11:10 PM EST, December 14, 2012
SIMSBURY — At the end of the first period Friday against Northwest Catholic, Sean Cole, the coach of the Rocky Hill, Middletown and RHAM co-op, turned to his players and told them the Zamboni might as well just clean one end of the ice — his team's defensive zone.
He was joking, of course. But by the end of Friday's game, the comment sure carried a lot of truth.
For 45 minutes, Northwest Catholic made sure the puck stayed at just one end of the ice.
Behind five goals from Patrick Melanson and a goal and two assists from Jeff Greenwood, the Indians defeated Rocky Hill/Middletown/RHAM 10-0 at Westminster.
"I knew that it was going to be something special [Friday] because I came in and different players were sitting in different spots in the empty rink just getting focused and meditating and getting [pumped] up on their own," Northwest Catholic coach Don Melanson said. "I hadn't seen some of these players do that before."
Before the game, the season opener for both, the programs said a prayer for those lost in the shooting in Newtown earlier in the day.
"We talked about it in the locker room, and the team came to me and said they wanted to do a moment of silence," Don Melanson said. "They wanted to show respect for what is going on."
Rocky Hill/Middletown/RHAM coach Sean Cole said he was surprised that the game was played after the events of the day. But it put the big defeat in perspective.
"Considering the tragedy that happened earlier [Friday] that's horrifying, this is just a hockey game," Cole said. "This is just bruised egos."
Patrick Melanson said that throughout the game his thoughts drifted.
"You know you got to be focused [about the game], but you have to be concerned for all the people that are hurting out there and have suffered from this tragedy," Melanson said. "You can't forget about something like that."
Still, Northwest Catholic put it together on the ice.
After losing to the co-op of Newington and Berlin 2-1 in the Division III state championship last season, the high-scoring Indians had been itching to get back and play their style of hockey.
They wanted to prove that the one-goal performance was an oddity.
"They were ready for their first game," Don Melanson said.
So Friday, they got to work quickly.
Only three minutes into the first period, Patrick Melanson got the Indians on the board when he finished off a pass from Jeff Greenwood.
Then just two minutes later, Wolf scored on a glove-high shot from the hash marks.
But the Indians were just getting started.
With four minutes left in the period, Patrick Melanson got his second goal when he collected a puck in the low slot and fired a shot off a defender and into the back of the net.
"There was lot of enthusiasm on the bench," Patrick Melanson said. "You could tell everyone was up for the game. There wasn't one person that was down. Everyone played well."
The second period got a little better for RHAM/Middletown/Rocky Hill, but it wouldn't last. After stopping Rocky Hill/Middletown/RHAM sophomore Scott Macko on a breakaway, Northwest Catholic scored four goals in the final 11 minutes of the period.
Northwest Catholic got three more goals from Melanson and a goal from Walter Hansen.
In the third period, Northwest Catholic continued to control the play and rarely let the puck hang around in its own end.
Instead, Greenwood, Josh Stumpf and Tyler Noll added to the goal collection to cap off an impressive opening outing for the Indians, who have moved to Division II this season from Division III and are looking to make another extended postseason run in March.
"That's a solid Division II team and they're loaded," Cole said.
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