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Mayfield vs. NDCL hockey: Wildcats break through, fend off Lions' comeback bid, 3-2

Feb. 4—The thought had to eke its way into Mayfield's psyche deep in the second period Feb. 3 against Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.

Despite a heavy shot disparity and sustained offensive-zone presence, what was it going to require for the Wildcats to solve the proverbial riddle that was Lions goaltender Anna Adamic?

It took a while in this GCHSHL Blue South encounter, as Adamic stood tall against a potent foe on NDCL's senior night. But the Wildcats did finally emerge with some answers.

Tyler Carcelli's power-play goal late in the second period broke a scoreless deadlock and JD Sega and Trey Kline lit the lamp in the third, providing the impetus toward Mayfield's 3-2 win at Mentor Civic Arena.

PHOTOS: Mayfield vs. NDCL hockey, Feb. 3, 2024

It got a bit more dicey than Wildcats coach Jacob Macula would have preferred, as a 3-0 third-period lead careened into a 3-2 battle in the final minute. But it was effective enough, which with a young club will suffice.

"That was a great game there," Macula said. "At the beginning of the year, we beat them, 7-4. But they were much improved from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, which is what you like to see. You like to see teams improve. It was a good, strong game all around.

"That was a game where I thought we were pretty much in control of it most of the game. But their goalie stood on her head. It was her senior night. She was going to give her best performance she could. I knew, once we broke through, I was pretty positive we were going to have them right where we wanted them. We were going to put in a couple more, and luckily, we did."

Mayfield went on the power play in the second courtesy of an interference penalty. JD Sega walked in a wrister from the right side of his zone. Adamic made the initial save, but a long rebound was left for Carcelli, which the freshman handled well with a wide tapper for a 1-0 advantage. It was his first goal of the season, one that came with an audible sense of relief from he and his teammates.

Mayfield 1-0

Tyler Carcelli on a long rebound off a JD Sega initial look at 11:25 on PP pic.twitter.com/pHLFOGE9ux

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) February 4, 2024

"I just try to make sure, when I'm on offense, making sure I'm in the right positions," Carcelli said. "I saw (Sega's) rebound, so I made sure to get right to the net. And then I just finished it off.

"I think we started out a little bit slow, but then, in that second period and that third period, we started picking it up. It got a little chippy, but we just had to stay calm and just keep playing our game."

Sega, Mayfield's standout two-way blueliner, generated a beauty to make it a 2-0 game.

The sophomore carried through the neutral zone, crashed the net through the right circle and put home a wrister gloveside at 1:32 for his 40th goal of the winter.

Mayfield sophomore defenseman JD Sega discusses a 3-2 Blue South win over NDCL at Mentor

That program is in good hands with him helping to lead the charge for a while — his 2-way skill is fun to watch pic.twitter.com/H0EcTtezmf

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) February 4, 2024

Kline contributed the third at 5:52 on a shelfie to open a 3-0 advantage.

What seemed comfortable, though, became anything but.

The Lions, to their utmost credit between a sterling 36-night evening from Adamic and a gritty effort down the stretch, struck for a pair of goals to make it interesting late.

On a man advantage, Charlie Johnson powered home a slapper from the top of the zone at 10:35.

NDCL on the board through Charlie Johnson at 10:35 on PP

3-1 Mayfield pic.twitter.com/nbEzyT6jRu

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) February 4, 2024

Robbie Moore then made it a 3-2 game with 39 seconds left on a wrister from the right side to cap a sustained sequence in front.

NDCL within 3-2

Robbie Moore at 14:21 pic.twitter.com/UKM8A7hINw

— Chris Lillstrung (@CLillstrungNH) February 4, 2024

The Wildcats enjoyed a 19-4 shots advantage in the opening 15 but could not solve Adamic. The Lions' netminder did well to notch a 19-save period, including solid stops on JD Sega at 9:53 and on Kline on a wide carry and wrister at the left bar at 14:04.

NDCL had a promising chance in the first through Ethan Emery, but he was stymied by Mayfield goalie Vinnie Francetic at 7:12.

Prior to Carcelli's breakthrough, Adamic also turned away JD Sega with a glove stop at 5:43 and a backhand look on a breakaway at 6:57.

A young squad needed to show some patience, especially with the thought deep in its psyche of what it might require to break through. But it was found.

While Mayfield will not be part of the Baron Cup III field this week at Brooklyn, as the Blue South's entries for the tournament were already set heading into this game, the Wildcats hope a return to Brooklyn isn't too far off with this youthful nucleus in place.

"(The growth) is night and day from the beginning of the year," Macula said. "The growth that we've seen, not just at skill level — there's a lot of guys playing now that had just started back in November. That was their first time playing, and now some of them are playing decent minutes out there on the ice.

"So not just their technical skills, but maturity-wise, you can see a lot of the growth there."

THE SCORE (FEB. 3)

Mayfield 3, NDCL 2