FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Change can be a good thing. Just ask the Falmouth High School boys’ ice hockey team.
Head coach Buddy Ferreira shook up his lines during practice this week and rolled out three completely different units than the ones that had skated together for the majority of the season. The new look Clippers responded with their best effort of the season as they earned their most impressive win of the year, upsetting No. 15 Arlington Catholic by a 2-1 score in the final game of the opening night at the 16th annual Cape Cod Classic.
Falmouth senior Durham Ghelfi led the charge for the victors, scoring both goals for the maroon and white. The centerman on the team’s top line, before and after the shakeup, scored two third period goals to lead the come-from-behind effort.
“Mixing up the lines lit a little fire under them,” Falmouth head coach Buddy Ferreira said. “You’ve got to do little things when it comes down to the end, and this is the team that I saw play preseason. That’s a good team.”
After two tight, scoreless periods, Arlington Catholic scored just 20 seconds into the third moments after a carryover power play had ended. Sophomore Ryan Tierney tipped in a pass off the right wing wall from Zach Blanch, touching it to the far post and beyond the reach of Jake Beaton to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the period.
Falmouth (9-5-5) also scored on its first shot of the third period, nearly five minutes later. At the five-minute mark exactly, Ghelfi one-timed a feed by Trevor Theroux to the far post, through a screen, to knot things up at one aside. Theroux set things up with a takeaway at the blue line and beautiful no-look feed to Ghelfi in the slot, who timed his blast with the puck’s arrival perfectly. The shot whistled by the glove of John Richard and tied the score.
With just 4:22 to go Ghelfi struck again, this time with a power play goal. The team’s top scorer, got his second of the night, and 18th of the year, on a slap shot from the top of the left wing circle that ran caught a piece of Richard’s leg pads and barreled through to the rear of the cage to give Falmouth the lead, 2-1. Andrew Parkinson and Cyrus Wickersham assisted as the Clippers showed great patience setting up the goal before the senior unloaded.
AC (9-6-4) had chances late to knot the score again, but failed to do so. Tierney’s bid for a second, with 2:45 to play, came from the low slot, but missed the net wide to the right. Seconds later Brendon O’Connell let one rip from nearly the same spot, and hit the outside of the pipe.
The game was fast-paced, with up-and-down action over the first two periods, but neither team accumulated a lot of quality scoring chances. Falmouth outshot AC 6-5 in the first period, and 8-5 in the second. During the second period, the Clippers started to take the game to the Cougars with authority, but could not sneak one past Richard.
“The first five minutes of the game, we weathered the storm. They didn’t have a lot of shots, but they had a territorial advantage, but after that we took it to them, all the way through,” Ferreira said.
Arlington Catholic head coach Dan Shine said that Falmouth did an effective job of clogging up the ice and taking away the passing lanes all evening. AC did its best to try to open the ice up, but couldn’t find the angles to exploit.
“Give them credit, they played well,” Shine said. “They were able to play a style of play where they waited for their opportunities and they cashed in on those opportunities. I give them credit, that’s a well-coached team. It was a pretty exciting hockey game, good players on both sides of the rink, the goalies on both ends played pretty well. They’re well-coached, and they took it to us.”
Falmouth advances to the winner’s bracket where they will see another public school that scored an upset on Saturday night, Waltham, which was a 1-0 winner over Archbishop Williams. AC meets their Catholic Central rival from Archies. They are 0-1-1 against the Bishops this season.