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January 17, 2006 > Hawks wring out Sharks to ring in New Year

Hawks wring out Sharks to ring in New Year

January 8, 2006

Riding the strength of an early scoring punch, the Santa Clara Blackhawks cruised to a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Jr. Sharks in their first game of the New Year. Santa Clara's win, combined with Tri-Valley's loss to Santa Rosa, extends the Blackhawks' NORCAL lead to six points.

San Jose came into today's game with three top players sitting out the contest due to suspensions, and this was not the typical high-energy affair that we have grown accustomed to when these two arch rivals face off. As a result, Santa Clara took charge early, scoring four goals in the first 7:57 to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Jeremy Mamon got things started at 13:16, taking a pass off the side boards from Derek Fredericks and then rifling a wrister over the outstretched glove of San Jose's netminder.

Anthony Dragotto followed up less than a minute later with another glovehand-side wrist rocket to make it 2-0. Phillip Wong started the play with a strong forecheck that allowed him to gain possession behind the Jr. Sharks net and move the puck over to Nick Costa. Costa sent a centering pass from behind the net out to Dragotto, and Dragotto then settled the biscuit before popping it in the oven at 12:26.

At 10:30, Brandon Shore made it 3-0 on a one-timer from the front porch off feeds from Patrick Castagna and Kyle Yedlicka. On the possession, Brian Quirolo got it started with a nice play to hold the zone on a clearing attempt. The Hawks rounded out their first period scoring on a hard slapshot from the center slot by Jeremy Mamon. Mitch Venosta and Dustin Holt picked up the helpers on what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Santa Clara's blistering start changed the game's intensity level and neither team looked particularly sharp in the middle period. Santa Clara did extend its lead to 6-0 on goals from Kyle Yedlicka and Vitto Gagliardi. Yedlicka scored on a low snapper from the center slot at 11:13, with assists going to Patrick Castagna and Nick Lavarias. The Hawks' sixth goal came off the stick of Gagliardi on a wraparound shot at 3:57. Kevin Brown and Kyle Yedlicka assisted on the play. All told, 14 Santa Clara skaters got on the scoresheet in what was a very balanced scoring attack, and the Blackhawks closed out the period in command, 6-0.

In the third period, San Jose took advantage of mediocre special teams play by the Hawks to score three power play goals and narrow the final gap to 6-3. The breakdowns on the power play and the penalty kill served to remind the Blackhawks that they need to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to capture a third consecutive Midget-A championship. The Jr. Sharks were overmatched today, but that won't be the case with a full roster in a playoff atmosphere.

After a bye next weekend, Santa Clara will return to action on January 22 with a rematch against the California Cougars. The Cougars produced the only blemish on the Blackhawks' regular season record so far, when they held on to escape with one point in a 2-2 contest played in San Mateo.

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