Newport This Week

PHS Breaks Decade-Old Winless Streak vs. RMR


RMR goalie James Cawley (1) helplessly watches as the game-winning overtime goal, off the stick of Portsmouth’s Connor Little, enters the net. (Arrows indicate puck location)

RMR goalie James Cawley (1) helplessly watches as the game-winning overtime goal, off the stick of Portsmouth’s Connor Little, enters the net. (Arrows indicate puck location)

A back-and-forth game, where momentum seemed to flip at any moment, came down to a penalty against Rogers/Middletown/ Rocky Hill in overtime. Just over 30 seconds after the penalty was called, Portsmouth High’s Connor Little tapped in his fourth goal of the game, sealing a 4-3 victory for the Patriots on Jan. 4 at Portsmouth Abbey.

It was the first time in 10 years that the Patriots had beaten their intra-island rival, having gone 0-15-3 against RMR in that time span.

“It was unfortunate that it came down to that,” RMR head coach Johnny Sheil said. “I’d like to see an OT go like a true OT should. I thought it was just tough for a game like that to go down like that.”

RMR had to make an unexpected adjustment before the game even began when a shot in warm-ups broke the skate blade of starting goalie Jaylen Butler. With no way to reattach it, James Cawley got the start.

But RMR struck first, scoring a power play goal after previously killing off two penalties. After an RMR shot was blocked by the Portsmouth goaltender, the rebound spat out in front and onto the stick of Caleb Leys, who buried a goal from the slot for a 1-0 lead with 4:57 remaining in the first period.

Keaton O’Shea (20) takes a shot on goal against the Patriots. The RMR freshman had a goal and two assists in the thriller between Aquidneck Island rivals.

Keaton O’Shea (20) takes a shot on goal against the Patriots. The RMR freshman had a goal and two assists in the thriller between Aquidneck Island rivals.

A Portsmouth penalty less than one minute later gave RMR another opportunity to score. Just nine seconds later, Leys again found the back of the net for his second goal in barely more than one minute.

However, Portsmouth answered with two goals of its own to even the game, with the second goal coming with 1.6 seconds left in the period.

Both teams looked like they were going to be left off the scoreboard in the second period, but RMR’s Keaton O’Shea changed that. O’Shea deflected Danny Sullivan’s shot from the point into the top left corner, giving RMR the lead with 3:57 left.

But the third period belonged to Portsmouth, and the Patriots evened the game 29 seconds into the stanza.

Just 22 seconds into the overtime period, Sullivan took a cross-checking penalty, giving Little the opportunity to score the game-winner.

Boisterous fans from both schools, packed themselves behind the glass all around the Portsmouth Abbey rink for the hard-hitting contest. Photos by Meri Keller www.merikeller.smugmug.com

Boisterous fans from both schools, packed themselves behind the glass all around the Portsmouth Abbey rink for the hard-hitting contest. Photos by Meri Keller www.merikeller.smugmug.com

“They’re not going to beat teams just off of playing hard for two periods,” Sheil said. “If they play hard for three periods, they can compete with anybody.”

The loss made RMR 2-2 in league play. A 2-0 loss on Jan. 5 to Cumberland High dropped them to 2-3. They are idle until Jan. 17 when they host Coventry High.

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