ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (March 18) -- An early second-half surge wasn’t enough to propel the Pirates to victory in Saturday’s 2017 season opener against the St. Edward Eagles.
Rocky River (0-1) scored three unanswered goals over the first six minutes of the third quarter, and that impressive stretch brought the Pirates to within one goal of the Eagles who looked to be cruising to victory over a strong first half of play. But St. Edward rallied for four goals in a late-third three-minute stretch, and the Eagles survived for the 8-4 victory despite allowing 22 River shots over the game’s final 24 minutes.
St. Edward (1-0) potted the game’s first goal at the 9:38-mark of the opening period. Several turnovers short-circuited Rocky River’s attempts to even things early on, and the score remained 1-0 until the second quarter. The Eagles outscored the Pirates, 3-0, in the second and went into halftime leading, 4-0.
The home side got its early-third trio of goals from senior midfielder Michael Malloy, sophomore attackman Nolan Weaver and senior attackman Aaron Kosmerl. Malloy would add River’s final goal in the final minute of the fourth frame.
For the game, Rocky River outshot St. Edward, 33-25, but the Eagles managed two more shots on target (13 to River’s 11). The Pirates appeared to show some rust early on in a contest played in raw, breezy and snowy conditions at Rocky River Stadium. The bulk of Rocky River’s 27 turnovers for the game were committed over the first 20 minutes of action. The Pirates were also whistled for eight penalties, their most in a single game since the 2015 season.
But Head Coach Chris Skinner, coaching in his first game at Rocky River, noted several positives in the Pirates’ test against the Eagles.
“Our defensive effort was strong,” said Skinner of his defensive backfield which held St. Edward to just five shots on goal in the second half. “I was also impressed by our aggressiveness and improved performance on faceoffs. Those things will pay dividends as the season progresses.”
The upper-class trio of Ben Fitzgibbon, Ryan Matis and Titus Snavely combined to register six caused turnovers and 10 ground balls.
Saturday’s lid-lifter marked the first of four straight home games for the Pirates. Rocky River’s next contest is slated for Tuesday, when Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy visits the stadium on Detroit Road. The opening faceoff in the River-CVCA game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
BABY BUCCANEERS: St. Edward downed Rocky River, 13-8, in Saturday’s junior varsity contest. The Eagles outscored the Pirates, 8-3, in the second half. Luke Witzigreuter, Logan Fortune and Andrew Snow each tallied two goals in the losing effort.
SERIES: Saturday’s contest at Rocky River Stadium marked the ninth all-time meeting between the Pirates and Eagles. With Saturday’s victory, St. Edward now leads the series, five games to four.