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Hawks break drought, win Catholic Conference

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Throughout their history, Xaverian varsity hockey has been a bit of a little brother in the Catholic Conference. While the school has been able to produce future NHL talent such as Chris Wagner ('09), the postseason success and the conference championships hasn't been there.

Throughout the last 50 years, almost each school has had its turn as the alpha. Catholic Memorial (13), BC High (six), Malden Catholic (five) and St. John's Prep (one) have won a combined 25 Super Eight championships since the tournament's inception. Xaverian and St. John's Shrewsbury remain the only two schools not to win a Super Eight. St. John's Shrewsbury just joined the Catholic Conference last season.

Entering the 2020-2021 season, the Hawks hadn't won the Catholic Conference in 52 years. With no Super Eight or Division I state tournament to be played due to COVID-19, the Catholic Conference regular season and tournament championships meant everything for all six teams.

In the early going, Xaverian's chances at winning the regular season title looked slim following an 0-2-2 start to the year. On February 3, the Hawks gained some momentum and finally got in the win column with a 2-1 overtime victory against St. John's Prep. The win against the Eagles sparked a five-game win streak (4-0-1) to climb to 5-2-2. Despite a 2-1 streak-breaker defeat to CM to close out the regular season, Xaverian's 12 points in the standings were more than any team in the conference (BC High - 10, CM - 10, SJS - 10, SJP - 9, MC - 6), earning the Hawks their first Catholic Conference regular season title since 1968.

After ending the regular season championship drought, the Hawks earned the top-seed in the inaugural Catholic Conference Tournament and received a first-round bye. During the regular season, Xaverian dropped each of its meetings against BC High, both by a final of 5-2. With Malden Catholic upsetting the Eagles in the quarterfinals, the Hawks were awarded a date with the Lancers in the semifinals. Xaverian took care of business against MC, skating to a 3-1 win behind goals by Joe DiMartino (2) and Braden O'Hara to advance to Saturday's championship game against Catholic Memorial.

In Saturday's final against CM, DiMartino and O'Hara again came through for the Hawks as both scored to lead Xaverian to a 2-1 win and the Catholic Conference tournament title.

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.

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