Coming in to the weekend the NH Avalanche 2000’s had been playing pretty well and started to create more offense for themselves. Offensive zone puck possession, scoring chances, shots, and forced turnovers from the forecheck all looked to be getting better and resulted in more pucks finding the back of the opposing net.
Then the Avs knew they’d be traveling to Raynham with only 8 skaters and a goaltender which must have caused some trepidation. Afterall, the team they were visiting had beaten the Avs 9-2 in their last meeting, and going to their barn, with a short bench didn’t bode well. But then again, that’s why they play the games, because you never know.
Upon arrival and watching the teams warm up it was apparent that the home team, Lovell Knights (White), also had a short bench. They had only 8 skaters and a goaltender as well. That had to be a good sign right?
I don’t know if the fear factor, the long drive, or even the glorious fall afternoon had anything to do with the first period, but it didn’t go well for the visitors. After one period the Knights led 4-2, but there was more to it than that. Lovell scored at the final horn of the period but the goal was waved off, keeping the lead at 4-2. Perhaps it was a make-up call for the blatant offside earlier in the period that led to a Knights goal. The other thing I noticed was that the Avs had their chances but didn’t capitalize on some really good chances. It looked like it was going to be ‘one of those days’.
The second period was played with neither team scoring although the Avs had the better of the chances but could not cash in. One shot hit the post, clanged out and underneath the goaltender who covered the puck before the visitors could pounce on the rebound. Again, good effort, but nothing to show for it.
The third period saw both teams score a pair of goals, resulting in the final score of 6-4, a win for the Knights. So, the Avs lost you say, so what’s the difference with the number of skaters, the past scores, etc? Well, I saw the Avs look a little bit lost in the first period and not much went their way. I saw them battle through a second period where they could have easily cut into the lead but did not. Then they played well in the third period before fatigue may have set in some. They cut the lead to 4-3 with 5:25 left to play and even though they gave up a goal just 22 seconds later they continued to battle, play hard, roll their lines, and work as a team. I do believe there were some positives to pull from the result.
The Avs got their goals (in order) from Christian Levesque on a feed from Caiden Paradise out of the corner. Then it was Max Lajeunesse scoring on a pass from Tyler Whiting. Christian Levesque scored his second goal of the game on a beautiful play that should have resulted in an assist from Lajeunesse, when Max combined with Whiting for a shot on goal and a rebound that Levesque pounded into the back of the net. The game sheet gave the sole assist to Tyler Whiting. The final goal was scored by Lajeunesse at the buzzer, or slightly after, but it counted. Max took a loose puck from center ice, all alone, with the game clock winding down on the wall in front of him, and skated in full throttle and let a rocket of a slapshot go. The puck rose quickly and dented the twine behind the goaltender. Final score: Knights 6. Avalanche 4.
Sunday’s scheduled home game was cancelled at the last moment after a compressor at the Ice Den had failed, leaving the rinks ice soft enough to swim in.
Up next: The Avalanche play at home on Saturday and in Revere, Ma on Sunday, both games are at 11:30am.