BURRILLVILLE — Cumberland High head coach Mark Andreozzi had a particular plan long before the start of its initial tilt of the Burrillville Winter Classic. He wanted to play all three of his goalkeepers in an effort to give them more experience.
Then again, he also hoped his club would show enough wherewithal to skate off the Levy Rink ice with a victory.
The Clippers did just that Monday night, rallying for a tally in all three periods and claiming an upset 3-2 triumph over Division I/Eccleston League representative Barrington.
All three netminders – including juniors Leo Lake and Zack Kay and senior Liam Curren – mustered eight saves each as Cumberland improved to 5-0 overall.
It didn’t lack in the offensive category, either. Junior Greg Wellington finished with two goals while sophomore Jake Salisbury recorded three assists for the Clippers.
“I wanted to play (the three goalies) because they work hard in practice, and all three are formidable,” Andreozzi stated. “It’s also a non-league game, and it’s just as important as the ones we play in Division II (North), but there’s a different emphasis in a tournament like this.
“I wanted to give all our guys some playing time so they could get more experience,” he added. “Barrington’s in an upper division, and it faces Mount St. Charles, La Salle, Burrillville and Hendricken, so – for us to skate with them and play well and get the win – it’s definitely a feather in their cap. It was good for us to gain the confidence, know we could go out and play at their level.”
In the end, Wellington broke a 2-2 deadlock with a tally with 7:05 remaining in regulation; Salisbury had stood on the near edge of the circle and wristed a try at senior goalie Nate Bannon, but Wellington pounced on the loose puck and shoved it into the cage to secure the triumph.
Despite the Eagles outshooting Cumberland by a 7-1 count in the first 10-plus minutes of the initial stanza, Wellington took a feed from Salisbury in the slot and blasted it past goalkeeper Colin Glegg to give the Clippers a 1-0 advantage.
That was erased, however, only 50 seconds later, when senior Brett Fay fired a try from the left circle over Lake to knot it.
A mere 14.1 ticks before the end of the period, officials whistled senior Pat Judge for boarding, giving Cumberland 1:46 of its first power play to begin the second.
Andreozzi’s crew took full advantage when senior Jamie Casilli – stationed by the left post – received a pass from Salisbury and fired the man-advantage opportunity past Glegg just 1:14 into the session.
Just 29 ticks later, Barrington senior defenseman Charles Vanier took a five-minute major penalty (hitting from behind) and a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct major. About one minute after, Eric Andreozzi was whistled for boarding, giving the Clippers 74 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage.
Still, the Clippers failed to knock one past Glegg.
As it had done in the opening period, the Eagles issued a gift to Cumberland when – with 11.6 seconds left before the end of the middle stanza – referees called Joe Lombardi for boarding, giving Andreozzi and Co. their fifth power play to start the second.
Barrington killed that penalty, then tied the game for the second time. Sophomore Ben Russell did the honors, drilling through a scrum a pass from classmate Mike Lombardi.
All that did was set up Wellington’s clincher midway through the third.
“The thing that bothered me? We didn’t start very strong,” Andreozzi noted. “There are a lot of good teams in our league, and if we do that against them, we’re going to get beat.
“The good news was that – when they tied it – we kept battling,” he continued. “We didn’t sulk, but kept taking it to them. I was really happy with our tenacity, but we need to start stronger and communicate better. We’ve got to keep improving, or we’re going to lose.
“That’s something these kids hear from me every day, believe me.”