WARWICK --- Getting on the ice for just four practices and one game over the last two weeks and dealing with a scorching hot goaltender did little to prevent Cumberland from hiking its win streak to six games on Friday night.
Michael Kinch’s team-leading seventh goal of the year broke a scoreless tie with 32 seconds left in the second period and helped the Clippers overcome a sensational 45-save effort by goalie Redmond Brow and bus home with a 2-0 victory over the Rogers/Tiverton co-op team at Thayer Arena.
The Clippers, who were coming off last Saturday’s 4-1 win over St. Raphael Academy and a weekend off from action two weeks ago, boosted their first-place Division II-North record to 7-1-2, but this victory wasn’t easy.
Before the Clippers broke on the board, they endured nearly two periods of frustration. They outshot the Vikings by a 34-8 margin before Kinch scored, and not only were they denied time and time again by Brow, but they missed a couple of easy shots in front of the net with Brow out of position.
The Clippers also had a goal waved off with 5:15 to go in the second period when Andrew Dulac lofted a short wrist shot over Brow’s right shoulder, but the net was dislodged from the ice a split second before Dulac’s shot.
“Our goal tonight was to not be flat,” admitted Cumberland coach Dr. Mark Andreozzi. “We didn’t get much practice because of the weather, so we just wanted to come out and move our feet, move our feet. When you don’t have much practice time, there’s nothing else you can do.
“We did that for most of the game, we worked hard, and we got the puck to the net. I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight and I’m proud of the way we played after having so much time off.”
Kinch produced his goal on a breakaway from the blue line as he reeled in a go-ahead pass by Joshua Pora, skated in on Brow, and beat him with a shot over his right pad.
Cumberland doubled its lead 4:51 into the final period on an unassisted goal by Michael Ray, who despite getting taken down by a Rogers player in front of the net, managed to get off a soft shot that trickled past Brow’s stick.
Aside from the Clippers’ goals, the night belonged to Brow, who last season, helped the Vikings net their best record in the team’s seven-year history (17-1) and reach the Division III state finals before losing to Mount Hope.
“Their goalie played really well,” noted Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi.
“Forty-seven shots? He did a great job.”
The Clippers’ goalie, Michaelangelo Federici, ended up with only 14 saves and didn’t have to turn away half as many challenging shots as Brow. But his steady performance, which saw him make a few key stops in the final period, was still good enough to land him his third shutout of the season.
The senior standout currently leads all Division II goalies in goals-against-average (1.39) and save percentage (.931). Brow sits fourth in the league in both departments.
The loss snaps a three-game losing streak for the Vikings, who are 6-5-1 and in third place in the Division II-South standings, but only two points behind frontrunner Middletown High (8-3). The Vikings had posted a 3-1 win over the Islanders earlier in the month.
The Clippers will play another team with playoff hopes tonight at 7:30 p.m. when they host South Kingstown High (6-4) at Adelard Arena.
“We have a tough road,” said Andreozzi. “We’re going back-to-back every weekend next month and we still have to play teams that we haven’t seen yet. It’s going to be tough, but we’re just hoping to get on the ice a little bit more and get better.”