Photo: Steve Ruzzuto vs.
First, the good news: Steve Rizzuto is running hotter than your heating system during the latest artic snap. The Belmont High senior forward scored consecutive hat-tricks, the second coming in Belmont’s 6-1 away shellacking of Woburn High on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
And when the Marauders were down 1-0 deep in the third period against a pesky Lexington team Saturday, Jan. 6, it was Rizzuto who bailed out the team with a wonder strike to allow Belmont to limp out of the Skip with a 1-1 tie that even the coaching tweeted was admittingly “undeserved.”
Belmont Boys’ came back from its annual holiday break trip to Maine with a 2-0-1 record, having stopped Pinkerton 2-1 with Rizzuto scoring along with Alec Moran, tied defending Maine state champs Lewiston 2-2 and steamrolled Exeter, NH, 10-1, with Rizzuto hitting the hat trick along with fellow forward Conor Dacey.
After dispatching the usually tough Tanners, Belmont was looking for a good result Saturday, from the resurgent Minuteman – 6-3-0 coming into the match – led by the multi-talented (and the scourge of Belmont teams) senior forward Sal Frelick and fellow senior attack Devin Jenness. In a fast pace, up and down the ice affair, the two teams traded the rare good chances with Lexington looking slightly better in the offensive zone.
After nearly two periods of futility, Lexington caught the long-awaited break it was looking for as Jenness broke the Belmont defense for a breakaway in on goalie Kevin Dacey. The senior netminder stopped the initial shot but Jenness banged in the rebound to put the Minutemen up with 2:20 left in the middle stanza.
Nor did it appear Belmont was generating the effort to put one by Lexington’s freshman goalie Donald McCarthy. In stepped Rizzuto who took a pass from senior linemate Will Domeniconi just to the right of the net and roofed a stunner passed a well-positioned McCarthy at 8:45 in the third.
For the remaining 7:15, it was the goalies that took center stage but for different reasons. Dacey stood tall against sustain Minutemen pressure while at the other end, McCarthy’s moment of indiscretion with a minute remaining (bad language, pitching a puck at an official and throwing a stick) saw the rare instance of a goalie in the penalty box but only for a moment as he was waved off the ice. It nearly cost Lexington as Belmont put a pair of testers on Lexington’s backup 9th grader but at the buzzer, the battle ended in an unsatisfying tie.
The Boys will wait for Wednesday, Jan. 10 to take on a tough Winchester squad away before returning home to the Skip to meet Reading on Saturday, Jan. 13.