LYNN– A slow start in the first period saw the St. Mary’s boys hockey team fall into a one-goal deficit but the Spartans closed Saturday night’s Catholic Central League game against Arlington Catholic on a high note. St. Mary’s scored three unanswered goals for the 3-1 win at William P. Connery Rink.
Nick Napolitano, Kory Ouellette and Damon Maribito each scored one goal. Colby Magliozzi dished two assists, while Napolitano, Colin Reddy and Davis Kinne logged one assist each.
Spartans goalie Joe Purtell continued his standout season with 22 saves in the winning effort.
“Joe’s been solid as the backbone of our team, making big stops when we need him,” St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee said. “The individual effort was OK. We just had a lot of breakdowns in our system, so that was a problem.”
Ewan Powers scored Arlington Catholic’s lone goal on Jason Smith’s assist.
The Spartans didn’t get off to the best of starts in this one and Arlington Catholic capitalized. The Cougars took a 1-0 lead on Powers’ power play goal and that’s where things stayed at the first intermission.
“We were disappointed in our effort in the first period,” Lee said. “I don’t want to make excuses but we kind of have the flu going around in the locker room. But there was no excuse. We beat Arlington Catholic pretty handily in the first game (9-2 win on Jan. 2) and I think a lot of our guys showed up today thinking it was going to be automatic. We knew as a coaching staff that Arlington Catholic was going to come out and play. We found ourselves in a battle throughout the game. They wanted to prove a point and they fought us for three periods.”
St. Mary’s stemmed the tide midway through the second period. The Spartans started to look like their normal selves again, with solid pressure on Arlington Catholic’s defense. After the Cougars missed out on a power play opportunity with 6:11 on the clock, St. Mary’s knotted the game at 1-1 on Napolitano’s goal (assist to Magliozzi, scored with 3:34 remaining). Looking to carry a lead in the second intermission, the Spartans did just that when Ouellette beat Cougars goalie Trevor Lally with a nifty move to light the lamp (assists to Napolitano and Reddy, scored with 13.4 seconds remaining). St. Mary’s led 2-1 heading into the third period.
Maribito gave the Spartans breathing room when he scored at 5:59 (assists to Kinne and Magliozzi).
“It was good to see Damon score that goal,” Lee said. “He’d been a little snake-bit. He works very hard. To put one home, I know he feels good about it. It was a nice shot. He’s one of the guys that’s really sick too so he gave us a great effort.”
The Spartans didn’t make things easy on themselves in the closing stages. St. Mary’s was whistled for four penalties in the third period, two of them after Magliozzi gave his Spartans a 3-1 lead. The penalty kill answered the bell, kept Arlington Catholic at bay and St. Mary’s walked away with the 3-1 win.
“We’ve really worked on a lot of things and discipline’s one of them,” Lee said. “We had been doing well until tonight, kind of like our play. The lack of discipline, both in systems we use and with some real bad penalties we took, gave our opponent an opportunity to beat us.”
The Spartans (12-2) host Newburyport Wednesday (6) in a non-conference tilt.
“We battled Newburyport hard there a few weeks ago (5-0 win on Jan. 5) and we expect the same,” Lee said. “It’s always a battle. It’s always a three-period, hard-fought game.”