No. 11 Xaverian Outlasts No. 18 Walpole to Open Season

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By Jake Levin @JakeLevin09

WESTWOOD—Inevitably, the No. 18 Walpole Rebels were going to adjust in their season opener.

Despite graduating two All-American’s there is too much talent returning, on a team which went to the Division 2 Central-East final a season ago, to let a 7-2 first-quarter deficit linger.

Just as inevitable were the counter-adjustments made by the No. 11 Xaverian Hawks, also playing their season opener. After weathering an impressive Walpole counterpunch which saw the Rebels tie the game at 8-8, Xaverian settled down to survive, 11-9 over an upset-minded Walpole team on a rainy Monday night.

For as great as the Rebels played after the first 12 minutes, the team had no answers for Alec Coia down the stretch. It was Coia’s tally at 8:14 of the third quarter which ensured that Walpole would never overtake Xaverian and break the 8-8 tie, while he finished off the night’s scoring for the Hawks with a strike at 5:19 of the fourth.

Coia had three goals in all for the Hawks. Not to be outdone, Sam Jean led the team with four goals and added an assist to pace the offense.

“We’ve got great athletes across the field,” Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner said after the game. “They just had to learn some lessons about managing a game and keeping the pressure on a good opponent.”

Conor Foley opened the game’s scoring to give Walpole a very early 1-0 lead just 1:27 in, followed by Jean’s first strike exactly a minute later.

Trevor Carroll scored 4:07 into regulation to put the Hawks on top for good, Xaverian’s first quarter outburst featuring two more goals from Jean – one to cap off an initial 5-0 run, one to close scoring out with 38 seconds left in the period.

“They certainly came out hot,” Walpole head coach Jason Andalo said. “I don’t think anybody wants to give up seven goals in the first quarter. I think we’re a good team, but you’re asking an awful lot of your guys to come back from that.”

And still, the Rebels nearly managed it. Foley gave the offense a shot in the arm with a goal 1:30 into the second quarter, a frame in which Walpole outscored Xaverian 4-1. Darragh Fahey scored with less than a minute to go to trim the Hawks’ lead to 8-6. The Rebels even possessed the ball in the waning seconds of the half with a chance to pull within a goal at the break but would have to settle for the two-goal deficit instead.

Fahey picked up right where he left off to begin the third quarter, scoring 1:02 into the period to make it 8-7 Xaverian.

It didn’t take much longer for the Rebels to pick up the equalizer. Less than two minutes later, Foley moved out from behind the net in the attacking zone and found Pat Fallon about 15 yards away from the crease. Fallon let it rip from deep and tied the game for the time being, still more than halfway to go in the third quarter.

“I think that Walpole deserves credit,” Gardner said. “They started winning some faceoffs they weren’t winning at the beginning of the game and they were making some saves that they weren’t making at the beginning of the game. Their guys stepped up.”

Coia scored the only goal for the remainder of the third quarter, which was proceeded by a Tommy Vaughn strike that stood as the game-winner 3:50 into the fourth and Coia’s final tally.

Ryan Birch ended Walpole’s scoring drought at 6:40 of the fourth quarter, but the well had run dry. Jean came up with a clean interception for the Hawks with about 30 seconds left and the Rebels a man-up to ice the game for Xaverian.

Andrew Abucewicz also stood out for Xaverian at the Faceoff X.

“We’ve got a lot to work on, it’s a young squad with a lot of sophomores on the field,” Gardner said. “Offensive timing takes a long time and defensive communication takes a long time to really do well. I think our outlook is pretty good, but it’s a long tough season for us with our schedule.”

“It’s early, it’s one game in, so we’re still trying to figure some things out,” Andalo said. “There’s a group of guys that we’re still trying to figure out their roles, but today was good from the standpoint that we didn’t quit. It would have been really easy, the game could have gotten ugly, but we didn’t do that. Even when the score was heavy in their favor, we saw some things on offense that we liked. We just had to get the ball and we couldn’t do that in the first quarter.”

 

Game Stats

Walpole –  2 4 2 1 — 9

Xaverian – 7 1 1 2 – 11

 

Xaverian

Sam Jean – 4 goals, 1 assist

Alec Coia – 3 goals

Jack Whalen – 1 goal, 1 assist

Trevor Carroll – 1 goal, 1 assist

Tommy Vaughn – 1 goal

Trevor Ivatts – 1 goal, 1 assist

Dylan Gardner – 1 assist

Shaun Padden – 1 assist

Teagan Alexander – 3 saves

 

Walpole

Darragh Fahey – 3 goals, 1 assist

Conor Foley – 2 goals, 1 assist

Ryan Birch – 2 goals

Cullen McGlynn – 1 goal

Pat Fallon – 1 goal

Cam Scales – 1 assist

Daniel Hayes – 1 assist

John Henry Breen – 3 saves

 

Faceoff-X: Xaverian 15, Walpole 4

 

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