RED BANK — With the white hot spotlight radiating on opening night at the Armory, Red Bank Regional’s senior standouts Zach Yates and Patrick Murphy shined even brighter, as the dynamic duo led the Bucs (1-0) to a 10-0 victory over non-conference foe Edison.
The top line pairing carried their club to the lopsided triumph by combining for 12 points — including seven goals — and the first hat trick efforts of their respective scholastic careers.
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“Honestly, coming out here tonight, I didn’t think I was going to score one goal, let alone do anything like this,” said Yates, who compiled four tallies against Edison, after completing his junior campaign with 10 total markers.
“I was focused on trying my best to help out my friends, trying to get them the puck so they could score,” Yates added. “But to score four goals, it was completely unexpected, and an incredible experience.”
After potting Red Bank’s first goal of the new year at 1:57 of the opening period — by way of a primary assist from freshman winger Ryan Sweeney, his first career point — Yates made it three-goal game just 14 seconds into the middle frame, and closed out the second period with his third and fourth markers of the night, sending the Bucs into the intermission with a 7-0 advantage.
MURPHY PAKCS A PUNCH: Murphy lit the lamp in each period and assisted on the final three of Yates’ tallies, including a first period wrist shot from the high slot to make it a 2-0 advantage, a quick flick of the wrist from the low slot in the second off a dish from behind net by junior Jack Povey — his first career varsity point — which made it a five-goal game, and another laser release from out in front of the crease off a Will Spencer helper that made it a 9-0 Bucs lead.
“This is just an awesome feeling, especially coming back after last year and a long off-season,” said Murphy, who finished his junior year with 16 points and nine goals. “We had a decent season last year, but nothing quite like this. This is a special way to start the new year for myself and for our team. There’s definitely some things we have to work on before our next game to make sure we come out even stronger, but all in all it was a great opening night, and the guys loved it.”
SPENCER MATCHES CAREER MARK: Spencer backed up his senior classmates in the win with a four-point outing, picking up three assists — including the primary helper on a Frank Massa slapshot from the left point at 1:02 of the second period — and his first of the year, which came early in the third period to make it an 8-0 lead. The four-point showing matched Spencer’s career-best single-game total, a mark he hit on Feb. 10 of 2016-17 in a victory over Class A Central rival Lacey.
BARKEY’S Speedy sophomore defenseman Tyler Barkey scored the final goal of this contest — and the first of his career — when he scooped up a loose puck in the offensive zone, wheeled off the left side boards and into the slot, where he ripped a shot through the wickets of Page Lootsma, who provided a screen in front. It was the first goal of his high school career, but surely not his last, as the swift-footed two-way blue liner used his impressive speed to create several chances on the night for he and his teammates. Barkey’s ability to go end-to-end out of their own zone was an aspect of the game the Bucs lacked a season ago, and another highlight from a night with so many to choose from.
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FIRST POINTS: Freshman forward Andrew Sala distributed the first two assists of his varsity career on the markers by Massa and Spencer, while fellow first-year winger Lucious Cornish picked up his first point with a helper on Yates’ fourth of the game.
QUINN ELECTRIC AGAIN: Sophomore standout Mitchell Quinn followed up a stellar freshman campaign — in which he stopped 500 shots and posted an .862 save-percentage — and was impressive once again in his first outing of the new year, steering aside all 16 shots faced to record the fourth shutout of his young varsity career.
UP NEXT: Red Bank Regional is at it again on Dec. 1, when another non-conference foe in Colonia comes to the Red Bank Armory at 6:30 p.m.
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