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WOONSOCKET --- Cumberland High and the Division II semifinals have gone hand-in-hand for the better part of last decade, and that trendâ€™s going to continue this weekend.
Michael Kinchâ€™s multiple-goal night and goalie Michaelangelo Federiciâ€™s 33-save effort were the keys to success for the Clippers on Monday night in their 4-2 victory over Pilgrim High in the third and deciding game of their best-of-three quarterfinal-round series at Adelard Arena.
The third-seeded Clippers, who claimed the series opener by a 4-3 score, but were blanked 3-0 in Saturdayâ€™s Game 2, wonâ€™t have much time to savor this win over the sixth-seeded Patriots.
Thatâ€™s because they will return to action on Thursday and begin their best-of-three semifinal-round series against second-seeded Portsmouth High, which dealt the Patriots a harsh 3-0 loss in their regular-season finale.
The opener will take place at 7 p.m. at Portsmouth Abbeyâ€™s rink, and Game 2 will be at Adelard at a time to be announced. This is the sixth straight season that the Clippers have reached the â€™Final Fourâ€™ portion of the tournament.
â€ś(Portsmouth) gave us an old-fashioned butt-whipping at the end of the year,â€ť offered Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi. â€śItâ€™s going to be tough. We only have two days of practice and we go down there Thursday. We need to play with the same intensity and passion we played with tonight. I think if we can do that, weâ€™ll be right there with them.â€ť
Andreozzi will be hoping that his Clippers give an effort as strong as the one they gave last night against the Patriots and nothing like the showing they put forth in Saturdayâ€™s loss.
â€śSaturday, we just came out flat,â€ť added Andreozzi. â€śWe played not to lose, but tonight, we played to win. Our backs were against the wall -- itâ€™s Game 3, anything could happen, weâ€™re in our house. We had to play our game and we did for the most part, and fortunately for us, we came out on top.â€ť
Right from the start, the Patriots swarmed the Clippersâ€™ end of the arena and peppered Federici with four shots in the first 90 seconds of play.
The Clippers (15-4-2) didnâ€™t take their first shot until 2:11 had elapsed, and when they finally got one off, it was a seemingly harmless shot from just past the blue line by Kinch. But that shot deflected off the left skate of goaltender Ian Giuttari and into the net for the gameâ€™s first goal.
They doubled their lead with 4:10 left in the period on a goal from an unlikely source, junior Caleb Doherty, who unleashed a wristshot from the middle of the right faceoff circle that sailed over Giuttariâ€™s glove and into the net for his first goal of the season.
â€śHeâ€™s been around the net,â€ť said Andreozzi. â€śHeâ€™s just been snakebitten, but he got a big one for us tonight, and that was great.â€ť
The Patriots sliced their deficit in half 1:18 into the second period when Evan Joyal scored on a deflection in the slot in front of Federici, but Kinch got that goal back for the Clippers 3Â˝ minutes later with a sharp wristshot that zipped over Giuttariâ€™s blocker.
But the Patriots (12-8-1) refused to go away quietly. Joyal made it a 3-2 affair with another power-play goal, this one with four minutes to play in the period, and the large crowd at Adelard remained on their edges of their seats.
The Patriots, who outshot the Clippers in each period, kept applying pressure on the Clippers at the start of the final period, but with 4:23 left, the Clippers got some much-needed breathing room on a goal by Andrew Dulac that was set up nicely by Chris Lambert and Josh Pora.
Pilgrim 0 - 2 - 0 -- 2
Cumberland 2 - 1 - 1 -- 4
First period: C -- Michael Kinch (Joshua Engels, Michael Ray), 2:11; C -- Andrew Doherty (Jaryd Dulieu), 10:50. Penalties: P, 2-4; C, 1-2.
Second period: P -- Evan Joyal (Nick McGuirl, Cody Weaver), power play, 1:18; C -- Michael Kinch (Greg Miller), 5:00; P -- Evan Joyal (Cody Weaver), power play, 11:00. Penalties: C, 2-4.
Third period: C -- Andrew Dulac (Chris Lambert, Josh Pora), 10:37. P -- Penalties: P, 2-4; C, 3-6.
Shots on goal: Pilgrim 35, Cumberland 25. Goalie saves: P -- Ian Giuttari (21 saves); C -- Michaelangelo Federici (33 saves).