Pope Francis falls to Arlington in Super 8 winners bracket final

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  • Pope Fracis’ Logan Dapprich looks for an opportunity atainst Arlington during the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Pope Francis’s Connor Wodecki, of Easthampton, moves into the zone against Arlington’s Ryan Davies during the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Pope Francis goalie Ben Zaranek, of South Deerfield, stares down an attempt during the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

  • Pope Francis goalie Ben Zaranek, of South Deerfield, and defenseman Logan Dapprich, of Amherst, watch the puck during the Super 8 winners bracket final, Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals lost 2-1 to drop to the losers bracket. They will play St. John’s Prep at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loring Arena. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Pope Francis freshman Ryan Leonard, of Amherst,  carries the puck up the iceduring the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

  • Pope Francis’ Jack Kennedy of Granby moves the puck out of the zone during the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Pope Francis goalie Ben Zaranek, of Souh Deerfield, allows the opening goal of the the Super 8 winners bracket final Saturday at Loring Arena in Framingham. The Cardinals drop to the losers bracket and will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 3/7/2020 9:51:13 PM

FRAMINGHAM — Pope Francis’ habit of rallying in the third period finally bit the Cardinals.

Arlington High School had Pope Francis in a two-goal hole to start the third period of Wednesday’s Super 8 winners bracket final at Loring Arena. The Cardinals drew one back, but couldn’t tie the game despite a scramble near the buzzer and lost 2-1.

“We’re a third-period team. We score most of our goals in the third, so we were looking forward to the third, it just didn’t end up coming our way this time,” Amherst’s Logan Dapprich said.

The loss drops No. 3 Pope Francis to the double-elimination tournament’s losers bracket. The Cardinals will play No. 4 St. John’s Prep (14-5-5), which took out No. 2 BC High in overtime to advance, at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at Loring Arena.

No. 1 Arlington will await the winner in the Super 8 championship Sunday at TD Garden.

“Losing this game makes us want to get there more,” goalie Ben Zaranek, of South Deerfield, said. “That’s all we want. We want to play them again, and we want to win. That’s all we want to do right now.”

The Cardinals had won eight straight games and cruised through their first two Super 8 tilts by a combined 10-1 score. They opened the winners bracket final with the same surge.

Pope Francis (15-5-2) nearly scored on its second shift, but couldn’t put the puck away in a scrum.

Arlington (19-1-4) capitalized. The Spy Ponders took the lead with 8 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the first period. Brendan Jones buried a shot from the right side of goal from Jake Murphy and Anthony Messuri.

“We were taking it to ‘em. They got that chance and it went in,” Zaranek said.

The Spy Ponders didn’t take long to double their lead. Dapprich was whistled for interference with 7:20 left in the period to put Arlington on the power play. Ryan Davies scored 29 seconds later to make it 2-0.

“I took a dumb penalty, and the puck ended up in the back of our goal,” Dapprich said. “It was a bunch of unfortunate bounces. We’ll come back stronger on Wednesday an hopefully meet them again.”

The Cardinals took their best shot on the power play in the second period. Jame Santagati’s slashing penalty put Pope Francis on the man advantage. The Cardinals sustained pressure for the full two minutes and hit the post, but Arlington goalie Nathan Brennan denied every opportunity, even rolling over to close down a shot from the opposite side of the net after a cross-ice pass.

“I don’t think they made many mistakes, and when they did the goalie played great,” Pope Francis coach Brian Foley said. “He made a spectacular save on the power play. It looked like he was cleanly beat and he made a great recovery save.”

The Cardinals defense settled in as their offense found its footing. Zaranek didn’t allow any goals over the final 36:51, and Pope Francis didn’t give Arlington many chances.

“Ben’s a good goalie. He doesn’t give up much,” Foley said. “I just would have liked to see the team play a complete game tonight without the breakdowns.”

Pope Francis threw its punch with 4:58 left. Connor Cognac corralled a pass from Jacob Iby and fired it on net. The puck got through Brennan and wobbled over the line, igniting Pope Francis.

“That’s our third line. Any time you get a big goal from a third line, that’s going to give a team a boost,” Foley said. “I thought the ensuing power play was our opportunity.”

Amherst’s Ryan Leonard drew a hooking call for Pope Francis with 3:40 remaining. Arlington cleared Poe Francis’ first two attempts in the zone, and the Cardinals couldn’t equalize.

“We didn’t really manage the puck too well to try and tie it up,” Foley said.

Pope Francis pulled Zaranek once the Cardinals regained possession, but an offside call with 37 seconds remaining put them in a challenging spot. The Cardinals eventually gained possession and lined up Granby’s Jack Kennedy for a shot with the clock ticking down, but he couldn’t beat Brennan from distance.

Arlington sprinted toward its fan section, as some Spy Ponders climbed on the boards to celebrate their first trip to the Garden since 2017, when they last won the Super 8 title.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, will attempt to replicate BC High’s 2019 Super 8 run when the Eagles dropped to the losers bracket after losing a winners bracket final then took down the Cardinals for the title.

“We’re the BC, hopefully, of 2020,” Foley said. “The good thing about winning your first two games is you can lose and only have to win one game to get right back to the Garden.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter@kylegrbwsk.



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