The Bishop Hendricken hockey team has been playing well all season, but Monday’s matinee on the road against Burrillville may have been its best showing of the season.
The Hawks got five goals from their top three forwards, played four lines seamlessly and their defense and goaltending didn’t allow a goal. They killed off five penalties – including a crucial 5-on-3 – and scored a power play goal of their own en route to a convincing 6-0 win over the Broncos.
With the win, Hendricken remained the only unbeaten team in Division I at 8-0. Burrillville, which had won two in a row prior to Monday, fell to 3-4-1.
“We’ve had some peaks and valleys and I don’t think we’ve had a real complete game all year,” Hendricken head coach Jim Creamer said. “But just thinking about it, I think that was a complete effort. In the second period we ran four lines. We had different guys killing penalties. It was a real consistent effort from start to finish.”
Junior Andrew Fera led the way offensively with three goals, giving him a league-leading 10 for the season. Sophomore Matt Creamer added a goal, as did juniors Ed Markowski and Jonathan Finelli.
Creamer, Fera and Markowski are all near the top of the division in scoring, and they padded those totals against Burrillville. Creamer had an assist to go with his goal, and Markowski had two.
“They’re going pretty well,” Jim Creamer said. “We’ve got to get production from them. Those three are strong for us.”
Reilly Miller and Dakota Hersey each added two assists, and Josh Olson and Tucker Alberigo were credited with one apiece.
It was Matt Creamer who got the Hawks on the board first. After Hendricken killed off an early penalty, Alberigo started an odd-man rush with Creamer and slipped a pass to him just inside the left circle. Creamer held the puck for a moment and fired a wrist shot high and off the inside part of the post for a 1-0 lead.
Burrillville, noticeably fired up for the game, tried to get the equalizer soon afterwards, but couldn’t capitalize on its second power play of the game. Then, with 2:15 to play in the period, the Hawks went on a 5-on-3 and did take advantage.
Hersey held the puck at the left point and sent a pass to the right side for Markowski, who blistered a shot through the legs of Broncos’ goalie Jake Wilson to make the score 2-0.
“I thought our defense had their best game of the year,” Jim Creamer said. “They pushed out of our end, and if we can do that we can generate some offense.”
Burrillville ended the first and opened the second period on a power play, but again couldn’t find a way to score. Anything they did throw on net was turned aside by goaltender Mitch Proulx, who finished with 14 saves for his second shutout of the season.
“He didn’t have a lot of action, but he did what he had to,” Creamer said of Proulx. “He was sitting back there a little bit cold, and they had a couple of decent chances. He did well back there.”
With 12:40 to play in the second, Burrillville went on its fourth power play, and then turned that into a 5-on-3 44 seconds later. It was a big moment, and the Broncos called a timeout to draw up a play and try to cut the Hawks’ two-goal lead in half.
And they nearly did, but Evan Lafond hit the post and Chad Stone had a decent look that Proulx covered up before Hendricken killed off the rest of the penalty and stayed comfortably in front.
“Our penalty kill was excellent,” Creamer said. “The guys we had out there did a real nice job keeping the puck to the outside, and then Mitch made a couple of good stops. We’re real happy with that.”
With 6:05 to play in the period, Hendricken scored its third goal. Olson back-handed a pass to the front of the net from behind it, and Finelli – falling down – was able to get enough on his shot to beat Wilson. The score remained 3-0 after two periods.
Proulx made two tough saves early in the period and then his teammates finished the job with three goals, all of which came off the stick of Fera.
The first came at the 8:56 mark when he stole the puck coming off the bench during a line change and then scored on a wrist shot. Only 38 seconds later, he scored again to make it 5-0, with Markowski and Miller picking up assists.
Finally, with just over two minutes to play, Fera scored his third goal on a counter-attack, putting a strong move on Wilson near the crease before back-handing it in. Markowski and Miller assisted on that one as well.
“That might have been one of our better efforts from start to finish,” Creamer said. “I thought we played really well.”
Next, Hendricken will turn its sights to some of its chief competition for the state title this year. On Friday, the Hawks will host 5-3-1 La Salle at Thayer Arena for a 7:30 p.m. game.
The next night, 5-2 Mount St. Charles comes to Thayer for a 7 p.m. game. And once those two games are over, it won’t get any easier as Hendricken’s next three after that are against Mount again, Connecticut power Xavier and La Salle again.
The Hawks have beaten La Salle and Mount once apiece so far this season.
“We’re not the most skilled team in the league, and we have to work hard,” Creamer said. “We’re fortunate that we have a bunch of guys that are willing to do that and I think they recognize if they work hard we’ll be successful.”