PAWTUCKET — In a free-wheeling contest that saw a total of 15 penalties called for a whopping 30 minutes, Tolman High recorded a 4-1 triumph over Cranston East in the first game of a best-of-three R.I. Division III Tournament quarterfinal series at Lynch Arena on Friday night.
Junior Jared Pedro, who had been nursing a dislocated shoulder, closed with a pair of goals, despite playing as a defenseman to keep the injury out of harm's way. Elder brother and senior tri-captain Ryan Pedro manufactured a goal and two assists.
With the decision, the Tigers – in their final season as an interscholastic program – not only improved to 12-4-1 overall, but can seal the set with a victory over the Thunderbolt when the two squads return to the ice for Game No. 2 tonight at 8:40 at Cranston Vets Rink.
Actually, the visitors (now 6-13-0) came out storming the Tolman defense and senior netminder Jared DaSilva over the first few minutes, but Jared Pedro tallied first, drilling home a slap shot off a rebound just 3:48 into the tilt.
He did so on stellar feeds his brother and fellow senior tri-captain/defenseman Chris Baldwin.
Just six seconds after the Tigers' initial power play had elapsed, and Cranston East's Ben Forte skated from the penalty box after a cross-checking infraction, Ryan Pedro tucked a backhand off another rebound through senior goalie Dom DiBiase at 7:05.
Three more times in that initial stanza, Tolman had breakaway attempts at DiBiase, but the keeper dismissed each. On the first, with 6:32 left, the older Pedro flew down the right side and ripped a wrister from the top left circle, but DiBiase thwarted the try with his glove.
A mere 34 seconds later, senior Brandon Speight found himself on a breakaway, drilling a wrist shot that the keeper stalled with his midsection.
Finally, Jared – all alone – knocked a shot at DiBiase, who used his right pad to kick it away.
The 'Bolts seemed poised to cut the Tolman advantage in half when senior Tyler Donahay fired a try from above the left circle, but it hit the crossbar with 1:48 remaining. And, with 24.3 ticks left, officials whistled Thunderbolt senior Geoff Fernald for another cross-check, but East eventually killed that power play at the start of the second.
With 11 seconds remaining on Tom Mulholland's interference penalty, at 12:18 of the middle session, senior Ryan Deighan pushed a backhand off a rebound past DiBiase to give the Tigers a 3-0 cushion.
The 'Bolt, however, sliced the deficit back to two when senior Tyler Donahay's wicked slap shot caromed off the left post and past DaSilva at the horn.
Tigers' head coach Steve Reynolds Jr. and assistant P.J. Goulet vehemently argued with referees about the call, stating it came after the period had ended, but that battle was lost.
When Fernald was called for another infraction for hooking with just 2:23 elapsed in the third, Tolman needed only 19 ticks to capitalize, this time Jared Pedro slipping a point-blank feed from junior Teddy Reall past DiBiase.
All told, the Tigers registered 36 shots on the East goalie, and DiBiase mustered 32 saves. DaSilva, who faced 19, garnered 18.