WOONSOCKET â€” Mount St. Charles varsity head coach Steve Shea gave his troops a really simple game plan prior to the Mountiesâ€™ initial game of the Championship Division best-of-three semifinal series against Warwick Co-op on Friday night.
He asked his girls to skate the puck first, then shoot it. If those failed, the third and final order was to pass it to the open player.
â€śWe wanted to do that because we tend to be an over-passing team, and I wanted the kids to take the puck to the net,â€ť he explained.
The reasoning â€“ pressure the goalie â€“ worked wonders. The Mounties scored twice in the first 4:46 and never looked back in cruising to an 8-1 victory over the Titans at Adelard Arena.
With the triumph, MSC (17-2 overall) took a 1-0 series lead, and will look to sweep Warwick Co-op, a squad combining players from Toll Gate, Pilgrim and Warwick Vets high schools, in Game 2 tonight at 7:30 at Thayer Arena.
The rubber tilt is still to be determined.
Sheaâ€™s daughters, senior quad-captains and forwards Caitlin and Allison Shea, combined for four goals and five assists, with the former posting a hat trick with three assists and the latter one tally with a pair of aiding passes.
The sisters had plenty of offensive help, as fellow senior Lauren Levesque notched two goals and two assists and freshman Elisabeth Berard two more tallies.
It took Caitlin Shea only 18 seconds to give the Mounties a 1-0 advantage, that when she drove a point-blank backhander, courtesy of feeds from Allison and Levesque, past Titansâ€™ netminder Kayleen Murphy.
Just 4:28 later, Levesque pushed a stellar pass to Caitlin Shea, who swept a one-time wrister from the slot past Murphyâ€™s left pad to make it 2-0.
MSC dominated the initial stanza, its defense keeping Warwick Co-op in its own end most of the time, but could only post one more goal. With 27.1 ticks left, Berard drilled a slap shot over Murphyâ€™s left shoulder.
The Titans (12-7 overall) managed only three shots on sophomore goalie Sarah Erban in that first period, but it didnâ€™t continue during the early stages of the second. At the 1:30 mark, freshman forward Abby Ellis snatched the puck in her own end, outskated all but one defender, juked her and fired a wrister at Erban, who promptly blocked the shot.
Only 44 seconds later, Warwickâ€™s Jaime Given whistled a chance at Erban, but she made a nifty stick save; the same went for Emily Fox, who with 11:51 left in the session ripped a try from inside the blue line.
Exactly three minutes after, Levesque slipped the puck through a scrum in front and past Murphy. The Shea sisters assisted.
The Titans did earn a power-play opportunity with 8:23 left after senior defender and quad-captain Cassandra Czarn was called for a cross-check, but they didnâ€™t muster a single shot on goal.
In fact, they had a five-on-three advantage for 26 seconds late in the period and a five-on-four for 49 ticks, though the Mounties killed those as well, and left the ice for the Zamboni with a 44-17 shot-on-goal advantage.
At 8:05 of the third, junior Marissa Heroux deflected senior Mary Kate Stimpsonâ€™s drive from just inside the blue line through new goalie Arielle Frank for the 5-0 cushion, and Levesque made it 6-0 only 56 seconds later.
A mere six ticks after that, Fox scored off a faceoff for the Titansâ€™ lone goal, and Allison Shea and Berard closed the barrage at 12:38 and 13:14, respectively.
â€śWe got off to a good start; those two early goals really helped us,â€ť Shea the Coach stated. â€śFox and Ellis can really fly, and we knew that. I told our girls we had to be extra aware of when they were on the ice.
â€śWe did have too many penalties,â€ť he added. â€śThe first period went really smooth out there, and â€“ all of a sudden â€“ we got a couple of penalties. We have to keep our cool if weâ€™re going to have a deep playoff run. When weâ€™re in the box, we seem to lose our focus. When that happens, (penalties) seem to snowball a bit.
â€śI will say that (Warwick) is a much better team than this 8-1 score. Weâ€™re going to have to be ready in Game 2.â€ť