HYANNIS, Mass. -- Barnstable's Scott Nickerson can be his team's worst critic, but even the fifth-year head coach had to admit there was not much to complain about.
Senior captain Zach Wells scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Red Raiders upended No. 20 Bridgewater-Raynham, 4-1, in a battle of Old Colony League unbeatens.
Wells potted the game-winner 6:03 into the third period, 25 seconds into the second power play opportunity of the period. The man-advantage set off three unanswered goals in the final stanza with the senior captain adding an empty-netter with 1:05 remaining to give him 10 tallies on the season and pairs of goals in each of the last three contests.
"Bridgewater's the only team really [in the league] that this is the biggest game for us all year until the state tournament", said Wells. "They've always been a good team, we usually don't beat them so it's a great win for us."
The victory over the Trojans (5-3-1; 1-1) is the first for the Red Raiders in the last three seasons and puts Barnstable (6-1-3; 2-0) directly in the driver's seat for the Old Colony League title.
"The first period they out shot us, but after the first period we were a better team out there", said Nickerson. "You know I'm negative a lot but that's a big show for us, I'm happy and we had a lot of guys really play well for us."
Bridgewater-Raynham carried the play for most of the first period holding a 9-5 shot advantage as freshman Connor Sullivan gave the Trojans the 1-0 lead only 1:28 into the first period. Corbette McLucas' blast from the point bounced to senior Matt White, who tried to punch home the rebound, but Sullivan finished the frenzy with the easy wrister just to the right of the crease.
Max Willman led a 14-shot effort in the second period with his seventh goal of the season on a highlight-reel toe-drag across the crease for the period's lone goal as the teams skated to a 1-1 tie after the first two stanzas.
Nickerson lit up in his office talking about the equalizer scored at 7:23 of the second period.
"Beautiful, just beautiful but there is a kid, although he's small, he's got a head on him, and he can make that play and we don't have many guys who can make that play," said Nickerson. "If he was even 5-10, he'd be all world, but he's only about 5-5, 125 pounds."
Added Wells: "He has some really good hands and what was a huge goal for us and we really needed something to get back in."
After Wells' game-winner, Will Toffey scored at 8:01, less then two minutes after the senior captain's tally, for the insurance goal and Wells followed with the empty-netter. Wells' power-play strike was all goaltender Sean Cleary needed as the freshman netminder was solid the rest of the way with 21 saves for the Red Raiders.
"The guys that are supposed to score scored tonight, Willman and Wells, Toffey and exactly what happened is what we've been looking for," said Nickerson. "Figure a 3-1, 3-2 game, figure Wells is going to get one, our defense is going to get one, and then someone else."
The power-play goal was only the second of the entire season for Barnstable as they out shot the Trojans 29-22 overall. But the small improvements can add up in the end for Nickerson's Red Raiders.
"We're getting better and better, more aggressive, handling the puck a little bit better," said Nickerson. "This game helps us confidence-wise as they are starting to believe they are pretty good - not getting cocky over it - but our guys are really starting to believe."
BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM (5-3-1; 1-1) - 1 - 0 - 0 - - 1
BARNSTABLE (6-1-3; 2-0) - 0 - 1 - 3 - - 4
FIRST - BR - Connor Sullivan (Matt White, Corbett McLucas), 1:28.
SECOND - BA - Max Willman (Ricky Panton, L.J. Fellows), 7:23.
THIRD - BA - Zach Wells (Willman ), 6:03; BA - Will Toffey (Kyle Fontaine), 8:01; BA - Wells, 13:57 (en)
SAVES: BR - Peter Drowne (25); BA - Sean Cleary (21).