If you saw Malden Catholic’s Ara Nazarian play on the ice, you’d never know that he was just a sophomore centering the Lancers’ top line.
Yet the Boxford native has led the way for MC in the Super 8 tournament, netting his fourth shorthanded goal of the postseason during Wednesday’s 5-3 victory over Catholic Memorial in semifinal action.
With the win, the Lancers are defending their title and headed back to their third straight Super 8 final at the TD Garden tomorrow.
“We’re feeling good and it’s turned our season completely around,” said Nazarian. “We still have one more game left to accomplish our goal and that’s what we’re putting our focus on now.”
While icing the game for the Lancers with a empty-netter, Nazarian recorded a hat trick and was the leading scorer of the game. Though he’s a new face to some, Nazarian did in fact play in last year’s Super 8 tourney and has been around head coach John McLean since he was a little kid.
“I’ve been coaching Ara since he played on Mites,” said McLean. “He was a great player even then and it’s been a pleasure to coach him. Ara’s extremely skilled and will be Division 1 player pretty soon and commit some place.
“To me he’s the best player in the league. As a team we hit a speed bump and he just continued to do what he’s used to doing, coming through in big games.”
MC’s top line of Mike Iovanna (Middleton), Tyler Sifferlen and Nazarian have developed solid chemistry over the past year and have elevated their play this postseason.
“I played with Siffs since freshman year and Mikey fits great with us,” noted Nazarian, whose line factored into all five of the team’s goals on Wednesday night. “We’ve been playing really well together, moving the puck well and using our speed to get those goals.”
Though the Lancers (15-6-3) are bound for the finals, they did hit a rough patch in the regular season and struggled to stay about .500 during the month of January. That’s all ancient history now as Malden Catholic has won three straight tournament games to get to tomorrow’s main event.