Nick Bowerman has a clearly defined role on Holy Cross’ first line.
“That line was built to have one guy pass, one guy grind and one guy score,” Knights coach Kevin Goodspeed said. “He’s usually the grinder on that line.”
Bowerman, though, might have a new role after scoring a hat trick to lead Holy Cross to a 3-2 win against Xavier in the opening game of the best-of-three CHSHL Class B semifinal series at World Ice Arena Monday night.
The Knights could wrap up the series and book their ticket to the finals with a Game 2 win Friday night at Abe Stark Rink. A Xavier win would force a decisive Game 3 Saturday at the Ice Hutch.
“My other two linemates usually go out there and put pucks in the net and I’m usually out there for hitting,” Bowerman said. “Today was a little different.”
Goodspeed has given Bowerman a hard time about putting pucks on net, let alone scoring goals. Before the opener, he pulled Bowerman aside and offered a last-minute suggestion.
“He’s always telling me I’m always missing the net, which is kind of true,” Bowerman said. “He said to me in the beginning of the game to look at the net and make sure when you shoot, you hit it. That’s what I did. I looked before I shot and got three out of it. I think I’ll take his advice from now on.”
Fourth-seeded Xavier (10-6-1 CHSHL B) led 1-0 after a penalty-plagued first period for Holy Cross as Joseph DeAngelo beat Knights goaltender J.D. Schabuttl with a hard slap shot from the left point for a power play goal.
No. 1 Holy Cross (15-1-1) peppered Knights goaltender Dan Joyce, who Goodspeed called “the best player on the ice,” before Bowerman finally tied the game with a one-timer on the power play with 2:19 left in the second. Alan Mook, the passer on the line, picked up the first of his two assists.
“He really stood on his head for them tonight,” Bowerman said of Joyce. “He played a lot better than he did in the regular season. I was a little surprised.”
Bowerman put the Knights in front, 2-1, with a blistering wrist shot that knocked Joyce’s water bottle off the top of the net with 9:35 left and completed the hat trick on a rebound 24 seconds later.
“He’s more of a playmaker for us, but he’s got a good shot and when he takes it, anything can happen,” Goodspeed said of Bowerman. “He gave us three big ones today.”
Jake Erhard made things interesting when he scored on a rebound with 4:33 left in the third, but Xavier was unable to tie the game.
Still, Knights coach Al Dimauro is encouraged heading into Friday night’s Game 2.
“When you look at the game overall, it was a pretty even game,” Dimauro said. “I was happy with our performance. Anytime you go out there and you can say you gave it your all, win, lose or draw, you have to feel good about your performance.”
Bowerman sure does. Now it’s time to renegotiate his role.
“I’m going to have to give them a run for their money, a little competition now,” Bowerman said. “Let’s see what happens. I like to do a little bit of both.”
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