Waltham, MA: Neutral’s Zone new #1 seed wasted no time proving they belong with a dominant performance over #9 Hingham, 3-0 at beautiful Bentley Arena today. For the fifth year, the Harbormen and Spy Ponders have met to honor and celebrate the life of former Arlington student and hockey player Catherine Malatesta. Malatesta lost her battle with sarcoma in August of 2015. With the game-winning goal in today’s game, Catherine’s brother Reid Malatesta took home the player of the game honor for Arlington.
The top ten matchup was a tug o’ war during the opening period with little space for either team to create any sustained offense. Both teams were ready to throw the body and brought a lot of snarl, but neither could get good looks or pressure on the cage. Arlington led 8-7 in the shots on goal category heading to the first intermission. The Spy Ponders brought a big push to start the middle frame and their best scoring chances to that point in the game. A bad pinch by the Hingham defense sprung senior Brendan Jones and sophomore Jake Murphy on an odd-man rush, but Harbormen netminder Jake Wilson slammed the door. Hingham returned the favor a minute later, but a strong stick from senior defenseman Ryan Davies spoiled a rebound opportunity keeping the game scoreless. Malatesta changed that shortly after when he cashed in on another 2-on-1 making it 1-0, which proved to be the game-winner. Arlington doubled the lead five minutes later after a pretty retrieval from Davies deep in his end as he shook off a forechecker and snapped a cross-ice pass to the opposite blueline finding Leo Piandes, who walked the defenseman before sliding it to John Hourican who made no mistake, making it 2-0 after two. The Spy Ponders outshot Hingham 12-4 during the second and 20-11 for the game.
Northeastern commit Anthony Messuri made himself known just 53 seconds into the third after collecting a pass from Hourican in the neutral zone and flashing his speed and skill. Messuri dragged the puck through his legs, walking around the defenseman and beating Wilson five-hole to extend the lead to three. Hingham failed to gain any traction after going down 3-0 thanks to the stingy team defense by Arlington. Wilson turned away seven more shots in the third in the hopes to give his team one last push, but it was too little too late. The Spy Ponders controlled from start to finish earning a 3-0 victory.
- F Reid Malatesta (goal), Arlington
- F John Hourican (goal, assist), Arlington
- G Jake Wilson (25 saves), Hingham
TTPA D Ryan Davies, Arlington
NZ Notes: For Arlington; Head coach John Messuri got a team effort from top-to-bottom in today’s win. The Messuri line got a lot of attention today, so players like Malatesta and Hourican had a chance to shine with more space each time they stepped on the ice. Malatesta, playing inspired as the game was honoring his sister Catherine, had an extra gear today through all three zones, especially putting pressure on the Hingham defense deep in their zone. Hourican was always around the puck, making smart decisions in transition and showing a nice touch around the net. On the blueline, we were really impressed with Ryan Davies as he played great two-way hockey, showing some real jump and vision in transition, specifically on the second goal by Hourican.
For Hingham; goaltender Jake Wilson was the bright spot for the Harbormen. He made the saves he needed to when called upon and really had no chance on the three Arlington tallies. He stayed big and limited second chances. Wilson definitely deserved recognition as top player of the game for his squad. One other player who showed some jump and confidence, especially for a freshmen was Aidan Brazel. Long and still growing into his frame, Brazel used his long reach and sneaky stride to create speed through the neutral zone and record a few shots on net. Worth keeping an eye on in the future.