Falmouth High School’s top offensive line has been clicking as if they’ve been playing together for their entire lives over the first four games of the season. Nick Champani and Stone Devlin have been teammates for some time, but newcomer Eric Wainwright was at Xaverian a year ago and part of a great program where he was considered one of the better players, but not necessarily the guy.
Together in Falmouth, the three forwards have created great chemistry and it has been on display for all to see. On Sunday, December 22, they combined to score four of the five goals that the team needed in a 5-4 win against a quality Weymouth team. The victory improved Falmouth’s record to 4-0 overall on the season as the team overcame some late-game sloppiness to hold off the Wildcats.
After falling behind early in the first period, and facing the first deficit that the Clippers have had this year, FHS responded by scoring the next four to build a seemingly comfortable lead. Weymouth rallied in the third to make it a one-goal game twice, but the Clippers were able to hold and kill some big penalties late to preserve the win.
Falmouth’s second line got the first one as Max McDonald stabbed a puck just over the goal line to tie the score. Jake McKenzie and Daren McDonald each assisted.
Moments later Falmouth got the lead, at 11:55 of the first, as the team’s high-scoring first line got on the board. Devlin got his first of two in the game, backhanding a pretty feed from Wainwright, who was set up behind the goal, to push the Clippers ahead by one after one.
In the second the team added two more to go up by three. Devlin’s second was a thing of beauty as Kyle Souza made a fantastic play to keep a clear-out in the zone and delivered a pinpoint pass to the slot for the streaking Devlin, who put his shot under the bar at 6:01. Six minutes later the home team added a power play goal, with Wainwright roping a hard shot from the left circle to make it 4-1.
Weymouth caught fire in the third, helped by some untimely FHS penalties, and rallied back to within 4-3 with two PPGs in under a minute, with just less than five minutes to go in the contest.
The first line came up with the response. A great second effort in front of the WHS net by Nick Champani put FHS up by a 5-3 score with 2:32 to go.
It got hairy again in the last minute when Weymouth scored its third of the period to make it 5-4, but Falmouth held on to take the win.
“Playing games back-to-back is hard, but we pulled through at the end,” Devlin said. “The boys pulled it together.”
The top three forwards for Falmouth all played big roles, and he said communication on the ice has been key to their hot start. Through the first four games Champani leads the team with five goals, while both Wainwright and Devlin had three apiece.
“As a team, more than ever, we’re all really close and we’re all on the same page and it’s not just one person. It’s all of us,” Champani said.
Wainwright said that the change of scenery for him has been welcome, and enjoyable.
“I’m loving playing with two of the best players in the state. I mean, look at how many points they’re already putting up. If I put the puck on their stick, they’re going to be able to put it in the net almost every time, so I can rely on them almost every time. It’s just like playing at Xaverian; it’s the same level of hockey. These kids are just as good, if not better,” he said.
All three forwards were quick to point out that they’re not doing it by themselves.
“We just go out there and try to do our thing every shift. We’re not worried about scoring; the goals are just coming to us. There’s not too much pressure. Our second line can put the puck in the net. Jake McKenzie, Max McDonald, Daren McDonald, they can all put the puck in the net,” Wainwright said.
The trio he mentioned have also been very hot to start the year for the maroon and white. Max McDonald and McKenzie have each scored three goals already, and Daren McDonald has two.
With four wins in four games, including a 6-0 shellacking of Coyle and Cassidy the team before, things seem to be coming together.
“It’s so fun, playing with them,” Devlin said. “We’re starting to get it. We’re four games in and we’re just starting to get over that hump of chemistry. We’re starting to play real good, and I think that there’s a lot more points and goals for us to come.”
FHS hosts Newton South Friday, December 27, in the first game of the annual Ray Kenney Tournament at the rink. The team plays again on Saturday, December 28.