Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dartmouth Spoils Southeastern/West Bridgewater's Perfect Season

By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

BOURNE, Mass. - Strength of schedule can lead to some major playoff "upsets," and it certainly did Thursday night at Gallo Ice Arena.

Throughout the regular season, the No. 1 Southeastern/West Bridgewater boys' hockey team was nearly unstoppable. The Hawks put up over six goals per game and allowed less than 1.5. They went undefeated in the regular season, but it only took one Division 3 South playoff game to end the Hawks' (20-1-2) season.

Well prepared, the No. 16 Dartmouth Indians (12-9-1) outplayed SE/WB for three periods and came up with a 5-1 win.

"It was a big game for us and it was a team effort," Indians head coach Mike Cappello said of ending the Hawks' perfect season. "It certainly gives us a lot of confidence moving into our next game."

The upset was not as unlikely as it seemed.

The Indians played a tough regular season schedule, primarily facing, and beating, Division 1 and 2 programs. For example, the Indians beat Taunton (6-1 on February 3), Greater New Bedford (5-1 on December 22) and Bridgewater-Raynham (8-0 on February 1), two Division 2 teams and a Division 1 team who earned playoff berths. While the Hawks also beat GNB (3-1 on January 2), they scarcely faced teams from higher divisions, and did not face exceptionally strong Division 3 teams in Mayflower League play.

"It certainly helps us and gets us battle-ready," Cappello said of facing larger schools. "The pace of those games gets us ready, and we faced some tough Division 3 schools too. It only does us good playing those types of schools."

Dominating puck control early, the Indians struck first. About seven minutes into the first period, senior forward Scott Shorrock slapped the puck into the top left of the Hawks' net. Senior defenseman Colby Serpa and senior forward Nathanial Serpa had the assists.

The Indians boasted their speed and toughness in the second period, unleashing three goals in those 15 minutes- one on a power play, one short-handed and the other at even strength.

With 10:49 remaining in the second, the Indians doubled their lead when senior forward Max Andrade capitalized on a second chance opportunity, sinking his shot off a deflection. Shorrock and sophomore defenseman, Murphy LePage earned assists on the goal.

Fast forward six minutes, and the Indians struck again. Despite his team being down a man, Shorrock got the puck in his team's territory and netted his second goal of his hat trick on a breakaway. His third score came midway through the third period.

With four seconds left in the second period, the Indians made it a 4-1 game. Junior defenseman Mike Cassara scored on a power play while LePage and Andrade had assists.

Sophomore forward Ryan Kinney scored the Hawks lone goal. With about four minutes remaining in the second period, he flipped one up over the Indians goaltender's shoulder.

Dartmouth will face face No. 8 Middleboro/Hull in the Division 3 South Quarterfinals Saturday, March 4th at Asiaf Arena in Brockton. Puck drop is set for 4:15 p.m.

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