vs. Hotchkiss School
|Date:||December 5, 2018|
Bearcats Eviscerate Knights
Salisbury’s early season woes continued Wednesday afternoon as Hotchkiss vented several years’ frustration in the cross-town rivalry with a pitiless, 7-1 dis-armoring of the suddenly reeling Knights. With 15 goals allowed over the past 48 hours and a .500 record, Salisbury is suddenly at a critical juncture in its season. Yes, the team’s twelve Division I commitments speak to an extraordinary level of talent, but many of the players are new to the program, new to each other, new to the high level of play across today’s prep hockey landscape. How long will it take to adjust to so much “new”-ness? Can something be done, in the meantime, to shore up the defense? Is a playoff berth still a reasonable goal, or is it so early in the season that such a question is absurd at this point?
On all counts, only time will tell, but certainly results such as Monday’s and Wednesday’s are uncustomary to the most storied hockey program in New England over the past dozen years – years that have seen five championship banners hung from the rafters of Rudd Rink.
The one bright spot for Salisbury in a generally dispiriting showing was Matt Coronato’s power-play goal 3:37 into the third period, assisted by Jake Quillan. Prior to that, Hotchkiss goalie Henry Wilder had stopped all 49 shots he faced while tossing shutouts in the Bearcats’ first two games. Before Coronato bested him, Wilder had spun an impenetrable web for a remarkable 147 consecutive minutes.
Coronato’s goal actually gave hope to the Knights, narrowing the score to 3-1 with plenty of time left. Hotchkiss had scored in the game’s opening minute to take an early lead in an otherwise scoreless first period. The Bearcats added two in the second frame to enter the final period up 3-0. Following Coronato’s score, defenses tightened for the next eight minutes, with the Knights pressing to pull within one. But a Hotchkiss goal with 6:33 remaining opened the flood-gates. The Bearcats would pour in three more goals in those final six minutes to turn the game into a rout. It marked the second consecutive game in which the Knights had been outscored 4-1 in the third period.
It was also the second straight game that an opponent chased Salisbury’s starting goaltender, as Jared Levine came on this time in relief of Nick Haas. The two keepers combined for 29 saves, as Hotchkiss enjoyed a 36-34 advantage in shots-on-goal.