BLOOMFIELD – Northwest Catholic started and finished the first half with a flourish and it sparked the Indians to a state tournament victory.
John Fox scored six goals and goalie David Kalamarides made 13 saves to lead No. 5 Northwest Catholic to a 16-12 victory over No. 12 Morgan in a Class S first-round matchup on Wednesday at St. Thomas Seminary.
The Indians (13-4) advance to the quarterfinals where they will meet No. 13 Weston, the defending Class S champs, who advanced with a 9-7 victory at No. 4 Granby.
Northwest Catholic jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was even a minute old. Aidan McDonnell (two goals, three assists) took a feed from Chris McLaughlin off a face-off win and scored just six seconds into the game. Fox added his first tally of the game 24 seconds later and the Indians never looked back.
“Getting face-off wins, winning ground balls, we are going to be tough if we can do that,” Northwest Catholic coach Peter Vlahakis said. “As good as we can be offensively, if we keep getting chances we are going to score a lot of goals.”
Morgan (10-7) settled down and trailed just 4-2 after the first quarter. Northwest Catholic then cranked up the offense again in the second quarter to essentially put this one away.
The Indians outscored the Huskies, 8-3, in the second quarter and had a run of three goals in the final 27 seconds before the half. Fox scored with :27 seconds left on the clock and again with eight seconds left in the first half. McLaughlin capped the spurt by winning the ensuing face-off and streaking in on goal to score with two seconds on the clock.
“That’s something that has been a bit of a weakness for us at times this season and not winning face-offs and not getting to some ground balls hurt,” Morgan coach Andrew Wrynn said. “Northwest Catholic has a good offense and we gave them too many chances.”
With a 12-5 lead at the half, Northwest Catholic was able to slow things down a bit in the second half and while Morgan never quit, the Huskies were never able to get close enough to put any real pressure on the Indians.
“I really liked what we did on offense in the first half and putting up 12 goals was huge,” Vlahakis said. “We were able to be patient and work it a bit in the second half. We play four middies, we don’t have a lot of depth there and sometimes they get tired, so I told the team possessing the ball for a few minutes was like scoring a goal.”
McLaughlin finished four goals, two assists and also came up with 14 ground balls for the Indians, who also got scoring from Ryan Donohue (two goals, one assist), Cameron Von Hollander (a goal and an assist) and Andrew Kearns (one goal).
Chris Waterbury, Luke Alfano and Joe Lee combined to score all 12 of Morgan’s goals, led by Waterbury, who tallied five with a pair of assists. Alfano had four goals and an assist and Lee added three goals and three assists.
“We fought but we just couldn’t put together a big enough run to really get over the hump,” Wrynn said. “We might score a couple in a row and they would answer and we couldn’t ever get it back.”
Northwest Catholic 4 8 2 2 – 16
Morgan 2 3 4 3 – 12