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Hawks advance to elite eight

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

A 16-3-1 (6-3-1) regular season earned the Xaverian Brothers High School varsity hockey team the No. 2 seed in the MIAA Division I state tournament. 

Following a 4-0 victory over Andover on March 2 in the round of 32, the Hawks returned to Canton Ice House on Monday to square off with St. Mary’s (Lynn) in the round of 16. The Spartans (10-7-5, 6-3-1) entered riding high following a 3-2 overtime win against Chelmsford on Saturday.

In the game’s opening minute, junior forward Gavin Moynihan busted in on a breakaway with the chance to give the Hawks an immediate 1-0 lead. After deking to his backhand, Moynihan attempted to go five-hole but was turned aside by the stick of St. Mary’s goalie Owen Giangrande to keep the game scoreless. 

With 3:36 to play in the first period, sophomore forward Will Irving broke the ice, stealing a puck in the neutral zone and dashing in on a mini-breakaway before burying a shot on his backhand to seize the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Just 1:17 later, a great individual effort by Joe DiMartino doubled the lead to 2-0, as the junior forward dangled through a defender along the far boards, cut to the middle and fired home a shot five-hole. Xaverian carried their two-goal edge into the first intermission. 

With the teams playing four-on-four following back-to-back penalties early in the second, senior forward Braden O’Hara broke in on a two-on-one with fellow senior forward Jack Silva. O’Hara slowed up near the left face-off dot and sniped home a shot upstairs to make it a 3-0 game. Moments later, however, St. Mary’s cut the deficit to 3-1 when sophomore forward Daniel Domeniconi buried a loose puck in front. With with 4:05 to play in the period, Xaverian’s lead was trimmed down to a single goal when St. Mary’s freshman forward Cam McGonagle buried a rebound at the net-mouth. A huge save by Xaverian senior goalie Brendan Flanagan on a one-timer by Domeniconi late in the period allowed the Hawks to maintain their one-goal lead at the end of two periods. 

Following the second intermission, the Hawks came out determined to not allow their once-three-goal lead to slip away. After dominating play throughout the first three minutes of the third period, Xaverian bulked their lead back to a pair of goals thanks to senior forward Jake Curley, who smacked home a rebound following an initial shot from the point by senior defenseman Aiden Rodriguez. Following the insurance goal by Curley, Xaverian completely locked down their defensive end and made it nearly impossible for St. Mary’s to generate any offense. The Hawks went on to prevail by the 4-2 final.

At the time of print, Xaverian awaits the winner of Wednesday’s contest between No. 7 Belmont and No. 10 Marshfield in the elite eight; date, time and location to be determined.

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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