2019-01-10 / Around Town

RMR Hockey Upends Portsmouth in Heated Affair

GAME OF THE WEEK
By Josh Krueger
Photos by Meri Keller www.merikeller.smugmug.com


RMR fans watch as senior forward J.C. Lopes (right) skates away from Portsmouth’s Max Dooley and Gus Nightingale. RMR fans watch as senior forward J.C. Lopes (right) skates away from Portsmouth’s Max Dooley and Gus Nightingale. The atmosphere was a little crazy before the puck dropped, and a couple of crowd-pleasing hits in the first few minutes of the game only ramped up the intensity. It was only natural for the players to get caught up in it a little bit.

“There was 250 people here and the kids get their heads wrapped up in it and sometimes stupid things happen,” said Johnny Sheil, coach of the Rogers-Middletown-Rocky Hill hockey team.

For RMR, though, mostly good things happened in a 4-2 win over Portsmouth on Friday, Jan. 4, at St. George’s School.

In a rivalry that involves all of Aquidneck Island, people will come. The stands were full and students lined the glass most of the way around the rink.

“I’ve never seen a high school hockey game like this,” Sheil said. “It was electric. It’s awesome when everybody comes out like this. The kids enjoy it, everybody enjoys it. It lived up to the hype. It was fun.”


Sophomore Ben Dickinson of RMR (left) checks Portsmouth’s Max Dooley into the boards. Sophomore Ben Dickinson of RMR (left) checks Portsmouth’s Max Dooley into the boards. RMR, which improved to 3-2-1 in Division II, scored four unanswered goals in the second period, with Nate Bellagamba and Riley Cranson each tallying twice, to take the lead. Ben Lyman, J.C. Lopes and Bellagamba each were credited with an assist, and Dylan Stahl had two.

“It’s like a championship game to us,” Cranson, a senior forward, said of the rivalry. “The Portsmouth crowd got me going. They want to chirp and yell and hang up posters, it only makes us want to win that much more.”

The RMR fans weren’t exactly sitting on their hands.

“It goes both ways. Everyone looks forward to it,” Cranson said.

“It’s a huge game,” junior defenseman Danny Sullivan added. “The island games are always huge. It means a lot.”

Each team was called for eight penalties, some of the major variety. One RMR player served a 10-minute major misconduct penalty and a Portsmouth player was disqualified in the third period. RMR penalties in the third period helped Portsmouth’s comeback bid.

“That did hurt us. We need to correct that,” Sheil said. “That was something that we’ve talked about a few times this season and it’s got to get better. That third period was killed by our penalties.”

Portsmouth junior Max Dooley scored his team’s first goal on a power play and Niklas Pedersen knocked in the second, with Portsmouth’s net empty, with 1:47 to play. But the RMR defense held strong from there.

“It’s one of those things where, with fans like that, you’ve got to say, ‘Let’s go out there and make them quiet,’ but unfortunately we weren’t able to do that tonight,” Portsmouth coach Bryan Kriner said.

The teams will meet again on Sunday, Jan. 13 at Portsmouth Abbey.

“That’s a good team,” Sheil said. “We have a lot of things to work on as a team, but it was a good win.”

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