Any time a public school can beat a Catholic school in Massachusetts hockey, it’s a big deal. Doesn’t matter if it’s January or March.
BC High may be having a down year by its standards thus far, but when the Eagles traveled to O’Brien Rink to take on Winchester on Thursday night, the Red & Black were looking at it as a statement game.
Thanks to a Liam Doherty overtime goal 1:37 into the extra frame, Winchester skated away with a huge 2-1 win, improving to 7-2-0 on the year.
Doherty’s goal came just seconds after Winchester thought it had won the game during a scrum in front of the net but the referees said the puck never went in. On an ensuing rush up the ice moments later, Michael Cashell started the breakout with a pass off the boards up to Max Tong. Tong controlled the puck, stopped after crossing the blue line, pivoted and fired a pass across the ice for Doherty who had just entered the zone.
What was most impressive to Khachadourian was the fact his team responded so quickly after the controversial decision.
With traffic in front, Doherty let a wrister go that sizzled the top left corner and over the glove of BC High goalie Jack Burke, setting off a wild celebration in front of the surprisingly large student section on hand given today’s crowd concerns.
“It’s huge, that’s a big win for us,” added Winchester coach Geno Khachadourian. “I don’t think we’ve ever beat them. I’ve only been here for three years, but we played them two years ago and they beat us 2-1, I think, something like that down at their place. That’s a huge win for us. That’s a statement game for us.”
“He said it never went in, I couldn’t really see it and he said the net came off, so I just said ‘fine,’” coach Khachadourian explained. “That’s the team we are though. We’re getting our identity now, there’s zero quit and their compete level is through the roof right now.”
BC High (3-5-1) led 1-0 after one thanks to a goal from Aidan McDonnell midway through the first with an assist going to David Williams. The Eagles absolutely dominated the first 15 minutes with a relentless forecheck, but Max Lowenberg (17 saves) kept it a one-goal game.
“Nothing surprised us, they were just a faster team than we’ve seen the last few games,” said Liam Doherty of the ugly first period. “We stuck to our guns. Guys didn’t get all over each other or lash out at anyone, we just kind of played our system and played how we play.”
Physicality intensified in the second as the crowd got into it more, but Lowenberg and Burke (14 saves) continued to duel and the teams headed to the third with the Eagles still clinging to the one-goal lead.
Tong tied things up at 1-1 just 37 seconds into the third when he skated down the right wing, dipped his shoulder, made a move towards the net and somehow tucked the puck up under the bar on Burke’s short side.
Both goalies made some stellar saves late in the final few moments to send the game to overtime, setting up Doherty’s heroics.
“We’ve had a few big, tight games this year, we’ve just got to keep it going,” he added. “We can’t get too high or too low, just stay at an even keel.”