Nauset Boys Hockey Aces First Test, Cruises Past Sandwich In Opener

by Brad Joyal

BOURNE – Even after allowing a goal just 51 seconds into its season, the Nauset boys hockey team didn’t panic. The Warriors were hardly concerned.

The team overcame falling behind early and showcased its depth, toughness and talent during Saturday night’s season opener against Sandwich at Gallo Ice Arena.

Junior co-captain Logan Poulin (3 goals, 2 assists) and senior co-captain Joseph McManus (2 goals, 1 assist) anchored the offense, while senior Julian Krivos and sophomore Jake Eldredge also found the back of the net and junior goaltender Zach Coelho impressed in his debut to help Nauset pull away for a 7-3 victory over last year’s Division 4 state runner-up.

“We have a deep team,” Nauset’s second-year coach Connor Brickley said. “We have a lot of players who want to put the puck in the net and a lot of players with strong shots. I think that was shown today and that’s going to be a big part moving forward.

“I think we’re going to surprise a lot of goalies with how well we have guys that can shoot the puck, the accuracy and how hard the shots are.”

It was the team’s scoring ability that helped Nauset take over Saturday’s game. After the Warriors took a 2-1 lead into the second period, the Blue Knights opened the middle period with a pair of goals to garner a 3-2 advantage.

But Nauset’s deficit didn’t last long, as McManus netted his first goal of the night to even the score 3-3 less than 2 minutes after Sandwich went ahead 3-2. Krivos and Poulin added goals late in the period to help the Warriors establish a 5-2 lead heading into the third period, then McManus and Poulin each lit the lamp again in the final frame to help the visitors seal their season-opening victory.

“That’s a big win,” said Poulin, a Truro resident. “That’s a team we’ve got a good rivalry with. Props to them because they played a great game, but I think we deserved that win. We came out hard and we finished hard – that’s all you can really ask for.”

Brickley said he was pleased with the way Nauset handled adversity when Sandwich scored to build two separate leads.

“Scoring goals is obviously a part of the game, so you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low, especially when you get scored on,” he said. “I think it showed today that the guys have matured and our game is growing up where they have trust in our game and trust in the process and their teammates that if we do the right things, we’re still going to get our chances.”

Although Coelho allowed the first shot he faced to find the back of the net, the transfer from Catholic Memorial settled in nicely and made plenty of big saves that demonstrated his mettle and skill set between the pipes.

“He’s a great asset to the team,” Brickley said of Coelho, another Truro resident. “It’s funny that the first shot went into the net. What was great was he has a very next-shot mentality. You could tell that after that first one, he settled in nicely. He’s that guy that can make big-time saves when the team needs him. He bailed us out a couple of times and that really allows a team to start to take off.”

McManus said that the Warriors knew the Blue Knights were going to provide a challenging test to open the season and he was proud of the way the team responded.

“We knew they were going to be a good team, so we just came out hitting,” said McManus, a defenseman from Barnstable. “Every single player came out flying. We had a couple big contributions in net and the forward and defensive ends. It was great to see everyone having confidence.”