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Pirates deliver in the clutch

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night could stay the Pirates from delivering a victory to their frozen fans on Thursday night. Amid raw, windy, rainy, snowy conditions at Rocky River Stadium, the home side battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to claim a 7-3 win over the Kenston Bombers.

Junior goalkeeper Chris Welch made eight saves behind a rock-solid Pirate defense that has now held foes to just 35 goals over seven games. Senior defenseman Ryan Matis forced four turnovers, and sophomore attackman Nolan Weaver potted three goals. Rocky River (5-2) has now won four straight home games since dropping its season opener on Detroit Road three weeks ago.

Kenston (3-4) opened the game’s scoring with back-to-back goals early in the first frame. The Pirates weren’t able to answer until the 55-second mark of the first when Weaver scored the first of his three goals. Weaver’s netfinder would be the first of three final-minute goals on the game for the Maroon & White. River scored goals in the final minute of the first, second and third periods.

Senior midfielder Michael Snow scored the equalizer when he picked up a loose ball on the left side of the cage, then darted in for a well-placed seven-yarder past the Kenston netminder midway through the second quarter.

A Brendan McGovern goal on a Jack Aerni feed vaulted the Pirates into the lead at 2:52 in the second. And from there, River never looked back.

A late-half goal by Aaron Kosmerl – his 10th of the season -- sent Rocky River into halftime with a 4-2 lead. The home side shut out the visitors, 3-0, in the third, with Weaver netting two of those goals. He now has scored 14 goals on the year.

Rocky River finished the game with 25 shots (12 on goal); Kenston had 27 shots (11 on goal). The Pirates were 1-of-3 with an extra attacker and 4-of-4 on man-down situations. Notable also was River’s transition defense – the Pirates rode the Bombers to a 12-of-22 mark on clearing attempts.

"The way we handled things when we were down, 2-0, was great to see," said Head Coach Chis Skinner. "That was a gut check. It started with some defensive stops, and our goals by Weaver and Snow gave our offense some confidence."

 

NOTES …

BACK-AND-FORTH BARN-BURNER FOR BABY BUCS: The RR JV downed their Bomber counterparts, 11-10, on Thursday. Freshman netminder came through for the Pirates on a flurry of late-fourth-quarter attempts by the Bombers.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Big performances on the defensive side were turned in by Summie Mead (3 ct, 4 gb), Max Kovesdy (4 gb), Ryan Matis (4 ct, 3 gb), Titus Snavely (1 ct, 2 gb) and Ben FitzGibbon (3 ct). Going back four games, goalie Chris Welch has stopped 30 of the last 45 shots he’s faced (66.7 percent). Rocky River has now held foes to three goals or less in three games this season. At 5.0 goals allowed per game, River ranks among the best in the state in Division II defense.

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