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Pirates fire third-quarter broadside, sink Warriors 8-6
Wes Bennett
CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- The Pirates got goals from a half-dozen players, as Rocky River earned an impressive non-conference road win at Walsh Friday evening. A River offense which had averaged just 3.7 goals per contest over its previous six games scored in every quarter, cranked out its most shots in a single game since March 31, and prevailed 8-6 over the host Warriors.

Rocky River (6-9) led 2-0 after the opening quarter, but the Warriors bounced back and scored 4-of-the-5 goals tallied in the second. The Pirates then showed some resolve on what was a raw, rainy night in Cuyahoga Falls. In the third quarter, River held the home side to just four shots, and none were on frame. The Double-R countered with six shots: five were on goal; three were in goal. The Pirates got goals at 6:54 (Wes Bennett), 3:23 (Mack Massad), and 0:05 (Andrew Lang from Ryan Hildebrand) and leapfrogged their way to a 6-4 lead.

Walsh (8-8) would battle back with two goals in the fourth, but goalkeeper Carter Smith stopped three shots bound for twine and his mates scored two at the other end (Hildebrand, Massad) to close out the 8-6 victory.

The fourth made like a bookend closeout for Smith, who opened the game with four saves in the first quarter. The junior netminder registered eight stops for the game.

Elsewhere on defense, Rocky River got key contributions by Kai Delventhal (ground ball, caused turnover), Trent Delenthal (3 GB, 2 CT), and Robby Lang (4 GB, 3 CT). Lang also logged an assist in the game.

On offense, the Maroon & White got three points each from Massad (two goals, assist) and Bennett (2G 1A). Hildebrand added two (1G, 1A). Massad edged the Pirates onto solid footing in the possession game with a 9-5 mark on 14 faceoffs. River -- which hauled in 25-of-41 (61%) ground balls -- got multiple scoops from Massad, Smith, Grant Scott, and Andrew Lang in addition to the aforementioned d-poles. River was a plus-1 in shots (28-27), a plus-1 in shots on goal (15-14), and a minus-3 in turnovers (16-13). But the Pirates' 16 turnovers came after committing a combined 45 over their previous two games.

River's eight goals marked its most since April 11 (eight vs. Olmsted Falls). The six goals allowed marked the team's fewest since March 29 (five vs. Mentor). The Pirates win snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Sons of Blackbeard are scheduled to close out their regular season with a home game against Chagrin Falls on Wednesday.


Prior to Thursday, the Pirates had not scored a goal in every frame since April 11. ... The Walsh game marked River's first road win since March 31. ... With his 9-of-14 performance Thursday, Mack Massad is now 116-70 (62.4%) across 186 faceoffs this season. His 116 wins are believed to be the program's second-highest total in a single season (Andrew Snow--158 in 2018). ... Robby Lang's assist marked his third of the season and the fourth of his career. In River's last game (May 4 vs. Westlake), Lang recorded his 100th career ground ball. Through Thursday's game at Walsh, the senior defenseman has piled up six goals, four assists, 107 ground balls, and 61 caused turnovers over his career.

by Skip Snow

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