Playing with a new outlook on its season, the Bourne boys’ hockey team went on the road and netted 12 goals in a key South Coast Conference match-up.

Visiting Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech at Hetland Arena on Saturday, January 11, scored early and often as the Canalmen cruised to a 12-3 SCC win.

“One thing we’ve really been working on since the Wareham/Carver game is our compete level,” head coach Frank Carpenito said.

“[The team’s] been really receptive to what we’re trying to do and changing our mindset where we don’t care about the outcome. It’s all about competition and competing on every inch of the ice. With the talent we have, if we do that and we’re the aggressors, the outcome will be what we want in the end.”

Seven different Canalmen found the back of the net while four players had multi-goal performances. Led by senior Christian Mulkern, who netted a hat trick and two assists, Bourne’s Joe Hess (two goals, two assists), Kyle Casano (two goals, two assists) and Andrew Ariagno (two goals) also lit the lamp on multiple occasions.

Senior Max Hess did not score in the game, but generated five assists during the matinee match.

“It was great,” Carpenito said of the scoring surge. “Led by our top line of Max and Joe Hess and Christian Mulkern, I thought they really set the tone from the start. They came out and were the aggressors to begin with.”

The Canalmen scored three times in the first frame, with all three goals coming in a span of 91 seconds, as Mulkern got a free ride on the Hess Express, finishing off a pass from Max Hess via Joe Hess. Junior Mike Bonito (one goal, two assists) then responded on a goal of his own 49 seconds later. With 6:56 left in the first Casano converted his first of two goals on a feed from Bonito to carry a 3-0 lead in the first period.

Holding a big lead after the first intermission often has teams resting on their laurels, but following the first of two second-period goals from GNB Voc-Tech’s Jacob Lopes, Bourne answered in a big way. The Canalmen outscored the hosts 7-2 that frame, generating three goals in less than three minutes before bunching four goals together in the final 2:27 of the period.

“The guys did a great job of answering. Lopes scored their first goal to make 3-1. Next thing you know it’s 6-1. They make it 6-2 and we push it back to 11-2,” Carpenito said. “That speaks to our guys bearing down and not letting them get back into the game.”

Joe Hess scored his two goals in that period while Mulkern capped his hat trick. Casano added his second of the game while Ariagno scored his first of two and Connor McGuire scored his first of the game. Three of Max Hess’s five assists went came also came in the period.

Senior defenseman Dan Strode connected on a hard slapshot just inside the Bourne zone in the third period while Ariagno capped the scoring 1:37 after Strode on assists from Strode and Bonito.

With the offensive explosion garnering most of the attention, Carpenito stated after the game that it’s been the play of his defense recently that’s stood out to the first-year head coach.

“After the first couple games, our defense has really stepped up and I think it’s been one of our strengths as a team. For a while there, they were carrying us more so than our forwards,” he said.

“Owen Lapworth and Jon Sheehy as our top-pairing defenseman, they’ve been our top pair all year. Dan Strode and Scott Silva bring more of a physical side of things, where that top pairing is sound defensively, but can push the envelope offensively. Ethan Morse has really played well, too.”

The game held some significance despite still being in the first-half of both team’s schedule. The Bears entered the meeting with a half-game lead over Bourne, as both teams trailed Wareham/Carver in the South Coast Conferece. With a nine-goal road victory against the same team that shocked Bourne following last year’s emotional Canal Cup victory in a game that ended Joe Hess’s season with a broken hand, Saturday’s contest proved to be a bit of revenge.

Bourne (6-3-1, 5-1 SCC) is off until Saturday, January 19, when they’ll meet Somerset Berkley (4-5, 2-2 SCC) at Gallo Ice Arena at 6:30 PM.

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