RALEIGH — The scoring was fast and plentiful between Knightdale and Millbrook Wednesday night.
While the Knights claimed an early lead, things quickly got out of hand as the Wildcats cruised to a 12-3 victory.
Millbrook’s Austin Maune scored his second hat trick of the young season and multiple starters and even bench players contributed to the blowout victory.
“It’s great to have a cohesive team that has such great chemistry,” Maune said. “It’s a lot of fun when the guys like each other. Games like these are important because it gets your confidence up.”
Despite the drizzling rain, the two teams started off with a combined seven goals in the first 11 minutes.
Knightdale punched in two goals from captain Taylor Betts in the first four minutes, but a Zack Fitzgerald strike in between the two goals and an Austin Maune goal from the left side knotted things up at 2-2 eight minutes in.
John Janezic then drilled in a goal off a rebound to take the lead and Brantley Garrett quickly followed with another score from the right side to put the Wildcats up 4-2. Less than a minute later, Betts completed a rare feat – a hat trick in the first 12 minutes.
Knightdale coach Andrew Vaglio declined comment about his player’s hat trick following the loss, but Millbrook coach Matt Edwards spoke about Betts after the game.
“Three chances and three goals – that’s a pretty good percentage,” Edwards said. “I’m not great with the numbers, but that’s pretty good. If (Betts) gets a chance, he’s dangerous.”
The Wildcats got another goal from Kyle LaCivita in the 22nd minute before fielding their reserves. Brandon Weisinger came off the bench and fired a deflected shot to give Millbrook a 6-3 lead in the 30th minute. Marc Navia, a reserve junior forward, then found the net to put his team up by 4.
The scoring onslaught continued as both Maune and Janezic scored their second goals just before the half. Maune’s second score was the final shot on the Knights’ starting goaltender Henry Hagemann. Janezic then scored on the first attempt against Brayan Abarca.
“Having reserves scoring goals gives them a lot of confidence,” Edwards said. “When we get later into the season, I need those guys to compete the same as our starters and they did that tonight.”
Abarca, a junior, held his own at the beginning of the second half. After a save to end the first half, he fended off three shots in the first 10 minutes to save face for the Knights.
But after a long possession in the 60th minute in which the Wildcats had two shots defended and had four touches in front of the net, Weisinger notched his second goal of the game. That goal was then followed by Maune’s third of the game.
A second goal by LaCivita tripped the nine-goal mercy rule in the 67th minute.
Though the outcome was lopsided for the Knights, they can come away with a rested Betts, who sat out the entire second half.