ATTLEBORO — Given the opportunity to break a 2-2 deadlock with a power play for the opening 4:44 of the third period due to a major penalty on Arlington Catholic High, the Bishop Feehan High boys’ hockey team was unable to cash in on the chance.
No sooner did the Shamrocks’ man advantage expire than Arlington Catholic captain Carson Priante scored his second goal of the game as the Cougars left New England Sports Village Wednesday with a 4-2 conquest of Bishop Feehan in their Catholic Central League game.
The Shamrocks bolted to a two-goal first period lead on tallies off the sticks of junior Will Jones and senior Peter Carriuolo within the first eight minutes of action, but the Shamrocks went scoreless from there, spoiling a heroic game in goal by by senior Ethan Barios, the transfer from Coyle-Cassidy High.
After holding a slight 12-11 edge in shots in the first period, while facing nine faceoffs in the attacking zone, the Shamrocks were neutralized by the Cougars’ forechecking and backchecking. Arlington Catholic had a 14-10 advantage in shots in the second period, allowing Bishop Feehan just seven faceoffs in the attacking zone. In the final 15 minutes, the Cougars had a 14-6 edge in shots as Bishop Feehan had only two faceoffs in the attacking zone.
Without a practice session over the past three days, the Shamrocks lost their legs in the third period.
“We just went flat, we came out with a lot of energy in that first period and that was it,” Bishop Feehan coach Kevin Dunn said. “It’s frustrating because you’re competing with these teams and then all of a sudden we lost our focus.”
It was those initial 4:44 of the third period that turned the tables on Bishop Feehan. The Shamrocks generated seven shots, three on goal, but Arlington Catholic was successful clearing the puck out of its zone nine times.
Bairos, who made 26 saves, also robbed the Cougars’ Myles Galluzzo on a solo breakaway for a potential shorthanded goal.
Colin Findlen and Carriuolo laced shots right after the Shamrocks’ power play ended. Priante broke the deadlock, scoring the winning goal for Arlington Catholic at 5:09. The Cougars added an empty net goal with three seconds remaining.
Galluzzo got Arlington Catholic on the scoreboard with a goal at 13:33 of the first period, a shot off the right side. Then Priante netted the equalizer at 8:01 of the second period on a breakaway down the left side.
Otherwise Bairos was sterling. In the first period, he took away a point-blank shot in the seventh minute, a partial breakaway in the ninth minute and a deflection through a crowd in the 10th minute.
Bairos squared up and made two stops of back-to-back goal-mouth jams in the fifth minute of the second period to keep the Shamrocks alive while defenseman Tyler Ahmed broke up a 2-on-1 Cougars’ bid five minutes into the first period.
Jones put the Shamrocks in front at 2:15 of the first period out of a goal-mouth jam after Ben Feeley fished the puck out of the left corner. Then at 7:33, Carriuolo converted a perfect drop pass from Kevin Barrera to create a two-goal margin.
Carrioulo rifled a shot in the slot through traffic in the 12th minute, but the potential chance to tie the score for Bishop Feehan was denied.
The Shamrocks had ample goal scoring bids in the first period. Jones stole the puck on the right side and laced a shot from the left in the first minute. Brendan Flavin and Carriuolo uncorked good shots in the eighth minute and Sean Guinan had a partial breakaway in the 13th minute.
“They (Arlington Catholic) stayed disciplined,” Dunn said.
The Shamrocks resume CCL action at NESV with a Sunday CCL matinee at 2 p.m. against Pope Francis.