OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio – Rocky River held Olmsted Falls to just eight shots on goal, as the Pirates posted their third straight victory with a 10-2 win over the Bulldogs.
The Pirates (7-2) held the Bulldogs (2-2) to just one shot on goal in the first half and then seven more in the second, and of those eight shots on target, only two found their way past junior net-minder Chris Welch.
The game was River’s first off a nine-day layoff. The Pirates hadn’t played since toppling the Bay Rockets, 12-4, on April 11. With Friday’s defensive performance, Rocky River’s defense has now yielded just 20 goals over the team’s last six games.
Notable among those battling Bulldog ball carriers in front of Welch and his six saves were defensemen Titus Snavely (three caused turnovers, seven ground balls) and Ben FitzGibbon (two caused turnovers, three ground balls). Midfielder Ian Herrmann was dominant on numerous loose balls in transition; the senior speedster finished with three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
“Our communication and teamwork play into defensive efforts like the one we had tonight,” said Head Coach Chris Skinner. “Guys were stepping up and providing support all over the field. And we showed some nice stick skills.”
A pair of Michael Malloy goals got the Pirates going in a first quarter that saw the visitors in Maroon outscore the Bulldogs, 3-0, with a 7-2 edge in shots taken. Malloy scored at 8:50 and then again at 1:43 in the first. The second of those goals was on a man-up situation. River would go 3-for-4 with an extra attacker for the game.
With a stout defense pestering Olmsted Falls attackmen at every turn, Rocky River went into halftime having allowed just one shot on goal. Malloy’s first-quarter goals were accompanied by netfinders off the sticks of Aaron Kosmerl and Zach Konrad, and the Pirates led, 4-0, through 24 minutes.
The visitors outscored the home side, 3-2, in a third period that saw Kosmerl score twice. A trio of unanswered fourth-quarter Pirate goals closed out the proceedings on a chilly night in Olmsted Falls.
Kosmerl finished with four goals on the night; he has now tallied seven over the Pirates’ last two games. Malloy added three goals and two assists. Nolan Weaver chipped in with two goals and an assist.
The Pirates were tagged with a season-low two unforced errors in the game. On overall turnover margin, River was a plus-7 against the Bulldogs.
Rocky River’s 7-2 start marks the program’s best nine-game start to a season since 2013.
Friday’s game marked the front half of a back-to-back for Rocky River. The Pirates will be at Strongsville on Saturday (3 p.m. start time).
JV DELIVERS WIN No. 6: Rocky River exploded for a 4-0 fourth quarter to close out Olmsted Falls, 9-4, in Friday’s junior varsity tilt. Logan Fortune (four goals), William St. Pierre (two goals), Andrew Snow (three goals, two caused turnovers, 10 ground balls, 5-1 on faceoffs) and Ethan Mylett (five saves) turned in standout performances for the Baby Buccaneers. The JV Pirates are now 6-2 on the season.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: Chris Welch has logged an impressive .661 save percentage (39-of-59) over the team’s last half-dozen games. … The double-R defense has now yielded just 15 shots on goal over the team’s last two games. … River grabbed 59 percent (33-of-56) of Friday’s ground balls after registering a 64-percent figure in the Bay game on April 11. MANNING UP ON THE MAN-UP: Rocky River went 3-of-4 on extra-man opportunities against Olmsted Falls, and that performance came on the heels of going 5-of-7 at Bay Village. The Pirates are now 13-of-35 (40.6 percent) on the season with an extra attacker. … The Pirates continued to perform well in the transition game, going 17-for-20 on their own clearing attempts, while forcing the Bulldogs into a lackluster 10-of-20 performance.
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