NEEDHAM, Mass. – From the way it started, its outcome would seem dubious.
No. 19 Norwood came charging out of the gate, scoring the game’s first goal against Bay State rival No. 6 Needham on Wednesday. The Mustangs also held a 2-1 lead midway through the first quarter.
Things simply unraveled from there as the Rockets coasted to a 13-2 victory.
“That third quarter was probably the best offense we’ve played all season, spinning the ball and keeping it hot,” Needham attack Nico Panepinto said of the Rockets’ six-goal third.
Panepinto and Jamie McGill paced the Rockets’ high-fueled attack with four goals each. Robbie Pisano chipped in two goals of his own, while James Caruso, Alex Mirages and Mike Riley also found the back of the net.
But the Needham (12-4) attack started at midfield with the expert face-off work of Caruso, who won over 80 percent of his draws. It was a complete effort for the midfielder, who also won a team-high five ground balls.
“It makes all the difference when you’re able to win the ball and get it to the offense,” Panepinto said of Needham’s faceoff dominance. “That means everything.”
BUILT FROM THE BACK OUT
While the Mustangs (11-4) were off to hot start, Needham’s defense quickly regrouped and held Norwood to just three shots at the cage for the remainder of the first half.
Rockets head coach Dave Wainwright said it was a credit to the team’s pillars.
“[Mike] Vespa, [Dan] Kavanaugh, those guys have done a fantastic job of kind of jelling together, and with Lucas [Davis] inside the cage, it’s been a nice little group and a foundation for everyone to build confidence on.”