It was the worst of times it was the best of times. Now if this was a blog about two cities that would read the other way around, but this is a blog about the East Greenwich hockey team so the order of the words is correct.
Our Avengers had two games this past weekend. On Friday night the team took on North Kingstown at the Cranston rink. Let’s just hit the one high point of this game so we can get on to the good stuff quicker. The team and freshman goaltender Jake Horoho had a rough start against a talented North Kingstown team. Our Avengers found themselves down 5-0 early in the second period. Junior Goaltender Sean McKenzie came into the game replacing Horoho at the four-minute mark of the second period. McKenzie, who has not seen game action for more than two weeks because of a lower body injury, was the bright spot of the night for the Avengers. McKenzie allowed only one goal while seeing more than twenty shots. McKenzie’s strong and confident performance kept the game from getting out of control in spite of the 6-0 loss.
On Saturday night East Greenwich took to the ice against Portsmouth, at the Boss Arena. In order to bounce back from Friday’s loss the Avengers would have to be ready to play right from the first puck drop. The Avengers must have showered twice since they last played because it did not seem like the stench of Friday night’s loss had followed the team south to the University of Rhode Island. Coach Fahey's decision to start Freshman Goaltender Jake Horoho two nights in a row surprised some fans. However, Horoho, who had a tough outing less than 24 hours ago, looked confident during the pregame warm-up as if the loss to North Kingstown was just a distant memory. Our Avengers looked ready to play the only question left to answer was could they get a win when they needed it most.
Max Hagenburg’s first period goal set the tone for the night. The goal, which was only seen by one team, one referee and half the fans, required a review from the guys in Toronto before the goal was finally recorded on the score board. Portsmouth answered back when they took advantage of what looked to be a big save by Horoho; the leg save left a long rebound allowing Portsmouth to tie the game at 1-1. Ross Trinque wanted all to know that he was not going to be left out of the fun on this night; scoring at the halfway point of the period Trinque put the Avengers ahead 2-1. The Avengers played tough on both ends of the ice and it looked as if they would end the first period with the lead. However, late in the period Portsmouth won a faceoff in the Avenger’s zone. The shot that would have landed in the third row of the parking lot if it had not somehow hit a Portsmouth player and with a pinball like action bounced off a second player and into the net. The first period ended with the game tied 2-2.
It was clear that the Avengers were not going to let a freak goal change their drive towards victory. Paul Dunwoody’s goal in the second period, which would eventually prove to be the winning goal, gave East Greenwich a 3-2 lead. The Avenger’s defense and Horoho combined to shut down any scoring opportunity Portsmouth could muster in the second period. Taking a one-goal lead into the intermission was a good start, but the Avengers knew that although the new sheet of ice that welcomed them to the third period was smooth, their road to victory was not guaranteed to be.
The third period was as pressure packed as a corset at the opera. Portsmouth took advantage of two power play opportunities early in the period and delivered their strongest offensive pressure of the night. The Avengers were unshakable; turning away everything Portsmouth had to throw at them. The exciting back and fourth game became more pressure packed as fans for the night’s second game began to fill the stands and take an interest in the outcome of this game. As time ticked down the one goal lead seemed to be both a blessing and a curse as the pressure not to make a mistake mounted. The cheers and groans became louder as the Avengers battled and Horoho turned away shot after shot. With just under three minutes left in the game Ross Trinque provided some much needed stress relieve when he scored his second goal of the game. Our Avengers turned in their best overall performance of the year on Saturday night. The Avengers 4-2 win showed that being a young team simply means that you can bounce back quickly.
Punctuating the complete team effort approach taken by the Avengers in this game was their play in the defensive zone. The score sheet may not have a box for defensive excellence but if not for the level of play of Alex Genest, Chris Pearson, Copper Englehart, and Wil Heffernan the outcome of this game could have been very different. Max Hagenburg Paul Dunwoody, Pierre-Luc Ginest and Matthew Klinkenbeg all had assists in the game. Jake Horoho recorded 31 saves.
Our Avengers come home to the friendly confines of the “Benny” (West Warwick) on Friday night to play a very schizophrenic Prout team. Game time is 6:00.