|Date:||November 29, 2017|
Salisbury Blanks Taft in Season Opener
Brian McGrath made his first start in goal a memorable one on Wednesday afternoon, locking the door on a potent Taft offense to lead Salisbury to a 4-0 win in Watertown. In going 1-1 at last weekend’s St. Paul’s (NH) Jamboree, the Rhinos had netted 9 goals, but McGrath, a post-graduate who previously donned the pads for Roxbury Latin School in Boston, was evidently unimpressed, turning aside 18 shots in the whitewash.
Captain Jacques Bouquot, a 15-goal scorer last year, teamed with newcomer Arsenii Smekhov to give the Knights a 1-0 lead 7:39 into the contest. Behind McGrath and an airtight defensive corps, Bouquot’s tally would end up the game-winner.
Salisbury added to its advantage with a goal from an unlikely source late in the second frame. With 4:08 showing on the clock, Nick Lachaine was on the receiving end of a Michael Fairfax pass and sent the puck into the net to up the score to 2-0. With the goal, Lachaine equaled his scoring output for the entire 2016-17 season.
Two more goals late in the final period put the game away for the Knights. Brett Willits’ tally with 3:03 left in the game made it 3-0. Assists were credited to captain Nick Hale and Matty Holmes. With Taft continuing to press as the clock wound down and an extra skater replacing the Rhino goalie, Kevin Wall made the hosts pay by putting the puck in the empty net for the final goal of the game. Peter Diliberatore and Bouquot both assisted on the play with 1:03 remaining on the game clock.
Taft keeper Caleb Hannon stopped 33 of 36 shots in a laudable effort.
On Saturday, Salisbury takes the ice at 5:00 for its home opener against a Williston Northampton team that had its way on Wednesday, claiming a 3-2 win over highly touted Avon Old Farms. The Williston program has been gaining steam in recent years, and their statement-win over the Winged Beavers makes it clear theirs is not a team opponents can afford to take lightly.