EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 26, 2013

Central hockey rallies for dramatic win

Down 3-0, Central rallies back for dramatic OT win and Super 8 berth

By David Willis

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STONEHAM — With the eyes of approximately 1,000 fans fixed on him, Central Catholic’s Corey Webber saw his opportunity and called for the puck.

“I yelled to Kevin (Regan) to get me the puck,” said Webber. “I took a quick shot, got the rebound and put it in. Then the whole team came at me and jumped on me. It was just a dream. I couldn’t believe it.”

With just over two minutes to go in overtime, Webber took a pass up ice, beat a defender and flipped a shot on goal. That was saved, but the rebound came loose and Webber backhanded it in for the goal that capped off a dramatic comeback from a three-goal deficit, giving the Raiders a 4-3 victory over Hingham in the play-in round of the Super 8 tournament last night.

The victory propelled the Raiders into the elite Super 8 tournament for the third straight season and fourth in the last five years. They will take on top-seeded St. John’s Prep starting this weekend. Hingham, meanwhile, falls back into the Division 1 North field.

“This is amazing,” said Regan. “This is what you dream of, to get back into the Super 8. This is what we work for, and to do it like this is just amazing. I can’t believe it.”

It was Regan’s heroics that sent the game into OT.

With the Raiders still trailing 3-2 with just 1:09 to go in regulation, Regan hauled in the rebound off an Alex Lester shot and fired it home for the game-tying goal, like Webber his sixth score of the season.

“With time running down, I knew I had to get something on net,” he said. “Lester threw it in and the puck came right to me. The goalie had gone down for the rebound so I shot it just high enough to get over his shoulder and score. It was unreal.”

Through most of the first two periods, it appeared there would be little chance for a Central comeback, as Hingham built a 3-0 lead and seemed to control play.

But with 1:21 to go in the second, Lester woke the Raiders up by stuffing home a goal. The referees seemed to consider disallowing the score, called it good and made it 3-1.

“Lester’s goal was huge,” said Raider captain Nick Gorski. “People were starting to get down on themselves, but after that goal we really started to believe that we could come back. There was this spark, and coach (Mike) Jankowski really got us going.”

Gorski then cut the lead to one goal 2:56 into the third when he blasted home a slap shot from just inside the blue line.

“When Nick put that one in it seemed to really shake their goalie (John Grenier) who had stopped two breakaways earlier in the game,” said Jankowski. “This is a very resilient team.”

The Raiders continued to apply pressure, but were unable to take advantage until Regan struck with 1:09 left.

Despite the loud cheers of the crowd, Regan could hear his name being called in overtime as he went into a scrum and made it out with the puck.

“I had the puck along the boards,” he said. “I heard Corey yelling so I chipped it to him. I saw him go for the rebound and I knew he had it. I just started skating towards him. It was an amazing feeling to battle back and win this.”

After struggling with a few shots early in the game, Central goalie Colin Soucy settled down to make 29 saves, including six big ones in overtime.

Central now move onto the Super 8 first round, against a St. John’s Prep team that is ranked No. 1 at 17-2-1. But one of those two losses came to the Raiders, 2-1 on Dec. 29.

“It was super important for us to get back to the Super 8,” said Webber. “We feel like we are ready for St. John’s Prep. We have beaten them before. But I’m still shaking from my goal. I don’t want to have to do homework after that.”

agateHed:Central Catholic 4, Hingham 3 (OT)

agateText:Super 8 Play-in Game

agateText:Hingham (13-8-2):@zzAgate:agateText: 1 2 0 0 — 3

agateText:Central Catholic (14-5-3):@zzAgate:agateText: 0 1 2 1 — 4

agateText:Goals:@zzAgate:agateText: CC — Alex Lester, Nick Gorski, Kevin Regan, Corey Webber; H — Sam D’Antuono 2, Matt Brazel

agateText:Assists:@zzAgate:agateText: CC — Lloyd Hayes, Webber, Christian Thompson, Lester; H — Brazel 2, Luke McInnis, D’Antuono, Steve Hughes

agateText:Saves:@zzAgate:agateText: CC — Colin Soucy 29; H — John Grenier 31

Relive the action

For video of all four Central Catholic goals, along with additional highlights and video interviews with Raiders players, visit eagletribune.com/sports.