The Whalers had no doubt they would walk away with a victory against the Old Rochester/Fairhaven Bulldogs Wednesday evening despite falling behind 2-0 after one period of play. They erupted for six goals in the final two periods to win the game in convincing fashion 6-3.
Freshman forward Canton Jenkinson continues to impress. Through five games Jenkinson leads the team in goals (4) and points (6). Jenkinson said he has felt comfortable with this group since last season when he saw some occasional minutes as an eighth-grade skater.
“I felt like one of the guys for a long time even last year when I was an eighth-grader on varsity,” Jenkinson said. “I just felt like I was one of the guys and I still feel that. There are a couple of places we need fixing.”
The Whalers outshot the Bulldogs 13-4 in the first period and had a pair of power play opportunities, but they were unable to capitalize on any of their chances thanks to strong goaltending by Bulldog’s freshman goalie Tucker Roy, who finished with 28 saves on the night.
The Bulldogs were opportunistic however, scoring on a 2-on-1 transition play to make it 1-0 while Nantucket had a chance at the other end less than a minute later, but junior defenseman Braden Knapp hit the post with his shot from the blue line.
The Bulldogs immediately pounced on an opportunity shortly after to add to their lead and scored another goal with 1:09 to play in the period.
“First period we were a little flat,” Nantucket head coach Jack Moran Sr. said. “We recognized that right away. We knew and they knew. In between the first and second period we told them ‘Listen, second and third period you are going to control this entire game. You are going to go out there and I want you to double the number of goals that they have.”
The Whalers heard Moran loud and clear. Jenkinson was able to bury a loose puck to get Nantucket on the board with just over 10 minutes left in the middle period and about five minutes later, junior center Colby O’Keefe scored to tie the game 2-2. It was O’Keefe’s first goal of the season and one of two goals for him on the evening.
“The first goals of the season so it is nice. It was a good feeling out there,” O’Keefe said. “I have been hitting posts a lot but no goals. Tonight, I happened to bury them. I thought first period we started off a little slow but then we started cooking and heating up in the second and third period and started burying them.”
Freshman forward Jeremy Jenkinson got into the scoring action himself less than one minute after O’Keefe’s goal. He took the puck from behind the Bulldog net and let a shot rip from the right faceoff dot over the glove hand of Roy to make it a 3-2 game with 4:35 to go in the second period.
The Whalers took their 3-2 lead into the second intermission and wasted no time adding to their lead once the final period began. They got a power play opportunity early on and with 13:17 left in the game, senior captain Jack Billings passed the puck from the point to junior center Ryan Davis on the left dot, who roofed it over Roy’s blocker to make it a 4-2 game.
Nantucket got a bit undisciplined after making it 4-2 and were forced to kill off a five-minute major on junior defenseman Hunter Strojny. But about three minutes into the penalty kill it was O’Keefe again finding the puck on his stick with nothing but ice ahead of him. He beat Roy for the second time, the first time on the power play and this time on the penalty kill, that night to make it 5-2.
After ORR made it a 5-3 game, Canton Jenkinson added some insurance with a five-hole goal to make it 6-3 with under two minutes to play in the game.
Moran said he felt his team did a good job at limiting the Bulldogs offensive chances. ORR managed just 13 shots all game. He also said that he and his coaching staff told their players to shoot high on Roy in between periods after falling behind 2-0.
“They played well and everyone chipped in,” Moran said. “It was an even spread of people helping out today. A couple of stupid penalties and those are the things we need to avoid. They understand that. I told them I know emotions get to you but we have to be disciplined enough to just let it go, let the refs do their job. I’ll take a man-up all day.”
The Whalers have now won two games in a row and will look to improve their record to 3-3 when they host their island nemesis, Martha’s Vineyard, on Saturday, January 7 at 2 p.m.