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West Warwick 5 Ponaganset 2

February 21, 2015
Ponaganset Co-Captain James Manni (#4)

Ponaganset Co-Captain James Manni

(West Warwick, RI)  Anthony Ventura scored three goals and Ivan Forcier stopped 28 of 30 shots as West Warwick/Exeter/West Greenwich Co-op halted Ponaganset’s winning streak at 13 games with a 5-2 win Friday night at the West Warwick Civic Center in Rhode Island Division III hockey.

The Wizards (12-1) exacted a bit of revenge as the Chieftains (13-1) handed the home team their only loss of the season, 5-4, on January 9.

Patrick Fields gave WW/EWG an early lead, only 2:16 into the game, with his second goal of the season with Nick Pecchia picking up an assist. Both teams’ defenses ruled the roost for the remainder of the opening period and most of the second, but the Wizards extended the lead to 2-0 with 2:33 remaining on the middle period scoreboard on Ventura’s 23rd goal, assisted by Tom Pecchia. Ponaganset co-captain James Manni sliced the deficit in half only 31 seconds later with his 15th marker as Ethan Sederback, who tallied five assists Wednesday vs. Mt. Hope, made it six helpers in two games.

Ventura took control of the game in the opening half of the third period with an unassisted goal at 5:09 and completed his hat trick 29 seconds later off an assist from Alex Ventura for a 4-1 lead. Despite the three-goal deficit, the Chieftains kept the pressure on the Wizards and cut the lead to 4-2 on Dan Richardson’s third goal of the campaign, assisted by co-captain Derek Merchant with 7:26 to play. Unfortunately, for the visitors, both defenses tightened firmly for the balance of the game and the Wizards capped the scoring, with 30 seconds remaining, on an empty-netter by Tom Pecchia, his state-leading 27th goal of the season, assisted by Alex Ventura.

Forcier’s effort between the pipes avenged his only loss of the season, when he allowed five goals on 23 shots to the Chieftains. Freshman net-minder Curtis Briggs stopped 24 of 28 Wizards shots on goal in a valiant effort to keep his squad in the game against Rhode Island’s top-scoring offense (105 goals in 13 games).

The clubs will meet for third and final time in the regular season next Saturday night, February 28, at Levy Arena in Burrillville, RI.

Meanwhile, Ponaganset returns home to Levy Arena tonight at 7:00 to face Scituate and West Warwick/Exeter/West Greenwich Co-op takes on Johnston/North Providence Co-op at Smithfield Municipal Rink this evening at 8:00.

Chieftains Game Notes:

Despite the five goals allowed, Ponaganset’s goaltenders, Briggs and Tyler Petrella, are tied (with Division-I Cumberland) for the best goals-against average in league games in the state at 0.92. That mark is the best in overall games in Rhode Island as is goals allowed per game at 1.00, which rank as one of the best in the nation.

Junior Nate Morin is tied for fourth in the state in goals (25) and is third in points (39) while Merchant, a senior, is seventh in goals (17) and seventh in points (29).

Morin has scored a goal in ten of 14 games and at least a point in 12 of 14. Merchant has a goal in 11 of 14 games and a point in 13 of 14, including seven in a row. Josh D’Alessio, who had his seven-game consecutive point-scoring streak snapped, has tallied a point in ten of 14 games. Ethan Sederback has scored, at least, one point in five straight contests.

The Chieftains are tied with West Warwick/Exeter/West Greenwich for the most players with, at least, ten goals on the season (5) and rank second in the state behind the Wizards’ 8.1 goals-per-game average at 6.7.

Ponaganset has taken both games, this season, against tonight’s opponent, Scituate, by an aggregate score of 27-2. Manni has led the way with eight goals and four assists while D’Alessio has filled the stat sheet with four goals and six assists. Petrella has been between the pipes for both games and stopped 34 of 36 Spartans shots on net.

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