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Hockey: Providence rips Fenwick in Kennedy Cup semifinal opener

Updated: March 19, 2014 6:31AM



After dismantling Fenwick 9-1 less than three weeks ago, Providence coach Nick Iaciancio stressed to his team Monday the importance of starting strong and denying the Friars any momentum during Game 1 of their Kennedy Cup semifinal.

The Celtics then went out and delivered on their coach’s message.

Providence exploded for four goals in the first period and eased to an 8-2 victory over Fenwick at Arctic Ice Arena.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is slated for 7:50 p.m. Wednesday at The Edge in Bensenville.

“Our start was everything (Monday),” Iaciancio said. “That’s why we stressed it so much to start strong. We thought they would have a five-minute spurt to start the game.”

It was Providence (52-4-4), though, that started strong. Patrick Francis, Jake Payton and Vince Kesic scored just 6:43 in for a 3-0 lead.

If the Friars had an intentions of sending an early message, it was foiled at that point. With the Celtics swarming, Fenwick couldn’t generate much offense against goalie Ryan Iaciancio.

Dan Ricker extended the lead to 4-0 at the end of the opening period on a shot from the left slot.

“We got four goals from four different lines,” Nick Iaciancio said. “It shows our depth again.”

The Celtics had goals from seven different players. The only repeat scorer was Rich Yusa, who went top shelf with a wicked snapper that made it 6-0 and tallied again on a wraparound after the Friars had cut the deficit to 6-2.

“We’re playing really good hockey right now,” Yusa said. “We just play our game and take care of business.”

Matt Payton and Andy Guth also lit the lamp for Providence. Payton tipped in a shot from the point by John Duzansky that made it 5-0. Guth converted a nifty pass by Ben Brandau (2 assists) that closed out the scoring.

The Celtics are three wins away from winning the program’s first Kennedy Cup.

“It’s something we’re always thinking about,” Yusa said. “We’re always going to respect the team we’re playing. We’re taking it one game at a time.”

Joe Gurgone and Ben Kohen scored for Fenwick, which struggled to convert on the few quality scoring chances it generated. That’s because Ryan Iaciancio was up to the task, thwarting John Creber and Liam Conroy with big saves.

“I thought we played a complete game,” Nick Iaciancio said. “Ryan didn’t face a ton of shots but he made some good saves when he had to. We only took four penalties. We have to avoid the penalty box.”



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