By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Needham High School boys varsity ice hockey team opened up their 2016-2017 season on the road against Acton-Boxborough, and the Rockets returned to Needham victoriously after putting on an offensive showcase throughout the final two periods, netting seven unanswered goals in an 8-3 comeback victory.
“It feels good to get that first one on the first night; definitely gave the guys some confidence going forward,” said Rocket head coach Mike Hoban.
Dylan Jones got his first official high school start in net for the Rockets on Monday night, and after surrendering a couple of early first period goals, coach Hoban says that the junior goaltender was lights-out when his team needed him most.
“Once Dylan got those butterflies out of his system, he played incredibly well,” said Hoban. “We expected some rust with it being the first game of the season, so it was good to see Dylan and the guys rally together and take over the game late in that second period.”
Despite a flurry of scoring opportunities out of the gate, the Rockets trailed 3-1 at the end of the first period with a goal coming from Antonio Trabucco. Following the break, Needham got to work in the offensive end with goals by junior forward Tom Fachette and Joey Conry knotting the game at three.
After tying up the game, the Rockets poured it on offensively during the final period and a half of play, with goals coming from freshman forward Kurt Brinkaus, senior forward, sophomore defenseman Tom Chmielewski, and senior captain Joe Bruno, as well as second tallies on the night from both Conry and Fachette. Sophomore forward Sam Keenan also set up two goals during the 7-0 run for the Rockets.
“This team has a different mindset to it than some of the ones we’ve had in recent years,” said Hoban. “Last year, who knows, if we fall behind 3-1 early in a game like that, we probably fold. Before the season, I spoke to the team about fighting back and staying composed in tough situations, and that’s exactly what the guys did. They didn’t quit and went out and got the win.”
Dylan Jones finished the night with 24 saves while Brinkaus and Chmielewski each added an assist, putting the count of Rockets with a multi-point game in Monday night’s win at five.