BURRILLVILLE — Looking rather glum, Steve Daigle stood outside Burrillville High’s locker room at Levy Rink on Monday afternoon and sighed at what had just transpired.
“It was a disaster,” he said after his Broncos had suffered a humiliating 6-0 Division I loss to powerhouse Hendricken. “The kids just didn’t come ready to play for some unknown reason. They just didn’t have it. They didn’t come out of the gate with any kind of energy, which is something you definitely need against the privates.
“There are no words to describe it; this is the worse loss we’ve had all year,” he added. “We’ll just start (Tuesday) morning at 5:30 with some spirited skating. We have to make up for these three periods of no skating.”
Junior forward Andrew Fera notched a hat trick and an assist for the Hawks, who bettered their marks to 10-1 overall and 8-0 in D-I. Senior co-captain Eddie Markowski contributed a goal and two assists, while sophomore Matt Creamer posted a goal and a feed and senior Dakota Hersey and freshman Riley Young two assists each.
Burrillville fell to 6-5-1 overall and 3-5-1 in league.
“We couldn’t have played any worse if we tried,” Daigle noted. “We’ve only had a full team for two games this year; we were missing one defenseman (senior Blake Boutiette) with a wrist injury, and (sophomore) Tom Libby was out with pneumonia, but that’s still no excuse for our poor play.”
Creamer gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead on a feed from Fera; he ripped a wrister off the crossbar and into the net just 2:13 into the contest, but it looked like the Broncos would tie it up when sophomore Nick Koprusak drilled a slap shot from inside the blue line at Hendricken senior netminder Mitchell Proulx, though the latter made a stellar sweeping stick save at 8:02.
With 6:08 left in the period, Broncos’ junior Tyler Gautreau skated to the box after an interference call, but senior Drew Buxton, sophomore Ben Robinson and freshman Tyler Kearney did a fantastic job on the penalty kill.
But with 2:15 remaining, senior Dan Takita was called for interference, joining classmate Evan Lafond in the penalty box and giving the Hawks a 30-second span of a 5-on-3.
Lafond managed to get back on the ice, but Takita didn’t, as Markowski slipped a point-blank shot (on passes from Hersey and Creamer) under Burrillville junior goalie Kyle Wilkinson to make it 2-0 with 1:59 left.
Just 1:21 into the middle session, it look as if the Broncos would slice the gap in half when freshman Riley Tupper found himself on a breakaway and fired a slapper from outside the right circle at Proulx, but he made an outstanding stick save.
Amazingly, moments later, Daigle’s crew had a chance to take advantage of a pair of Hendricken penalties. With 12:40 remaining, referees called Markowski for boarding, and 44 ticks later, junior Tucker Alberigo for hooking; that gave the hometowners 76 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage.
Immediately, Lafond’s wrist shot from the left circle rang the left post, and a similar try by sophomore Chad Stone was corralled by Proulx. The Broncos had an additional 44 seconds of a 5-on-4, but Hendricken killed that penalty as well.
“We called a timeout, and what I wanted them to do is get as many pucks on the net as we could and just hope something went in the net,” Daigle claimed. “Our power play has one of our best assets this season, but we didn’t move very well.
“We just had too many penalties called against us,” he continued, noting Burrillville finished with 10 (the Hawks had seven). “Considering we don’t have depth to begin with, that took any momentum we had out of our hands. That (failure on the 5-on-3) was the start of bad things to come.”
Hendricken made it 3-0 shortly after, when junior Jonathan Finelli whacked in a wrist shot from the slot (and on passes from Hersey and Josh Olson) at 8:55.
In the first 2:53 of the third period, Gautreau was cited for hooking and sophomore Pat McConnell for cross-checking, though the Broncos didn’t allow a tally.
Just after those penalty kills, Fera skated down ice, juked a defender and flipped an unassisted wrister just under the crossbar to make it 4-0 with 8:56 left. Only 48 ticks later, Fera converted his second, thanks to passes from Markowski and Miller, and the same trio hooked up again for Fera’s hat trick at 12:54.
All told, Hendricken mustered only one power play on nine chances.
“Our penalty kill was definitely on, sure, but the thing is, we shouldn’t have been in the box,” Daigle mentioned. “A lot of our penalties came in the offensive zone, which isn’t good.”
The head coach did mention that Robinson, Koprusak and Gautreau did exhibit some solid defensive play in the losing effort.
“We only came in with two returning defensemen, so they’ve really stepped up to the plate for us,” he said.