Freshman Patrick Coyne has a long career ahead of himself as a Falmouth High varsity ice hockey player. He’s not likely to score many bigger goals than the one he had on Wednesday evening at the Gallo Ice Arena.
The rookie forward scored with 2:32 remaining in the second overtime period, advancing the eighth-seeded Clippers into the second round of the Division 1 South state tournament. FHS will face top-seeded Braintree in the next round of the tournament on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 PM at Gallo.
FHS is now 13-8-2 on the year. The victory was the first tournament win for FHS since a first-round win over New Bedford in 2010.
“It’s a really big win for the program,” FHS head coach Paul Moore said. “These kids have worked hard all year. Since day one they’ve been counted out, but they’ve been a very resilient group.”
The Falmouth goal came midway through the four-on-four second overtime, with FHS having to skate without top scorer Robbie Souza, who was injured earlier in the period when one of the Rebels popped him in the head with an elbow. Souza injured his back on the play, but coach Moore was optimistic that he would be available going forward.
After that penalty, the Rebels were assessed another immediately after for having too many men on the ice. Defenseman Thomas Tobey drove the puck to the net, from the blue line on the right side, and poked a shot at the Rebels’ Tim Kurker. The keeper made the initial save with his leg pad, but Coyne got the carom and pushed it into the net to set off a wild celebration by FHS.
“Thomas just kind of took the puck to the net and I followed him,” Coyne said. “He put (the puck) toward the goal and the goalie kicked it out right onto my tape and I just slid it in, far post.”
It was just the third goal of the year for the first-year player. It was clearly his most memorable. “It feels really good (to score the winner),” he said.
The Clippers certainly dodged a bullet in the game. FHS dominated the first period, outshooting the Rebels by a 16-2 margin, but they only held a 1-0 lead after the first 15 minutes. That goal also came on the power play, with freshman Cam Tobey unloading a rocket from the point after a faceoff win by Nick Marston that whistled through with 28 seconds left in the opening frame.
Falmouth’s neutral zone play fell off in the second period, allowing the shorthanded Rebels to battle their way back into the game. Walpole got the tying goal at 8:42 of the second period on a bit of a weird play. FHS senior keeper Jake Beaton made a stop of a shot by Bill Moore from near the crease, and controlled the puck to the back wall. Beaton turned his body to face the puck and the Rebels’ Jim McKenna slipped a feed through the goalie’s pads to the high slot for Kevin Ivatts, who deposited the puck into the vacant Falmouth cage to knot the score at 1-1.
Walpole entered the game missing five players, who were all suspended by their school’s administration the morning of the game. According to head coach Ron Dowd his team was missing two first-line players, a second liner and a third-line forward. Dowd, who was emotional following the game, took responsibility for the loss on his own shoulders, though. He said that the too many men on the ice penalty that led to the winning goal was his fault. “It was a miscommunication,” he said. “That was my fault.”
Walpole carried large portions of the third period, but Beaton was on top of his game. He came up with a number of big late saves in the game, especially at the end of the third with the Rebels on a power play. He made four saves in succession that left the Rebels shaking their heads. He also robbed a shorthanded bid by Bill Moore on a breakaway in the second overtime, using his left leg pad to deny the sniper.
“There’s no one that I’d rather have with the puck on his stick there than Moore,” Dowd said. “The goalie made a great save.”
Falmouth had the better chances in the first overtime period. Marc Rocheleau had two hard slap shots from the perimeter and Souza nearly popped one, from Bryton Landers, on a penalty kill.