TYNGSBOROUGH, Mass. — Having lost three of its last four contests, Bishop Guertin skated into Wednesday night’s Division I clash with Pinkerton reeling a little bit. The Cardinals needed to pull themselves out of a rut with less than a month to go in the regular season.
The same could be said for the Astros, whose inconsistent carousel ride has been this club’s Achilles’ heel all season long.
The host Cardinals saved their best for last as senior center Patrick Madden stole the puck inside the neutral zone from defenseman Brett Levesque, skated in on goaltender Matt Gilliland and unloaded a hard wrist shot past the senior at 1:14 of overtime to lift BG to a hard-fought 2-1 victory inside Skate 3 Arena.
“I saw (Levesque) had the puck out a little too far on his stick,” said Madden. “I was able to take it. I saw an opening coming down, had the open shot and I just went for it.”
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 9-4 while Pinkerton, loser of two straight after a big win over previously undefeated Concord last week, dropped to 7-6. BG outshot Pinkerton 38-18, putting up 15 in the third period.
Scoreless through the first two periods, Pinkerton, which was held in check offensively for most of this tilt, jumped ahead 32 seconds into the third. A nice lead pass from Mason Drouin to Ethan Burgess saw the senior beat his man and fire a shot from the right circle past Cardinals netminder Evan Butler, who finished with 17 saves.
The lead was short-lived. Less than a minute later, BG’s Max Trawick, inside the low slot, sent a quick wrister on net. Gilliland (35 saves) initially halted the puck but could not contain it as it tricked over the line to even the score at 1-1. Late in the frame, the Cardinals went on the power play but in spite of a couple of nice chances did not find the back of the net.
At the start of overtime, Pinkerton came out the aggressor with a couple of quality opportunities that just missed their mark. That led to Madden’s heroics down at the other end of the ice.
“We really wanted this and needed this tonight,” Madden said. “The other night after playing Malden Catholic (a 1-0 loss) we still had a feeling of intensity and I thought we brought it back here tonight. A win like this is really going to help our heads and give us that mentality to keep on going.”
The first 30 minutes resulted in no scoring despite seeing Pinkerton constantly defending its own zone for much of the opening period. BG had the better opportunities during the frame. The Cardinals put up eight shots, with several coming off of Astros turnovers as Pinkerton, only two shots in the period, rushed its passes to avoid taking hits as BG swarmed any opposing player with the puck on his stick.
The Astros opened things up some over the middle frame as they started to skate better and create a little more spacing once inside the offensive zone. Likewise, the Cardinals were trying to use their speed to set up breakaway opportunities but Pinkerton kept its defense back beyond to blue line to limit those chances.
On a couple of occasions BG cycled the puck down low, getting some good looks on net. However, Gilliand was strong between the pipes as the senior nullified those chances.