Returning 10 forwards and seven defensemen from a Super 8 team can have benefits. On Sunday night, BC High coach John Flaherty got to see that firsthand.
Junior forward Pat Kramer sat out Sunday?s tilt with Xaverian because of an injury he suffered against Duxbury 10 days ago. With Kramer?s offensive production on the bench, it was a fellow junior forward who provided a spark for the Eagles in their opening game of the Super 8.
Tim Larocque notched two goals in the second period in support of sophomore goaltender Brandon Payzant, who finished with 18 saves, and top-seeded BC High took a 2-1 decision over the eighth-seeded Hawks at TD Garden.
?You talk about seniors and juniors in this part of the season and this phase of the tournament, you need guys to step up,? Flaherty said, ?and Timmy Larocque did that tonight.?
The win gives BC High (15-2-4) a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, with the second game on Wednesday at Tsongas Center in Lowell at 6 p.m.
Fresh off a double-overtime victory over Archbishop Williams in the play-in round, Xaverian (12-4-6) appeared to have the fresher legs through the first 15 minutes. The Hawks scored at 1:09 of the first period. Senior Antonio Marini camped out in the slot and found a loose puck at the top of the crease. The tricaptain chipped the puck under a sprawling Payzant for his 53d point of the season.
Xaverian freshman goaltender Aidan Murphy (20 saves) made the 1-0 lead stand through the first, robbing BC High?s Chris LaLiberte at the backdoor on a 2-on-1 rush midway through the frame. Murphy made 11 saves in the period.
Larocque was quick to pot the equalizer in the second period. At 1:29, the junior from Middleboro carried the puck through the left circle and got the inside track on his defender. Larocque then streaked along the top of the crease and tucked the puck behind Murphy.
?I was thinking about dropping the puck back to my linemate [LaLiberte] but I just decided to duck my shoulder, go in hard, and just throw it in the net,? Larocque said. ?Coach has really been emphasizing that lately, so I was just able to go hard to the net and was able to get one in.?
BC High?s offensive momentum continued to mount in the second period and the Eagles finally broke through with 3:42 left before the break.
As Murphy hugged the right post with a pair of Eagles attempting to poke home a goal, the puck squirted out of the scrum to Larocque at the far post. Larocque then flipped the puck into the cage for his eighth goal of the season, giving BC High a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
Payzant and the BC High penalty kill unit were the stars of the third period. The Eagles were forced to kill off three penalties in the final frame, including a hooking call on Larocque with 2:13 left.
The Hawks earned several good looks in the final two minutes ? and outshot the Eagles, 9-3, in the final 15 minutes ? but the BC High defense pinched deep toward the net to cut off Xaverian shooting lanes.
The Eagles have taken two of three meetings with Xaverian this season.
?They?ve got depth,? Marini said. ?They?ve got four lines that can go. We?ve got to match that for next game.
?We know we can play with them, and we?re looking to get a better result next game.?
BC High edges Xaverian in Super 8 hockey – Boston Globe