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NHIAA Hockey: Exeter takes control early

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 14. 2017 12:56AM

EXETER — The Exeter High School boys’ hockey team had all but clinched the win in its home opener before the contest was six minutes old Wednesday at The Rinks at Exeter.

The Blue Hawks scored on five of their first six shots on goal en route to a 9-1 victory over Manchester Central/West.

Connor MacLaughlin scored twice and Tyler Blood, Ben Baldasaro and Tommy Civiello each logged a goal over the opening 5:39 of play to build a 5-0 Exeter advantage.

Luke Randolph got in on the scoring when he put home a slap shot from the high slot with 1:14 left in the opening period, giving the Blue Hawks (1-1) a 6-0 lead.

The Blue Hawks’ quick lead was a welcome sight for coach Jim Tufts, who saw his team give up the game’s first two goals early on in its 6-0 loss at Pinkerton Academy of Derry on Monday.

“That was one of our goals tonight was try and get one early and get some confidence,” Tufts said. “We played with a little more confidence and we did a lot of things better and (there’s) a lot of things we’ve got to keep working on.”

Freshman Liam Walsh scored his first varsity goal 1:18 into the second period to balloon Exeter’s lead to 7-0.

Civiello and linemate Brendan Doyle both scored in the third period. Doyle, a sophomore, finished with a goal and three assists while Civiello logged two goals and two assists.

Baldasaro said having so many players contribute in the win was good for this young Exeter team. Thirteen of the Blue Hawks’ 21 players are underclassmen.

“It definitely helps with confidence and just the feel for the puck,” Baldasaro said. “Just being able to know that you can carry a puck and you can take it to the net, that’s a big deal for a lot of young guys.”

Central/West sophomore Will Hebert put his team on the scoreboard when he found the bottom right corner of the Blue Hawks’ net at 3:17 of the middle frame. Freshman Keegan Hoag assisted on Hebert’s tally.

Central/West (0-2) fired several promising shots toward goal during its five-on-three advantage and abbreviated power play in the first period but Exeter sophomore goaltender Jude Rogles (26 saves) was up to the task.

Sophomore Jordan Lamarre made 16 saves for Central/West.

Like the Blue Hawks, Central/West finds itself with a young squad. Seven of Central/West’s 16 players are underclassmen. The first-year co-op features three players from West and 13 from Central.

“The (players) know it - they know that it’s a work in progress,” first-year Central/West coach Eric Fischer said. “We’re just trying to stay positive and get everyone involved and try to make less mistakes each game than the next.”

NHIAA Manchester Exeter