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Brother Rice continues winning ways with shutout win over St. Mary’s

By: Ben Szilagy, January 28, 2015, 11:00 pm

ORCHARD LAKE — In the midst of perhaps its toughest stretch of the season, Birmingham Brother Rice followed up a big win with an even bigger victory Wednesday night.

The Warriors shut out Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 7-0, which comes immediately after knocking off Catholic Central.

“It’s always a big game between us and St. Mary’s,” Brother Rice forward Nick Bowman said. “Coming off the win against Catholic Central, we were riding high. St. Mary’s always plays us tough. We needed to get out to a hot start.”

The Warriors (13-3) got a wrap-around goal from sophomore Mike McInerney in the first period before erupting for six goals in the second.

Bowman led the charge, scoring the first two goals of the second period to complete the natural hat trick. Sophomore forward Mitch Shults passed the puck to Bowman in the left circle, who buried a wrist shot to the near side for a 2-0 lead with 13:07 to play. Later, Bowman deked to his backhand with 5:18 left in the period on a breakaway to push the lead to 3-0.

“A 1-0 lead against this team can be wiped away quickly because St. Mary’s plays so hard,” Bowman said. “I knew I had to go out there and make a difference. After I got the first one, the whole bench responded and we had a good period.”

The Warriors executed their transition game perfectly, which kicked its offense into gear, according to Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt.

“It all boils down to the first pass out of the zone. If we’re not making that first pass, we’re not getting a transition. In the second period, we were doing a better job with the transition and we were getting those breaks,” he said.

After senior Brendan Pyc made it 4-0, fellow senior George Hamaty walked the puck into the Eaglet end. Hamaty found trailing senior Dane Reinhart, who went stick side for a 5-0 advantage with 3:16 to play.

Brother Rice got a power play rebound goal by Shults and added another from senior Joey Vassallo during a two-one-one rush to complete the scoring.

“We were working hard in the second period, and we were getting good shots on net,” Schmidt said.

Senior goaltender Nick Macina stopped all 34 shots on net for Brother Rice. He made a couple of saves in two-on-ones situations to protect the shutout. 

Early in the first period, St. Mary’s forward Nick Borellis had an opportunity to put the Eaglets (6-6) on the scoreboard as he went stick side in a two-on-one rush, but Macina stopped the shot. It was one of a handful scoring opportunities for the Eaglets in the first period. 

“That was the difference in the game. It was a close game after the first," Schmidt said, "Nick Macina played outstanding today. When you have a goalie who is making those kind of stops, the rest of the team plays even better in front of him.

“It’s all about consistency. Consistency is something that we need to work on," he added. "At the end of the day, I want the kids to improve, but to improve, you need consistency. I didn’t see consistency today at points in this game because, at times, St. Mary’s really took it to us. We still have some work to do going forward. St. Mary’s is a good team and the score doesn’t indicate how well they played.

"We have them next Saturday, and I wouldn’t expect a 7-0 game next Saturday.”

Prior to the rematch, Brother Rice hosts Trenton on Friday night, while St. Mary’s hosts Gilmore Academy.