SANTA MARGARITA- Michael Walsh’s dominant eight-point performance (3G, 5A) led No. 5 Santa Margarita (4-0, 12-4) to an 11-5 conference win over No. 9 Mater Dei (3-3, 11-6) on Tuesday, Santa Margarita’s senior night. The Eagles magic number for clinching the Trinity League outright has shrunk to one game with the win, while the Monarchs had their brief two-game win streak snapped.
“The energy seemed low early,” said Santa Margarita head coach Adam Guy. “Lot of unforced turnovers, just dropped passes, poor passes, missing ground balls. Just really uncharacteristic of the way we’ve been playing, and that allowed [Mater Dei] to get some goals and to get a little momentum.”
Jack Irvin got Mater Dei on the board first with an unassisted goal in the first, but Walsh tied the game up at one apiece after one quarter of play. After Nick Sando’s goal early in the second, the Eagles scored three unanswered to give Santa Margarita a tight 4-2 lead at the half.
“We started to right the ship again at halftime, reverted a little bit back to early season where we’d play two half’s,” Guy said. “In the third and in the fourth we pulled away a little bit.”
Zach Torres and Sando opened the scoring up in the third quarter to tie the game at four. However, Quentin Buchman’s two unanswered goals gave the Eagles the two goal lead back as they headed into the final frame up 6-4.
The fourth quarter belonged to Santa Margarita who outscored Mater Dei 5-1 in the frame to win the game 11-5.
“Very emotional game, back and forth,” said Mater Dei head coach Johnny Rodriguez. “Great game by Adam Guy and the Eagles, they came together when it counted and good teams do that. I think we ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. We have a small roster. We ran our first line middies pretty hard, D Middies pretty hard. The boys really fought hard through the first three quarters. Just ran out of gas at the end.”
Outside of Walsh’s impressive performance, the Eagles offensively received contributions from Buchman’s hat trick (3G), Jack Allender (2G), Nicholas Parrino (1G, 1A), Jack Fisher (1G) and Sean Mack (1G). Mack’s goal was the first of the season for the Whittier-bound senior defenseman. Chase Lynch continued his dominance as a FOGO, winning 13 of 18 faceoffs.
Walsh has been an integral part of Santa Margarita’s recent success, and Guy couldn’t be happier with the progression he’s made throughout the season.
“[Walsh] has really been a good project here,” Guy said. “Development wise, he really has turned it on and that helps a ton. It takes a lot of pressure off of [Buchman], now they have to account for him. That’s a nice little one-two-punch that we have.”
Sando (2G) and Sean Waterman (1G, 1A) were the leading point grabbers for the Monarchs, with Irvin and Torres each contributing a goal apiece. Sean Homsy had 13 saves between the pipes on the defensive side. As a team, Mater Dei committed six penalties. But that did not bother Rodriguez, who was happy with the emotion his team showed throughout the game.
“When we score goals, I want them to celebrate, when we get scored on I want them to act like they’ve been scored on,” Rodriguez said. “The chippiness. We wanted to show emotion today. We wanted to act pissed off. We wanted them to act like [Santa Margarita] just went on a three-goal run. The fact that we did that, doesn’t show that we’re a classless team.”
Guy said after Tuesday’s game he will be looking to balance the teams continued success as well as getting in some rest for some of his key players as the team heads into the playoffs, but Santa Margarita can clinch the Trinity League title outright with a win over JSerra (0-5, 2-13) on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
Meanwhile, Mater Dei will look to carry momentum into the postseason on senior night when they host No. 17 Huntington Beach (5-2, 8-8) Thursday at 7 p.m.