Middletown South defeated Toms River North by a score of 10-0 on Thursday afternoon at Winding River Skating Center in Toms River.
Joe Ciervo led the way for the Eagles offensively, finding the back of the net three times while also dishing out an assist en route to his first-career hat trick. Adam Bloodgood picked up his first shutout on the young season, stopping all 10 shots the Mariners fired his way.
Mike Racioppi contributed two goals and three assists for Middletown South, which saw 13 different Eagles find their name on the score sheet. Ciervo, along with teammates Carson Graves and Andrew Bohner, each recorded their first varsity goals, while Michael Volpi collected his first point with an assist. Demetri Forand and Michael Hannigan each added two helpers and Dakota Yannibelli, Bobby Matthews and Joe Guercio also drew an assist in the highest scoring game for Middletown South this season.
The Eagles (4-0) controlled the pace for much of the game, scoring twice in the opening five minutes and four times in the opening frame. Middletown South equaled the four-goal first with another four-goal period in the second to take a commanding 8-0 edge at the second intermission. Ciervo put a cap on his hat trick 30 seconds into the third and Craig Bahrs scored 4:44 later as the Eagles ended the game on the 10-goal rule all within the opening six minutes of the final period.
Ciervo credited the work of the forwards on their way to the 10-goal outburst. They played Hockey 101 in order to generate the offense.
“Good cycling down low, nice passes, getting a lot of shots on net and getting rebounds,” Ciervo said.
Ciervo got the scoring started when he sent a back hand from well above the crease with two Mariner defenseman draped around him. That proved to be all the offense that the Eagles would need but they were not finished yet. Mike Racioppi was there to bang home a loose puck sitting in the blue paint on a shot by Nick Lioudakis to stake claim to a 2-0 advantage.
The lead was increased to three when Deven Ralph sent a backhand from inside the circle just inside the right post for his team-leading eighth of the season. Racioppi tallied one more in the final minute as the Eagles built a 4-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Ciervo found his way back onto the score sheet, with his second of the game that also chased Mariners’ goalie Ryan Dowds from the game. Dowds, along with his replacement Kat Brezniak, each made numerous saves to keep Toms River North playing a little while longer. Dowds ended with 20 saves while Brezniak halted 17.
Lioudakis collected his first goal of the game when his shot deflected into the net off of a Mariner defenseman to make it 6-0 before Middletown South got two goals in the span of 3:30 that proved to be special. Graves sent a slap shot from the point through traffic to collect his first varsity goal at the 8:00 mark of the second period and Bohner followed suit with his first at the varsity level.
Adam Bloodgood stood tall in the crease and set aside all 10 shots that came his way.
“The defense limited entrances into our zone and played well in the neutral zone. They also swept away all the rebounds out of the crease when I let them up,” Bloodgood said.
The Middletown South defense has been outstanding through their first four games, surrendering just five goals while yielding only 61 shots on goal (15.3 per game) over that span.
“Only 10 shots – Bloodgood stayed in it and played great,” Ciervo said. “The whole defense played great for us.”
Middletown South will be right back at it on December 8 when they take on St. John Vianney (3-0) at Middletown Ice World at 5:45 p.m. It will be the Eagles’ third game in four days. Both teams will enter without a loss.
After exploding for 11 goals in their season-opening victory over Lacey, followed by a triumph over Manasquan, Toms River North (2-3) will try and snap their three-game skid on December 11 when they travel to Mercer County Rink to take on West Windsor-Plainsboro South/North at 4 p.m.
Written by Casey J. Krish / @CaseyKrish
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Jessica Rabstein / @JRabstein
Main Image: Middletown South and Toms River North skate through the handshake line at the end of their game at Winding River Rink in Toms River on December 7, 2017. (Jessica Rabstein/HockeyClan)
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