Above: Cole Barron shows the puck to the official at the March 10 game. Photo by Chuck Nadeau.
By Amanda Dronzek / The Spectrum
In a stunning effort to clinch the Division I state championship, the East Greenwich Avengers fell short to the Hendricken Hawks in a best of three series. In a two game sweep this past Thursday and Friday night, the Hawks reclaimed their title after being named co-champions with La Salle in 2021. In game one, EG’s Joe Andreozzi (freshman) struck first. With a 1-0 lead, Dylan Capelli tied the game for Hendricken in the first period. Heading into the third period, the Avengers kept a 3-1 lead under their belt, on goals by Cam Gaffney (junior) and Colin Walsh (sophomore). Down to their final minutes, Hendricken’s Ryan Staples scored on a power play, cutting the lead to 3-2. From a 3-1 deficit, Hendricken came back and tied the game at 3. Both teams brought out their best defense in double overtime, leading to a shootout. Hendricken outscored East Greenwich, 3-1, ending game one with a final score of 4-3 Hawks.
In game two, the Avengers took to the ice for the last time of their 2022 season. Captain Charlie Gaffney remarks, “We had a great season and performed better than anyone expected us to.” The first public school in the high school D1 state championship in Rhode Island since 2004, the Avengers proved themselves, win or lose. Fans flooded Schneider Arena, sporting orange to honor West Warwick’s Matt Dennison who passed away last Thursday due to complications from a car accident.
Colin Walsh gave EG a 1-0 lead in the second period. Hendricken’s Alex Giuliano answered with the tying goal. Drew Gayman and Matt Moretti gave the Hawks the upper hand with two back to back goals. Trailing by two, EG’s Corey Szabo (senior) scored with less than five minutes in the third period. EG’s fight came to an end soon after, as Hendricken cushioned their lead by another two goals. The final score: 5-2 Hendricken.
Although his final season ended without a trophy, senior Charlie Gaffney sees success in the future of the Avengers’ hockey program. “I felt like we definitely earned our spot in the championship,” he says. Under Coach Omicioli, Gaffney envisions EG to become, “a top public school in D1.” The opportunity to play in the state championship was enough for Gaffney, as his team lost their chance to compete in the 2020 state championship due to COVID. Next winter, the Avengers return for another season in Division I.
Amanda Dronzek, a junior at EGHS, covers sports for The Spectrum.