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Rockets Ice Barnstable, Close Out Regular Season

February 21, 2024

• Needham Boys Hockey defeated the Red Hawks thanks to a big performance by one of their Juniors.

With one final game in the regular season, the Rockets Boys Hockey team built a lot of momentum heading into the playoffs. Needham beat Barnstable 5-1 on Senior Night Wednesday night at Babson Skating Center, led by a hat trick from Junior Matt Rutter, who scored his eighth, ninth and tenth goals of the season, a team high.

The Rockets got on the board quickly, just 19 seconds into the game, thanks to a goal by Senior Alex Giancola, his second of the season. Another Senior, Ryan DiNicola, had an assist, his third of the year. Penalties then started to pile up, with each team being called for two, but neither able to score on the power play. With time running down in the period, Needham then lit the lamp again, with Rutter getting his first goal of the game with 7.6 seconds to go and Freshman Matt Ledbury getting the assist, his third of the year.

Needham would be held scoreless in the second period, but Barnstable got one thanks to Brody Nighan, his eighth of the year, with Chase Field picking up his 19th assist. Field is one of the state’s leading points scorers, as he has 18 goals and now 37 total points. Both the Rockets and Red Hawks were assessed another penalty in the second, but once again neither was able to score.

Just over a minute and a half into the third, Needham was down a man again on a penalty, however, they would score a shorthanded goal, courtesy of Ledbury, who picked up his first ever varsity goal, assisted by Junior Joe Kajunski, his seventh of the year, tying him for second on the team with Senior Jack Curran.

With a 3-1 lead already, the Rockets were looking for some insurance with just over four and a half minutes left, and got it thanks to Rutter’s ninth goal. Juniors Tommy Peabody and Sean Concannon picked up assists, with Peabody getting his fifth of the year and Concannon his second.

After a late penalty on Barnstable, Needham finally scored on a power play, with Rutter completing his hat trick, and Senior Captain Jimmy Kenney extending his team lead in assists, collecting his 11th of the year. With the win, the Rockets finish the regular season at 11-8-1 and await their playoff fate. The MIAA is scheduled to release the postseason brackets on Saturday, February 24th.

Here are the video highlights from the game:

The highlights from this story ran as part of the Needham Channel News, a weekly newscast airing on The Needham Channel every Thursday at 7:30pm. The Needham Channel News can be found on the Community Channel: Comcast 9, Astound 15 and Verizon 29. Most Thursdays it also can be viewed on our HD Channel on Verizon 2129, Astound 613 and streaming on this site.

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