Thursday, December 22, 2016. 730pm @ Sullivan Arena, Goffstown, NH – Goffstown v. Timberlane
For the last two weeks, I have been reminded of a scene from an old comedy movie. Due to weather, snow days, and poor travel conditions, two of the first three games scheduled for the 2016-2017 season have been postponed. Then after waiting, and waiting, it was time for, Game on!
Finally, on December 22nd, the Grizzlies played their first home game of the season. It was back on the 14th, when Goffstown won an overtime thriller at Portsmouth, 4-3. So, tonight it was time to host a game against the Timberlane Owls. World record-holder, Alan St. Louis got things started by honoring the United States of America with a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem, and it felt good to be on home ice for a high school hockey game.
Goffstown’s Max Lajeunesse came ready to play on Thursday night and promptly scored his first goal of the season, just 25 seconds into the contest. It was a nice backhand goal that was set up by Tyler Riendeau. Just like that, Goffstown led 1-0. Goffstown outplayed the Owls for most of the opening period. And even though the period would end with the scoreboard reading 1-0, the Grizzlies led in shots 13 to 4.
As the ice refroze from the intermission resurfacing, the energy in the building was clearly favoring the home town Grizzlies. Again, early in the period, Goffstown would score again. This time, Max Lajeunesse would race down the right-wing, beating a defender, and then the goaltender (Joshua Petrin) for his second goal of the game. Max’s second goal gave the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead. Brett Lassonde made a nice play to get the puck out of the defensive end, then made a shift at his own blue line to create a seam, and fed a cross ice pass to Lajeunesse on the fly. With Goffstown leading 2-0, the Grizzlies continued to create offense. For the period, the home team would outshoot their guests 10 to 4. The tide would change though before the period ended. Defenseman, Dylan Hyers was whistled for a 5-minute major penalty for boarding at 11:54 of the middle stanza. Being shorthanded for 5 minutes did ultimately catch up to Goffstown.
The third period started with Goffstown still down a skater for another 1:54. Despite having control of the puck in the offensive zone, Max Lajeunesse brought the puck out to center ice to regroup and kill more time on the penalty. He made a pass back to his defenseman, Brett Lassonde who innocently moved the puck to his D partner, Colin Burke. This would be a fine series of puck movement and passes had Burke been able to play the puck and just ice it again, starting the penalty killing sequence all over again. As fate would have it, Burke lost the puck right onto Kyle Wood’s stick, just 10 feet outside the crease. Wood let a shot fly and Curtis MacKay made a nice save, but the rebound was left unattended, and Hunter MacRae buried the shot to put Timberlane on the board. The Owls’ power play goal was scored just 52 seconds into the period. Despite being outshot 24-9 at the time, Timberlane was within one goal with nearly a full period to play. The Grizzlies killed the rest of the penalty and went back on the offensive. Captain, Nick Nault made a nice rush up ice to break in and rip another shot headed towards the goal, only to hear it clang off of the post, his third post of the game. Hyers, and Melanie Riendeau would be whistled for back to back minor penalties midway through the period, which made for some tense moments as the Grizzlies penalty killing units battled to keep their one goal lead. That they did.
With just 2:11 left in regulation time, Goffstown was called for playing the puck with a high stick. The play, was a shot taken from the left point where the Goffstown forward played the deflection right where the post meets the crossbar. The puck was deflected past the goalie, but over the top of the net. Either way, the officials called the contact with the puck to be above the bar, which led to an offensive zone faceoff for Timberlane, still trailing by just one goal. With the enormity of the situation, in desperate need for a game tying goal, the Owls called their timeout. Among the discussions on the Timberlane bench, I am sure they chatted about the right time to pull Joshua Petrin from their net for the extra attacker. Timberlane did win the faceoff and maintained possession of the puck for a fraction of a minute. Meanwhile Petrin skated up to between the faceoff circles, but did not skate to the bench.
Even though the goaltender did not leave the ice for the extra attacker, Goffstown had their own ideas on how to end this game. The Grizzlies second line of Griffin Cook-Noah Charron-Sebastian Beal, whom played better and better as the game wore on (in my opinion), broke out of the defensive end with some speed. The speed, with possession of the puck, and good spacing, led to a good shot fired by Charron. Petrin made a solid save. However, the rebound caromed out to his right, where Beal used every inch of his 6’1″ frame to corral the rebound and slide a backhand shot under the sprawling goaltender. So, with 1:10 left on the clock, the hometown Grizzlies had taken a 3-1 lead, on their 36th shot on goal of the evening. The score would hold, and Goffstown improved to 2-0 on the young season by virtue of their 3-1 victory in their first home game. Goffstown ended up with 37 shots on goal, while holding the Owls to just 12 shots. Curtis MacKay made 11 saves in the win, while Joshua Petrin played well in net for Timberlane, saving 34 of 37 shots he faced.
Goffstown plays in the Manchester Monarchs Christmas Holiday Classic tournament beginning on Monday. Yes, the Monarchs stepped in to help the tournament remain intact (read about it here). The Grizzlies will play Bedford at 4pm over at the JFK Coliseum. For a full look at the tournament teams and schedule, click here.
Goffstown plays games on December 26th, 27th, and 28th; all at JFK; all at 4pm.
In the spirit of Christmas, the holidays, and holding closely the values of family, I share this photo. The Goffstown High School Hockey program, the team, the coaches, the parents, and the Friends of Goffstown Hockey board came together on Christmas Eve morning for the annual father-son/father-daughter skate. It was a lot of fun, and I think this wonderful picture captured by Karen Charron, shows the sense of family and holiday cheer. Merry Christmas everyone!
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. Either way, “It’s a great day for hockey” ~ the late “Badger” Bob Johnson.