Pilgrim 5, WW/EWG 1: Clements, Pacheco propel Patriots in opener

John Gillooly Journal Staff Writer JohnGillooly2

PROVIDENCE — They have been working since the first practice in mid-November. Now the members of the Pilgrim High hockey team could be only a day away from giving the school its first state hockey title in 28 years.

The Patriots moved within a game of capturing the Division III state title on Friday night as they broke a 0-0 tie with two goals in the second period and never relinquished the advantage en route to a 5-1 victory over the West Warwick/Exeter/West Greenwich co-op in the first game of their best-of-three title series at Meehan Auditorium.

The last time Pilgrim, which for the last two years has included players from the former Warwick Vets High, won a state playoff title was when the Patriots won the 1990 Division B1-Small title.

They will collect another state hockey trophy with a victory in the second game of the series on Saturday night at 7:30 at Meehan Auditorium. If WW/EWG evens the series on Saturday night, the third game will be played on Monday night at Meehan.

Pilgrim, which won the Division III regular-season title with a 13-4-1 record, broke open a defensive battle on AJ Sherlock’s power-play tally 3:42 into the second period.

Sophomore Jack Clements upped the Pilgrim lead to 2-0 four minutes later and that’s all the Patriots actually needed.

But just to make sure, Clements began a two-goal barrage in a less-than-two-minute stretch early in the third period with his second tally of the night. Matt Pacheco made it 4-0 at 3:23.

WW/EWG averted the shutout on Nick Pecchia’s goal with just over five minutes to play, but less than a minute later Pacheco pushed the Pilgrim back to four with his second goal of the night.

“We just stuck with our game plan. We worked on it all week. We knew how we had to attack these guys. The kids did what we asked them to do and I couldn’t be happier with them right now,” said Pilgrim coach Mike Boyajian Jr.

“They have been doing that all year. They are a good group of kids and they know how to play the game the right way.”

First period — No goals. Penalty — WW/EWG, 1-2.

Second period — Pil., AJ Sherlock (Collin Driscoll, Jack Clements) 3:42; Pil., Jack Clements (AJ Sherlock, Matt Pacheco) 7:35. Penalties — WW/EWG, 1-2; Pil., 1-2.

Third period — Pil., Jack Clements (Will Morrisette, Chris Quirk) 1:35; Pil., Matt Pacheco (Jack Clements, Andrew Canning) 3:23; WW/EWG, Nicholas Pecchia (Jake Hernandez, Liam Hogan) 10:09; Pil., Matt Pacheco (AJ Sherlock, Chris Quirk) 10:41. Penalties — WW/EWG, 2-4; Pil., 1-2.

Saves — Kyle Dimascio, Pil., 25; Samuel Paiva, WW/EWG, 19.