SMITHFIELD --- Chalk this tie up for the public schools.
Junior Paul Brusciniâ€™s first goal of the year and senior goalie Cody Phillipsâ€™ marvelous 35-save performance enabled Lincoln High to grab a 1-1 tie with Division I foe La Salle Academy late Monday night in a rare home game for the Lions at the Smithfield Ice Rink.
Before this draw, there were 19 Division I games that pitted public schools against parochial schools and the parochials captured all 19 meetings, 12 of them by six or more goals.
The Lions, who are in their first winter as a Division I team, snapped a mini three-game losing streak that included a 2-1 defeat to Smithfield last Friday and a 5-0 loss to Cranston West on Saturday. They are now 2-6-1 and sit in eighth place in the 10-team division.
â€śIt was a quick turnaround from maybe the worst weekend that Iâ€™ve seen in a couple of years,â€ť said Lincoln coach Jim Riel. â€śThat was nice. Getting that point was important. It wasnâ€™t an expected point, but hopefully it helps us in the standings.â€ť
The game was a back-and-forth battle and a scoreless one until the Rams got on the board 3:45 into the last period on a goal by Bob Fox that was assisted by Dan Lucchetti and Stephen Inman.
But the Lions, who only managed 20 shots on goalie Chris Ryan, evened the score at 5:49 when Bruscini scored off a pass from Ryan Krohto.
â€śHe had a little bit of a back problem that kept him out of a few games early in the season,â€ť said Riel. â€śWeâ€™re trying to get him off on the right foot, and heâ€™s playing consistently now and getting a lot of ice time. As a junior, heâ€™s got to step up, and hopefully, last night will get him going.â€ť
The Rams did their best over the waning minutes of regulation and the five-minute overtime session to break the stalemate. But the Lions and Phillips, who Riel said had his best performance of the season, held La Salleâ€™s attack down the rest of the way.
â€śThe last three or four minutes, La Salle really brought it on,â€ť admitted Riel. â€śOur motivation was to get to overtime and steal a point, and thatâ€™s what we focused on defensively. We were really just denying them any chances down the stretch.â€ť
The draw, meanwhile, allowed La Salle (5-1-2) to leap into third place in the airtight standings. Mount St. Charles (6-0-1) and Moses Brown (6-1-1) lead the league with 13 points each, and Bishop Hendricken (5-1-1) sits in fourth with 11.
La Salle 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 1
Lincoln 0 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 1
First period: No scoring.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: LS -- Robert Fox (Stephen Inman, Dan Lucchetti), 3:45; L -- Paul Bruscini (Ryan Krohto), 5:49.
Overtime: No scoring.
Shots on goal: La Salle 36, Lincoln 20. Goalie saves: LS -- Chris Ryan (19 saves), L -- Cody Phillips (35 saves).