Xaverian 2, Catholic Memorial 1
Make that a double for Xaverian. The regular-season champion Hawks added the Catholic Conference Tournament title to this season’s haul with a 2-1 win against 2020 champion Catholic Memorial Saturday afternoon at the Canton Ice House. Junior Braden O’Hara scored the game-winner with 9:44 left in the second half.
“I’m very proud of the sacrifices this group made. We are so grateful that we got to play a season and have playoffs. It was a wonderful experience for our student/athletes and we are blessed and appreciative of the memories,” said Xaverian’s veteran coach Dave Spinale, whose son Shane Spinale was a senior defenseman and a captain for the Hawks.
From the outset, goalies Kevin McGrath of Xaverian and Dom Walecka of CM preferred faceoffs to allowing unnecessary chances and froze every puck they could. McGrath gobbled up Will MacNeil’s dangerous close-range bid with 12:08 left in the period and Walecka denied Kevin Parrish’s counter less than a minute later.
CM junior Dylan Lamonica gave the Knights a 1-0 lead with 8:17 left in the first half, dangling around a defender before beating McGrath through the 5-hole on the ice. The Hawks tied it with 4:10 to go when O’Hara’s two-zone pass sprung Joe DiMartino for a quick snap shot from the right circle high to Walecka’s glove side.
McGrath kept the tie intact with 19:02 left to play, taking away all of Glen Considine‘s options on a penalty shot before making a straightforward right pad save. Walecka matched that with 14:44 remaining with a pair of close-range stops on DiMartino’s initial shot and rebound.
After DiMartino and Nolan Dion set up O’Hara’s winner, the Hawks leaned on McGrath to carry them home. The senior turned back everything CM threw at him, including holding the short-side post on the Knights’ final best bid by Glen Considine maneuvering out of the right corner with 1:34 to play.
The teams had split regular-season games with CM prevailing, 2-1, just six days earlier.