(VIDEO) Belmont Hill Edges Nobles

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By Kevin J. Stone @kstone6

DEDHAM – With the top of the ISL standings fluctuating by the week, Belmont Hill visited Noble & Greenough on Wednesday looking to stay hot, while keeping pace with the likes of St. Sebastian’s, Rivers and Governor’s.

Thanks to just enough offense, some solid defense and timely goalkeeping they were able to do just that, coming away with an impressive 8-5 road win.

No. 2 Belmont Hill has won four straight games since a loss to St. Sebastian’s on April 26 and is now 9-2 overall on the year and 9-1 in the league. The loss snaps No. 5 Noble’s seven-game winning streak, which also started following a loss to Seb’s back on April 7. The Bulldogs fell to 11-3 overall and 8-2 in the ISL.

Oddly enough, it has been the loss of a Captain, for the remainder of the season with an injury, which has actually sparked the Hillies as of late.

“The loss of one of our captains (Zach Geddes) a few games ago has made us have to sort of reinvent ourselves,” said Belmont Hill coach Tim Sullivan. “We’ve had to become even more team centered than we already were. Each day we’re just working on little things that we can work on and the guys have done a nice job of figuring out how to respond when you lose such a dynamic player and leader.”

The win did not come easy on Wednesday, as Belmont Hill carried a 6-3 lead into the fourth quarter but quickly saw Nobles make things interesting late.

With 10:18 to go in the game Noble’s defenseman Jake Calnan scored on a fast break, off a ground ball, making it 6-4 for Belmont Hill. With 5:13 to play Will Zink finished a feed from Quinton Abrecht on the doorstep of the crease to bring the Dogs to within one at 6-5.

A 2:00 unnecessary roughness call with 3:35 to play in the game ended up severely halting Nobles’ momentum. A goal by Brodie Rayment with 2:33 remaining would put Belmont Hill back up 7-5 and Jake Haase would cap off the win, with 33 seconds to play, on empty net goal.

“I actually sing and hum to myself to keep calm,” explained Belmont Hill goalie Danny Hincks (14 saves) when asked how he stays poised when the game gets tight like it did in the fourth quarter. “I just try and go with the flow of the game, talk to the other defensemen, but it did get a little nerve racking at the end there. I’m glad we got the win.”

“We knew no lead was safe because of just how good that Nobles program is,” added Sullivan.

Early on Belmont Hill controlled the pace of play, scoring the game’s first two goals to grab an early 2-0 lead. Christian O’Neill got things rolling with 9:22 left in the first, finishing off a feed from Pete Tamasi. Some phenomenal ball movement eventually led to the 2-0 lead for the Hillies, with 3:54 to go in the first as Haase scored on a quick-stick goal with the assist going to O’Neill.

A turnover and quick restart led to Noble’s first goal from Jett Dziama who walked in all alone to make it 2-1 heading to the second quarter.

The Hillies had the only two goals of second quarter while Nobles goalie McCrae Williams (13 saves) had his work cut out for him throughout the afternoon.

Haase didn’t score Belmont Hill’s third goal until just 1:22 remained in the half despite lengthy chunks of possession time as he scored on a rifle from up top with the assist going to O’Neill at X. With five seconds left in the half O’Neill had the ball behind the cage, and immediately on the referee’s whistle made a strong move towards the cage, shoveling it home as time expired to make it 4-1 at the half.

“For the past couple years we’ve battled against Nobles and they’ve been close games,” said O’Neill. “So, to come in here and be able to win another close one is special. With both of us at the top of the league too, it just makes it that much more important.”

Belmont Hill’s offense continued rolling early in the second half as goals by Tamasi and O’Neill made it 6-1 Hillies with 8:51 to play in the third. With 5:38 to go Nick Loring brought Noble & Greenough to within four, making it 6-2 with a laser from the top of the box that beat Hincks clean. Dziama made it 6-3 with 1:51 to go in the third, setting up the dramatic final 12 minutes.

While the win was a big one for Belmont Hill, focus quickly shifted to what’s next.

“We’re on to the next one,” Sullivan said with a laugh. “The schedule that’s in front of us is nothing short of relentless through the rest of the season. We’re happy we won but we’ve got to have a quick turnaround and get ready to play Friday night.”

Belmont Hill will match up with No. 4 Rivers on Friday night, in a much-anticipated game between two of the State’s best.

Nobles gets back to action on Saturday, as they travel to St. George’s to take on the Dragons.

GAME BOX SCORE:

GOALS: BH – O’Neill (3), Haase (3), Rayment, Tamasi
N&G – Dziama (2), Calnan, Loring, Zink

ASSISTS: BH – O’Neill (3), Tamasi (3), Haase
N&G – Loring, Dziama

SAVES: BH (HINCKS) – 14
N&G (WILLIAMS) – 13

SHOTS: BH – 40
N&G – 20

FACE OFFS: BH – 11
N&G – 5

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