Pilgrim senior Collin Driscoll had two goals and four assists, while AJ Sherlock, also a senior, contributed one goal and five assists, and junior James Cook, two goals and two assists, as the Pats steamrolled the Narragansett/Chariho (Nariho) co-op 9-2 on Friday during senior night at Thayer Arena.
With the victory, Pilgrim clinched the top seed in Division III with a final regular season record of 10-1-1. The Pats will open the playoffs against Mt. Hope (1-9-2) next Saturday night in the semifinal round.
“You’ve got to give the kids credit this year,” Pilgrim head coach Mike Boyajian said. “We lost our share of players from last year, some key players, and our seniors and other players stepped up and found a way to keep the season going in the right direction. And we’re proud of all the kids from the goaltending out this year.”
Shaun Quirk made 33 saves in net for Nariho, while Dylan Cunetta stopped 17 for Pilgrim over two periods, and Connor Williams recorded five saves in the final frame.
At 3:48 of the first period, Pilgrim drew a 1-0 advantage when Driscoll put a goal through the 5-hole of Quirk after an assist from Sherlock.
With 32 seconds remaining in the first period, the Pats upped their buffer to 2-0 after Cook rifled a power play shot into the left side of the goal after assists from Driscoll and Sean Noel.
Three minutes and ten seconds into the second period, Sherlock lit the lamp following assists from Driscoll and Cook and that upped the Pats margin to 3-0.
At 5:17 of the middle period, Nariho pulled within 3-1 when CoCo Keagan fired a bullet past Cunetta after an assist from Adam Leander.
A little less than two minutes later, Pilgrim’s Dylan Gallagher scored after a dish from Daniel DeRobbio, which gave the Pats a 4-1 lead.
Pilgrim added three more goals in that middle period with Cook, Noel, and Will Morissette each finding the back of the goal and the Pats skated into the second intermission with a 7-1 cushion.
Seven minutes and 14 seconds into the third frame, Pilgrim upped its lead to 8-1 when Driscoll scored a shorthanded tally following an assist from Sherlock.
Sixteen seconds later, Eric Stevens lit the lamp for another shorthanded tally after assists from Chris Quirk and Lucas Hemond, and that put the Pats on top 9-1.
With 3:19 remaining, Nariho inched within 9-2 when Charlie Ruth scored after an assist from Caden Wilson and that’s how it would end.
The Pats host the Huskies next in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday at 6 pm at Thayer Arena. Game 2 will be on Sunday, and if necessary, Game 3 would be on Tuesday.
Pilgrim was celebrating the division’s regular season title this weekend, but come next weekend, the boys promise to get back to business when the playoffs start.
“I can’t wait to do it again for the fourth year in a row,” Sherlock said. “We couldn’t get it done freshmen year, but sophomore year and junior, we got it done, and hopefully, we can do it again this year.”
“Next Saturday, we’ll be ready to go,” Driscoll added.
“We can’t take them lightly,” Driscoll and Sherlock said in unison.
And coach Boyajian wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I always tell the kids, it’s a shift at a time, a period at a time, a game at a time,” Boyajian said. “You don’t look beyond that. That’s the way the game has to be played from this point forward. Let’s hope we take care of business next weekend and get an opportunity. That’s all you want. You want that opportunity to get down there again and see how it goes.”