BOURNE, Mass. – Thirty minutes of hard work by the Falmouth Clippers was laid to waste in just 13 seconds by Barnstable forward Matt Kaski. The junior sniper netted two goals in less time than it took him to lace up his skates early in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and give his team the lead, and some breathing room.
The second one in that flurry proved to be the biggest of the game as the third-seeded Raiders held on to beat the 14th-seeded Clippers, 4-3 in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 south state tournament. Barnstable advances to the quarterfinals, and improved to 14-5-1 on the season. Falmouth ends the year at 9-10-4.
Barnstable, who was playing without two of their top four defensemen, including their best all-around player Mike McDonough, found itself in a grinder with their rivals. Barnstable had won the two previous outings, but the third time proved to be the most difficult as FHS played maybe its most complete hockey game of the season.
“That's the best game of the three that they've played against us,” Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson said. “You take a guy away from us like McDonough, who controls our whole end of the ice and scores on the other end, that's a different ballgame. I don't care what you say, McDonough's going to get a goal or two, and that's going to change the whole game ... he would have had some chances.”
After two periods, the game was tied at 2-2, but it was the Clippers that had controlled most of the action. Kaski put his team on his back, though. He took a great feed off the wall and snapped one in off the pipe at 1:24 of the third to break the tie. Joe Demayo set that one up with a perfectly placed pass off the boards.
“That's a kid you count on to score goals, and he got an opportunity,” Nickerson said. “We knew that if we got those opportunities that we were going to score.”
Falmouth was then called for a hand pass after winning the ensuing faceoff and the puck was dropped in their end. Donnie Brodd came up with the puck and fed it down to Kaski in front, who deked out Landon Kogut (17 saves) and tucked it in the net to make it a 4-2 game.
“I got a little lucky on that one. I got caught out of position, Donnie got the puck and got it down to me and I saw an opportunity and I took it,” Kaski said.
Scoring against his rivals from Falmouth, especially to win a tournament game, was special for the forward. “It's been all our dreams. We've been watching Barnstable-Falmouth games since we were five years old, and we always wanted to play in it and this is really going to get us going,” Kaski said.
Falmouth fought back to shave the lead in half at 10:52 when Matt Schreiner deflected a shot by Andrew Parkinson up and over Dylan Campbell.
Campbell saved the day a minute later, though. The goalie made a huge glove save on Sam Walker from the bottom of the left wing circle to keep his team ahead. That was Falmouth's last best chance to get even. The team pulled the goalie over the final 75 seconds, but Barnstable was able to protect its end and hold on.
“Having a good goalie's a part of the game, and you're not going to win a game like this without a good goalie. That might have been the difference tonight,” Nickerson said.
“Campbell made a great glove save on Sammy Walker, that was the game-changer,” Falmouth head coach Paul Moore said.
Moore was proud of his team's effort. After Barnstable struck early, on a Brodd rebound goal, the Clippers' Tom Tobey got it right back on a power play. Barnstable took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, thanks to a flutterer by Megnia. FHS answered in the second with another power play goal, this time by Pat Coyne.
“They answered the challenge, but they didn't get the breaks. That's a tough lesson,” Moore said. “This game was personal, and they did everything we asked of them. We had a great game plan and we executed it. I thought we dominated the first two periods.”