WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Bishop Hendricken’s roster lists forward Ryan King as a sophomore.
A case could be made that his class year is a typo especially given the performance he delivered Saturday in a first-round game of the 19th annual Mount St. Charles Holiday Faceoff Tournament at Adelard Arena. King played like anything but a sophomore as he posted the first hat trick of his young interscholastic career which enabled the Hawks to skate by defending Hockomock League champion Franklin, 5-1.
“He’s capable of that,” said Hawks coach Jim Creamer. “He got what he deserved today. Ryan’s had a great year so far. He’s working hard. He’s put in a lot of effort in the summer and through the fall. Today was a day that he deserved. He’s sort of been building to this.
“Maybe his weakness at some points has been his inconsistency. But overall I’ve found him to be really consistent from day one all the way through. I’m thrilled that he had that success today.”
The fact that King dropped a hat trick on Franklin (1-1-2) as opposed to a lesser team made his play all the more impressive.
“He did it in a good spot and in key areas,” said Creamer. “The three goals were outstanding. He also did great on faceoffs. He did a great job in the defensive zone. All those little things, when he does them well he’s going to have a tremendous amount of success and I’m thrilled that he did today.”
Better late than never: As far as King was concerned he was due for an outburst like this one against the Panthers.
“I was feeling good today,” said King. “I came in and needed a big game. I was kind of dry the last few games. I wasn’t putting the puck in the net.
“I just wasn’t moving my feet and today I felt good.”
King commenced moving his feet before the game was barely two minutes old.
After Ryan Shea (8 saves on 11 shots) blocked a Jason Comeau shot, King back-handed the puck into the upper-left corner. Franklin tied the game at 5:10 when Ryan Spillane slid a backhander under Matt Kenneally (20 saves). But King put the Hawks (5-1-0) ahead for good at 7:13 during a power play. King stole the puck in the left faceoff circle, skated in on Shea and beat him top shelf.
From a team perspective, that was a premonition of things to come because Hendricken out-scored Franklin 3-0 and outshot the Panthers 12-6 in the second period.
“We all look at it and go ‘They tied Springfield Cathedral’ and we scrimmaged CM (Catholic Memorial) last week,” said Creamer. “We want to get better as the year goes on.
“(Franklin) is a veteran group. There are a lot of seniors on that roster. They’re big, strong kids. It’s a very good team and they’re going to have a lot of success as the year goes on. “
Back-breaking goal: Arguably the goal that de-clawed the Panthers came 39 seconds into the middle period when Hendricken was skating short-handed – and which, again, resulted from a Franklin turnover.
This time Alex Leite stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated in and had his shot blocked by Shea. But Brandon Mitchell pounced on the rebound and slid the puck into an open net for a short-handed goal.
That score prompted coach Chris Spillane to remove Shea in favor of Nick Jasinski (11 saves on 13 shots) who had his own problems with the Hawks.
Andrew Hopgood upped Hendricken’s lead to 4-1 at 4:10 with an assist from Reilly Miller. Miller was positioned behind the cage when he threw the puck in front and it deflected off Hopgood’s stick and past Jasinski.
King then completed his hat trick at 11:52. After Matt Rickard tried to score on a wrap-around, Jasinski blocked the shot but King stuffed home the rebound.
“We got some ugly goals today,” said Creamer. “But we got a couple that just because we were working hard we created some turnovers. We had a little puck luck at some points. But when you’re working hard those things go your way.
“We really have been consistently working hard. We call it keeping things simple. We talk about it all the time and that’s sort of what happened today.”
From a more subjective standpoint, a victory over a team the caliber of Franklin should help the Hawks when the Rhode Island Division I Tournament begins and they make a run at dethroning perennial state champion Mount. St. Charles.
“I think it definitely will help our team,” King said of the conquest of Franklin. “We’re going to come out (Saturday) and we’re going to play big and, hopefully, win again.”