By Dan Harrison
---- — HAMILTON — When Moses Brown scored in the first period of last night’s hockey game against Pingree, it looked like the Highlanders were on their way to the third straight, lopsided loss to begin the season.
With eight freshman dressing and only one senior in the line up, a turn-around maybe have seemed unlikely.
But this year’s Pingree team is full of surprises.
Freshman defenseman Matthew Cavanaugh got the equalizer and the Highlanders got their first win of the season, 6-3 over Moses Brown at John Rink on campus.
“I think we gained our composure (after Moses Brown scored). We were working harder and competing,” said Pingree first year head coach Gino Khachadourian. “We’re young, but we’re battling through everything and competing. We jumped back at it and that next goal was big for us.”
Cavanaugh’s shot from the point hit a Moses Brown defensemen and found its way into the back of the net. It was the first of six unanswered Pingree goals as the Highlanders dialed up the intensity. Pingree skated even more sharply in the second period before taking their foot off the gas in the third.
“We realized the way we could beat this team is we just stick to our systems, pick our heads up and play hockey how we know we can play,”said senior captain Jerome Cappadona, who had a third period goal on a turn-around shot in the slot. “We have a lot of new kids on the team but we are really starting to click now.”
Hard work put Pingree ahead 2-1 before the end of the first when freshman defenseman Ryan Lovell kept the puck in the offensive zone and fired a shot toward the net. Another Pingree freshman, Maxx Trotsky, tipped it but the puck was sailing wide before yet another Pingree freshman, Michael Riley, banged in the rebound for his first varsity goal. And it came on the power play.
Every freshman that touched the ice contributed in the win, but it was Lovell and Cavanaugh in particular who impressed both in their own defensive end as well as offensively.
Defensively, Pingree didn’t allow a 5-on-5 goal until late in the third period. Trotsky, Cameron Curley and Calum Perry made it five different freshman who played defense for Pingree yesterday.
“(Lovell and Cavanaugh) are both surprise freshman. They jumped into the play and held the blue line,” said Khachadourian. “The young guys are figuring things out but doing a good job for us. The defensive zone is what we stressed at practice all week and I think today it paid off a little bit.”
The young bucks did have some help from their sophomore between the pipes. Christopher DeVito made 29 saves including a handful of spectacular pad saves on one-timers in the slot and a few tipped shots from the point.
DeVito also stuffed the only breakaway attempt he faced when he stuck a right pad out to stop an Alex Towey bid. Ryan St. Pierre, Christopher Usseglio and Brandon Franco all scored in the second period. St. Pierre banked a pass off a defenseman’s skate and into the net while Usseglio scored on the power play after he stayed with the puck when his original shot was denied.
Franco’s goal came shorthanded when he broke past the two Moses Brown defensemen at the blue line, beat them down the ice and followed his own rebound.
“There were a couple goals that went in (against us) that shouldn’t of gone in. Its hard to adjust from that,” said Moses Brown coach Larry Tremblay. “I thought we kept the pressure on and we had our opportunities. We didn’t capitalize and they capitalized.”
Pingree 6, Moses Brown 3
at Johnson Rink, Hamilton
Moses Brown: 1 0 2 — 3
Pingree: 2 3 1 — 6
First period: MB, Alex Towey (un), ppg, 7:35; P, Matthew Cavanuagh (un), 9:17; P, Michael Riley (Maxx Trotsky, Ryan Lovell), ppg, 14:33.
Second Period: P, Ryan St. Pierre (un), 2:12; P, Brandon Franco (Cavanaugh), shg, 4:09; P, Christopher Usseglio (Jerome Cappadona, Shawn Khachadourian), ppg, 6:48
Third Period: P, Cappadona (Usseglio, Khachadourian), 4:18; MB, Colton King (Conor Breen), 11:55; MB, Mitch Maloof (un), 16:34
Saves: MB, Conor Friend 17; P, Chris DeVito 29
Records: MB 0-1; P, 1-2