ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – The Pirates suffered a second straight loss for the first time this season, as the visiting Chagrin Falls Tigers defeated Rocky River, 17-8, on Tuesday evening.
Rocky River, which dropped a 10-6 decision at Strongsville on Saturday, fell behind 6-1 after one quarter of play. Battling through a few turnover lapses and difficulties on ground balls, the Pirates were able to counterpunch at times. But the final result on the scoreboard spelled a nine-goal loss, River’s worst since April 22 of last season (14-4 loss to Hoover). Rocky River’s best stretch came in a strong third period that saw the home side outscore the visitors, 4-2.
The Pirates (7-4) took a 1-0 lead in the second minute of play when senior co-captains Michael Snow and Aaron Kosmerl connected on a goal. But the Tigers (5-4) would score the next seven goals of the contest to take control of the Rocky River Stadium scoreboard by the midpoint of the second frame.
By halftime, the Tigers had put 14 shots on goal to River’s six, and that led to an 11-3 lead for Chagrin Falls. Three times in the opening half, the Tigers potted successive goals in less than 35 seconds.
Chagrin Falls looked to be continuing its roll when the Tigers scored their 12th goal a mere 12 seconds into the third quarter. But a spirited River rally – with goals by Snow, Michael Malloy and Nolan Connelly, strong defensive plays on the back line and a big save by Chris Welch – was in the offing for the next seven or eight minutes of game play. Only a late-third strong defensive stand by the Tigers kept the game from getting within reach.
In the fourth, Chagrin reasserted its quick-strike offense and the Tigers outshot the Pirates 7-3 en route to outscoring them, 4-1.
For the game, the Tigers doubled up the Pirates in shots on goal (Chagrin Falls 26, Rocky River 13). For the Pirates – now 4-2 at home this season – the 17 goals allowed mark the program’s most yielded in a single game since May 9, 2015.
The River offense was paced by Kosmerl (2g, 2a) and Snow (2g, 1a).
The Pirates are slated to return to action on Friday when they host Hoover (JV game at 5 p.m., varsity at 7).
TOUGH TIGERS: With Tuesday’s loss, Rocky River is now 2-10 all-time against Chagrin Falls. The Pirates and Tigers first met on April 28, 2005. Chagrin Falls has now won nine straight in the series. … In Tuesday’s JV game, the Tigers defeated the Pirates, 14-2. The River JV crew is now 6-4 on the season.
MAN-UP CONTINUES TO IMPRESS: When Matthew Willse rifled in a man-up goal in the fourth period, it marked River’s third such goal of the game. The Pirates went 3-of-4 with the extra man and are now 13-for-their-last 20. On the season, Rocky River has converted 18 times in 44 tries (40.9 percent).
CANNON FIRE: After a sluggish start on Tuesday, Rocky River finished with a plus-2 in turnover margin. The Pirates have now been on the good side of the turnover battle in four straight games. On the flip-side, the Pirates were bested on ground balls by a wide margin Tuesday (30 to 22). River’s 22 ground balls mark a season low. Junior defenseman Ben FitzGibbon collected five ground balls in the game. FitzGibbon has 29 ground balls on the season. … The 25 total goals scored in the Pirates-Tigers game mark the most scored in a single River game since May 1, 2014.