After six consecutive games within the Catholic Conference, No. 2 ranked Catholic Memorial traveled to Pirelli Veterans Arena to take on 12th-ranked Franklin.
The voyage was worth it as the Knights rode 30 saves from Owen Watson and a few nifty goals to escape with a 3–0 victory.
“It’s a big win,” Catholic Memorial forward Tyler Hamilton said. “It’s good to have a public school atmosphere. It was crazy and it’s tough to play an away game but we came out with a huge win.”
Physicality and outstanding goaltending defined a scoreless first period, with a notable chance from the Panthers Anthony Lampasona ringing the post.
The Knights came out flying in the second period and broke through. Hamilton finessed a pass to assistant captain Mike Birch and the veteran forward wasted no time, rifling the puck into the top corner. This led the way to complete domination for Catholic Memorial, as they would take charge in both the shot totals and possession for the first several minutes.
“We needed that,” Catholic Memorial coach Larry Rooney said.” We felt as though we didn’t have a great first period. This gave us a bit of confidence as we faced the second period.
An energetic third line shift from the Panthers caused a Knight penalty, and Franklin resurged with the opportunity. While they did not register a goal, numerous odd-man rushes and another ringing of the post nearly tied the game up, but Owen Watson came up clutch and kept the lead.
“I was just focused the whole game,” Watson said. “I didn’t let noise get to me; I couldn’t even hear it in my head to be honest. I just stayed locked in and let my team do the work for me.”
The third period featured high-flying, back-and-forth play that was dominated by the two goalies. The Panthers hit the crossbar and had other opportunities to tie it up. Ultimately Hamilton dished a cross-crease pass to Connor Fryberger, and the junior forward fired it home to deliver a knockout punch.
“I was just trying to get pucks to the net,” Hamilton said. “I crashed the net and made plays, and luckily I had teammates who did the same thing.”
An insurance marker off the stick of Joe Marchi gave the game its final score and the Knights a signature win in the team’s quest for the top ranking. Rooney said the game had a tournament-like atmosphere and that a postseason rematch would be intriguing.
“They have 10 wins and are a very good team,” Rooney said. “That could have been the best team we have faced all season.”