PROVIDENCE – While his players hooted and hollered inside the dressing room, Burrillville High head coach Steve Daigle tried to explain how his crew – after dropping a tough 1-0 decision to Barrington in the first game of this best-of-three R.I. Division I Tournament championship set – managed a vastly different scenario on Saturday afternoon.
His Broncos erupted for a whopping six goals in the middle stanza and skated off the ice at Brown University's Meehan Auditorium with a stellar 7-2 triumph over the Eagles. In the process, Daigle's bunch evened the series at 1-1, and now will battle for the title in the rubber contest today at 2 p.m.
Sophomore Chad Stone easily led the way with a hat trick, while freshman Riley Tupper added two tallies and an assist and classmate Tyler Kearney three feeds, helping Burrillville improve to 7-13-3 on the campaign.
“I think (Barrington) came out a little flat, but I don't know,” he stated with a smile. “I never expected a 7-2 game, that's for sure. That line with Stone, Tupper and Kearney, they came up big for us, and I'd say it's Chad's best game of the year. Getting three goals, that was huge.
“The big thing we had to work on (after the Game 1 loss) was keeping the puck wide,” he continued. “In the first one, we got bottled up in the middle, but (Saturday), we tried to go wide and then go to the net; you get a lot more goals when the goalie is going from side to side, and that made the difference.”
Stone notched his first at the 6:30 mark of the opening session. After taking a pass from Kearney, he poked a backhand at Eagles' senior captain/keeper Andrew Galbraith, while he was falling, and the puck dribbled past the goal line to make it 1-0.
The period ended with the Broncos protecting that cushion, but they exploded in the second. Senior Drew Buxton rifled a wrist shot, thanks to assists from classmate Blake Boutiette and sophomore Nick Koprusak just 19 seconds into the stanza, and – 59 ticks later – Stone skated in on a partial breakaway and flipped a backhand past the keeper for the 3-0 advantage.
Not quite 4:30 after, at 5:43, Nick Graham scored on a long wrister from just inside his blue line, one that fluttered past junior Kyle Wilkinson's glove, to slice the deficit to 3-1; Burrillville, however, netted four tallies over the next 7:05 to turn it into a rout.
With 8:24 left, Stone took a feed from Tupper and recorded another backhand goal with (that caused the BHS student section to flip their ball caps onto the ice, i.e. the hat trick); and, 1:21 later, Tupper drove home a shot through a scrum in front of Galbraith for the 5-1 cushion.
Tupper scored again with 4:28 left on a wide-open, sweeping wrister following senior captain Evan Lafond's pass; and brother Mitch Lafond closed the period with another goal at 13:58.
Barrington notched its only other tally when John Kraunelis poked it past sophomore Jake Wilson at 2:32; he had replaced Wilkinson with 5:45 remaining.
“Kyle played fantastic,” Daigle stated of Wilkinson's 25 saves. “That first goal they scored, that was a knuckleball up high. Those are tough shots for a goalie to stop when you're not facing a lot. It just fluttered past him, but he was solid, no question.”