LYNN — It had been nine days since the second-ranked BC High hockey team took the ice for a game. Before traveling to Connelly Memorial Rink to take on No. 12 St. Mary’s on Wednesday night in a nonleague matchup, the Eagles hadn’t played since beating Arlington, 3-1, Feb. 6. The rust showed in the first period, but BC High outlasted the Spartans, 2-1.
“It felt great, coming out there after a few snow days and getting the rust off,” said senior Matt Fox, who netted the first goal of the game, in the second period.
The Eagles (11-1-4 overall) came out sluggish in the opening frame, managing just four shots on net, but strong defense and goaltending from sophomore Luke Garrity got them through the period in a scoreless deadlock. The Spartans (12-5-1) won the majority of faceoffs and puck races in the period to keep BC High on its heels.
Late in the second, the Eagles started to take over. With five minutes left, Fox created a breakaway for himself with tenacious checking. He hassled St. Mary’s senior defenseman Andrew Kreamer in the neutral zone until he managed to rip the puck away. He walked into the zone with nobody to beat but senior goalie Andrew LoRusso, and Fox ripped a shot past him to give his team a 1-0 edge.
A little over a minute later, with 3:42 left in the middle frame, senior forward Michael Ball gathered a rebound in front of LaRusso and put it in the back of the net to double the Eagles advantage. With a 2-0 lead in the third period, the BC High defense clamped down.
“We have good team speed and good team size,” said BC High coach John Flaherty. “I think in the second period we started using that a little more so than in the first.”
Five minutes into the frame, the Spartans found life when junior forward Damon Marbito got on the board to cut their deficit in half. Marbito found a loose puck in the slot and slipped a shot between Garrity’s pads.
After that, the Spartans pressed but never managed another dangerous scoring chance and the Eagles earned their fourth straight victory over a team ranked in the Globe top 20.
“Good teams win close games, and that’s what we did today,” Flaherty said.
James Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.