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Barlow and Cavanagh Lead Warwick to 6-1 Victory Over North Kingstown

Photo C/O to Jay Grossguth

Warwick hockey has now made it five in a row, knocking off the North Kingstown Skippers Friday night in a blowout-style 6-1 victory. This game seemed to be the tale of two teams at two different points in their respective seasons and developments, with the Warwick Co-op on the rise and the newly division-one promoted Skippers adjusting to a new league. North Kingstown Head Coach Cody Sellers spoke pregame on the team adjusting to being promoted up from division two to division one this season.

“We are trying to get out of the ebbs and flows, we knew that it was going to be tough, we did have a little bit of a roller coaster, a couple of tough losses and then a big win over Burrillville, and now we’re back into keep one game tight, struggle in another game. We’re just trying to have a vertical line of we’re getting better every day, we’re getting more comfortable with the speed, and we’re able to assert our game, our forechecks, and not play on our heels and responsive, try to be proactive,” said Sellers.

Coming into the game at 1-7, the Skippers had their work cut out for them, facing a 7-2 Warwick team that has been getting hot at the right time. A big part of Warwick’s success has been their depth, with some great line combinations, highlighting top performers such as junior forward Ryan Barlow and sophomore forward Richie Cavanagh. Warwick Head Coach Michael Boyajian spoke on the team’s depth and talent before the game.

“That line alone with Charlie Clements, Barlow, and Cavanagh, they’re a young line, they compliment one another, and it’s been good, they’re playing well as a unit right now. Our other units are also playing very well, with Cooper Grossguth, [Sean] Mullaney, and [Jacob] Pickering. We’ve made some adjustments and we’re getting scoring from all the lines we’re using, that’s the good thing, people can’t focus on one line, we’ve got three lines putting the puck in,” said Boyajian.

Photo C/O to Jay Grossguth

It did not take long for Warwick’s stars to shine, with Barlow scoring off a rebound from senior defenseman Lucas Hemond just over three minutes into the first period. Three minutes later, Barlow found himself in front of the net again, and scoring again off a rebound, this time the initial shot was fired by senior defenseman Ethan Pezzullo. With just over two minutes left to go in the period, Warwick would find the back of the net again, this time by way of junior forward Daniel Kennedy, who was assisted by senior forward Brady Martin and senior defenseman Gerard Schifino.

Starting the second period up 3-0, Warwick kept their foot on the gas, with a goal from Cavanagh in the first 30 seconds of the period. Cavanagh was assisted by Clements and Barlow. Being down 4-0 early, the Skippers’ fortunes finally changed with a golden opportunity in a five-on-three powerplay that resulted in their first goal. Junior forward Jake Rodger scored the goal, and the credit for the assists went to the two senior Assistant Captains; Tom Paolo and Damian Maltezo.

Photo C/O to Jay Grossguth

North Kingstown’s good fortunes would quickly fade, with a second goal from Kennedy with some help from Grossguth. Kennedy’s second goal would make the score 5-1, Warwick. For the rest of the game, the scoring would calm down, with both teams exchanging possessions of the puck to no avail. Eventually Warwick would get the cherry on top, with a goal by Hemond late in the third period, Hemond was assisted by Schifino, showing their versatility from the back end. Warwick would go on to win the hockey game 6-1 and put up a whopping 53 shots on goal, with the Skippers recording only 18.

Warwick’s aggressive defense paired with their constant scoring was the key to their dominance. Pregame, Coach Boyajian spoke on Warwick’s defensive unit and going up against the Skippers.

‘’On the back end the boys are playing well defensively, with Pezzullo, Schifino, and Hemond. Both Schifinos are playing well, and Colin O’Dea has been rotating in, we rotate five back there, they’ve done a nice job. When we say defense, it has to be everyone involved with their units, your forwards and defensemen are part of it, if the forwards don’t work hard in the defensive zone you’re going to be in trouble. North Kingstown is a solid team, they are not a team to look by, anything can happen in this league any night, which we’ve seen take place, so we’ve got to go to work, same as if we’re playing a top team in the state,’’ said Boyajian.

Although North Kingstown was outscored, outshot and outplayed, they did not show much waiver on defense, trying to play instinctively and aggressively. An impressive statistic that came out of this game for the Skippers was that they were 100% on their penalty kill. Warwick had a total of four powerplays and did not score on a single one, which is actually not as surprising as it seems, with coach Sellers highlighting the Skippers’ strength as a team before the game.

‘’I’ll say penalty kill, [is the strong point of North Kingstown] we’ve been hovering around 80% and we’ve been able to shut down some of the top teams’ powerplays, we haven’t given up a powerplay goal in a few games and we’re going to try and build on that,’’ said Sellers.

Photo C/O to Jay Grossguth

North Kingstown has a challenging road ahead, with La Salle coming up on the schedule and as for Warwick, they will look to keep their winning streak alive. As said before, these are two teams in two different positions, so it will be intriguing to see what the rest of the season has in store for them.

Make sure to check out for your local sports updates! - WD

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