Boston, MA – MassNZ took a trip into the city to get a look at one of the premier matchups of the D1 State Tournament as the 2-seed Catholic Memorial Knights were hosting the 15-seed St. Mary’s Lynn Spartans. Both teams were among the top contenders this season and this was also a goaltending matchup we couldn’t pass up between junior Owen Watson and freshman Anthony Palmer, respectively.
In the first period, St. Mary’s Lynn came out flying with two strong shifts that led to CM chasing possession but after that, it was all CM. The Knights were thinking on their feet and made strong, accurate feeds up ice to spring their forwards. They created a number of odd-man chances off the rush, plus a handful of others around the net. The main reason why they were kept off the scoreboard was Palmer who made a handful of terrific saves. His lateral movement was excellent and his glove hand was quick. This game could have easily been 4-0 without his efforts. The Knights would have to settle for a 1-goal lead as a shot by junior defenseman Mike Corbett was deflected down low by sophomore Morgan Lenehan to put them up 1-0. In the final minute of the period, St Mary’s would create a Grade A scoring chance in front that went just past the post, allowing the CM fans to exhale. That would be our score after 1.
In the middle frame, the furious pace of the first period continued and once again, CM held the bulk of the possession. They were looking to spring their forwards quickly out of the D zone and use their size and strength down low to clean up rebounds. This period saw them ring a post and generate a number of additional Grade A scoring chances but Palmer was the story – making save and save to keep his team in this game. CM did double their lead through five minutes into the period as senior defenseman Austin Kelly saw a lane and fired a two-line pass right to the tape of senior forward Brendan MacNeil who buried on the breakaway with a wrister to make it 2-0 Knights. St. Mary’s Lynn would create a couple of quality shots off the rush, but CM largely maintained a tight defensive zone, leading us into the third and decisive period.
In the final frame, St. Mary’s Lynn came out flying and put more pressure on the CM puck carriers, causing a few turnovers that led to extended attacking zone time. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Watson was able to kick out each shot and the CM defense found ways to protect the house, forcing most of St. Mary’s Lynn’s shots to come from the perimeter. As the period wore on, Catholic Memorial began to tilt the ice in their favor and created more chances we crossed the halfway point. The Knights would put this game to bed with four minutes to go as junior defenseman RJ Donahue cut across the slot from left to right and fired a wrister past Palmer to make it 3-0. That would be our final score as the final buzzer sounded. Catholic Memorial advances to the Elite 8 where they will host Catholic Conference rival Xaverian on Wednesday, March 8 at 7pm.
- F Morgan Lenehan, Catholic Memorial
- G Anthony Palmer, St. Mary’s Lynn
- G Owen Watson, Catholic Memorial