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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Last season, the Xaverian Brothers High School varsity hockey team made a deep tournament run that included a 3-2 double overtime victory over rival CM before falling 2-0 to Framingham in the South semifinals. In 2017-2018, the Hawks (1-0) appear poised to do more of the same later on this winter, and possibly even more.
This much was clear on Wednesday night, as Xaverian made a loud statement in their season-opener at home against Bridgewater-Raynham at Canton Ice House.It only took 3:31 into Trevor Connolly’s high school career to get on the board, as the freshman defenseman fired home his first varsity goal on a wrist shot from the point to give Xaverian an early 1-0 lead. At 5:11, the Hawks converted on the power play as forward Matt Talarico (two goals) registered his first of the season by slapping home a rebound on a net-mouth scramble to double Xaverian’s lead to two.
With a little under six minutes to play in the period, junior forward Mike Pitocchelli took a feed from Ross Vona on a three-on-two and fired it home five-hole to give Xaverian a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.Following the break, Xaverian kept their foot on the gas and completely blew the game open with five goals in a span of 9:23. Just 55 seconds in, Josh Barton (two assists) came out of the corner and fed a pass to a wide-open Matt Ryan (three goals) in front of the net. Ryan one-timed the puck home under the glove of the BR goaltender to extend Xaverian’s lead to 4-0. Less than a minute later at 1:51, Talarico scored his second of the night when the junior flew in on a breakaway, deked to his backhand, and deposited the puck upstairs to extend the lead to 5-0. Ryan potted home his second of the game on a rebound a little over a minute following Talarico’s goal to extend Xaverian’s lead to six. Just 10 seconds later off the ensuing faceoff, Ryan flew in and clapped home a shot on a mini-breakaway to complete the hat trick, extending the lead to seven. With 2:32 to play, Ryan Pompeselli (goal, two assists) won a puck battle in the corner, drove to the net and slipped the puck in five-hole to give Xaverian an 8-0 lead heading into the third.
Xaverian would add three third period goals courtesy of C.J. Monturio, Stefano Lanci, and Matt Joyce (goal, two assists) to extend the lead to 11-0. Bridgewater-Raynham finally found the back of the net late on a rebound to spoil the shutout bid for Xaverian goaltender James Herring (16 saves), but enough damage had been done to make the lost shutout less than a minor misfortune, as the Hawks prevailed by an 11-1 final. At the time of print, Xaverian will look to stick to their winning ways when they take on St. John’s Shrewsbury on December 27.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.