2016-01-14 / Around Town

GAME OF THE WEEK

RMR Co-op Hockey Blanks PHS
By James Merolla

Mac Leys, #9 (center-left), rushes the puck out of his own end in the third period with the Portsmouth defense in hot pursuit. The RMR senior cocaptain, a Rogers student, had two assists in his team’s victory. Photos by Meri Keller www.merikeller.smugmug.com Mac Leys, #9 (center-left), rushes the puck out of his own end in the third period with the Portsmouth defense in hot pursuit. The RMR senior cocaptain, a Rogers student, had two assists in his team’s victory. Photos by Meri Keller www.merikeller.smugmug.com Amid an atmosphere that may foreshadow the Division II hockey playoffs in March, the Rogers-Middletown Rocky Hill co-op team (RMR) shut out chief rival Portsmouth 5-0 on Saturday night, Jan. 9, at the St. George’s School rink.

It was a viewing spectacle for local hockey fans, as all three public high schools on Aquidneck Island were represented in just one game in front of a packed and frenzied crowd of about 500 fans who filled the stands and lined up behind the glass and around the boards.

With the impressive win, RMR took over first place from Portsmouth in D-II, raising their record to 8-1-1. The Patriots dropped to 8-2-0.

A tense first period saw action up and down the ice, but no scoring. RMR dominated the period by out-shooting the Patriots, 8-2. Portsmouth goalie Matt Nordhill had a stand-out period, denying RMR’s Hunter Armstrong with a left pad save from point blank range.


Goalie Peter Dickinson, from Middletown High School, makes a save to the glove hand against Portsmouth in the second period. The sophomore stopped 11 shots en route to the shut-out win. Goalie Peter Dickinson, from Middletown High School, makes a save to the glove hand against Portsmouth in the second period. The sophomore stopped 11 shots en route to the shut-out win. The scoreless tie ended at 6:37 of period two, when RMR’s senior Gavin Lord slid the puck under Nordhill after a scrum in front. Lord’s goal was assisted by seniors Tom Corey and Mac Leys.

Just 41 seconds later, Leys set up sophomore Cam Edwards, who put one over the left shoulder of Nordhill. RMR then poured gas on the fire by scoring again with just 16 seconds left in the period when freshman J.C. Lopes ripped a rocket under Nordhill’s left pad. The shot was set up by junior forward Ben Hernowitz.

The first 10 minutes of the third period resembled the first, with up and down skating but few chances for either team, until Lopes scored his second goal of the night off two beautiful passes from sophomores Cole Streicher and Carl Firlings.

The co-op closed out the scoring on a power play goal in the final minute after Portsmouth was called for hooking with 51 seconds to go in the game. Just 30 seconds later, Hernowitz fired a laser over the left shoulder of Nordhill to make it 5-0. RMR’s sophomore goaltender Peter Dickinson turned away 11 Portsmouth shots as the co-op defense was strong around him.

“With rivalries, and the kids knowing each other, they are going to come out hard,” said RMR coach Chris Winnes. “That first goal was really a momentum turner. Up until that point, it was a little bit of a chess match.

“That was fun to watch,” added Winnes. “They are playing their friends, playing their peers, trying to wait for that mistake and capitalize on it.”

These two teams will be back on the ice when Portsmouth faces off against Lincoln at the Portsmouth Abbey rink on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. RMR plays Pilgrim on Friday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at URI’s Brad Boss Arena.

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