The Warwick Vets hockey team knew it had a good shot to pick up its first victory of the season when it hosted Scituate on Friday night at Thayer Arena. But the Hurricanes also remembered what happened the last time they played Scituate. In the season opener, Vets took a 2-0 lead but the Spartans came back and won 4-3 in overtime.
This time, the ’Canes got it done.
Kyle Veyera scored six goals and Vets rallied from an early deficit to break into the win column with a 9-6 victory.
“We’re really happy for the kids,” said assistant coach Dave Curtis. “They worked hard and they deserved it.”
Before Friday, Vets’ only points of the season had come from the overtime loss to Scituate and a tie against Woonsocket. This time, the ’Canes fell behind 1-0 just 38 seconds into the game, but they scored four goals in the final 6:35 of the first period and never really looked back. The Spartans got within two early in the third period, but the ’Canes scored three more goals to put them away.
“All week in practice, coach stressed that this was our game and we owed them this,” Curtis said. “If the effort level wasn’t there, we’d end up with the same result. They came out and put forth a good effort this time. They didn’t take them for granted.”
If the ’Canes needed a reminder, they got it in the early going. On the first shift of the game, Scituate’s Scott Iacobucci got behind the defense on the left wing and beat goalie Alec Silvestri to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
“I think that woke us up a little bit,” Curtis said.
Silvestri saved another good shot by Iacobucci a minute later, and the ’Canes soon started to turn the tide. Then, with 6:35 left, Veyera buried a shot from the high slot to tie the game 1-1. Bill Burr and Colin Peters assisted.
From there, it was all Vets.
Veyera scored with 2:59 left and notched his third goal just 55 seconds later to make it 3-1. With 1:08 left, Peters got a wide open look after Scituate failed to clear the puck and he flipped a wrist shot into the goal to make it 4-1.
“The kids responded well,” Curtis said.
Oliver Pinheiro made it 5-1 early in the second period and John McNally scored with 7:01 left to make it 6-1.
Still, the ’Canes couldn’t quite put it on cruise control. With 34 seconds left in the second period, Iacobucci found himself wide open after a scramble and had no trouble finishing. Then, with just eight seconds left, Iacobucci scored on a slap shot from the point.
All of a sudden, it was a 6-3 game.
“Coach talked to them in between the periods,” Curtis said. “We said, ‘We’ve been in this situation in the past and they came back on us. They’re not going to just lay down and let us have all the fun.’”
The Spartans made it 6-4 on another Iacobucci goal with 10:27 left, but then the ’Canes got back on track. Starting at the 8:55 mark, Veyera scored three goals in the span of 3:13 to make it 9-4. Scituate scored two late goals, but the ’Canes were never threatened again.
“It feels really good,” Veyera said. “We’ve been working hard at practice. It’s good to win finally.”
Veyera’s six goals nearly matched the season total for the whole team. He also had two assists.
“He’s got the capability of doing that,” Curtis said. “I think a game like this could really be a breakout for him. We know he can shoot the puck. We see it every day. Today, he showed that he can take control of a game.”
McNally added two assists to go with his goal, while Peters and Pinheiro had one assist each along with their scores. Burr tallied three assists, and Tyler DiPetrillo had two. Alex Andrade, Justin Thornton and Jameson McManus also had assists.
All in all, it was a good night.
“[The loss] motivated the whole team to step up and play as hard as they could,” Veyera said. “We really wanted to beat these guys.”
Vets will be back in action this weekend with games against East Providence and Narragansett.