BOSTON --- After watching his father and younger brother make news on the baseball diamond last summer with the New England champion Cumberland American Little League all-star team, Brian Belisle got an opportunity to steal the show on one of baseball’s most historic ballfields on Monday night.
But Belisle did so with a hockey stick, not a bat and glove, with his Mount St. Charles Academy teammates at Fenway Park in their “Frozen Fenway 2012” duel against Cathedral High of Springfield, Mass., and the junior center came through with the best game of his young high school career.
Belisle notched his first varsity hat trick, with all three of his goals coming off assists from senior co-captain Brian Campbell, to help the Mounties claim a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Panthers and wrap up their non-league winter break schedule with a 4-0 mark.
“This was a great experience,” added Belisle, who along with his teammates and the Cathedral players, spent 10-15 minutes on the ice after the contest to take pictures and savor their last moments of playing at the home of the Boston Red Sox. “I may never get an experience like this again, especially scoring three goals and our team coming out on top. It’s the experience of a lifetime.”
While Belisle, his teammates, and the several fans who made the 45-minute trip to Boston were thrilled with the win, his father and coach, Dave Belisle, was happy to see his son wear the hero’s laurels.
“We didn’t play that particularly well in the first two periods -- we did well in the third -- but I thought he played a good game,” the MSC coach (who was also CALL’s head coach) noted of his son. “The name of the game is putting the puck in the net and he scored some nice goals tonight, so I’m very proud of him.”
It wasn’t the greatest performance of the year turned in by the Mounties, who got off to a slow start and only outshot the Panthers, 15-12, but it was good enough to put away a quality team on their biggest stage of the season.
“I think we got caught up in the experience a little too much in the first period or so, but that’s only normal,” added the MSC coach. “We started to get back into our game, but it’s tough. You’re here, you want to enjoy the moment, you want to enjoy the atmosphere. But it’s a dream come true to be here, we were on the right end of the score, and I’m very happy for the boys.”
The opening period didn’t offer much excitement -- just eight shots total (four by each team) -- but Mount ended it with a bang when Belisle scored a pair of goals on his team’s third and fourth shots in the period’s final 1:41.
Campbell set up both goals, the first one at 13:19 (and seconds after Mount killed off a power play) when he swiped the puck from a defenseman and fed Belisle in front of the Panthers’ net, and the next with :34.2 on the clock when Belisle scored on a long shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
But the Panthers managed to tie the score midway through the second period, and like the Mounties, they did so on back to back shots.
The Panthers sliced their deficit in half with 9:29 to go when Alex Vincellette flipped a shot past Mount goalie Brian Larence seconds after Jack Williams won a faceoff in the Mounties’ end, and two minutes later, Jordan Kozub took a pass from Tom Quinlan and produced the equalizer.
But the Mounties, who only outshot the Panthers by a 7-5 count in the period, reclaimed their goal with 1:01 to go in the period when Callan Morriseau beat Cathedral netminder John Liquori on a partial breakway.
“We have a bunch of hard-working kids and I knew they wouldn’t quit,” said Cathedral coach Brian Foley. “but then (Mount) scored right at the end of the period, which was a tough goal. I thought we had some momentum, and if we came out tied 2-2, we would have been set up nice for the third period.”
But instead, it was Mounties and Belisle who struck again, and with 7:18 on the clock, the junior center gave the Mounties an insurance goal and plenty of momentum by taking a nice pass from Campbell and slipping a backhand past Liquori.
The proceeds from this game went toward the Cathedral Rebuilding Fund and the Mount Arena Renovation Fund, but the bulk of the proceeds went toward the Springfield school, which is trying to rebuild its facility after last June 1’s tornado severely damaged it.
“That’s the good thing about this game,“ admitted the MSC coach. “We’re all going to leave here happy. It helps both (our funds), but more importantly theirs before ours because they need their school. Hopefully, this will start generating some funds for the people of Cathedral so they can rebuild.”
Notes: Only the grandstand in Sections 27-32 and the loge boxes below them were used to seat fans. … Both Brian Belisle and Campbell admitted to the media after the game that they were New York Yankees fans, but still relished the experience of playing at Fenway. … Because of the glare from the Fenway lights, most of the players from both teams and one of the officials wore eye black under their eyes. … The Panthers used the visitors’ clubhouse as their locker room, while the Mounties used the batting tunnel near the visitors‘ clubhouse. … Cathedral had eight assistant coaches joining head coach Brian Foley behind its bench. … The Mounties return to their Division I schedule on Friday with a 9 p.m. game at Adelard Arena against Bishop Hendricken. MSC is 2-2 in the division, and the Hawks are the division’s lone unbeaten team at 5-0-1.
Mount St. Charles 2 - 1 - 1 -- 4
Cathedral (Springfield) 0 - 2 - 0 -- 2
First period: MSC -- Brian Belisle (Brian Campbell), 13:19; MSC -- Brian Belisle (Brian Campbell, Brandon Borges), 14:26.
Second period: C -- Alex Vincellette (Jack Williams), 5:31; C -- Jordan Kozub (Tom Quinlan, Artie Potter), 7:32; MSC -- Callan Morriseau (Ryan Berard), 13:59.
Third period: MSC -- Brian Belisle (Brian Campbell, Brandon Borges), 7:42.
Shots on goal: Mount St. Charles 15, Cathedral (Springfield) 12. Goalie saves: MSC -- Brian Larence (7 saves-9 shots), Bailey Lessard (third period, 3 saves-3 shots); C -- John Liquori (11 saves).