The Bishop Hendricken hockey team spent a lot of energy in an emotional 6-3 victory over Mount St. Charles on Friday night. Playing Cranston West on Saturday, the Hawks were, unsurprisingly, not at their best.
But even without its ‘A’ game, Hendricken had little trouble taking care of business.
The Hawks took a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the first period and coasted from there, knocking off the Falcons 4-1.
It wasn’t perfect, but head coach Jim Creamer expected his team to be a little worn down after the hard-fought come-from-behind victory over Mount.
Since they got the win, he had no complaints.
“It’s hard,” Creamer said. “Last night, it took a lot out of us. Coming back today, some guys were a little sluggish, but in general we did what we had to do.”
Hendricken is now firmly in first place in Division I with 11.8 power points and a 7-0-1 record. It has victories over its closest D-I-Cimini competitors – La Salle and Mount – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“To sit where we are halfway through is good,” Creamer said. “We’ve got a long second half, but I think we’re pretty happy.”
Saturday was simply business as usual.
After he led the way with a hat trick against Mount – paving the way for the Hawks to score the final four goals of the game – freshman forward Matt Creamer got Hendricken off on the right foot Saturday with a goal just 1:48 into the game on an assist from Justin Finan, putting the Hawks up 1-0.
Just over a minute later, Robbie Buehrer notched his seventh goal of the season on a pass from David Mitchell, beating West goalie Derek Hagopian for a 2-0 lead.
“It gave us a comfort level, and we’ve been pretty successful with that all year,” Jim Creamer said of the fast start. “We’ve had quick starts in quite a number of our games. It makes things a little bit easier.”
Hendricken kept the pressure up early in the second period, as Ed Markowski stole the puck and beat Hagopian on a breakaway for a shorthanded goal 3:06 into the period, and Creamer picked up his second of the night – and league-leading ninth overall – on a power play five minutes later for a 4-0 lead. Dan Nolte and Nick Bodziony were credited with assists.
“Right now, they’re the best team in the state,” West head coach Mike Boyajian said. “There’s no question. They’ve been taking care of business. They’ve taken care of La Salle, they took care of Mount.”
The Falcons got on the board with the period winding down as Chris Dodge scored on the power play on a feed from Joe Tomaselli with just five seconds remaining before intermission.
In the third period, with the score still 4-1, Hendricken goaltender Mitch Proulx made the lead hold up, as he turned away eight shots in the period. He made 20 saves in the game.
“Our goaltender played well,” Jim Creamer said. “Mitch did a good job there.”
Hagopian, on the other hand, was pulled from net with flu-like symptoms. His replacement, Gian St. Angelo, came in and stoned the Hawks, keeping the game at 4-1 until the final buzzer.
West fell to 3-3-2 with the loss, and has 4.8 power points. That puts it in sixth-place overall in Division I and in third place in D-I-Eccleston.
Hendricken now has 10 games remaining on its regular season schedule, and feels good about the way the first eight games have gone.
The Hawks have used two goaltenders, as Proulx stymied West on Saturday and Billy Palmer saved 56 of 59 shots from Mount on Friday.
Beyond that, Hendricken has three players – Creamer, Buehrer and Paul Filippone – with at least 10 points. The team has scored 40 goals, while allowing only 13.
“We’re almost at the 50 percent mark of the season, and we have no complaints,” Jim Creamer said. “We’re doing it with some guys out, and we’re asking some young kids to do a lot. We’re getting quite a bit of production from our younger guys at this point, but our seniors have played very, very well for us.”
It doesn’t get any easier from here on out, though.
Over its final 10 games, Hendricken still has to play La Salle twice and Mount three more times.
The first of those showdowns will be this weekend. The Hawks are scheduled to take on the Mounties again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Thayer Arena.