Clip­pers clos­ing in on per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son

Lat­est ‘W’ comes against North­men, 6-1

Woonsocket Call - - SPORTS - By BRANDEN MELLO [email protected]­et­

WOONSOCKET — The Cum­ber­land High School boys’ hockey team was one pe­riod away from another four-point week­end, but the per­for­mance through the first two pe­ri­ods Satur­day night against play­off-chas­ing North Smith­field wasn’t up to the Clip­pers’ lofty stan­dards. Even though Cum­ber­land led the North­men by a pair of goals, Clip­per coach Mark An­dreozzi went in­side the locker room be­hind the away team bench at Ade­lard Arena and didn’t mince words.

“I thought for al­most two pe­ri­ods we were not good,” An­dreozzi said. “We were slow, slug­gish, not mov­ing our feet and not mak­ing good passes. It was tough to watch. In be­tween pe­ri­ods, to put it nicely, I told them they had to play bet­ter. I told them we weren’t mov­ing our feet and we needed to at­tack the net.”

An­dreozzi’s mes­sage, which came with a threat of a dif­fi­cult week of prac­tice, clearly got through. Just 51 sec­onds into the fi­nal pe­riod, ju­nior de­fense­man Ai­dan Clarey scored a goal.

Cum­ber­land added two more goals and skated away

with a 6-1 Di­vi­sion II vic­tory thanks to a pair of goals from lead­ing scorer Jack­son Shevlin and a goal and an as­sist each from Clarey and Keith Sis­son.

North Smith­field (5-7-0-1 Di­vi­sion II) re­ceived a sec­ond-pe­riod power-play goal from sopho­more for­ward Evan Gravel and 22 saves from ju­nior goalie For­rest Zuba.

The North­men re­main tied with Coven­try for the fi­nal play­off spot with just two games re­main­ing. The North­men know a win over last-place North Kingstown Fri­day night is para­mount be­fore end­ing the sea­son Satur­day against Lin­coln at Rhode Is­land Sports Cen­ter.

“I thought we skated with Cum­ber­land for the first two pe­ri­ods,” North Smith­field coach Ben Sha­traw said.

“To stay with a team like them, you have to im­pede their progress. It’s not about mak­ing the big hit, it’s about step­ping in front of them and knock­ing them off the puck. We did that well in the first two pe­ri­ods and stopped do­ing it in the third.”

Cum­ber­land (13-0 Di­vi­sion II) only needs two more points in its fi­nal three games to claim the No. 1 seed and make sure the road to the fi­nal goes through Ade­lard Arena.

The Clip­pers head out on the road for the fi­nal time in the reg­u­lar sea­son Fri­day night against South Kingstown at URI’s Brad Boss Arena.

That game is fol­lowed by a date with sec­ond-place Cranston West Satur­day night at Ade­lard. The Clip­pers de­feated the Fal­cons, 3-1, in the fifth­place game at the Bur­ril­lville Win­ter Clas­sic in De­cem­ber.

“We need to keep pound­ing it into their brain that we need to get bet­ter,” An­dreozzi said. “We al­ways tell them what they need to do and how they need to get bet­ter. There are times where I don’t know if they’re lis­ten­ing be­cause I don’t know if it al­ways gets through.”

The North­men, who bat­tled the Clip­pers to a 4-2 de­ci­sion in De­cem­ber at Rhode Is­land Sports Cen­ter, were the bet­ter team for long stretches of the first pe­riod.

The North­men were re­warded for their hard work with a power play late in the pe­riod. Cum­ber­land, how­ever, woke up and grabbed a lead they would never re­lin­quish when Sis­son notched a short­handed goal.

Cum­ber­land snapped out of its lethargy af­ter the goal and com­pleted dom­i­nated the rest of the first pe­riod and the open­ing eight min­utes of the sec­ond.

The Clip­pers built a two-goal ad- van­tage when Clarey set up Shevlin for a goal at 7:35.

“The short­handed goal in the first pe­riod took a lit­tle wind out of our sails be­cause they’re a big, fast team with a lot of tal­ent up front,” Sha­traw said.

North Smith­field re­sponded with a power-play goal at 10:52 when Clip­per sopho­more goalie Jack Byrne couldn’t keep a Robert Martufi shot in his glove.

The puck squirted to Gravel, who poked the puck into the net. Cum­ber­land re­sponded when Jor­dan Cul­lion net­ted his fourth goal of the week­end when he scored a power-play goal af­ter fin­ish­ing off a Sis­son re­bound with 1:51 left in the mid­dle pe­riod.

An­dreozzi’s in­ter­mis­sion speech woke up the Clip­pers, as Clarey, Shevlin and Jake McMillen net­ted third-pe­riod goals for a Cum­ber­land squad that has scored 56 goals and al­lowed just 11 goals in league com­pe­ti­tion.

Photo by Ernest A. Brown

The Cum­ber­land boys’ hockey team cel­e­brated a 6-1 vic­tory over North Smith­field on Satur­day night, one that im­proved the Clip­pers’ record to 13-0 against Di­vi­sion II op­po­nents.

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