The St. Mary’s Lancers used three consecutive goals in the third period to defeat the Starpoint Spartans at Hockey Outlet by a score of 4-1.
It’s a quality non-league win for the Lancers, given the Spartans’ strong start to the season, and the team’s performance was also a good indicator of where the Lancers stand at this point in the year.
“We knew the boys were going to be fired up going into this one, and it’s a good sign we’re going in the right direction,” Lancers coach Mark Dantonio said. “We’ve played against a lot of other teams from higher divisions than us and we’ve hung in there against them. We’re doing the right things, and I think we’re almost where we want to be.”
Lancers captain Lucas Prince shared his coach’s sentiments.
“No doubt about it – it’s a very good win for us,” Prince said. “We played against Starpoint last year on Super Sunday, and we beat them. We knew they were kind of looking for revenge against us for what happened last year, so we rose to the challenge.
“They’re in a higher division (2) than we are, so knowing that we can rise to the occasion against a team like them should be a huge momentum boost for us.”
The Lancers opened the scoring with about seven minutes left in the first period on a slapshot from the point via Alex Bialkowski. For a while, it looked as if the goal would turn out to be the only scoring play of the contest, as the Lancers’ strong forecheck kept the Spartans’ hemmed in their own zone for most of the night.
“Our defensemen forced the play in the offensive zone, which took away some of their time and space,” Dantonio said. “We really try to build our team off of speed, and we wanted to take advantage of that by sending one guy after them hard and then just take away ice. We did a nice job of that, and of having one defenseman down low and keeping another one high. That really helped us out today.”
The Spartans tied the game when Josh Kelly buried one past Lancers goaltender Cameron Ruggerio barely two minutes into the third period. But that was all the offense the Spartans could muster, as Chris Henry gave the Lancers the go-ahead goal just a minute later and Zachary Micholas added a pair of tallies to seal the victory.
According to Dantonio, the Lancers’ upcoming schedule won’t allow his roster to get comfortable going forward.
“I’m pleasantly surprised about where we’re at,” Dantonio said. “It’s going to be a bit of a tough road coming up because we’ve got a lot of league games on the docket against Monsignor Martin squads. We’ve just got to work hard, put our best foot forward and let the chips fall as they may.”