Kingston, MA: The Natick Red Hawks rode a balanced attack and smart defensive play to a 4-3 win over Bridgewater-Raynham Trojans in the opening game of the Island Creek Oyster Cup, hosted by Duxbury at The Bog in Kingston, MA. The game will be recorded as a tie as the OT was for purposes of the tournament.
Natick controlled play with Bridgewater-Raynham senior goalie Conner Harkins making several great saves early. Natick had a couple power play chances before freshman forward Sean McWhinnie fired a shot home on the power play off a nice pass from senior Andrew Kittler. The Red Hawks struck again soon after when junior David Drew found a loose puck and fired it home to give Natick a 2-0 lead with 3:33 left in the first. The Trojans would not go to the locker room quietly, however as sophomore Ryan Concannon banked home a rebound to pull his team within a goal. McWhinnie created the rebound with some nice moves to find space to fire the puck on the goal.
In the second, senior Jake Curley from Natick squeaked a shot by Harkins just 3:23 into the second to put Natick up 3-1. Play went up and down with Natick enjoying a couple more PP chances. Bridgewater-Raynham would not go away once again as junior Cole Brousseau chipped a puck by a Natick defenseman on a great individual effort, crashed the net and jammed the puck home. The Natick goalie was a bit shaken up and left the game after. Period ended with Natick up 3-2.
The third period saw some chances but more conservative play. However, with 7:56 left sophomore Perry used his reach and speed to get a puck in the Natick zone and fired a pass to Ryan Concannon who had the poise to settle and score his second of the afternoon. Game was tied at 3-3 and remained that way. It will go down as a tie for MIAA purposes but the tournament played a 3-on-3, five minute OT period.
In overtime, both teams looked a bit uncertain as it is a new experience to play 3-on-3 hockey for a win. Natick was able to get the goal to move to the Championship Game as senior captain Ricky Mingolelli came down the wing with some speed and snapped a low shot home.
Good game overall as both teams played hard. Natick will play Duxbury for the Cup at The Bog. Game time is 7:15 PM
For Natick, we thought they played the most complete game of the four teams at the tournament. Senior defenseman Cory Meehan played big minutes and we thought was the best player on the ice either team. He has good mobility, compete and sense. Good prep candidate. McWhinnie is young but showed he could finish as his shot was accurate, hard and in the top corner. Matthew Haskell was another freshman who showed some skill for the Red Hawks. Junior Jordan McCall played some important minutes and is big, keeps things simple and worked hard.
For Bridgewater-Raynham, Concannon showed a nose for the net and was all around the puck. Senior Alec Wonson played with great pace and creativity. Eddie Perry is a sophomore who can get more from his stride but played a solid game. Will Genaske is a younger forward who showed flashes of skill.
1. Ricky Mingolelli (Natick)
2. Ryan Concannon (Bridgewater-Raynham)
3. Cory Meehan (Natick)