Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk Hockey Qualifies for Playoffs by Beating League's Top Team
Hockey: Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk 4, Somerset Berkley 1
FALL RIVER - The Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk hockey team is going to the playoffs, and DRS did it by beating the top team in the South Coast Conference.
Liam Fecteau and Noah Bastis scored two goals apiece and goalie Paul Jarvis made save after save to lead DRS to a 4-1 victory over SCC-leading Somerset Berkley Wednesday night at Driscoll rink. DRS improved to 10-5 on the season, the 10th win being the magic number to officially qualify for the MIAA playoffs.
“We’ve talked about that since day one,” DRS coach Tom Fecteau said of qualifying for the postseason tournament. “We had a couple of rough spots the past few years being below .500, so to climb back and get back into competitive situations, win some hockey games and advance to the playoffs is great. That was our goal from the first day.”
The Raiders came into the game 11-2 overall and in first place in the SCC with a 9-0 conference record, their only two losses coming against 11-1 Dartmouth High School. DRS dropped a close 4-3 game to the Raiders back on Jan. 4, and senior captain Charles Lehourites said the players had that game on their minds in the days leading up to the rematch.
“After we lost the first time, afterwards in the locker room, we said we wanted another shot at them, and we knew January 29th was the day,” Lehourites said after Wednesday’s game. “We practiced hard all week to get ready and I think it showed on the ice.”
DRS will have 10 days to rest up and practice before taking its 6-3 conference record into the Feb. 8 contest against Apponequet.
REPORTERTODAY.COM MVP: DRS’ freshmen phenoms did it again Wednesday night as Bastis and Fecteau both tallied two goals to lead the charge. “Overall, they’ve been pretty successful,” coach Fecteau said of Bastis and Fecteau, who have combined for 22 goals (eight for Bastis, team-high 14 for Fecteau) this season. “They know how to play the game. Half the battle is being strong enough to compete against older kids and the other half is having a head for the game. They’ve been great for us.” Liam Fecteau put DRS up 1-0 in the first period on an unassisted goal when his wrap-around shot in front of the net deflected off a skate past SB goalie Dylan Belchior. Bastis scored the second early in the second period on the power play off a nice feed from Wyatt Nastar, who streaked down the right side of the ice and fired a perfect pass to Bastis on the left side. Fecteau came back with his second of the night to put DRS up 3-1 in the second, streaking up the middle, faking a shot right then going upper deck for high goal past Belchior. Bastis capped the scoring in the third on a power play on an assist from Fecteau. “They’re awesome on the ice and in the locker room,” Lehourites said. “They’re very mature, you really don’t see that from a lot of freshmen. They walked in here and just sort of knew what to do right away, and I think that helped out early in the season and now as the season goes along.”
GREAT BACKSTOP: Goalie Jarvis continues to impress in his first season with DRS. He made big saves in key moments, especially in the second period when the Raiders were on the power play and trying to get back in the game down 3-1. He also held strong in the beginning of the third period when the Raiders again went on the attack with the extra man. “Solid, he deserves a lot of credit,” Fecteau said. “We know we can rely on him back there. Even when the puck is taking quirky bounces and coming at odd angles, he’s right there.” Senior captain Connor Dowty said having Jarvis behind the team gives players a lot of confidence. “The addition of Paul has been really nice. The guys feel a lot better playing in front of him,” he said. “He gives us all a lot of confidence.” Lehourites added: “You’re never nervous about anything close because you know he has it locked down.” The only goal scored by the Raiders was by freshman forward Davis Sullivan on a short-handed breakaway with 27 seconds left in the first. Jarvis made the initial save, but the rebound just trickled by into the net.
FINE JOB FILLING IN: When a penalty sent defenseman Colten Nastar to the box for an extended period of time, Brendan Santos took his spot and flourished, playing solid defense and almost scoring on a power play. “Santos was working hard controlling the puck,” Fecteau said. “It feels good to know you have other guys who can fill the void when needed. He had a really good game.” Fecteau also pointed to Wyatt Nastar, Carter Foley and freshman Evan Fasteson for playing solid on defense Wednesday night.
QUICK HITS: This will be DRS’ first trip to the playoffs in four years, meaning the seniors will get their first taste of playoff hockey. “We only had one win our sophomore year but we kept our composure and learned how to work hard and grind,” Dowty said. “We worked hard to get here. It feels really good. There’s nowhere to go but up.” … The flu that has been making its way around the area has hit Somerset Berkley Regional High School lately. After missing five starters in last week’s 8-0 loss to Dartmouth, Radiers’ coach Kevin Snyder said the team was also missing a few key players Wednesday night. “We played undisciplined hockey,” Snyder said after the game. “The better team won tonight. We have to shrug this one off and move forward.” … The Raiders held the edge in shots, 34-31. … DRS has outscored opponents 55-27 this season … DRS has five games left, and each of those games gives the team a chance to pick up a win and improve its playoff seed. “Every game is as big as this one,” Lehourites said. DRS’ next two are against SCC foes Apponequet and GNB Voc-Tech, followed by three non-conference games against O’Bryant, Middleboro and Attleboro. … Looking ahead to the Div. 2 South tournament: Undefeated Canton (11-0) is making a strong push for the No. 1 overall seed with wins over several Div. 1 programs. Other strong teams DRS could run into include Whitman-Hanson, Plymouth North and Scituate. … The success of freshman Fecteau and Bastis is not only giving DRS high hopes for this year, but the future as well. “It’s really nice to see this infusement of young talent to know our program is going to be going up over the next few years,” Dowty said. … Local sportswriting legend Greg Sullivan was on hand to cover the Raiders for the Herald News. Mr. Sullivan, one of the nicest guys on the local sports beat, has been covering Fall River-area teams for many years. Francisco.