Bad weekend for Smithfield

Bad weekend for Smithfield

Smithfield’s Connor Derderian, #4, and Sean Martin, #5, try to fire the puck away from the net during a scramble for the puck with three Burrillville players in front of goalie Hogan Nelson, #1, during last Friday night’s game at Levy Arena. Hogan stopped 54 shots, but the Broncos skated away with a 4-0 victory. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Burrillville, Hendricken blanks hockey team; SHS falls to .500

HARRISVILLE – The Smithfield High boys’ hockey team experienced its worst weekend of the season and slipped to .500 in Division I play by dropping a 4-0 decision to Burrillville last Friday at Levy Arena and a 7-0 game to Bishop Hendricken the following night in Smithfield.

From the start of last Friday’s game, the Broncos played much better than the Sentinels. The one Smithfield player who did come to play was goaltender Hogan Nelson. Despite being constantly peppered with shots all night, he kept out most of the pucks and ended the night with 54 saves.

It was a 2-0 game for most of the night until the Broncos scored two late goals. Their third goal was an empty-netter with 1:31 left, and the last one came off a rebound with 7.7 seconds left.

“(Burrillville) totally outworked us,” Smithfield head coach Rob Jackson said. “They dominated us from start to finish. We did not play Smithfield hockey, but that doesn’t take away from what they did because they outworked us and totally battled. They played Burrillville hockey.”

“If we didn’t have our goalie in net, it could have been a lot worse,” Jackson added. “Fifty-seven shots they had on our goalie. It’s a credit to Burrillville, but it’s also a credit to my goalie for the way he played. It was 2-0 all the way to the end.”

The Broncos’ first goal came 9:57 into the game off the stick of Alex Carlow, but at the start of the second period, the Sentinels did their best to get the puck past Burrillville goalie Dylan Nault, who ended up blanking Smithfield on 26 shots.

Ben Thibeault got the puck to Rafael Negron and then Ryan Pomposelli took over. His shot was blocked, and after Burrillville iced the puck, Pomposelli and Thibeault came back with multiple shots on goal, but Nault continued to make the stops.

Smithfield then went on a power play, but was unable to capitalize on it and Burrillville held onto its one-goal lead heading into the final period.

Things got chippy in the third, especially for the Sentinels, who were whistled for five penalties. With 10:56 to play, Cameron Menard doubled the Broncos’ lead, and then the game turned a bit more physical and more penalties were handed out.

“My guys just didn’t play,” Jackson said. “We live by an oath called, ‘Love the Battle.’ My guys did not love the battle. They, in fact, just showed up. I’m really disappointed. It’s February; that should never happen. Where we go from here, I don’t know.”

“I’m really disappointed in the effort that we have,” Jackson continued. “I can live with losing, but when you come out and just go through the motions, and you don’t listen to the coach and you don’t stop-and-go and don’t grind, I have no room in my heart for that.”

“Kudos to Burrillville for beating us in their own barn. Shame on my team for not showing up.”

Jackson said that his team has had a frustrating season of ups and downs and it tends to portray Jekyll and Hyde.

“My team can’t figure out that they have to come to the rink every single night and give everything they got,” he said. “It’s just total inconsistency. Depending on what team shows up, we play pretty well sometimes, but then when we don’t come and don’t go, the result is exactly the same as tonight. It’s unfortunate. We work hard in practice, but for whatever reason, we don’t translate that to our games on a consistent basis.”

Despite his team’s inconsistencies, Jackson highlighted the play of Nelson.

“He’s the backbone of our team,” Jackson said. “He played unbelievable tonight. He’s been like that all year. He’s a wall back there. I would say he’s the best goalie in the league and we got him in our net, so we’re lucky to have him.”

The losses to Burrillville and Hendricken dropped the Sentinels’ record to 5-5, which is good for fifth place in the eight-team standings. The Broncos, who have won four of their last five games, are ahead of the Sentinels with their 6-5 record, and leading the division are Hendricken (9-1-1), La Salle (8-2-1), and Mount Saint Charles (8-2).

The Sentinels have four more league games to play, three at home, including Saturday’s 9 p.m. game in Smithfield against sixth-place Barrington. The other three league games are against La Salle, Moses Brown and Mount Saint Charles.

On Friday at 3:30 p.m., the Sentinels will also host Northwest Catholic High of West Hartford, Conn., in a non-league game.