AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn High School boys hockey squad didn’t come out ready to play in the first period Wednesday, according to coaches and players, but the team sure changed that in a big way by game’s end.
After going down 2-0 to the Minnechaug Falcons in the first period, the Rockets responded with seven straight goals, four in the second period, on their way to a 7-2 win at Horgan Arena. Senior winger Joe Fahey had a hat trick, leading Auburn to the victory.
“We didn’t have the intensity at the start, which showed when they put up two quick goals,” Fahey said. “We were like, ‘We need to start playing.’ This is the last season for a lot of us, so every game counts and every game gets us closer to the final.
“We want to get into the playoffs, and we have a good chance, so we just need to keep playing,” he added.
Minnechaug had the early advantage, scoring with 4:17 left in the first period and then another goal one minute later.
Auburn responded with 90 seconds left in the opening period as senior winger Jason Vrusho cut the deficit in half. Fahey helped create the scoring opportunity with a breakaway attempt that the goalie deflected. Then freshman defenseman Matt Szalay recovered the puck, passed it off to Vrusho in front of the net, who sent the puck home, bringing the score to 2-1, Falcons.
The Rockets then opened the second period with a bang, scoring a power-play goal 15 seconds in. Junior defenseman Steve Cariglio took a slap shot from almost the blue line, which kicked off the post. Fahey grabbed the rebound and blasted it to tie the game.
Fahey was back at it later in the period, putting Auburn on top. The Rockets had a 3-on-2 breakaway when Fahey received a pass from junior center Cameron Lanier. Fahey then ripped a shot past the goalie’s glove to give the Rockets a 3-2 lead with 7:50 left in the second.
Auburn extended its lead with 90 seconds remaining in the period. On a 2-on-1 break, senior forward Derek Piekarczyk dished a pass to Lanier, who rocketed a shot into the net.
But the Rockets weren’t done in the second. Their fifth straight goal came from Fahey at the period’s buzzer. Fahey took a pass from Piekarczyk and Fahey blasted the puck for his hat trick to make it 5-2.
The scoring party continued for the Rockets with 3:28 left in the game. There was a mad scramble in front of Minnechaug’s net, and senior winger Tyler Mahar managed to get the puck past the cluster to make it 6-2 Rockets.
The Rockets put an exclamation point on the night with their seventh goal with one second left in the game. Vrusho scored his second goal of the game, getting an assist from Maher, to make the final score 7-2.