#1 Salisbury at #2 Gunnery; 1/23/2019
The #1 Salisbury Crimson Knights went on the road and came out with a dominating 9-3 win over the #2 Gunnery Highlanders. From the drop of the puck to the final buzzer, Salisbury dominated play in every facet. Salisbury senior goalie Jared Levine (Newport Beach, CA) made 27 saves and turned away a few good Highlander chances to earn the win. Lucas Mercuri (Lachaine, QC) and Justin Hryckowian (Ile-Bizard, QC) each had three points for the victors.
Salisbury had lots of offensive zone time right away and went hard and fast after every loose puck. The pace and intensity caught Gunnery off guard as every Salisbury shift seemed to result in a scoring chance. With 10:50 remaining senior Justin Hryckowian scored right off a faceoff win by Lucas Mercuri to give the Crimson Knights a 1-0 lead. The Salisbury line with Hryckowian, junior Lucas Mercuri in the middle and junior Nick Capone (East Haven, CT) were particularly dominant from the start. Salisbury struck again just 56 seconds later this time short-handed as junior Matt DeBoer (Madison, NJ) grabbed a puck, separated and fired it top corner for the 2-0 lead. Sophomore Dean Bauchiero (Southington, CT) and junior D Bobby Metz (Bloomfield Hills, MI) picked up assists. Gunnery gained some momentum as they had some chances middle of the period but they went to the room down 2-0. Salisbury took a four-minute penalty late, giving the Gunnery faithful some hope.
Gunnery came out with good energy for the second and with about 3:30 of a power play carrying over from the first period. Senior Robert Cronin (Plymouth, MA) had a goal called back but quickly regrouped and responded with an actual score on a rebound just 1:34 into the second. Riley Brennan (Manorville, NY) and Alex Coady (Milford, MA) picked up PP assists. The power play goal made it 2-1. Salisbury killed off the rest of the PP and soon went back on the attack. Jake Quillan (Dartmouth, NS) scored from Mercuri on a delayed call against Gunnery to temper any of their momentum and put the Knights back up by two. It was a huge goal that seemed to take the air out of the Gunnery side. Junior Ilya Usau (Minsk, BLR) hit a seam off the cycle soon after and fired one home through traffic to put Salisbury up 4-1. Tom Richter (Greenwich, CT) and Brendan Kennedy (Georgetown, ON) picked up assists. Then with 5:31 left Mercuri found Capone in the high slot from behind the goal line and Capone one timed it home. 5-1 Salisbury and that’s how the period ended. It was apparent Salisbury was in full control. Their defense are big and allowed little space while also moving pucks quickly to their forwards. They played a fast, skilled, opportunistic game while being persistent in puck pursuit.
Salisbury Coach Andrew Will commented after the game “We were really pleased with our effort tonight. We certainly capitalized on our chances, but I thought our success started because of our commitment to playing well in our own end and without the puck.”
The third period was more of the same as Salisbury kept their foot on the gas. Junior Jake Quillan scored his second on a rebound of a Matt Coronato (Greenlawn, NY) shot on a line rush with 7:37 left. Just 33 seconds later Hryckowian buried his second of the game from the slot from Capone to make it 7-1. Salisbury scored again 36 seconds later as Bauchiero buried from Luke Krys (Ridgefirld, CT) and Bayard Hall (Oldwick, NJ.) It was now 8-1 after three goals in one minute and nine seconds. With 5:50 left Gunnery added a goal as Jimmy Rayhill (New Hartford, NY) scored from Alex Jefferies (Lunenberg, MA). Not surprisingly, Salisbury responded with 3:19 left after Junior Matt Coronota (Greenlawn, NY) made some people miss, attacked the net with speed and created a fat rebound for Junior Reed Dolph (Highland Ranch, CO) to tap home; 9-2 Salisbury. Gunnery added a late one by Case Kantgias (Bloomfield Hills, MI) with 39 seconds left and the final score was Salisbury 9 Gunnery 3.
Gunnery Coach Craig Badger said after the loss, “Salisbury is a very good team. When you play a good team, you need to bring your best. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t bring our best to the rink and they beat us in every facet of the game.”
1st Lucas Mercuri (Salisbury)
2nd Justin Hryckowian (Salisbury)
3rd Jack Quillan (Salisbury)
NZ’s Take: For Salisbury; we were impressed with their professional approach to what they did. They all worked hard, they all celebrates goals together and they all looked prepared. They can play in transition, turn you over or possess the puck by cycling pucks low. Well balanced team with size, snarl and skill. They will be tough to beat. Their defense are mostly big, strong and they close fast to defend. Jared Crespo (Easthampton, NJ) is really quick and looks bigger than listed; AJ Casperon (Flower Mound, TX) is intriguing as he is a big left shot D with great reach and sense; Krys played in every situation well and just takes pucks away; Hall hit, moved pucks up and got off checks. Efficient and effective player; Junior Metz has speed and Clay Korpi (Rye Brook, NY) has some wiggle and is clever. Michael Cameron (Berwyn, PA) looks healthy and was all over the ice early. Michael Fairfax (Toms River, NJ) is smart, big ad managed the puck well. Bauchiero is a huge 2002 who punished Gunnery’s defense. Tough to play against. Capone is a beast and his skating has improved in open ice. Hryckowian is balanced, skilled and has some snarl. Kennedy is a 2001 junior. Hit a post, worked really hard and is excellent on the forecheck. Excellent depth player who would be on the first line at a lot of other schools. Matt Coronato is slippery. He puts pucks in defensemen’s blind spots by their feet to go by them. Clever. Mercuri at 6’3” and 200lbs jumped over a player that was down on the ice, landed, got the puck and started the cycle. Not a speedster but can dangle, pass and protect the puck. Impressive. For Gunnery; Alex Coady (Stamford, CT) had some puck possession time and was not bothered by the pace. Hunter Sansbury (Lomita, CA) made a few big hits and got in a wrestling match with Capone near the end of the game. We sort of liked that as he is giving up at least 30 lbs. Alex Jefferies never really got going and showed frustration by slamming his stick at one point early on. He is their best player and must lead by example. Can really fire it on the rush and just missed a couple shots. Senior Riley Brennan (Manorville, NY) is athletic and has some wiggle. Stops and starts quickly and plays with pace. Good on the PP. Needs strength but is talented. Junior defenseman Rayhill is dangerous up ice, great edges and good timing moving in and out from the offensive point.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images