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Townies Tame Tigers, Advance to State Hockey Finals
The East Providence Townies Hockey Team completed their sweep of the Tolman Tigers Saturday night in front of a packed house at Lynch Arena in Pawtucket. The final score was 6-4.
In a bone crunching game of old time hockey the Townies were the last team standing. Kevin Hall sealed the victory with his third goal of the game, an empty netter with 18 seconds to play.
The game was a change of pace from the relatively mild mannered game played Friday evening at Mount Saint Charles where only three penalties were whistled all night. Saturday night the teams combined for a total of 18 penalties with neither team willing give the other an inch of space. Freshman goaltender Marc LaValley was once again called upon to make huge saves to keep the Tigers at bay. LaValley stopped 28 of the 32 Tolman shots he saw.
The Townies took an early 1-0 lead 90 seconds into the game on Paul Lukas fourth goal of the series. Kevin Hall and Ryan Barry assisted. The Townies nearly killed a 1:55, 5 on 3 situation late in the period, but with 14 seconds remaining on the first penalty, the Tigers broke through with their first goal against the Townies in the series. At the end of the first period, the teams were tied at one. Tolman outshot East Providence in the period 9-7.
Eight penalties were whistled in the second period, four on each side, leaving the two teams playing much of the period on special teams. The second period saw alot of action going back and forth with no one able to beat either goaltender, until Kevin Hall tallied his first goal of the game 11 minutes into the middle stanza. A minute and a half later Ryan Barry put the Townies up by 2. Kevin Hall assisted. Some sloppy play in the Townies zone late in the period led to a Tolman score. At the end of two the Townies held a 3-2 lead. The Townies outshot Tolman 15-8 in the period.
Following the Zamboni cleaning the ice, both teams started the third period looking to put the other team away. Just 28 seconds into the period Lukas tallied his second goal of the game and put the Townies up 4-2. Barry and Matt Hall assisted. A complacent center ice faceoff led to a clean offensive zone entry by the Tigers and just 7 seconds after the Townies took a 2 goal lead, Tolman got back to within a goal. On the ensuing center ice face off the Townies returned the favor as Kevin Hall picked up his second goal of the game, and once again gave the Townies a 2 goal cushion. It remained that way until just under 5 minutes to go Tolman scored their second power play goal of the night to bring the Tigers back to within a goal at 5-4. During the next several minutes, the pace of play was frenetic, every second that ticked off the clock increased the Tigers desperation. The Townies LaValley , along with the defense corps of Matt Hall and Keith and Kyle Marquis repelled wave after wave of the league's most potent offense. With three minutes to play Tolman called a time out to regroup. When play continued Tolman continued it's unrelenting onslaught and LaValley kicked away shot after shot and the Townies defense cleared the puck to Tolman's frustration. The Townies called a timeout with just over a minute remaining to prepare for the Tolman goalie pull. As play began, Tolman gained entry into the Townies zone as the Tolman goalie headed to their bench for an extra attacker. Tolman moved the puck around the Townies zone looking for an opening, which none were found. Tolman moved the puck out to the point and as the Tolman defenseman prepared to take his shot, Kevin Hall filled the shooting lane and blocked the shot. Hall's momentum carried both he and the puck past the Tolman defender leaving him with an empty net breakaway, which he did not miss. Hall's 3rd goal of the game, and his fifth of the series clinched the semi final victory and advanced the Townies back to the State Championship seriesfor the first time since 2006 where they will face Mount Hope High School. Troy Derrick, Jared Estrella and Ryan Costa also contributed outstanding efforts for the Townies in the series.
Game 1 is slated for Thursday evening at 8:30pm at PC's Schneider Arena, with Game 2 Friday Evening, also at 8:30 pm at PC's Schneider Arena.
To view a related article from East Bay RI about the Townies sweep or pictures from the Townies victory: