Going Wide

Falmouth High School freshman Kele Gregory takes the puck wide against Newton South High School during the first game of the Ray Kenney Christmas Classic on Monday evening.

The penultimate game of the 2021 calendar year for the Falmouth High School boys’ ice hockey team just might have been the most entertaining contest that the Clippers played. Against a scrappy Westford Academy team the Clippers scored a 4-3 overtime win to remain undefeated on the young season.

Westford played hard against the Clippers and rallied back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period to tie the score in the third. Each team had chances to put it away in regulation, but the goalies each came up big.

“They never quit. We totally dominated for two periods, we gave up some odd-man rushes and they capitalized. In overtime we got that break, and we capitalized,” Falmouth Coach Paul Moore said.

Senior Matt Quinlan netted the game-winner a minute into overtime to end the Ray Kenney Christmas Classic for Falmouth with two wins in two games. The team improved to 4-0-1 overall on the season with the victory.

Quinlan filled the slot during the four-on-four OT session and broke over the blue line as freshman Kele Gregory handled the puck on the left wing. Gregory feathered a beautiful pass across to the unmarked Quinlan and he finished with an off-speed wrist shot that confounded Westford keeper Tyler Frazee to end the game.

FHS had built a two-goal lead early in the second period, but the Gray Ghosts fought back into the game. FHS went up 1-0 five minutes into the game when Patrick Gonsalves sent the puck from the right point to the left for Chris Shanahan who sent a put-it-on-net wrister to the goal. With a screen in front Frazee lost sight of the shot and sailed through him and into the net.

WA tied it late in the first, with just 43 seconds left in the frame, when the Clippers’ defense allowed an odd-man rush in on Jack Braga and Matt Haggan finished the play off. Haggan took a pass off the right wing wall and bore down, shooting it through the five-hole to knot things up at 1-1 after one.

In the same second FHS scored two to go up 3-1. Kevin Coyne put the team ahead just 41 seconds into the frame when Cole Johnsen sent Daren McDonald on a break up the left side. McDonald beat his man and slid to the net before putting a soft pass across the net to Coyne for the go-ahead goal. Less than four minutes later, Falmouth went up 3-1 on a goal from Nate Hopwood, who was the recipient of a gorgeous feed by Charlie Bardelis from the left wing dot. The puck found Hopwood’s blade and he snapped his wrists to give FHS the lead.

WA got one at 12:30 to make it a one-goal game, scoring on the power play. Ben Mulgrew skated onto a pass off the boards by Frazee and bore in on Braga to finish and make it 3-2 after two. Then, in the third, the Ghosts tied it up just 50 seconds into the period on a goal from Haggan, his second of the night.

Braga, who made 18 saves in the game, saved the Clippers a few times in the third. He made his best stop of the night with 10 minutes to go, kicking out a bomb from the slot, and followed that with halts of two rebound chances. Falmouth nearly got a winner late in the third on a power play, but Frazee was able to pad aside a rebound opportunity by Johnsen.

In the end the game went into the extra session. Each team got a shot on net, and then one by Falmouth went in to give the Clippers the victory.

“That’s a big two points for us,” Moore said. “We got production from all of our lines, and secondary scoring is always a good thing.”

Falmouth will put a cap on the 2021 part of the season today at the Falmouth Ice Arena. The team plays a New Year’s Eve tilt against Bridgewater-Raynham High School at 3 PM.

Falmouth High School 3, Newton South High School 0

Goalie Jack Braga stood tall in the Falmouth net all game long, and the Clippers scored a goal in each period as they bested the visiting Newton South Lions in the first round of the Ray Kenney Christmas Classic on Monday afternoon, December 27, in Falmouth. Braga made 18 saves against the Lions to record his second shutout of the season.

Playing an effective end-to-end game, the Clippers scored a goal in each period and were never really in any trouble against Newton South. Charlie Bardelis got the scoring going for FHS midway through the first period as he finished a nice shot that was set up by Nate Hopwood to break the ice.

In the second period the Clippers cashed in a gorgeous stretch pass from Tommy Peterson at the Clippers’ defensive blue line to the far blue line where Daren McDonald was floating. The quick forward walked in alone and undressed the keeper to make it a 2-0 game at 4:26 of the second.

In the third period Falmouth collected a shorthanded goal to finish things off. Matt Quinlan made the play for FHS with a heads-up steal of a lazy pass while pressing the Lions’ breakout of the zone. Quinlan pilfered the puck and put a pass through his legs for the cutting Bud Driscoll, who chipped the puck up and over the goalie from the doorstep just 59 seconds into the period.

Falmouth had numerous scoring bids the rest of the way, but were unable to capitalize. Tommy Peterson had a very strong game on both ends for FHS while Brady Turner, Chris Shanahan and Connor Hennigan all helped protect the defensive end and helped Braga earn shut out number two.

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