BRIDGEWATER – Bone-rattling board checks, several altercations involving multiple players and even the third period ejection of one player from each team underscored Barnstable’s 3-1 boys’ hockey win over Old Colony League rival Bridgewater-Raynham in Saturday afternoon’s de facto league championship game.
After a very physical three periods of hockey, the Red Raiders emerged with the OCL title and with just one remaining league game a week from today against Dartmouth, Barnstable (11-1-3, 5-0 OCL) officially dethroned three-time defending league champ Bridgewater-Raynham (9-4-1, 3-2 OCL).
“We haven’t won the league title outright in a few years,” Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson (cq) said. “We’ve got a good team, we’re playing well. Very physical game.
“More and more we’re getting some confidence to play against good teams, and Bridgewater-Raynham is a good team. It helps us in our run here now to the tournament. It was one of our goals to win the league. We’ve accomplished that but now the more important thing is we’re playing well defensively all over the ice.”
Barnstable led 1-0 after an off-angle first period goal slipped past Bridgewater-Raynham sophomore goalie Peter Drowne (cq).
Junior Danny Goncalves (cq), who Nickerson identified as a fourth line player, gave the Red Raiders a 2-0 cushion with 9:26 remaining in the second.
Barnstable scored again with 9:53 remaining in the third to silence the large Bridgewater Ice Arena home crowd and a boisterous B-R student section. The lone Bridgewater-Raynham goal was insignificant, coming with 31.4 seconds on the clock and an empty Trojan net.
Despite Bridgewater-Raynham’s 10-6 shot advantage in the second period, the Trojans couldn’t find the back of the net due in large part to Barnstable freshman goalie Sean Cleary’s (cq) defensive effort.
“We’ve had a little bit of a problem even dating back to last year’s [first round] tournament loss to Marshfield – like in big games against solid goaltenders, and he [Cleary] played very well – finding a way to score goals,” Bridgewater-Raynham head coach Mark Jones said. “I thought it was a good game, I thought our goalie played well too.
“We had plenty of chances, I thought we moved the puck around well on the power play. You have to hand it to them. Their goalie played a really good game. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
The Red Raiders defeated the Trojans, 4-1, in Hyannis earlier this season.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.