PAWTUCKET --- The fans who packed Lynch Arena on Thursday hoping to see a tight game between Lincoln and Cumberland that resembled the double-overtime thriller they played in the Toll Gate Holiday Tournament finals didnâ€™t get their wish granted.
The Lions erupted for three goals in the second period and two in the first 5Â˝ minutes of the third and held the Clippers to just 19 shots on net en route to a 6-2 win in the Kyle J. McLaughlin Scholarship Fund benefit hockey game.
And while this game was the nightâ€™s featured attraction, it also gave the two neighboring towns a chance to get together and pay tribute to the memory of McLaughlin, a 2008 graduate of Cumberland High and a high-scoring center for the Clippers who was killed in a car crash on Nov. 2, 2009.
McLaughlin was a three-time All-Division pick and a former Rev. Robert C. Newbold Most Valuable Player Award winner who graduated with 123 career points and helped guide the Clippers to the Division II state championship in his senior season.
But this wasnâ€™t the first meeting of the season between the two former Met B rivals. They faced each other on Dec. 27 at Thayer Arena in the Toll Gate title game, which the Lions won by a 3-2 score.
Both teams wasted no time in breaking on the scoreboard, as Cumberland struck first 2:15 into the game on a goal from Mike Kinch that was assisted by Matt Rzemien, and Lincoln tied the contest 13 seconds later when Jerzy Polak scored off a pass from Nick Zammarelli.
The score remained tied until Zammarelli gave Lincoln the lead for good at 4:15 by taking a pass from Polak and blasting a low shot that sailed between the legs of Clipper goalie Pat Noke.
Less than two minutes later, Paul Bruscini made it a 3-1 contest by flicking a pass from Ryan Krohto over Nokeâ€™s blocker.
The Lions took a three-goal command with 2:27 left in the period when Nick Moreau tapped in a slap shot by Tyler Duquette, but just when it looked like Lincoln was going to take the momentum into the locker room, the Clippers responded 50 seconds later on a goal by Greg Wellington.
But Lincoln, who took 32 shots in the game, got that goal back 3:12 into the final period when Matt Young found the back of the net off Krohtoâ€™s second assist of the night, and 2Â˝ minutes, Drew Wood scored to make it a four-goal game.
After the game, the Lions and Clippers named their respective MVPs for the game, and while Young, the Lionsâ€™ captain, earned his teamâ€™s top honor, Nick Rainville was the Clippersâ€™ pick.
Both teams will return to their league schedules tomorrow night in a twinbill at the Rhode Island Sports Center. The Lions host Burrillville in a Division I meeting at 7 p.m., and the Clippers take on North Smithfield in their Division II-North meeting at 9.
Lincoln 1 - 3 - 2 -- 6
Cumberland 1 - 1 - 0 -- 2
First period: C -- Mike Kinch (Matt Rzemien, Andrew Dulac), 2:15; L -- Jerzy Polak (Nick Zammarelli, Griffin Hevey), 2:28.
Second period: L -- Nick Zammarelli (Jerzy Polak, Griffin Hevey), 4:15; L -- Paul Bruscini (Ryan Krohto, Taylor Rego), 6:11; L -- Nick Moreau (Tyler Duquette, Drew Wood), 12:33; C -- Greg Wellington (Nick Rainville), 13:23.
Third period: L -- Matt Young (Ryan Krohto, Paul Bruscini), 3:12; L -- Drew Wood (Anthony Mancini), 5:43.
Shots on goal: Lincoln 32, Cumberland 19. Goalie saves: L -- Chris Leclaire (13 saves-15 shots), David Jersey (0:00, third period, 4 saves-4 shots), C -- Pat Noke (26 saves).