The No. 1 seeded Pilgrim Patriots went to the Portsmouth Abbey Ice Rink on Sunday afternoon and shut out the No. 4 Mt. Hope Huskies 3-0 during Game 2 of the Boys Division III Hockey Semifinal.
The victory earned the Pats a sweep of Mt. Hope and moves Pilgrim on to the D-III Final for the fourth straight season. It’s the third season in a row that the Pats have ousted the Huskies in the semifinal round.
In Game 1, Pilgrim senior AJ Sherlock registered five goals as the Pats defeated Mt. Hope 8-2, but in Game 2, the Huskies put up a tenacious fight.
“A hard-fought battle that’s for sure,” Pilgrim head coach Mike Boyajian Sr., said. “We’ve got to give Mt. Hope credit for how hard they worked. That was the toughest game they gave us all year.”
In the final, which begins on Friday night, the Pats will mix it up with No. 2 West Warwick/Exeter - West Greenwich for the third season in a row. The three-game series will be played at URI’s Boss Ice Arena and Game 1 begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
WW/EWG won the first meeting three years ago, but the past two seasons, Pilgrim has taken the crown.
“We were fortunate enough to win the last couple and I’m sure they wish they had won one of those,” Boyajian said. “This is their third time in a row getting there and they’re pretty top-heavy with seniors.”
“They’re going to be out to get it,” Boyajian continued. “Anybody at that point in time is going to be hungry and come after it. That’s the ultimate goal to win that state championship. That’s ours and I know that’s there’s. So, let’s let the puck drop and let’s have some fun and play some hockey.”
In Game 2 of the semifinal, Sherlock topped the Pats with two goals and an assist, while Collin Driscoll, added a goal and two assists.
Sophomore goaltender Dylan Cunetta stopped seven shots in net for Pilgrim, while Mt. Hope sophomore Brett Therien, a sophomore, saved 47.
“We had 60 shots on their goalie last night and we only gave up 11, and then again tonight, 47 shots and we only gave up seven,” Boyajian said. “I felt we controlled the game very well with possession in their zone, but the kid just made tremendous saves. He was hot. He did a nice job for them.”
“And Dylan has played very well this year for us,” Boyajian added. “He really has. His progression from last year is phenomenal.”
Driscoll seized Pilgrim a 1-0 lead at 12:44 of the first period when the forward sped down the ice and tossed a backhanded pass across to Sherlock, who one-timed the puck into the back of the cage.
That duo hooked up again at 9:44 of the second period when Driscoll conquered a faceoff in the Mt. Hope zone, and then assisted to Sherlock, who immediately deposited the puck into the top shelf and upped the Pats margin to 2-0.
Thirty-six seconds later, the Pats increased their margin to 3-0 when Driscoll accepted a dish from Chris Quick, a senior defenseman, before zooming down the ice on a breakaway and slipping the puck past Therien.