Cavs fall to Sabers in quarterfinals
Friday, March 8, 2013
When you have your health, you have everything, as the saying goes.
Hollis Brookline High School ice hockey coach Ken DiCredico wouldn’t know.
“I think we played a total of one period (all season) with the full roster,” DiCredico said after his team dropped a 6-2 Division III quarterfinal decision to Souhegan last Saturday. “We weren’t even completely healthy (for the tournament).”
The Cavaliers were injury riddled all year. The latest was sophomore forward Tom Johnson, who missed the quarterfinals with a broken thumb suffered in a late regular season game against Portsmouth.
But there they were, up 1-0 on the third-seeded Sabers in the quarterfinals thanks to a goal by Tim Birch at the 8:09 mark of the first period.
The Sabers, though, spurred by junior forward Mike Hayden, who had two goals and three assists in the game, scored three unanswered goals to lead 3-1. The Cavs’ Dan Ash tallied at 10:24, assisted by Ian Rowe and Cam Ricard, but HB could get no closer. When Hayden beat goalie Travis Howard (who played well with 20 saves) for a shorthanded goal in the second period, it was over.
The Cavs could never find an answer for Souhegan’s top line of Hayden, Matt Wilson and Joe Nutting.
“One quick little break and that trio is gone the other way, DiCredico said.
And then the Sabers went into shutdown mode.
“I think they just started packing it more in, instead of looking for the outlet passes like they were the first period,” the Cavs coach said. “Which is to their credit. If you get a lead and you can hold it, all the better to you.”
Meawhile, there were no regrets, not after the Cavs had gotten this far despite starting the season at 0-4, 0-7 if you count three holiday tournament losses.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way they responded after the start we had,” DiCredico said. “To battle back to 10-8, basically tied for fifth with Kennett, that’s not a bad season.”
DiCredico felt the pulse of the team came from seniors Will Holmes and Birch.
“I noticed that more when Tim came back from an early season injury,” DiCredico said. “The team started feeding off him. A couple of special seniors that I’m going to miss.”
DiCredico has 10 returning players, that he knows of, for next season, but only two freshman he’s expecting now. Health will be a must.
“We’re going to have numbers issues again,” he said.