FALMOUTH, Mass. – “We should have just stayed on the Bourne Bridge.”
Waltham head coach John Maguire was not enthused about his team’s first few shifts against No. 4 Austin Prep (12-3-4), Sunday at the Buddy Ferreira Classic. The Cougars established their dominance right out of the gate, scoring three times over a span of just under three minutes early in the first period and never looked back as they rolled to an easy 5-1 victory in the opening round of the annual Cape Cod tournament.
“For us to hand them three goals like that. We didn’t really show up, that was depressing,” Maguire said. “They’re probably three or four goals better than us, but I didn’t like the way we played early. After that we settled in okay.”
AP’s bunched first period goals started just 84 seconds into the contest when Jake McKenelley broke the seal, cutting across the middle and wristing a quick one past starting goalie Brendan Develin.
At 3:55 the Cougars went up by a pair with a power-play goal from Mike Egan, who collected a rebound in the left wing corner and bounded in a Plinko chip from there. Eighteen seconds later Ryan McDonough broke with speed up the seam and beat Develin with a nifty crossover move to make it 3-0.
AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro liked the early hop that his club had.
“We came out strongly. After that I thought we were a little complacent,” the coach said. “In any tournament, the most important game is the first one and I thought we had had good puck movement and puck possession.”
Waltham (7-7-5) had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the game in the first period. AP outshot the Hawks 13-1 for the frame, with the first bid to reach the net coming with just 15 seconds left in the first, off the stick of Jake Miller.
The Hawks got their skates under themselves in the second and played a much better frame. A Brendan Hopkins power play goal at 5:08 cut the deficit to two goals, as the forward jammed in a rebound of a Kevin Snow shot.
AP got that one back late in the period, regaining their three-goal lead when Bob Carpenter floated a wrister from the high slot. Cam Russo, camped in front with his back to the net, redirected it past Waltham goalie Shamus Egan, beating the relief netminder to the stick side to make it a 4-1 game. Carpenter later capped the scoring, with seven seconds left to play, with a power play goal sniped from high in the zone.
AP squares off with No. 2 BC High Monday at 1 p.m., in what promises to be the game of the tournament at the Classic.
The Hawks are back at it tomorrow against Falmouth. They need to pick up three points in their last three games to qualify for the MIAA tournament.
On Tuesday, Waltha squares off with Westford Academy and will have one more Buddy Ferreira Classic contest later in the week.