LOWELL — Back at the end of January, Malden Catholic was fighting to keep its record above .500. On Sunday, the Lancers will be skating to add a third straight Super 8 championship to their program’s recent history. Malden Catholic knocked of conference rival Catholic Memorial, 5-3, at Tsongas Center Wednesday night in a back-and-forth semifinal battle.
“It was a tough year, we had a little bump in the road in January, a lot of people doubting us and I thought the kids were doubting themselves a bit but they became a team during that time and it’s carried on,” Malden Catholic coach John McLean said.
The first period set the tone for this see-saw battle, with Malden Catholic’s Tyler Sifferelen scoring three minutes in. Just over one minute later, the Knights’ John Maher evened things at 1-1.
Ten minutes in, Malden Catholic sophomore Ara Nazarian scored his third shorthanded goal of the tournament, beating goalie Brendan Collett, to give his team a 2-1 lead.
But just 90 seconds later, the Knights answered again, cocaptain Jack O’Hear tying the game.
Nazarian’s line began to take over in the beginning of the second period, Nazarian scoring just 29 seconds in, and the Lancers took that 3-2 lead into the final period.
Catholic Memorial scored first in the third, Liam Coughlin connecting at the 10-minute mark to give Knights fans hope. But Nazarian and Co. quickly dashed those, captain Mike Iovanna answering just over two minutes later.
“I was just trying to get it on net and it was a lucky bounce I guess,” Iovanna said.
Nazarian completed a hat trick into an empty net with just 30 seconds left to play.
“There’s really highly skilled kids on both teams, [Liam] Coughlin had great goal and Ara scores goals when you need him to score goals,” McLean said.