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WOONSOCKET â€” Head coach Nathan Arruda wants desperately to rekindle pride and interest in Woonsocket High hockey, as he â€“ in the early 2000s â€“ represented the program himself.
As far as heâ€™s concerned, the young, inexperienced Villa Novans did just that on Friday night at Adelard Arena, despite dropping a tough 3-2 decision in their home opener.
In the end, with the score knotted at 2-2, freshman Greg Fontaine knocked in a power-play goal with only 1:54 remaining in regulation to give the Hurricanes the one-goal victory.
â€śIt was this close,â€ť Arruda grinned while placing his thumb and index finger perhaps a quarter inch apart. â€śItâ€™s a tough loss, but it was back and forth pretty much the whole game. We have a lot of young guys this year; Iâ€™ve got a lot of freshmen, so theyâ€™re still learning.
â€śWhen it was over, I told the kids they have nothing to hang their heads about,â€ť he added after the Novans fell to 0-2 overall. â€śUnfortunately, we got a bad bounce (on the clincher). We had a couple of chances at the end, but it didnâ€™t bounce our way.â€ť
Arruda was more than excited about the stellar play of freshman netminder Devon Rivard, who mustered 31 saves in his initial varsity game ever.
â€śWe played very well; he stepped it up,â€ť the coach claimed. â€śFor his first game, I thought he was outstanding.â€ť
Fontaine finished with two tallies for Warwick Vets, while senior defenseman and co-captain Kyle Veyera managed a goal and a feed.
It was Veyera who gave the Hurricanes their first goal of the contest, drilling a slap shot from the left point past Rivard with only 3:09 elapsed in the first stanza. With 1:34 left, it looked like the visitors would make it 2-0 when junior Oliver Pinheiro skipped over a defensemanâ€™s stick and lifted a wrister at Rivard, though the try sailed inches above the crossbar.
Warwick did gain a 2-0 cushion after officials whistled sophomore Austin Forget for interference with just 46 seconds elapsed in the middle period. A mere 38 ticks later, Fontaine whistled a wind-up slapper from inside the blue line, and it caromed off the keeperâ€™s glove, good for the power-play score.
Exactly two minutes later, with senior Robert Morin sliced the deficit to 2-1 after rifling an unassisted attempt through Howard.
The period would end that way. Still, the Novans picked it up a notch in the third, and seemingly tied it when freshman Anthony Jordeo slipped a backhand from the left circle toward the cage; after a Vetsâ€™ deflection, it slid underneath Howardâ€™s pads, but never did reach the goal line.
Three minutes later, Allaire had a stellar chance on a breakaway, but it apparently hit Howardâ€™s back skate before deflecting away.
Thirty-one seconds later, with 4:04 left, Allaire tied it for the first time at 2-2 when his wrister from the left circle caromed off a Hurricane defenseman.
That only set up Fontaineâ€™s late-game heroics.
â€śI thought (senior co-captain) Marques Gonzalez, Allaire and Forget played great defensively for us; it actually looked better here than it had in the past,â€ť Arruda stated. â€śWe changed things up in the third, moving Alec up to forward, and we scored a quick goal. It just wasnâ€™t enough.â€ť