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Pirates go fourth

 

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – A balanced scoring effort and nifty passing u and down the lineup and across different sets of players at all three positions propelled Rocky River to a 13-2 victory over Avon on Friday night. The Pirates’ first road win of the season marks their fourth consecutive victory overall.

Rocky River (4-1) scored eight unanswered goals to kick of Friday’s contest, which was played in a steady mist of a 43-degree rain. Senior attackman Aaron Kosmerl had a five-point night (three goals, two assists) to pace the Pirate offense, and junior goalie Chris Welch stymied eight shots at the other end of the field. Wrecking one Eagle clearing attempt after another, Rocky River outshot Avon by a margin of nearly 3-to-1 (42-18). Senior defenseman Titus Snavely was on the vanguard of that Pirate defense. Snavely caused four turnovers and garnered seven ground balls.  


Avon (1-4) has now played Rocky River each of the last two seasons, and the Eagles have managed just two goals total (RR defeated Avon, 14-0, on April 5 last season). Those two tallies came late in Friday’s second quarter. One of those was on a bit of a broken play when a River defender slipped in coverage near Welch’s crease. Beyond that, the junior netminder was athletic and nearly unbeatable.

“Chris was strong on blocking some quality looks,” said Head Coach Chris Skinner, “and he was chasing down loose possessions. I thought he raised the bar for the whole team.”

And the whole team is just about where the rest of Friday’s praise lies. Eight different RR players found the back of the net in an opening half that saw the visitors outshoot the home side, 25-10. Welch made a couple quality saves early on and had a clean sheet until the 3:23-mark of the second quarter.

On a strong night of crisp passing, seven different Pirates logged assists. Two of those assists stood out: Kosmerl threading a pass over the cage to Brendan McGovern in the first quarter and then Michael Snow weaving a helper through traffic to Kosmerl midway through the third.

The baker’s dozen of Pirate goals marks the team’s best output on offense since April 12 of last season, a stretch of 15 games.

Rocky River’s next game will also be on the road. The Pirates are slated to travel to Toledo to face St. Francis de Sales – the team that knocked them out of the 2016 state playoffs – on Tuesday.

NOTES …

BABY BUCS BACK AT IT: After a six-day layoff, the River junior varsity got back to game action on Friday at Avon. And the Baby Buccaneers got into the action quickly. River scored six goals over the first seven minutes of play and, with excellent passing, defense and goal-work, turned the game into a boat race by early in the second period. Freshman Ethan Mylett manned the cage and made four saves while causing a turnover and collecting three ground balls. Mylett would go on to dress for the varsity game and play the final four minutes of the game, in relief of Chris Welch. Ben Mahoney, Luke Witzigreuter, Zack Wagner and Andrew Snow each registered two goals in the eventual 12-2 victory. Snow and William St. Pierre had a pair of assists each. A defensive backfield primarily composed of Nathan Curry, Danny McFarland and Teddy Steuber was dominant throughout. Steuber collected four ground balls and two caused turnovers.

EASY AS 1-2-3: In the varsity contest, River’s first three goals were scored (in order) by Jack Aerni, Zach Konrad and Aaron Kosmerl, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the roster. … Rocky River has allowed just 25 goals through its first five games. That’s the team’s best five-game defensive start since 2014. … On Friday the Pirates held the Eagles to a 14-of-32 mark (44 percent) on clearing attempts. For the season, the Men in Maroon have held foes to a 63.5-percent rate (80-of-126). On their own possessions, Rocky River has cleared 95 of 136 attempts (69.9 percent).

SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREAK:  Aaron Kosmerl and Nolan Weaver have scored at least one goal in each of Rocky River’s five games this season. Senior midfielder Michael Snow has tallied a goal and an assist in four straight; Zach Konrad has scored goals in three in a row. Junior midfielder Brendan McGovern has found the back of the net in each of River’s last two games.

ABOUT FACE: Keller Fisher led River’s faceoff brigade by going 9-of-13 against Avon. The senior midfielder has now tallied a 19-8 mark (70.4 percent) over his last two contests. For the season, the Pirates are a much improved 49-39 (55.7 percent) on the midfield scrum.

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