West Warwick-Exeter/West Greenwich lost to Pilgrim two consecutive years in the state championship. And they were down, 1-0, in this year’s best-of-three rematch.
No worries. There would be no devastating state-finals loss again.
West Warwick-Exeter/West Greenwich pulled off the state-title win it so longed for, beating Pilgrim, 4-2, in Game 3 March 10 at the University of Rhode Island Boss Arena to take the title. It was the second state title since the coop team went into existence in 2012.
Pilgrim suffered its first two losses of the season in the series.
“I knew we could do it this year,” West Warwick-Exeter/West Greenwich coach Justin Lake said. “Last year, we felt we may be able to pull it off. But this was a long time coming. Last year they embarrassed us in that second game with a 7-1 win.”
There would be no such repeat. The senior class for West Warwick-Exeter/West Greenwich finally got what they’ve worked so hard for in the form of a state-title banner.
“They played a huge role,” Lake said. “We were exhausted and everyone gave everything they’ve got. They were just as talented as us player for player. But I told the guys we had nothing to lose, and they have everything to lose. That took the team to the next level.”
West Warwick-Exeter/West Greenwich had plenty of experience, no question. Nerves weren’t a factor on the biggest stage.
In the postseason, the team turned on a different level, and peaked at just the right time.
Liam Hogan had two goals and was named the series Most Valuable Player.
Knight-Wizards forward Matt Dennison and Ethan Laramee also scored in the win.
Dylan Gallagher set up Charlie Clements for a goal that cut the WW/EWG lead to 2-1. AJ Sherlock’s breakaway goal late in the third was the last goal of the season for Pilgrim. It made it 4-2.
Knight Wizards goalie Kevin MacDonald made 31 saves. He had a couple of postseason shutouts earlier.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Lake said. “We knew we weren’t going to win this game 1-0. We told Kevin we had nothing left to prove. We told him the team in front of him needs to play for him. And we think that sunk into the kids.”