FALL RIVER - One of the most crucial aspects to winning any sort of competition is minimizing the mistakes that your opponent can use against you. In a 6-2 loss to Sacred Heart at Driscoll Arena on Saturday night, two Diman penalties proved to the difference maker.
"To put it simply, our boys just didn't show up. The urgency wasn't there tonight, the aggressiveness wasn't there tonight," Diman coach Lenny Dutra said. "This is a team we should be able to skate with and have a competitive game with."
The Bengals fell behind early when Sacred Heart defender Josh Mccaterty found the back of the net barley a minute into the game. The quick score had Diman already fighting off a deficit with 13:27 still to play in the first period.
Less than two minutes went by when Diman's Kurt Andrade was set up at the top of the circle by Jordan Crowley for a powerful slap shot for the tying goal (1-1). The fast response put Diman right back into swing with Sacred Heart with 11:41 to go in the first.
Sacred Heart made use of two Diman trips to the penalty box that resulted in just as many goals.
Starting rightwinger Gage Minior was called for tripping and served a two-minute minor, beginning at the 7:38 mark. Then, Jordan Crowley received a five-minute minor just thirty seconds later for hitting a Sacred Heart defenseman from behind, giving the Fighting Saints more than seven minutes of a power-play advantage.
Leo Darling scored at 6:11 off an assist from Blake Lagrasse during a four-on-three matchup against Diman. Connor Greeney followed with a goal of his own after being set up perfectly in front of the net for the tip-in by Mario Pongelli with 4:41 left. Gage Minior made up for his time in the penalty box, scoring with just 18-seconds left in the period to put the Bengals back within a score of Sacred Heart. The pair of power-play goals brought it to 3-2, Sacred Heart, going into the second.
"We have to be better at the penalty kill, and the first way to do that is to stay out of the box," Dutra said. "The officiating can be difficult at times and they aren't going to see everything, but when the call is made you have to move on from it. One five minute major shouldn't determine the entire course of the game."
Sacred Heart continued to pile onto its lead in the second period and played a physical and effective defense, not allowing a Diman goal for the remainder of the night.
Nick Sivieri was set up by Mccaterty near the blue line for an impressive score just 15 seconds into the second period. Starting center Spencer Irving gave the Fighting Saints a three-goal lead (5-2) with 3:54 to go. Sivieri provided the assist as Sacred Heart seemed to pass around Diman with ease.
Mikey Bulger sent in the sixth and final Sacred Heart goal with 13:17 left in the third. Bulger shot from about 20 feet out and to the right of Diman goalie Zac Medeiros, who went into position to make what seemed to be a routine save. When Medeiros sealed the corner of the net off with his leg pad and laid his stick flat on the ice, his stick acted as a ramp for the approaching puck, which launched off of the stick and over Medeiros' right shoulder for the score.
With the loss, Dutra looks ahead to Monday when Diman takes on Durfee. He says his players need to "show up" to play, or else it'll be another loss for the Bengals.
"We have a day off and a game on Monday. So they're going to have to use a day of rest and show up to play against Durfee, because I guarantee that Durfee is coming for us. So if we don't show up to play that'll be another one we can put up into the loss column," Dutra said. "We're just simply not finding the gear we need to find to play hockey."