By David Willis
SALEM, N.H. — Even after all of the points and all of the honors, after winning three state titles and signing a college scholarship to play in Hockey East, scoring a goal is still sweet for Tyler Sifferlen and his cheering section.
For each of the two scores the North Andover resident netted yesterday, his fans — a group consisting of family, friends and one precocious young cousin wearing Sifferlen’s green home jersey — were sure to cheer and savor the moment.
“It never gets old,” said Sifferlen with a smile after the game.
Sifferlen, the Malden Catholic superstar, continued to build his legacy yesterday afternoon, scoring a pair of goals as his No. 5 Lancers humbled Central Catholic, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, 8-2.
It was yet another huge day for the UMass Lowell-bound winger, who has helped Malden Catholic to three straight Super 8 titles.
After burying one goal on a loose puck in front of the goalie, then sniping home a stellar score from a seemingly impossible angle next to the net, Sifferlen now has seven goals and 14 points this season, both good for second on the team, leading the Lancers to a 6-2 record.
“That’s Tyler,” said Malden Catholic coach John McLean. “He is an outstanding player, and not just a scorer. He blocks shots, kills penalties, hits. He plays the game the right way. He has been delivering days like this since he was a freshman.”
In fairness to Sifferlen, he has actually been delivering games like yesterday since he was an eighth grader playing for the North Andover varsity hockey team, scoring 15 goals for the Scarlet Knights that season.
A year later, he transferred to powerhouse Malden Catholic, and the rest has been history.
“Every game is awesome, especially the big games like (yesterday),” said Sifferlen. “You go out and battle. It is always great to get a big win and score a big goal. We have struggled, but we always come back.”
A varsity player since his freshman season, Sifferlen stands at 39 career goals and 87 career points at Malden Catholic, according to masshshockey.com. He set career highs in goals (14) and points (33) last season.
It is his playmaking ability, not just his goal-scoring skills, that are often the most crucial.
“Tyler just brings everything to the ice,” said longtime teammate Ara Nazarian, who assisted on both of Sifferlen’s goals yesterday and has known him since playing youth hockey in North Andover. “I have been playing with him for a long time, and I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. He always finds a way to get me the puck, and I know how to find him.”
Those talents earned Sifferlen a Hockey East scholarship. In Sept., 2012 he committed to play college hockey at UMass Lowell, where he will head after a stop in junior hockey.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound scoring machine, sporting a mop of curly blond hair, came up big when MC needed it most yesterday, heading into the game off an upset at the hands of the Delbarton School (N.J.) on Saturday.
He helped the Lancers jump out to a shocking 5-0 lead over Central in the second, when he hauled in a loose puck and blasted it home. He then made it two scores less than a minute into the third when he took a pass parallel to the net and somehow find a way to shoot it home.
For the man who scored a key goal for at the TD Garden in the Super 8 final as a freshman, big goals are his forte.
“When Siff is hot, you give him the puck and you know it is going in the net,” said the UNH-bound Nazarian, who has scored a team-best eight goals this season. “He just knows how to score, and he can hit too. He is a tremendous captain.”
But the soft-spoken Sifferlen wasn’t about to brag about goals. He has his eyes set on just one goal, another Super 8 title.
“That would be four in a row for me,” he said. “That would be awesome. That’s what the goal is, like it always is. We are working hard to get there.”
Heading into the game at 8-1-1, Central Catholic was understandably frustrated following the loss, in which the Raiders trailed 8-0 at one point in the third.
“Obviously not the outcome we were looking for,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski. “Every time we made a mistake they capitalized. Then they put the throttle down and created some distance. They (Malden Catholic) are the best in the state and we want to be there. But we just have to shake it off and get back to work. The kids will be ready to go.”
Malden Catholic 8, Central Catholic 2
Malden Catholic (6-2-0): 3 3 2 — 8
Central Catholic (8-2-1): 0 0 2 — 2
Goals: CC — Kevin Regan, Christian Thompson; MC — Tyler Sifferlen 2, Patrick Wrenn 2, Jack Adams, Ara Nazarian, Jake Witkowski, Austin Goldstein
Assists: CC — David Sheehan, Cam Smith; MC — Nick Rolli 4, Nazarian 2, John McLean 2, Matthew Filipe 2, Wrenn, Brian Cameron, Adams, Will Lawerence
Saves: CC — Colin Soucy 18, Ben Zargaj 8; MC — Alex Reissis 22