The Cranston High School West boys hockey team unleashed a relentless, but balanced attack in its 5-1 win over North Kingstown Saturday evening at the University of Rhode Island’s Boss Ice Arena.
Five different players put the puck in the net and six different players assisted on goals for the Falcons, in the season opener for both teams. West fired off 50 shots on goal, compared to the Skippers’ 19 attempts.
“We had three balanced lines that all played very well,” said Falcons’ head coach Mike Boyajian. “We also did a nice job forechecking and backchecking.”
The score might have been more lopsided, if not for the stellar play of Skippers’ goalie Meridith Rocha. Facing a barrage of shots all night, Rocha made some amazing saves.
“You have to give her credit where it’s due,” Boyajian said. “You just can’t get frustrated when a goalie is playing well like that. A half an inch here or there and some of those shots would have gone through.”
With most of its top players gone from last year, due to graduation or a move to junior hockey, the Falcons will need new players to step up this season.
“We don’t have anyone who scored more than six points last season, we’re young on defense and we have a new goaltender,” Boyajian stated. “We’re working hard to form an identity.”
Against the Skippers, junior Chris Dodge and sophomore Anthony Simeone led the team in scoring. They each had a goal and two assists. Captain Joe Tomaselli and Garrett Demers chipped in a goal and an assist each.
The lone goal in the first period was scored by Dodge and assisted by Simeone and Dan DaSilva, 8:42 into the game. Goalie Derek Hagopian turned away all three shots that he faced.
West did a much better job of controlling the puck and keeping the action inside the blue line in the second period. In fact, the Falcons moved the puck so well, it often seemed as though they were on a power play, even though the teams played most of the frame at even strength.
Demers scored just 52 seconds into the second period when he skated in from mid-ice with the puck and flipped it past Rocha. Simeone netted the next goal after passing the puck and getting it back. Tomaselli snuck the puck past the goalie when he redirected a shot by Simeone. West’s fourth goal of the period was scored by Rudy Branca. It was assisted by Alex Nyzio and Demers.
In the third period, Stone Cooney prevented the Falcons from getting a shutout when he stole the puck at West’s blue line and fired it past Hagopian midway through the period.
The Falcons return to action next weekend. West will face Lincoln on Friday evening in West Warwick and Smithfield on Saturday night in Cranston.