The Bishop Hendricken hockey team held off the La Salle Rams in a 3-2 win last Friday night in Smithfield.
Leading 3-1 deep in the third period, the Hawks would face some adversity when they fell into a 5-on-3 situation. After successfully defending off the first penalty, Hendricken would see its lead shrink when La Salle’s Ethan Cordeiro put away the power-play goal to make it 3-2 with 5:12 remaining.
However, goalie Patrick Gribbin would come up with multiple saves down the stretch, including a highlight reel diving stop, to shut down the surging Rams and secure the win.
“We don’t win that game without Patrick playing outstanding. Things were rolling for us but then (we) took (some) penalties and Patrick was spectacular. I don’t know if he got it with his hand or what he did coming across there, it was just a huge save,” said Hendricken coach Jim Creamer after the win.
Gribbin finished the evening with 28 saves, 10 of which coming in the third period.
“I really try not to think about it, I just try to think about playing the game, then once the game is over the buzzer will go off and then we can celebrate. It feels good, especially in a game like this,” said Gribbin of the third period.
“It was awful,” added Creamer of the final nerve-wracking minutes of the third period. “We felt good about the way that we were playing but that’s been our Achilles heel … we’ve taken some poor penalties at some bad times. If we can fix that then it will be much easier on everyone.”
The Hawks fell behind midway through the first period when La Salle’s Eric Markey put away a goal to make it 1-0. However, Hendricken would surge with three unanswered goals in the second period to take the 3-1 advantage.
Matthew Dumond would score twice in the period while Rocco Biafore also added a power-play goal. All three tallies occurred in a six-minute frame to quickly give the Hawks the lead and the momentum heading into the final period.
The two clubs met during the holiday break, with the Hawks also completing a comeback victory in a 4-3 win. The two powerhouses are set to meet in early February, and are each considered heavy favorites to make deep postseason runs.
“This is a huge confidence boost, we’re already rolling right away, this is a big rival, there are a lot of people here,” said Gribbin, who feels that team chemistry will be big for the Hawks moving forward. “Every day in practice we’re all on the same page, I love this team and I love these guys and I think that helps us go a long way.”
Creamer was proud of his team’s mental toughness when the going got rough, and felt that the Hawks proved a thing or two in the win.
“We just want to be playing at the best of our ability. They’re such a tough challenge for us athletically, emotionally, it’s a good win for us. We were playing well coming into this so it was good to see us character-wise stick with it … more in that sense,” said Creamer. “We played them last week and were down 2-0, we were playing great but I knew that we could play better and flip that switch. Fortunately, we were able to.”