FALMOUTH — Falmouth High head hockey coach Paul Moore was right about one thing: his Clipper icemen have one of the most difficult non-league schedules in the state.
Thus, when #4-ranked Catholic Memorial (2-0) came to the Falmouth Ice Arena Saturday night, it was expected that a challenge was on tap.
And boy were the Falmouth hosts challenged, not least of them being goaltender Nick Cline who was peppered with a barrage of shots in virtually every minute he was on the ice. When the bleeding finally stopped, the final score was 6-1, Catholic Memorial. Falmouth now falls to an exceptionally deceptive 0-3 on the still young season.
Catholic Memorial, to put it bluntly, was quick to the draw and took immediate advantage of its first power play opportunity. Just 3:09 into the first period, junior Gunnar McKenzie beat Cline to the puck, assisted by senior captain Zack Sullivan to make it 1-0. A mind-boggling and almost deflating eight seconds later, Catholic Memorial senior Aaron Clancy scored to make it 2-0, assisted by junior Declan O’Malley. The first period ended with no further damage even though Falmouth gave Knights junior goalie Brendan Collette more than his fair share of shots to defend.
With 1:14 left in the first period, Falmouth senior captain Arlin Moore took advantage of a power play opportunity, stole the puck at mid-ice and took off flying. Not 15 feet from Collette, Moore uncorked a veritable seed that rang off the top of the left post but it bounced wide and harmlessly away. It was likely Falmouth’s best scoring opportunity of the night as the Knights maintained control at the Falmouth end consistently and doggedly.
At the 5:56 mark of the second period, the Knights struck paydirt once again, this time an unassisted goal by junior Paul Hardiman. Just over three minutes later, though, Falmouth retaliated and breathed some hope into the Falmouth rink, when junior center Nick Marston rifled a blistering screamer into the top of the net past Collette to make it 3-1. It would be Falmouth’s only score.
Just two more minutes elapsed off the clock in the second frame when junior Curt Bletzer rammed a loose puck from his knees past a battling Cline to make it 4-1. Sophomore Billy Smith
and junior Frank Cosolito assisted on the play. At the end of two periods, Catholic Memorial had plenty of insurance to keep things loose.
And loose is how the Knights came out in the third stanza. Just 1:24 into the final period, senior Anthony Panaggio took a Kevin Curley feed and made it 5-1. Thirty-five seconds later, Bletzer netted his second goal of the night to make it 6-1, assisted by Smith. At the 11:00 mark, Coach Moore pulled Cline and gave senior back-up goalie Kyle Storey a chance to show what he had and Storey performed well enough to stave off any remaining Catholic Memorial fireworks.
Falmouth next faces Chelmsford in the Cape Cod Cup on December 26.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.