The Saints won the battle of special teams, killing off four Scarborough power plays and netting a short-handed goal of their own, and Kyle Walsh made 17 saves in his first varsity appearance as St. Dom’s skated to a 2-1 victory over the Red Storm at Norway Savings Bank Arena.
“It’s definitely a good confidence booster since we have a lot of guys injured,” St. Dom’s senior forward Adam Poulin said. “It’s good to know we have a team that has each others’ backs and get a ‘W.'”
After more than 26 minutes of scoreless hockey, Poulin broke the stalemate at 11:16 of the second period. With the Saints playing the bulk of the frame in their defensive zone, Poulin scored at the most unexpected of times — short-handed.
Poulin’s short-handed goal started at center ice, where teammate Ryan Lutrzykowski tied up a Scarborough skater, allowing Poulin to possess the puck near the blue line. Poulin skated down the right wing before making a hard cut to the net and beating Scarborough goaltender Ben Bragg far post with a quick shot.
Poulin’s shot was just the second of the frame for the Saints.
“He skated hard all the way up the boards and he just continued hard to the net,” Ouellette said. “That was kind of the key to it. Quick shot. It was a quick shot. Good selection on that.”
The Saints (1-0) went the first half of the second period without a shot on goal, having to kill off two penalties in the early going. Scarborough’s Eric Murray had a shot hit off the crossbar on the Red Storm’s first power play of the frame, but couldn’t put the puck past Welsh.
“We were pleased with the effort because we know St. Dom’s is one of the better teams in the East this year,” Scarborough coach Norm Gagne said. “They have a few more veterans than we do and guys returning from last year and having that experience of playing in the state championship game was big for them. Overall, a good battle.”
Caleb Labrie nearly doubled the Saints’ advantage in the first minute of the third period on a breakaway, but had his shot stopped by Bragg. Labrie was whistled for three of St. Dom’s seven penalties, none of which the Red Storm capitalized on.
Less than three minutes after Labrie’s breakaway attempt, Noah Toussaint found the back of the net to put the Saints up 2-0 with 10:40 left. Toussaint connected on a one-timer in front off a pass from Isaac Lapointe from behind the net and beat Bragg stick side.
“We had a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior on D,” Gagne said. “We were really short-handed tonight. For our kids to battle the way they did, I was really proud.”
The Saints were on the defensive the rest of the way as they saw themselves take two more penalties. Welsh was tested all night, but proved to be St. Dom’s best penalty killer. Welsh made several point-blank saves to keep Scarborough off the board.
“It gives us a lot of confidence knowing Kyle has our backs,” Poulin said. “He kept us in the game, stood on his head. I was very proud of him the way he played today.”
The Red Storm (1-1) made things interesting in the final minutes when they were able to solve Welsh. A one-timer off the stick of Braeden Kane cut the Saints’ lead in half with 1:31 left. The goal came on the power play and with Bragg pulled for an extra skater.
Scarborough again pulled Bragg trying to find the equalizer, but to no avail. A penalty to Scarborough’s Sean McGovern with five seconds left sealed the Saints’ victory.
Despite it still being the first month of the season, both teams were dealing with injuries to a number of players. The Saints were without senior captain Brad Berube as well as four others. The Red Storm played without junior forward Matt Caron.
“We’re battling right now,” Ouellette said. “We have a lot of guys out with injuries. To get the win against a quality team, they’ve got some guys with injuries, too, but both teams are going to be different when you get to January. It is a good opportunity to get other guys in and get the, some quality minutes because it’s only going to help down the road.”