HYANNIS, Mass. – During the pregame ceremonies at Kennedy Ice Arena last night, it was the Barnstable High School seniors that were celebrated. After the game, it was a junior that had provided the biggest reasons for Raiders Nation to cheer.
Barnstable junior forward Cody Pasic had one of his best games of the season to help spearhead a victory for No. 25 Barnstable (10-3-3) over their rivals from Falmouth (10-5-1). Pasic scored the only goal of the first two periods, and added two more in the third stanza as the Raiders beat the 24th-ranked Clippers 4-1 before a packed house. Senior Kyle Rood assisted on all three Pasic lamp-lighters and junior defenseman Mike McDonough added an empty-netter as time expired.
The victory runs Barnstable's current undefeated streak to nine straight games. Since a 2-0 loss at Falmouth last month, BHS has gone 7-0-2. Falmouth had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Raiders head coach Scott Nickerson said that the squad ribbed their sniper, who now has 17 goals on the season, that his performance wasn't as good as it could have been.
“We were giving him a hard time, thinking that he could have had a few more, because he missed a few,” Nickerson said. “But how do you complain about that?”
No one on the Barnstable side was complaining when Pasic got the first one of the game, just seconds after Falmouth was cited for having too many men on the ice midway through the middle period. On the draw after the penalty, Rood won the puck back to his right and Pasic let into a slap shot through traffic that beat the Clippers' Jake Beaton down low to make it a 1-0 game.
Pasic struck again, even though he wasn't trying to, at 2:46 of the third. The winger was attempting to fling a pass to the far side, from the blue line, for a cutting teammate. The puck changed direction off of a Falmouth skate and knuckled by Beaton to the near post to double the Raiders' advantage.
That one fortunate hop in the home team's favor, and a couple of bad ones that went against the visitors, loomed large at the end of the night.
“(Falmouth) hit a couple of pipes. We got some breaks. Our second goal, the goalie was sliding it over and it hit a (skate) and got deflected and went the other way,” Nickerson said.
Falmouth head coach Paul Moore agreed. “We didn't get the breaks tonight, and I think they got one on their second goal, that was a pass going across the middle and it hit Cam (Tobey's) foot and redirected. Jake was playing the pass.”
Falmouth cut into the lead four minutes later on a pretty shot by Marc Rocheleau off a faceoff, on a play that was very similar to the Raiders' first goal. Freshman center Patrick Coyne won a faceoff back to Rocheleau, who ripped a hard slap shot to the upper far side.
Barnstable keeper Kevin Huska never saw that one, but he saw the other 22 Falmouth shots on net, and stopped them all. His biggest save of the night came with 4:50 left in regulation as the senior flashed his left leg pad to halt a laser off of Cam Tobey's stick from the slot. Seconds later Rocheleau had a solid bid to tie the contests, but his shot from the right point hit the post.
Nickerson was very pleased with the play of his keeper. “He's a good goaltender. That's why we play him in the big games. He wins the big games. He does a good job.”
Pasic struck for the third time 70 seconds later, icing the game while completing his hat trick. Rood stole the puck away from the Falmouth defense in the right wing corner and flung a shot on from a tough angle. Beaton stopped that one, but Pasic was camped on the crease and muscled in the rebound for the back-breaker.
Nickerson said that the win further legitimizes something he feels strongly about -- that his his team deserves to be in consideration for the Super 8.
Should the Red Raiders continue to win like they have, his club will certainly have to be a part of the conversation.
“A lot of our games have been against strong competition," Nickerson said. "I feel really good about what where we're at … I think we're better than people give us credit for. I know that there's a Super 8 Watch List and I was disappointed that we weren't on it. Maybe our last two wins will get us on it. It certainly should, based on what I see there. I assume we were on the bubble, and we won two games against two pretty good teams."
Moore, who is on the selection committee, has firsthand knowledge of just how tough the Red Raiders are, and is a believer that Barnstable's case is getting better and better.
“That's a good team. They probably play one of the best public school high school schedules. They're battle tested and they keep coming at you.”