FALMOUTH, Mass. -- The sounds of Bruno Mars musing about being “Locked Out of Heaven” escaped the Barnstable High locker room tonight at the Falmouth Ice Arena. His hit song was a remix, with the backing of 20 or so Red Raiders who felt exactly the opposite way.
With a 5-2 upset of their rivals from Falmouth High School, behind a hat trick from sniper Max Willman, Barnstable (2-0-1) felt more like they’d entered the pearly gates and were having the time of their lives.
“When you’ve got a star player, and he plays like that, you’ve got a good chance of winning,” Barnstable head coach Scott Nickerson said following his team’s win in the first meeting between the old rivals in Falmouth’s beautiful new rink. “He’s a legitimate goal-scorer.”
“I was just trying to do the best for my team, and it just worked out in my favor,” Willman said after netting his second consecutive three-goal game for the Raiders.
Willman already has seven goals for the season.
His second of the game changed the game’s complexion entirely. After a high flying first period, the two clubs settled into a slugfest defensive battle in the second period. Barnstable did not allow the Clippers a shot on goal during the first 11 minutes of the second period, but Falmouth seemed to be gaining some late momentum as they went on a late power play and were hoping to pop one behind Kevin Huska to take the lead.
A shot by Durham Ghelfi, from the high slot, knuckled toward the net and struck Huska in the face, but the keeper kept it out. Barnstable skated the puck out on a 2-on-1 break up the left wing. Eric Rogorzenski brought up the left side and went deep, before crossing it to a wide-open Willman on the right side. The Barnstable forward unleashed a rocket for the top shelf that sizzled past Cody Garcia to push the Raiders into the lead at 13:35 of the second.
The goal gave Barnstable the lead for good, and sent them to the locker room with a 3-2 lead.
“It definitely did [change the game],” Willman said. “It was a great pass from my linemate Rogo [Rogorzenski], and I just put it in the back of the net. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really looking, I just kind of shot it, just found a way.
“That was huge. That really got the boys going and it showed in the third period, and we just capitalized on everything.”
Falmouth head coach Buddy Ferreira said that the short-handed goal turned things in Barnstable’s favor for good, as it deflated the Clippers.
“[Eighty-five seconds] left in the period and it turned the game around, and you could see it,” Ferreira said. “You try to let them know [there’s plenty of hockey left], but they’re kids. We didn’t recover from that right away…you can’t let a kid like that [have a chance]. He’s a sniper.”
In the third, the momentum carried over for Barnstable. The Raiders scored a dagger of a goal early in the final frame when Hayden Murphy smacked in the rebound of a Kyle Rood shot to make it 4-2 at 4:26.
Earlier in the game Rood had been glued to the bench for a while after a mistake had led to a Falmouth goal. Nickerson was pleased to see that the junior learned from the mistake and helped the third line capitalize with a huge goal.
“He got back out there, he fought and we got a goal off that effort. When you can get a goal from the third line in a big game like that, on something that they made a mistake on earlier in the game, they come back and correct it, that’s nice,” Nickerson said.
Less than three minutes later, Willman capped his hat trick on a penalty shot. With the Clippers killing off a penalty, defenseman Joe Meloni went down in front of the net to block a shot. He slid through the crease and the puck ended up underneath him and refs cited him for covering the puck in the crease.
Willman won his one-on-one battle with Garcia with a pretty move. He came up the right side of the slot, crossed over and backhanded a lazy slider off of a toe drag.
“I wasn’t actually trying to do that, it just worked in my favor. I was going to just shoot it, but then I saw an opening,” he said.
The first period was the definition of back-and-forth. Falmouth struck, and Barnstable answered. Then it happened again.
Falmouth netted the game’s first goal at 9:01 of the first as third line winger Ben Boudrot netted the first goal of his high school career for the Clippers, redirecting a shot from the right point by captain Zack Zaino.
Barnstable won the ensuing draw, skated right down and tied it 16 seconds later. Willman broke up the left wing and crossed a pretty feed for Connor Fries that the junior popped past Garcia to knot it at 1-1.
The teams then traded goals a second time a bit later in the frame. At 12:06, Falmouth tri-captain Cyrus Wickersham hustled into the right wing corner to take the puck away from the Raiders defense. As Wickersham broke for the curved boards, Storm Fotiu slid through the slot and was in position to tip in a great crossing feed from his linemate to make it 2-1.
Barnstable’s boisterous traveling fanbase wasn’t in the dumps for long after that one as Willman brought them to their feet just 27 seconds later with an electric play.
Rogorzenski let a shot rip from the right wing circle that flew over the goal to the rear boards. Willman was the first one to it and sped out front, circling to a shooting position and rifled a wrist shot under the crossbar to send the teams to the locker rooms tied.