After lightning was caught in a bottle for the Bishop Hendricken Hawks, coming off a spectacular last-second overtime win over rival La Salle to improve their overall record to 4-0, their fortunes quickly changed Friday night, falling to Warwick (Toll Gate and Pilgrim Co-op). Warwick shocked Hendricken with a commanding 5-2 victory. With the Cinderella-story style win, Warwick made history, being the first Warwick public school team to beat a Hendricken team since Toll Gate in 2005. After the game, Warwick Head Coach Mike Boyajian commented on the historic accomplishment.
“It’s been quite some time; [since a Warwick public school team beat Hendricken] I believe before that when I was coaching with the Warwick Vets, we beat Hendricken in 2001. A win like this is always good for the athletes, good for the city, it’s good to know that we can compete with these types of teams. It’s certainly a confidence builder, Hendricken is a high-level squad, but we have to remember that it’s just one win, we have La Salle coming up next week and then we have to go to Connecticut to play Darien,” said Boyajian
In the first period, Hendricken took control of the game early, as they have all season, with a shot by junior Andrew Smith getting tipped into the net by senior Nick Regine, who scored the overtime goal to get the win over La Salle last Wednesday. The Hendricken goal came within the first three minutes of the contest. Towards the end of the period, Warwick got a goal of their own, scored by junior Ryan Barlow.
Midway through the second period, Warwick would get a powerplay goal, scored by sophomore Richie Cavanagh. Cavanagh’s goal would put Warwick up over Hendricken 2-1 until the last two minutes of the period, when Hendricken’s Chris Hughes would score off his own rebound, tying the game at 2-2.
The third period was an eventful one, starting with Hendricken continuously lurking in their offensive zone, but Warwick’s defense did a great job at pushing Hendricken’s skaters to the outside and not allowing any lanes to open in the middle. Warwick’s defensive stand would pay off in the form of a goal by junior Aidan McNally, putting Warwick up 3-2. Hendricken kept committing uncharacteristic penalties, and Warwick eventually took advantage once again, with a powerplay goal scored by Gerard Schifino, making the score 4-2, Warwick.
Hendricken would continue to try and score, eventually having to pull their goalie in the last couple of minutes, but that only resulted in disaster for them, with Warwick senior Charlie Clements scoring an empty net goal. Clements’ goal was in fact the dagger, making the final score 5-2, Warwick. Coach Boyajian explained how he and the team prepared to take on Hendricken, as well as what the energy was like after the game.
“We went over a lot of detailed assignments through the three zones and had everyone understand their individual jobs. We made sure to stick to the plan, and we did a good job of carrying over what we did in practice into the game. The win was great for the kids and coaches, the team was very excited, and they had energy throughout the game, they didn’t let up and had confidence. The atmosphere in the locker room was great, you could see it in their eyes, we told them to enjoy it for now, but to remember it’s a long season,” said Boyajian.
Another huge part of Warwick’s upset win was junior goalie Braxton Bragg, making many impressive and important saves in the game, and having 68 saves so far on the season. Coach Boyajian commented on Bragg's impact in the game and this season.
“Braxton came up big at times in the game, we kept them [Hendricken’s offense] to the outside and he kept the area clean, he didn’t give many second opportunities. Braxton’s an intense kid, three-sport athlete, he’s very good at soccer, lacrosse, and very good at hockey. He had a great year last year in his sophomore season, and he’s improving on that this year, at this level you need a good goal tender,” said Boyajian.
Coach Boyajian, Bragg, and the rest of the Warwick team will hope to keep up their high-intensity style of play as they have another challenging opponent in La Salle next week. Sitting at 4-2 overall, the Co-op program has a lot to feel good about early in the season, but they must sustain the energy from this impressive victory and carry it forward into the season to continue to remain positive.
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