One could argue that Ricky Smith was simply making up for lost time.
A defenseman for Xaverian, the senior from Weymouth sat out last season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a game two winters ago. After rehabbing his damaged knee — and getting the blessing from his future baseball coach at Merrimack College — Smith came in prepared for one final run with his high school teammates.
Monday night, instead of watching from the bench, Smith had all eyes on him.
Smith scored 1:15 into the second overtime as eighth-seeded Xaverian emerged with a 6-5 victory over No.9-seed Archbishop Williams in the first Super 8 play-in game at Stoneham Arena.
Smith, who had scored only once before this season, scored twice Monday and added an assist.
“[That was the] biggest goal of my life,” said Smith. “I’m not really a goal-scoring defenseman, more like an assist guy. I came out on the ice, knew I had a job to do, and stepped it up, helped out the team.”
The Hawks (12-3-6), who rallied from deficits on three occasions, advanced into the Super 8 for the first time since 2008 and will face the tournament’s top seed, BC High, in a best-of-three series starting Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
Down, 5-3, in the second period, the Hawks slowly chipped away. Smith scored from the right circle with 2:02 left in the period.
Xaverian continued to pressure Archbishop Williams (12-6-3), peppering goaltender Steve Jenner (43 saves) with 14 shots in the final period as the Hawks searched for the tying goal.
With the puck in the left circle and 3:50 left in regulation, Jack Cook collected the puck and shot on net. The junior forward from Milton beat Jenner five-hole for his second of the contest, knotting the game at 5.
Xaverian had two scoring chances in the final 20 seconds of regulation, but both attempts from close range trickled just wide of the net.
The Hawks continued to build momentum in the first six-minute overtime, piling on 10 shots.
In the second OT, the teams skated 4 on 4. Smith took a feed up the right wing from Nick Colantuoni and, skating 3 on 1, snapped home a wrist shot.
Freshman Aidan Murphy got strong as the game went on, as he made 14 of his 28 saves in the third period and the overtimes.
Xaverian scored first, but Bishops senior forward Ryan Dunn skated in on a 2 on 1 and flicked a shot past Murphy to tie the game 7:16 into the first. Five seconds later, Michael Davis carried the faceoff through the right circle and beat Murphy top shelf.
Cook’s first goal of the night, with 37.5 seconds to play in the first, tied the score.
Catholic Memorial 2, Braintree 1 — Junior captain Aaron Clancy netted two goals in 84 seconds late in the third period and sophomore Brandon Collett, who was celebrating his 16th birthday, turned aside 15 shots as the No. 10-seed Knights roared back to knock out the seventh-seeded Wamps.
“We just went in [to the locker room] and did a little soul-searching,” Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson said. “We just weren’t playing as hard as they were. They were great in the neutral zone, and we adjusted by coming back a little deeper, anticipating the red line, and playing dirty hockey. Ugly hockey.”
Catholic Memorial (10-7-4) moves on to play Catholic Conference rival and second-seeded Malden Catholic in a best-of-three series beginning at TD Garden Sunday afternoon.
With the defeat, Braintree (13-5-3) falls into the Division 1 South bracket as the No. 1 seed.
The Knights found themselves in a 1-0 hole at 11:34 of the first when Kevin Howard sent a slap shot through traffic.
That’s the only one Collett would allow. On offense, the Knights were rewarded with 4:07 left in regulation when Clancy rifled a shot past Braintree’s Nick Anson (20 saves).
Clancy followed with his eighth goal of the season 1:24 later out of a scramble in front.