St. Anselm College, Sullivan Arena, Goffstown, NH (12/12/15)-
As you might guess here in New Hampshire, approaching mid-December, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the lawns are all green, and the temperatures climbed well into the 50’s. It didn’t look or feel like hockey season here for today’s matinée against rival, John Stark Regional High School. Yet, the calendar says it was the final pre-season tune up before the regular season starts on Wednesday night.
So, as the figure skaters cleared the ice after their visit with the skating Santa Claus, it was time to clean the ice for Division II Goffstown to play against Division III John Stark.
The first period went by rather quickly as there were not many whistles, just one penalty, and no goals scored. Three things were apparent early in this game. One, Goffstown appeared to be able to cycle and control the puck in the offensive end rather effectively. Two, this John Stark team can skate. Three, neither team was clean or crisp with the puck on their sticks. Despite those observations, Goffstown held an 8-2 lead in shots on goal with nothing to show for the effort.
In the second period, while short-handed, Goffstown was the recipient of a gift from John Stark. They turned the puck over in their own end while their goaltender was out of the crease, and Goffstown’s Tyler Riendeau made no mistake in burying the puck into the back of the net for a short-handed goal, and a 1-0 lead. Before the second period ended though, John Stark made several good plays in a row payoff when Nick Gagne scored on a pass from Cal Loos. The period would end with the score tied 1-1. Goffstown outshot John Stark again 9-5 in the period, and held a 17-7 shots advantage after two periods.
John Stark came out with a renewed determination in the final period. At 11:11 of the period, Paul Molnar scored for John Stark to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. On the goal, Goffstown’s Sam Greenwood was also called for a penalty so the Grizzlies, now trailing, also had to kill a penalty. This may have been a wake up call of sorts for the home team, as they killed the penalty and started controlling the offensive end of the ice as well. The Grizzlies pounded John Stark goaltender, Jameson Bourque, for 9 shots over a few minutes before they finally found the net. With 2:17 left to play, Colin Burke (Goffstown) made a nice play to keep the puck alive in the zone and got the puck to Griffin Cook who ultimately fed Noah Charron for the game-tying goal. Goffstown’s goaltender came up large in the last two minutes with a couple of beautiful pad saves to keep the game tied at 2 apiece. Through regulation, the Grizzlies outshot John Stark 32-17.
The teams decided to play a 5 minute overtime consisting of 4-on-4 play. Again, Goffstown’s goaltending stood tall, making two nice saves before the Grizzlies could muster a shot. John Stark’s Nick Gagne was called for a slashing penalty and the Grizzlies went on a 4-on-3 power play. 49 seconds later Noah Charron scored the power play game-winner, his second goal of the game. First, Mike Fortin made a very nice play by stepping up and keeping the puck alive on the half-wall. Fortin got the puck to Tyler Riendeau who made a nice pass to Charron who sent a rising shot into the back of the net. Goffstown won 3-2 in overtime and finished their pre-season with two wins (one in overtime) and one loss (an overtime loss). Jameson Bourque made 31 saves for John Stark in the loss.
Goffstown will play their season opener on Wednesday night, December 16th, at The Rinks in Exeter versus Winnacunnet High School at 8:20pm.