Drew Haxton, Bishop Hendricken’s sophomore center, scored the go-ahead goal at 8:37 of the third period, which eventually gave the Hawks a 4-3 victory over the Mount St. Charles Mounties at a sold out Adelard Arena on Friday night.
“Drew’s been great,” Hendricken head coach James Creamer said. “He works his tail off every day. No one’s going to outwork Drew Haxton. He works as hard as you can. And, I’m thrilled for him that he got rewarded with the game-winning goal tonight.”
“I just do my job out there,” Haxton said. “It’s my responsibility to do things in certain moments and I just try to make the best of the opportunities that I’m given. And, I was just happy to be in the right moment at the right time. I eventually put it home.”
With the victory, Hendricken locked up the top seed in the Division I Hockey playoffs while Mount finishes in third.
“I’m super proud of them,” Creamer said. “They really stuck with it. And, Mount had so much momentum with the ceremony tonight and the atmosphere. And, our kids just did a great job.”
Prior to what was the Mounties last home game, a retirement ceremony took place for Mount head coaches Bill and Dave Belisle.
Bill, Dave’s father, led Mount to 26 straight state titles from 1978-2004 and 32 overall. Belisle won more than 1,000 games during his 44-year long coaching career. A dozen of Belisle’s former players reached the NHL. Belisle was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016.
“They’re incredible,” Creamer said of the Belisle’s. “They’re great coaches, they’re better people. They’re great human beings.”
“Since 1974, they’ve just been the cornerstone of our league,” Creamer continued. “And, so many people have benefited from it. Not only the Mount players, but every other player that’s played in the interscholastic league has benefited from Bill and Dave Belisle. And, it’s been an honor on my part to for the last 25 years compete against them. And, it’s going to be a different league without them. It’s not going to be a better league without them. But, we’re going to miss them.”
Three minutes into the contest, Hendricken senior forward Jax Zaroogian lit the lamp with an unassisted tally and gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Mount got even when Alex Pratt, a junior forward, scored a powerplay goal after an assist from Mike Canavan.
Pratt struck gain with an unassisted tally at 13:28 of the second period and put the Mounties on top 2-1.
Hendricken tied the game at 2, a minute and a half later, when Nathan Palumbo, a sophomore forward, found the back of the net following an assist from Grayson Ahearn.
Though, 48 seconds later, Mount took a 3-2 edge when Trey Bourque, a junior, scored following an assist from Ceejay Laquerre.
Then with 17 seconds remaining in the period, Matt Dumond hustled down the ice and fired a shot on net, which was blocked by Mount goaltender Ryan Forget, but Harry Giuliano, a sophomore left wing, beat the goaltender with a rebound blast, which deadlocked the game at 3.
Haxton’s game-winner came 6:23 into the third frame when he rifled in a wrister from 15 feet out after an assist from Jack Dean, a senior.
Haxton will cherish his winning-tally at Mount for a lifetime and it means more to him to do it against two of the greatest coaches hockey has ever seen.
It was Hendricken’s last time playing at Mount as they are leaving the Rhode Island Interscholastic League after this season to move to a new prep league.
“It feels great,” Haxton said. “Obviously, they’re great coaches. They’ve been here for a long time. It’s just great to get that feeling here, win it, last time, with the boys. It was a great experience for the whole team. It was a great team-bonding experience for us moving forward.”
At the conclusion of the game the entire Hawks roster skated over to the Mounties bench and congratulated both Bill and Dave Belisle on their exceptional careers. The Hawks then took a photo with the Belisle’s.
Hendricken senior goaltender Patrick Gribbin made 18 saves during the contest while Forget made 28 stops for Mount.
On Saturday night Hendricken improved its record in Division I to 12-1-1 when it beat Moses Brown/E. Providence/Tolman Co-op 6-3 during its final regular season game on Saturday night.