever played for,” Samborsky added. “Coach gets us pumped up and I think that’s why we do as well as we do. I know a bunch of kids with a decent amount of skill come here to play hockey, but Coach Belisle really shapes us into men and hockey players.”
Samborsky was one of 12 seniors who celebrated a fourth state championship and helped run the team’s superb postseason win streak to 18 games -- a feat that was not lost upon MSC coach Dave Belisle.
“It’s a special group of kids,” he added. “We have a tremendous senior class and two brilliant co-captains. I’m glad that we won, especially for them, but I’m going to be sorry to see them go because they were a really good class.”
The Mounties, who outshot the Hawks (18-5-1) by a 33-13 margin, used the same recipe for success they displayed in the final two periods of Friday’s series-opening 5-4 win, slow down the speedy Hawks by playing a physical brand of hockey.
“Our defense played outstanding and our forwards did a great job of coming back and helping out,” added Dave Belisle. “We didn’t do that well the night before and we gave up a lot of odd-man rushes, but I was pleased with the way we played tonight.”
The strategy clearly worked in the first period, when the Mounties limited the Hawks to just four shots on net, but it was the Hawks that drew first blood by making good on their second shot 1:42 into the contest.
Co-captain Jeff Giusti scored the goal by getting his stick on the rebound of a shot by Josh Wilkinson that he fired from the middle of the right faceoff circle and squeezed past MSC goalie Dan Foster.
But with 28 seconds left in the period, it was the Mounties that cashed in on a rebound in front of the Hawks’ net, as Alex Erban squeezed in the rebound of a shot by Brian Campbell between the stick of goaltender William Palmer and the left post.
“I know they got their goal early, but we were relentless today,” offered Dave Belisle. “We drove the net all night long and that was our key. We wanted to go to the net, get those rebounds, and get those goals.”
Thirteen seconds later, while the winners and their fans were still celebrating Erban’s goal, Samborsky gave MSC the lead by firing a pass from Plante past Palmer.
The Mounties then made it a 3-1 game by capitalizing on their first shot of the second period. It was a hard slap shot from the blue line at 1:45 by freshman Dom Rovero, who took a pass from Samborsky and blasted it through a maze of players and over Palmer’s glove.
When Samborsky made it a 4-1 game midway through the period by whistling a low shot off a faceoff by Plante past Palmer, the Mounties never had to look back.
The Hawks made things a little interesting in the third period, when with 3:28 elapsed, Shane Kavanaugh scored off a pass from Mike Fairbanks, but MSC got that goal back less than two minutes later on an unassisted goal by Plante.
Ben Heroux later scored the Mounties’ sixth goal by flipping in a pass from Mike Rocchio with 2:22 to play, and Plante put the finishing touches on the victory by netting another unassisted goal with 1:03 on the clock.
Before the start of the third period, the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society paid tribute to three high school boys’ players bases on criteria such as their contributions to high school hockey, academics, and demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and leadership/giving back to the community.
Foster won the Gill Mayer Award, which is presented to a goalie, La Salle’s Tim Ryan won the Chuck Scherza Award for forwards, and Barrington High’s Shane Studley captured the Ferny Flaman Award for defensemen.
Mount St. Charles 2 - 2 - 3 -- 7
Bishop Hendricken 1 - 0 - 1 -- 2
First period: BH -- Jeff Giusti (Joshua Watkinson), 1:42; MSC -- Alex Erban (Brian Campbell), 14:32; MSC -- Zachary Samborsky (Trevor Plante), 14:45. Penalty: MSC, 1-2; BH, 1-2.
Second period: MSC -- Dom Rovero (Zach Samborsky, Mike Magerman), 1:45; MSC -- Zach Samborsky (Trevor Plante), 8:00. Penalties: MSC, 2-4.
Third period: BH -- Shane Cavanaugh (Mike Fairbanks, Ed Markowski), 3:28, MSC -- Trevor Plante (unassisted), 5:16; MSC -- Ben Heroux (Mike Rocchio), 12:38; MSC -- Trevor Plante (unassisted), 13:57. Penalties: MSC, 1-2; BH, 1-2.
Shots on goal: Mount St. Charles 33, Bishop Hendricken 13. Goalie saves: MSC -- Dan Foster (26 saves); BH -- William Palmer (11 saves).