Thursday, February 18, 2016. 730pm @ Sullivan Arena, Goffstown, NH – Goffstown vs. Oyster River.
Tonight, the Grizzlies from Goffstown hosted the Bobcats from Oyster River in a Division II hockey game, with the chances to host a tournament game starting to take shape, on the line. For a couple of teams with nicknames that embody skilled hunters, predators, if you will, this game didn’t have that kind of bite. Oyster River would skate away with a 2-1 victory on the road, and the Grizzlies just couldn’t do anything about it.
Back on January 18th, Goffstown lost at Oyster River, 2-1. One month later, both teams played better, but the score, the style, and the results were mostly the same. If you are playing this Oyster River team you are going to face a team that plays responsible, layered defense, and they love to center the puck to the area between the circles from below the goal line. Tonight was no different.
The first two periods were scoreless, with each team registering one penalty, and nine shots on goal. There were very few stoppages in play, as both teams dumped, chased, pressed, and clogged up the areas where offensive hockey likes to be played. An example of the games’ flow, was evident right from the get-go, when the first whistle of the game wasn’t blown until 6:56 into the game. There were four whistles in the entire opening period.
So, Goffstown, playing at home, trying to win their third game in a row against teams with a winning record, against a team that had already beat them, entered the final period locked in a scoreless tie. You’d think they would come out with some jump. Some “not in my house” swagger. Some, “we are better than you, and here’s how that looks”. But, um. No. That didn’t happen.
Sam Greenwood was whistled for a slashing penalty that was more of a trip, but probably wasn’t that either. Regardless, the Bobcats went on the power play, just 2:18 into the third. Less than a minute later, they scored when Tyler Harvey scored from where? You guessed it, between the circles, from Anson Thibeault and Michael Donovan. Then, 16 seconds later, Dylan O’Connell would score the game winner from Sam Dreher. There was still 11:29 to play in the game, but all of a sudden this come from two-goals-down task seemed insurmountable.
Then, the Grizzlies did get a power play of their own, and it took only six seconds to make that pay off. Noah Charron rifled a shot into the back of the net with assists going to Sam Greenwood and Nick Nault. There was life. Goffstown would get two more power plays in the period, but would only hit the post with a Max Lajeunesse shot and not be able to cash in and tie the game. Earlier in the game, during a second period power play, Nick Nault would ring a shot off of the crossbar, but the puck would bounce high into the air and land harmlessly away from any scoring area.
Goffstown pulled Colin Holt, 12 of 14 saves on the night, for the final 1:23 of the game for the extra attacker, but everything they threw at the net was saved, blocked, or offline. Final score, Oyster River 2 and Goffstown 1. The Bobcats improved to 9-6 on the season, while Goffstown dropped to 7-6.
The Grizzlies travel to Hudson on Saturday night to play a game in the Central Time Zone, at 8:30 pm Eastern Time, versus Hollis-Brookline.