The Bishop Hendricken hockey team topped Smithfield in two games in the Division I Semifinals last weekend to punch its ticket to the state championship, where it will square off once again with rival La Salle.
After taking Game 1 in a 3-1 decision, the Hawks would go on to cruise past Smithfield in a 4-0 shutout in Game 2 to clinch the series. Jack Dean and Cameron Adamec would score in the first period to give Hendricken the early 2-0 lead, then Eric Baxter and Brady Berard would add another pair in the third to secure the 4-0 win.
“I was happy with us. We were off for three full weeks so I thought we were a little choppy on Friday night but the effort was there. Saturday, I thought we played very well. Overall, I was very happy with the weekend. Our senior class has been great all year and they were no different this weekend. We’re only going to be as successful as our seniors and they’ve done a great job,” said Hendricken coach Jim Creamer of the win.
Haxton would score on a short-handed goal late in the first period of Game 1 to give the Hawks the lead, however, Smithfield would knot things up in the second to force a 1-1 tie heading into the final frame. Matt Dumond would score just 1:04 into the third to give the Hawks the lead, and Berard would score a power-play goal in the final minute to set the score to 3-1. Goalie Patrick Gribbin recorded 19 saves in the win.
Friday night’s Game 1 matchup will be the fourth time that the Hawks and Rams have met this season. The Hawks have gotten the better of the rivalry to this point, topping the Rams in a holiday tournament exhibition game then going 1-0-1 during the regular season.
The two clubs have quite the history, with the two combining for the last four state titles. The Rams topped the Hawks last season in three games.
“We know that any time that we go against La Salle we are going to get a great game. The rivalry is in the background there with everything else and I think the kids are just excited to play. The fact that it is La Salle puts a little bit more in the tank and we’re looking forward to the series,” said Creamer, who doesn’t expect past meetings between the clubs to make a difference this time around. “We’ve only played these guys three times this year, we have played them a lot more in year’s past and we haven’t played them since early February. I think we’re two evenly-matched teams that are both going to play hard so we’ll see how it goes. We’re confident in our ability and we know that they’re going to give us everything that they’ve got … we’ll be there on Friday. They’re teenagers, that’s the best part, they don’t remember much. I don’t think anyone has even talked about it, last year is no factor in this year.”