The Westview Wolverines visited the Scripps Ranch Falcons on Wednesday night in a game with playoff implications. Both teams needed to secure quality wins, and the tension was palpable in Scripps Ranch.
Westview goaltender Connor Ciemiewicz started the game off in a groove, making a great save early in the first quarter. This proved useful for the Wolverine offense, as Ryan Marasco found Cole Zarola tiptoeing the crease for the first goal of the contest four minutes into play. A minute and a half later, Cameron Broaddus tacked another one on the board for Westview to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.
On the ensuing faceoff, Scripps Ranch’s Cole Silverman answered right back off of an assist from Brennan Deffley. The Falcons won the next faceoff, only to be thwarted by Ciemiewicz on back-to-back saves. The Wolverine offense capitalized on the extra possessions, as James Nagro tallied his first of the night with just over a minute left in the first quarter. 3-1 Westview.
In the second quarter, Scripps Ranch had a lot of quality shot opportunities despite losing the possession battle. Ciemiewicz was up to the task, making two separate pairs of amazing saves in the first seven minutes of the quarter. The Falcons, however, still found a way to score next, as T.J. Summers capitalized on a rebound opportunity to cut the deficit to one with under five minutes left in the half.
Nagro didn’t wait long to score his second goal on an unassisted effort to go up by two with 3:45 on the clock. His teammate Jack Pope followed suit with one of his own 90 seconds later. Ciemiewicz got a shoulder on a Falcon shot on the doorstep to end the first half of play at a score of 5-2 in favor of Westview.
Out of the break, Westview’s offense continued to win the possession battle. Nagro buried his hat-trick goal four minutes into the third quarter to put the Wolverines up by four. It was around this time that the home team had had enough, as Chris Burley took a pass from Ardash Nodznaia and put it high on Ciemiewicz to cut the lead to three with 6:48 left in the third quarter. Teams traded possessions for the rest of the quarter, but Burley made the wait count with a great dodge, shot and goal from the left alley to put Scripps Ranch within two with under 30 seconds left in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a goaltender exhibition. Scripps Ranch goaltender Sam Snider made a key save on a wide-open Westview shot, keeping the Falcon rally alive. However, Ciemiewicz continued to shine, making a one-on-none save out of a Scripps Ranch timeout that should have ended in a goal.
With the Falcons desperately needing a big play, Snider kept the game within reach with another big stop to keep the score at 6-4 with just over five minutes left in the game. Again, Ciemiewicz stole the spotlight with another tandem of saves late in the game.
With just over three minutes left, Ian Dryer took advantage of a miscommunication by the Westview defense behind the goal and drove the crease for an uncontested dunk. Scripps Ranch’s third uncontested goal put life into the Falcons.
Just 30 seconds later, Scripps Ranch started a fast break that threatened the Westview goal. With ice in his veins, Ciemiewicz makes yet another stellar save to keep the Wolverines in the lead. With 1:13 left to play, Ciemiewicz stoned another Falcon and sent the ball downfield to seal the deal. with :51 left to play, Nagro assisted Zarola to put the game on ice. Westview ran out the clock to secure the 7-5 road victory.
Nagro led the Wolverines in points, with a hat-trick and an assist.
Burley led the Falcons in scoring, with a two-goal performance.