No. 1 Arlington 2, No. 3 Pope Francis 1
Three years after becoming the third public school program to win the Division 1A Tournament in 2017, Arlington now has the opportunity to become the first to win it twice.
The Spy Ponders scored twice in the first period and rode those goals past Pope Francis to the 1A title game on Sunday, March 15 at TD Garden. They will play the winner of Wednesday’s loser’s bracket final between Pope Francis and St. John’s Prep (Loring, 7) for the title.
This was the third meeting of the season between Arlington and Pope Francis. Since losing to the Cardinals on Dec. 23, the Spy Ponders are now unbeaten (17-0-4) in 21 games, blending an attacking, opportunistic offense with stifling defense.
That formula worked again Saturday as Brendan Jones, from Anthony Messuri; and Ryan Davies (PPG), set up by Leo Piandes, scored 1:14 apart in the first period for a 2-0 lead. Goalie Nathan Brennan (28 saves) excelled, protecting the lead by any and all means. In one sequence with two Cardinals parked on his doorstep during a second-period power play, Brennan sprawled to his left to swat away what seemed a surefire goal.
Conor Cognac, assisted by Josh Iby, put Pope Francis (15-5-2) on the board late in the third period and the Cardinals made things more than a little squirmy in the closing minutes.
No. 4 St. John’s Prep 3, No. 2 BC High 2 (OT)
Just another night at the office for these Catholic Conference rivals. When St. John’s senior defenseman Will Perry blasted home the deciding goal at 1:16 of overtime, it brought to an end BC High’s bid for a third consecutive championship.
St. John’s (14-5-5) now meets Pope Francis in Wednesday’s loser’s bracket final at Loring Arena (7) for the chance to face Arlington for the 1A crown on March 15. SJP won this tournament for the only time in 2015.
Senior Ned Malolepszy scored twice as SJP built a 2-0 lead. His first goal came at 5:21 of the first period. The second, on the power play, came just 3:16 into the second as Malolepszy followed his own shot and buried the rebound. That put SJP in good shape but BCH wasn’t about to roll over with its championship legacy on the line.
The comeback began at 6:48 of the second period when Michael Dragon scored on a rebound put back. They kept the pressure on throughout the third period, finally forcing the Prep into its first penalty of the night, leading to defenseman John Logan’s equalizer on the power play with 4:44 to play. Goalies Noah Dorsey-Sorofman of St. John’s and Tom Kiesewetter of B.C. High matched saves in the final minutes, setting up Nolan’s OT moment.
BC High finished with a 15-5-4 record. It tied and defeated St. John’s during the regular season.