By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – After a scoreless first period, Attleboro scored the all important first goal in the second period less than a minute in, added three more in the frame and skated to a 6-1 over Milford.
Milford goalie Brian Ireland made 10 his 30 saves in the first period while Attleboro goalie Tim Gile stopped 12 of his 17 saves in the opening frame. The best chance from either side came when Bombardiers junior PJ Elliott rang the post with a wrist shot with just over six minutes to go.
“The first period went really well,” Milford head coach Mike Balzarini said. “We had two solid days of practice and really focused on breaking down d-zone coverage and making sure guys were where they were supposed to be. And it was evident int he first period, the shots were even too. We made sure we were sound defensively first then transitioned into offense.”
On the other side, Attleboro head coach Mike Cripps wasn’t too pleased with being level after the first 15 minutes.
“We weren’t too happy going to the locker room after that first period,” Cripps said. “We came out a little flat to start despite coming off two good games. That was pretty much our message in the locker room, you better come out with some intensity.”
The Bombardiers had the opportunity to cash in right away as they had 35 seconds of man advantage to start the second period. It took nearly all of that time but Attleboro was able to take advantage of the power play. Senior Keagin Larkin had his shot saved by Ireland but the rebound was batted in by Parker to put Attleboro up 1-0.
Attleboro’s offense was able to keep Ireland busy for the next six minutes, evan forcing a kick save off a double deflection and then a rebound save to rob Nick Miniati with just over nine minutes remaining in the second period.
“Four mistakes in the third period cost us four goals,” Balzarini said.
But inside a four minute span, Attleboro was able to find the back of the net three times to create a big cushion heading into the final period. First, the Bombardiers caught Milford’s defense in a long chance and used a two on one with Elliott feeding Miniati for a tap in with 8:53 left. Two minutes later, the Scarlet Hawks were once caught in a long change after a turnover in the neutral zone with Elliott picking off a pass and finding Parker right on the doorstep to make it 3-0.
“They’ve been clicking well all year,” Cripps said. “Elliott has led us in points and the two of them have some good chemistry.”
Just over a minute later with a man advantage, with a face off in the attacking zone after Milford was called for a penalty, the Bombardiers added another goal to their lead. Just five seconds into the power play, Parker was wide open in the slot and ripped a shot upstairs for Attleboro’s second power play goal of the period.
“We’ve been working on [the power play] quite a bit and that unit’s finally kind of gelling after six games,” Cripps said. We had some success in the last game too. That group is starting to calm down and take their time, realizing they have a minute and a half to use.”
Sam Larkin added a fifth goal for Attleboro in the final period after picking up a loose puck along the nearside boards, skating to between the circles and firing a low shot through traffic. Mitchell Caruso capped Attleboro’s scoring with just under two minutes to go after a deflected shot beat Milford freshman goalie Matt Shaver. Shaver had four saves over the final four minutes, including a glove save on an open shot from Larkin.
Milford was able to get onto the scoreboard with just under five seconds to play on a great individual effort from sophomore RJ Stansbury. Stansbury weaved his way through through a pair of defensemen and then beat Gile.
Attleboro (4-2-1, 1-0) picked up its third straight win and will look to make it four when they travel to Asiaf Arena on Saturday night to take on Oliver Ames at 8:10. Milford (0-5, 0-1) will look to try and break into the win column the same day when they host North Attleboro at 5:30 at Blackstone Valley Ice Arena.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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