The Johnston/North Providence Co-op hockey team held off West Warwick/Exeter-West Greenwich Co-op in a high-scoring tilt at the Rhode Island Sports Center, 8-6, on Saturday evening.
Standout Brandon Tanguay sparked the Panthers to victory in their season opener, as he picked up where he left off last season, burying a game-high four goals while also dishing out a pair of assists for six points.
After West Warwick struck early with a power play goal, Tanguay answered for JNP off an assist from Christian Campbell to knot the score at 1.
Campbell then scored two goals of his own later in the first period, the first unassisted and the second on assists from Tanguay and Zach Morin, to give JNP a 3-1 edge after one period of play.
West Warwick would storm back, though, outscoring JNP, 3-1, in the second period to tie the game at 4 heading into the second intermission. Tanguay had the lone goal for JNP in the second, while WWEWG got two goals from Brendan Coski and one from Nick Pecchia.
But, a strong start to the third period propelled JNP to victory. Tanguay netted his hat-trick goal off a feed from Zach Bernier just 50 seconds into the third frame to allow the Panthers to jump back in front, 5-4.
Tanguay followed that with his fourth tally, this time finding twine on the man advantage, with just under 10 minutes remaining. Justin Blais assisted on the goal to give JNP a 6-4 edge.
And the Panthers kept rolling from there. Blais set up Jeremy Gervais at 7:52 of the third, and Tanguay assisted to Theron Papineau a few minutes later to give JNP an 8-4 lead.
West Warwick added two goals late, but the four-goal deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Wizards.
Jacob Frezza picked up the win in net for JNP, turning aside 20 WWEWG shots.
JNP is now 1-0 in Division III action, and it will return to the ice on Saturday evening at 7:15 p.m. at Mount St. Charles’ Adelard Arena against Woonsocket.