Saturday, February 20, 2016. 830pm @ Cyclones Arena, Hudson, NH – Goffstown @ Hollis-Brookline-Derryfield.
By the time last night’s game had ended and I got home to start compiling all of this, a new day had started. So, last night Goffstown traveled to Hudson to play the team composed of players from Hollis-Brookline-Derryfield (HBD or Warriors from here on in). The Warriors entered play with an 0-13 record in Division II hockey. They had not come closer to winning a game (in score) than a 6-3 loss in their first game of the season, against Timberlane. Last night though, the team from HBD played well enough to make things difficult for the visiting Grizzlies from Goffstown. The final score would read, Goffstown 5, HBD 4. Perhaps the game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, but then again, maybe it was.
The Grizzlies having turned the calendar to February, were 2-1 on the month entering the game, suffering just the disappointing loss at the hands of Oyster River. Goffstown did pound the Warriors net for 58 shots on goal before this one was done, but Patrick MacDonald was, at times, nearly super human, keeping HBD in this game. The Warriors never trailed by more than 2 goals in the contest, and MacDonald, or the posts on either side of him, turned away most of the pucks fired at him.
I can’t mention the first goal of the game without getting into one part of the game that was WAY TOO noticeable. Officiating. HBD scored first, or so it was called on the ice. The official blew his whistle and called a goal on a shot that all of the players on the ice thought had rung off of the corner of the crossbar and post, and bounced out. Everyone I heard, standing behind that net agreed too. The puck did not go in. The official said he heard a “double ping” which I believe is true, but what about the visual evidence. I heard a lot of things during the game too, but I gave more credence to what I saw in the game to put this together. Either way, HBD led 1-0. To finish the thought and move on, I will share this. When the officials, Mark and Jeff, finally were leaving the ice as they skated some sort of victory skate as if they were the stars of some ice dancing show, they were demonstrative in their gestures and professional immaturity perhaps a reflection of how thin their skin is, and just how much public opinion entered into the game they called. As I heard one official ask a fan at the end of the game, “you wanted me to call that there”? Well, to answer the question that was left unanswered as the fan had no interest in engaging an on ice official through the glass above the boards (which begs to reason why the official was even a part of any conversation outside the ice surface), yes please call it. Why call it with 2 seconds left in the game? Well that should be obvious, because it was a penalty. It happened. You saw it. I would assume had it been a “double ping” with 2 seconds left in the game, you would have called it. Then again, I don’t know what your agenda called for, I didn’t see the playlist. Finally, when both coaches leave the ice shaking their heads at the officiating, and then one coach is guarding the door back into the rink to make sure no parents/fans went after the referees, I am pretty sure the officiating was out of line. Way out of line.
Goffstown earned three power play opportunities in the first period, not so astonishingly though, they would not get any more over the final 31 minutes of play. The Grizzlies’ faithful have been whispering, or maybe even murmuring about the lack of production on the power play in recent games, as fans do. Last night though, Goffstown struck for a pair of power play goals, helping them to a 3-1 lead after one period. First, it was Dylan Hyers scoring on a shot as he fell, spinning, to the ice. Hyers goal came on the power play, on a rebound, with assists going to Nick Nault and Sam Greenwood. Tie score, 1-1, with 3:25 left in the period. Then Noah Charron ripped a hard shot into the back of the net on a beautiful set up from Greenwood, also on the power play, with 43.3 ticks left in the first period. Stephen Provencher won a face-off over to line mate Sam Greenwood who fed Tyler Riendeau who was flying through the middle of the ice to score with just 5.8 seconds left in the period, giving Goffstown a 3-1 lead after one period. The Grizzlies outshot the Warriors 18-7 in the period.
The second period started with more shots from Goffstown, but nothing to show for it. Then HBD scored their second goal of the game. The first goal had been credited to Michael Chiasson, unassisted. The second goal was scored by Sam Poisson who broke in behind the Grizzlies defense and scored on Colin Holt in net. Poisson would use his speed and quickness to get behind defenders all night. Tyler Riendeau would make a nice rush up the ice, splitting defenders, and practically stick-handle the puck into the net with 9:29 to play in the middle stanza, giving the Grizzlies a 4-2 lead. Riendeau was set up beautifully by Nick Nault and Sebastian Beal as they moved the puck crisply and cleanly to Riendeau on the fly. Minutes later, Dylan Hyers would let a blistering shot go that beat everybody on the ice, but rang directly off of the post and out. No goal, single ping. The Grizzlies would amass 21 shots on goal in the period, to just 8 for HBD, but both teams would score just once. The period ended with Goffstown holding a 4-2 lead.
Michael Chiasson scored again just 16 seconds into the third period to pull the Warriors within a goal at 4-3. The goal was set up by Sam Poisson and Alec MacEchen, although numerous eye witnesses thought the puck may have been directed into the net by a Warrior glove. Noah Charron temporarily rescued the hearts from the Grizzlies fans’ throats when he and his line-mates, Sam Greenwood and Max Lajeunesse combined for a total jailbreak type of goal. All three forwards exploded through the HBD defense to set up a great shot for Lajeunesse, but MacDonald (who saved everything but Jeb Bush’s campaign last night) made the save. Charron rifled a shot off of the rebound, also turned away by MacDonald, before finally sliding another rebound attempt between the pads of the goaltender, giving Goffstown a 5-3 lead. Tyler Riendeau and Sebastian Beal would both ring shots off of the post, but the score stayed at 5-3 for more than 13 minutes.
Goffstown would be called for a couple of penalties down the stretch, the second of which came with 1:01 to play. Noah Charron was whistled for a cross check when he retaliated to receiving a high stick, or punch, if you will, to the head that nearly dropped him. The retaliation was kind of a double ping I guess so it was called. Six seconds later, Sam Poisson scored on the power play, from MacEachen. It was a 6-on-4 power play goal, as MacDonald had been pulled following the penalty call and a timeout called by the Warriors. After the goal, MacDonald was inserted back into the net, and the final 55 seconds did see the Warriors get a good look at a shot or two on Holt, but he and the defense held on to preserve the 5-4 victory on the road for the Grizzlies. Again, Goffstown pounded the net with 19 shots, to 10 for the Warriors, but HBD won the period 2-1 on the scoreboard. Final score: Goffstown 5, HBD 4. The win improved the Grizzlies record to 8-6 on the season.
The Grizzlies travel to West Lebanon on Wednesday night to play at James W. Campion III Rink, at 6:00 pm, versus Lebanon.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors, mostly mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the schools, coaches, players, or characters listed in any of these blog posts. Or, maybe they do, but you would have to ask them directly. Maybe I am good at picking up on these things, and maybe I am not. I guess you can decide. Either way, “It’s a great day for hockey” ~ the late “Badger” Bob Johnson.