No one associated with the Falmouth High School ice hockey team wanted to see the start of a new season, and a new era, begin on a sour note. Unfortunately, though, it did. The Clippers suffered a decisive 4-0 loss on the road in their season opener at the Bridgewater Ice Arena last night as the Bridgewater-Raynham High School squad enjoyed two-goal periods in both the second and third to win decisively.
While the loss certainly didn’t have anyone inside the Falmouth High locker room exiting the rink with much to be happy about, first year Head Coach Paul Moore stressed the positives in summarizing his young team’s first game that counted in the standings.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but the effort was there,” Moore said. “Our guys competed with them, that’s all you can ask for. It’s something to build on. It’s a long year.”
During the first period the two clubs were clearly feeling one another out, and trying to shake off the first game jitters. B-R, the more experienced club of the two, came out with fire to start the second period and jumped on FHS by getting a pair over the first 7:04 of the frame to take control.
FHS owned the second half of the middle stanza, but despite outshooting the Trojans by a 9-5 margin during the period, they trailed by two heading into the third. B-R went on to add another two in the third, with Falmouth giving an uneven effort and coming away shotless for the 15-minute frame. B-R’s first goal came just seconds into the second period on a shot that goalie Jake Beaton (14 saves) never saw. The old hockey adage is “throw it at the net, and good things will happen,” and that is just what happened for the home team as Adam Chase fluttered a wrister off the right wing boards, 10 feet inside the blue line, that sneaked in through the short side at the 26-second mark.
The Clippers nearly answered shortly after that, but B-R goalie Christian Cellini made his first two of several big stops on the way to his shutout. He first made a nice toe stop on a shot by freshman defenseman Cam Tobey that was labeled for the far side and then got a piece of a backhander off the stick of Cody Bailey, which came just 20 seconds later. With FHS starting to create some action on offense, the wind came out of the Clippers’ sails shortly after that.
The FHS defense got caught too far up the ice and the Trojans skated in free on a 2-on-0 break that saw Connor Sullivan slide the puck across for Noah Paige, who tipped it in. Moore said that he was pretty sure that the play should have been ruled offside, but did not make excuses for the mistake by his club.
“I can’t wait to see the tape,” he said. “But, we can’t let that happen.”
From that point on, the Clippers showed flashes of just how good they could be this season. While none of the team’s shots got past Cellini, the chances that they generated were of a high quality and came in quick succession. Robbie Souza and Zack Barrett each had a couple of chances from in close that nearly lit the lamp, and Arlin Moore also had a nice bid that was gloved by the keeper.
“We didn’t get that break that we needed. That kid made some big saves, I thought we outplayed them in the second, but I think we were left in the locker room in the third period,” Moore said.
The third period was not a good one by the Clippers. The team did not handle the puck well in its own end or the neutral zone and never was able to establish anything in the offensive end. The Clippers did not muster a shot on the net in the third as B-R did a great job of forcing turnovers and keeping the puck wide, especially after an early barrage saw them score two goals in 38 seconds to double their lead to four.
“I think we ran out of gas a little bit, and we have to do a better job of taking care of the puck,” Moore said.
The Trojans got their second lucky break of the night on the third goal of the game. A slap shot from the high slot by John Dray whistled wide to the near side, a good two feet wide of Beaton, who was hugging the pipe. The blast caromed hard off the rear wall and came out on the doorstep on the other side where Anthony Hart popped it in a wide-open net to make it 3-0. Shortly after that Mike Hiltz scored with a man draped on his back, roofing a shot from in close, accounting for the final score.
“There were some good things tonight, and there were some things that need to be improved,” Moore said.
For FHS, it’s on to a jamboree at home over the weekend, and then game number two next Wednesday when FHS will welcome Coyle and Cassidy for a 7 PM game.