EXETER — Brendan Doyle finished the last game his Exeter High School boys’ hockey team played with a game-winning goal in the final seconds, and he didn’t waste any time netting another one in Exeter’s next game.
After scoring with 2.8 seconds left in Exeter’s 4-3 win over Arlington Catholic (Mass.) on Monday, the senior scored 19 seconds into Wednesday’s afternoon’s Division I matchup against Londonderry. Doyle added a second goal 4:15 later as he pushed his goal-scoring streak to seven games in Exeter’s 5-1 victory inside The Rinks at Exeter.
“I felt like at the beginning of the year that I was overthinking everything,” Doyle said. “Coach told me that once I popped one, they’d keep on coming. After that, I just started playing my own game and they’ve just kept on coming.”
After a bit of a slow start, Doyle has scored 14 of his 18 goals over the past seven games, leading Exeter to four straight victories and a 7-2-2 record. The Blue Hawks rest fifth in the Division I standings.
“I think he thought he had to do more than what he already has to do, which is already a lot for us. But I think that he thought he needed to do everything, and I think that’s why he wasn’t finding success early on,” Exeter coach Paul DiMarino said. “I told him the moment that first one goes in, they’ll all start going in. Right now what he’s doing is just trying to play his game, and not doing anything more than that.”
Doyle put Exeter on the board after the Blue Hawks won the opening faceoff and defenseman Sam Perry secured the puck, pushed it ahead to Doyle, and finished it off past Londonderry goalie Jake Holdsworth (29 saves) to give Exeter a 1-0 lead.
Exeter was given a power play, and it took only 18 seconds into it for Doyle to score on an assist from Ricky Davis to give Exeter a 2-0 lead with 10:26 left in the first period.
“(On the first on) we just won the battle. I took it down the ice and went far side,” Doyle said. “The second one was a power play, they turned it over in the middle of the ice. I just put it on net, looking for a rebound, but it went five-hole.”
The Blue Hawks ended up with a 14-4 shots on goal advantage in the first period, and they continued to control the game through the second, when Keegan Knight scored a power-play goal with 2:33 remaining to give Exeter a 3-0 lead. Davis and Doyle were credited with the assists.
“We know we’re fast and when the kids are moving their feet, the kids are generating turnovers,” DiMarino said. “We like to use our speed to our advantage, and when we’re moving our feet, we like how we play.”
Kole Robinson scored for Exeter early in the third off a Knight assist before Londonderry (3-7-1) got on the board when Logan Bower beat Exeter goalie Jude Rogles (15 saves). Exeter’s Kam Hyles scored the final goal on an assist from Cam Vose.
“Playing from behind is losing hockey,” Londonderry coach Peter Bedford said. “We’re young and I think at times we hold ourselves well, but then it’s just breakdowns and penalties. But you can’t give up two goals right away. Those are pretty big in the way the game takes shape.”
DiMarino likes where his team is at heading down the stretch in his first season as coach, after he followed the 42-year legacy of former coach Jim Tufts.
“This is the consistency we’re trying to get, this is the consistency we were trying to get earlier in the season,” DiMarino said. “We want to keep this going, and our next goal is Bishop Brady on Saturday night.”