Canton, MA – Neutral Zone was in attendance at the Canton Ice House in Canton, Massachusetts to watch the Catholic Conference semifinal between the visiting Lancers of Malden Catholic and the Hawks of Xaverian. The winner of the game would advance to the Catholic Conference championship versus Catholic Memorial, who had defeated St. John’s Prep earlier in the day.
The Hawks started fast and scored twenty seconds into the opening period as they created a turnover in the offensive zone and Joe DiMartino (Dedham, MA) and Braden O’Hara (Duxbury, MA) walked in on a 2-0. O’Hara fed the puck to DiMartino who one-touched it into the back of the net. The lead would be short lived as Malden Catholic would tie the game a few minutes later. After some zone pressure, the puck was sent back to the point and Owen Keefe (Saugus, MA) sent a puck to the net that found its way through traffic and past the goalie. Before the end of the half, Xaverian would strike two more times and take a 3-1 lead into the room. O’Hara walked out of the corner and shot a slick backhander from in tight over the goalies glove. A few minutes later, Max Lockwood (Bridgewater, MA) would walk around the entirety of the zone before finding DiMartino in the high slot. He ripped the puck home for his second of the night.
The Hawks wouldn’t sit back in the second half and put constant pressure on the MC goalie. They were in control throughout and earned a hard fought 3-1 victory. They advance to the finals against CM at the Canton Ice House at 3pm on Saturday.
- F Joe DiMartino, Xaverian
- F Braden O’Hara, Xaverian
- D Owen Keefe, MC
Two strong teams overall. Xaverian was the more physical team and held zone pressure for long stretches. Malden Catholic was able to break free and create some chances off the rush. When Malden did create some offense, Kevin McGrath (Milton, MA) was up to the challenge.
For the visitors, David Bazile (Wilmington, MA) was solid in flashes. He is an athletic winger that has a strong first step. He uses his body well and protects the puck. He made a few nice plays, none better than when he picked up the puck in his zone and within a few strides gained separation to create an odd man rush that lead to a solid scoring chance. On the back end, Sammy Ohannesian (Lynn, MA) was solid all night. Smaller defender that moves the puck well and sees the ice through seams. He assisted on the only goal and moved the puck quickly each time it go to him. He defended well in transition and was good on puck retrievals. Owen Keefe was also solid. He scored the goal and is getting more and more comfortable at this level. He quarterbacks the power play and uses his patience and vision to make plays. He has a long fluid stride and active stick which allows him to close quickly on forwards. He is skilled and has good touch on his passes.
For the Hawks, several players had strong nights. The team is big and fast and was relentless on the forecheck. Braden O’Hara was creating offense each time out. He scored on a slick backhand shot and rang the bar on another. He has patience and a strong set of hands to make plays in tight. He works well off the cycle and gets the puck to the net. He battles and isn’t afraid to play physical. Joe DiMartino worked well all night with O’Hara. Both players were all over the puck. DiMartino finds soft areas in the offensive zone and the puck finds him. He has a motor and takes good angles pressuring the puck. He has a quick release on his shots and he shoots to corners. On the back end, Andrew Barton (Weymouth, MA) was consistently noticeable. He has some wiggle carrying the puck and can make defenders miss in space. He snaps passes to his wingers on the breakout and does a solid job keeping forwards to the perimeter of the rink. He was strong and tough in front of his net and didn’t allow many second chances on rebounds.