Larence, Mounties Beat Hawks 5-2, win State Hockey Championship
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
PROVIDENCE, RI-- Senior Defenseman Marc Squizzero needed to dump the puck.
The Mount St. Charles Captain was under pressure deep in his own end Monday night in the 3rd and final game of the State Championship Hockey series, and with a 3 goal lead late, there was no time to be cute with the puck.
Squizzero flipped a high backhand chip over the top of the Hendricken defense. The puck landed on its side, and kicked into the Hendricken zone.
The Hawks had pulled their Goaltender Matt Keneally in an attempt to make a late surge offensively. And in a small microcosm of the game as a whole, Squizzero’s chip sent the puck rolling on its side right into the empty Hendricken goal.
That goal extended Mount’s lead to 4 goals with 3:10 left in the game. It sent most of the Hendricken fan base scouring for the exits too.
Mount jumped on the Hawks right off the opening face-off. Junior Forward Justin D’Abrosca scored on a rebound 4:25 into the game, and the Mounties added another goal on a beautiful give-and-go. Junior Forward Pat Holmes fed a pass to D’Ambrosca, who fired it right back to Holmes. Keneally never had a chance.
Minutes later, Senior Forward Tom Crudele sniped a left-handed bullet high and glove-side on Keneally, giving MSC a 3-0 lead that they carried through the end of the first period.
Mount threatened to skate away with the game in the 2nd period. With Hendricken on a Power Play and needing a goal to get back in the game, an errant pass led to a loose puck that Holmes was able to poke ahead to Crudele on a breakaway.
Crudele beat Keneally 1-on-1 and scored, giving Mount a shockingly commanding 4-0 lead. The Hawks responded quickly, however, scoring about a minute later when Senior Captain Jonathan Finelli scored in a crowded crease to put Hendricken on the board.
Mount took the 4-1 lead inot the intermission between the second and third periods, but no lead was safe in this series.
The Hawks won Game 1 of the series Friday night with a torrid comeback late in the 3rd period. Trailing 2-1 with less than 4 minutes to go, Hendricken scored 4 goals to win a 5-2 shocker at Meehan Auditorium.
The Mounties struck back in Game 2, coming down from a 3-1 defecit in the final 8 minutes of the 3rd period and winning in overtime on a goal by Keith Phaneuf.
The Mounties couldn’t afford to take anything for granted. Luckily for them, they had Brian Larence between the pipes. Larence was the best player on the ice Monday night, making big save after big save to keep Hendricken at bay.
Mount killed a penalty with just under 5 minutes to play, maintaining a 3 goal lead on a night when Larence (a Senior Captain) was virtually impossible to beat. Squizzero’s goal was the icing on the cake.
Hawks Captain Liam Watkinson scored in the final minute on a miscue by Larence behind the goal. Seconds later, the Mounties were celebrating their second consecutive state championship.
Larence was named MVP of the series. The Mounties had lost their first 4 meetings with the Hawks this season, but they won the last 2 and those were the games that meant the most.
Other RIIL Hockey News
--Game 3 of the Division 1 Finals is Tuesday night at Meehan Auditorium. After top seeded Cranston Co-op won Game 1 of the series 6-3, #3 seed Burrillville responded with a 5-4 win Sunday in Game 2. The puck drops in the rubber match at 7 p.m.
--The Division 2 Finals were set Monday night after a pair of do-or-die Game 3’s. #1 seed Cumberland won a 2-1 overtime thriller over #4 seed Lincoln and #6 seed PCD/Wheeler/St. Raphael Co-op upset #2 seed North Kingstown 4-3. Game 1 of the championship series is Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Meehan Auditorium.
--The Division 3 Finals are also set, as #1 seed Narragansett will meet #3 seed East Providence in the best-of-3 championship series. Game 1 of that series is Thursday night at 8 p.m. at Meehan Auditorium.
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