The Toll Gate Titans were overpowered 6-3 by the Cranston West Falcons on Friday night during a Division II boys hockey showdown at Thayer Arena.
The West offense was topped by senior forwards Cam Koretsky and Dylan Demers, who each tallied two goals plus an assist, and Andrew Martin, a junior forward, who added a goal and two assists.
Max Savaria, a junior forward, led the Titans with two goals, and Gerard Schifino, a freshman defenseman, added two assists.
In net, Nathan O’Keefe, a Toll Gate sophomore, had 31 saves while West junior Mathew Corrente made 20 stops.
“Our goaltending is maybe the best thing about our team right now,” Titans head coach Peter Stringfellow said. “They’re doing great. Our goaltending coach is working hard. All three of our goalies produce and have been doing well. So, I’m very happy with them so far.”
The Falcons took a 1-0 advantage at 9:13 of the first period when Koretsky lit the lamp for a power-play goal after assists from Martin and Demers.
Next, at 13:37 of the opening frame, West earned another power-play tally and upped its margin to 2-0 when Martin put the puck top shelf following assists from Koretsky and Josh Zambarano.
Then, Demers fired a one-timer into the back of net, after a cross pass from Tom Harper, just under three minutes into the second frame, and that ballooned the Falcons cushion to 3-0. Martin was also credited with an assist on the goal.
Toll Gate would inch within 3-1 at 6:04 of the second frame when Savaria scored a power play goal from the left side, following passes from Schifino and Colin Meunier.
Then at 9:59 of the second frame, Savaria scored his second goal, during a breakaway, after an assist from Schifino and it got the Titans within 3-2.
“He’s definitely been working hard all year,” Stringfellow said. “He’s been having a great season so far, but it’s a team effort. ‘Everything good for the team’, like he says. All his goals come off a whole team effort, getting pucks to the net and we should continue to do that.”
Next, with just 5.4 seconds remaining in the middle period, Toll Gate tied the game at 3 when Nathaniel McCamish, a senior forward, scored a power play goal from in front after an assist from freshman forward Sean Mullaney.
Nonetheless, four minutes and 50 seconds into the final frame, the Falcons drew a 4-3 edge when Zambarano earned an unassisted tally.
Four minutes after that, West upped its buffer to 5-3 after Demers scored in front, following passes from Harper and Noah Amaral.
The Falcons then expanded their threshold to 6-3 when Koretsky scored a power play goal after an assist from Amaral.
While Toll Gate played strong in the middle period, rallying back from three goals down, it wasn't nearly enough. And Coach Stringfellow was upset the Titans couldn’t play with that same aggressiveness for the entire contest.
“The boys were working hard, but we’ve got to find a way to pull it together for 45 minutes,” Stringfellow said. “Third period’s definitely not what we’re looking for, second period we played great. I just wish we could have played like that throughout the whole rest of the game.”
Toll Gate falls to 3-5 in the league with the loss and plays its next game on Friday night at home against Cumberland (6-0) at 7:30 p.m.