Team Sweeps LaSalle In Final Series
Three weeks into the 2012-13 hockey season, the Mount Saint Charles hockey team was beset by a variety of headaches – literally. The club was mired in an unlikely three-game losing streak. Its captain, Brian Belisle, the team’s leading scorer the previous year, was sidelined and in search of his cognitive and athletic bearings after sustaining a serious concussion in the opening game of the season. Many of his teammates were young players with limited experience and upperclassmen with similarly limited varsity experience. They sought their hockey bearings.
As a result, practices, as co-coach Dave Belisle would describe them, were dedicated to the most fundamental rudiments of the game—skating, passing, stickhandling, positional play. Three months later, the headaches had abated, captain Belisle was back, and the club had found its hockey bearings. The team that started the season 2-4 ended it on a 13-game league winning streak including a 5-2 win over LaSalle that clinched the 2012-2013 state championship title for MSC. The championship was Mount’s 43rd overall, its 31st in the last 36 years. After drubbing LaSalle 7-0 in the opener, the Mounties found themselves in a tougher battle against the Rams in Game 2.
LaSalle, unable to do much in the Mount end in Game 1, played with more offensive vigor in Game 2, and sought to slow down the quick MSC lineup with a more physical attack. Still, like the previous night, Mount struck first. At 3:26 of the first period, sophomore Patrick Holmes proved it is vital to crash the net. Stationed to the right of goalie Tyler Walsh, Holmes took a feed from Devin Votta, deked Walsh, and popped the puck past the beaten netminder. MSC maintained the momentum and continued to exert pressure with aggressive forechecking, but Walsh kept the deficit to one. The Rams, meanwhile, had a golden opportunity to tie the game at the 15:59 mark when Joe Manown’s shot deflected off a player, forcing Mount goalie Brian Larence to do the splits and make the save.
Three minutes into the second stanza, Manown – the Rams’ leading scorer and best forward in this game — was back at it. He stole an errant Mount pass and forced Larence to make a nice save from in close. Mount struck again, moments later, by controlling the puck in the LaSalle end. Dan Pearl slid a nice pass to Votta, camped out to the left of Walsh, and the Mount junior slapped it past the Rams’ netminder. Mount entered the dressing room up by two goals and one period away from the state title. But it was LaSalle that came out the aggressor in the third period, and its forechecking paid off. At 3:09, Patrick Bowe stole an errant Mount pass at the right faceoff circle and beat Larence with a low shot to the far corner.
MSC rebounded, however, continued to pressure Walsh, and scored what would prove to be the gamewinning goal. At 5:22, Dan Glod skated through the Rams zone, deked a defender, and then polished off a brilliant rush with his third goal of the season. MSC upped its lead to 4-1 on a goal from defenseman Matt Demers. Matt Botieri pulled the Rams to within 4-2 with a goal at 13:44. But with Walsh pulled in favor of a sixth skater, Belisle potted an open net goal to make the final, 5-2. The celebration that followed was a snapshot of a season and a history-making program. Photographers snapped pictures of three generations of Belisles—Bill, Dave, and Brian – sharing the championship trophy.
Meanwhile, Glod, who had spent most of the previous season on the fourth line, was named Most Valuable player of the series … just another relatively unknown Mount player to step up in the finals and take his place in Mount hockey lore. Mount fired 36 shots on LaSalle goalie Walsh and got balanced scoring from its top two lines en route to a dominating 7-0 shutout of the Rams in the opener. Larence kicked out 11 shots, while Belisle and Glod scored twice, as the Mounties broke open a tight game with five unanswered third period goals.
MSC set the tone from the opening faceoff, as Glod and Belisle combined for the first goal of the game just 19 seconds into the period. Glod streaked down the left wing, went deep into the Rams zone, and then fired a cross ice pass that Belisle tipped home. Vincent Pearl availed himself of Mount’s excellent forechecking at 6:38 when he converted an offering from linemate Devin Votta. LaSalle, which had played solid defensive hockey all season, mounted a few offensive bursts in the first period but could not beat Larence. The second period was scoreless and evenly played. Neither offense could do much against the other team’s solid forechecking. The Mount unloaded in the third period, scoring five times to put the game out of reach. Brian Glod had two goals, while Brian Belisle Patrick Holmes and Justin D’Abrosca also found twine.