In the final seconds of play, Belmont had finally matched the sense of desperation its Middlesex League opponent had used against it all afternoon.
But instead of stealing a victory, Belmont stole a shutout from Reading senior Matt Coughlin (20 saves). Senior forward Tim Bailey found the back of the net with one second left in regulation before ultimately falling, 4-1, to the 18th-ranked Rockets at Skip Viglirolo Rink on Saturday.
“It’s a tough barn to play in,” said Reading coach Mark Doherty. “I like Belmont, so we’re thrilled to leave with a victory.
“[Coughlin] has been like that all year. Incredibly consistent and good. He’s a senior. He’s a leader, and we’re glad we have him.”
With Belmont senior goalie Armand Keikian (17 saves) pulled, Reading sophomore defenseman Matthew Fiorenza flung the puck from behind his blue line and into an empty net with 20.2 seconds remaining for the Rockets’ fourth goal.
Senior forward Dan Cranitch helped Reading (6-2) establish a three-goal advantage over the Marauders (5-2-3) at 10:46 in the second period. After fanning on the initial shot, Cranitch didn’t miss on the second opportunity and beat Keikian glove-side high with an assist from junior defenseman Mike Miele.
Junior captain Michael Tobin gave Reading a 2-0 lead with his second goal of the game 45 seconds into the second period. With assists from sophomore forward Jared Pennucci and junior forward Brendan Donovan, Tobin stormed down right wing and wristed a short-side shot that beat Keikian.
“Just placed it real nice,” said Tobin. “Nothing special.”
With Marauders defenders occupied by Reading’s steady forecheck, Tobin utilized the open ice in the slot and sent a one-timer from Donovan’s feed past Keikian at 6:11 in the first period.
BC High 3, Malden Catholic 0 — Luke Garrity recorded his third straight shutout as the second-ranked Eagles (6-3-1) extended their winning streak to five with the Catholic Conference win at UMass Boston.
Joe Dragon tallied to give BC High a 1-0 lead and Danny O’Connell tacked on an insurance goal with 4:15 left in the third period.
“We were trying to draw from the experience,” said BC High coach John Flaherty. “We have been in close games all year. We knew what we had to do. We just had to go out and do it.”
Xaverian 3, Catholic Memorial 0 — Sophomore Ryan Pomposelli netted two goals and junior James Herring had 26 saves for the Hawks (5-2-2).
Walpole 2, Framingham 1 — Junior Conor Foley potted the game winner for the Rebels (5-2-4).
Masconomet 3, Marblehead/Swampscott 2 — Junior forward Abby Gendron scored the winner on a power play with three minutes to go for the host Chieftains (7-1-1).
Duxbury 2, Plymouth North/South 1 — Senior Jill Cosgrove scored twice as the Dragons (7-1-1) seized the lead in the Patriot League.
Girls’ indoor track
Natick set two meet records at the MSTCA James Kalperis Indoor Division 2 Relays at Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
Sisters Grace and Kate Connolly, Emma Ford, and Paige Edwards finished the 4 x 800-meter relay in 9 minutes, 27.08 seconds, breaking Winchester’s 36-year-old meet record.
Natick collected its second meet record when Abigail Gerdes, Rachelle Parker, Kylie Langan, and Eme Su blazed their way to a 24.90 in the 4 x 50-yard relay. Natick (36 points) finished fourth in the team competition behind winner Woburn (49).
Boys’ indoor track
Central Catholic earned the boys’ championship at the MSTCA James Kalperis Division 2 Relays with 44.5 points to best Arlington, which set the distance medley meet record with a 10:28.00, including Ryan Oosting’s 4:15 mile.
Woodstock (Conn.) 116, Tilton 90 — Former Brighton High standout Ty Perry put on a staggering shooting performance at the BABC Prep Classic at Cathedral High, draining 13 3-pointers on his way to a 52-point performance for Woodstock.
“I didn’t even know I could shoot that well,” said Perry with a smile after connecting on 13 of his 17 attempts from long range.
A Roxbury native who led Brighton to the Division 2 state title last March, Perry said he felt extra motivation to play in a homecoming game. Woodstock (19-1) is ranked No. 1 in the country by a number of polls.
New Hampton 83, Worcester Academy 66 — Roxbury native Shandon Brown led the Huskies with all 21 of his points coming in the second half of the BABC Prep Classic triumph.
BB&N 58, Portsmouth Abbey 35 — Sophomore Nick Johnson scored 15 points and had eight assists for the Knights (5-4).
North Reading 40, Lynnfield 27 — Sophomore Ali Grasso scored 12 points and recorded 8 steals to lift the visiting Hornets.
Worcester Academy 67, St. Andrew’s 61 — Junior Aliyah Boston pumped in 25 points and corralled 20 rebounds to pace the Hilltoppers (11-0).