Everett Arena, Concord, NH.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017.
Goffstown v. Bow, 730pm.
Measurement and goals are a huge part of life. Wednesday night the visiting Goffstown Grizzlies had an opportunity to measure themselves against one of the premier teams in Division II, the Bow Falcons. Measurement is good. It’s unrealistic to expect improvement unless, first, there is measurement. Sports is really good in this area because where there is competition there is measurement, results, wins and losses, as it should be. Good old stats. Some people, many people even, might argue that statistics, measurement, or stats are not good for the kids, or for this, or that, but then again anything can be thrown into the wind and then hope for the best. Sometimes your son, or my son, or your daughter, or mine, perhaps, our kids; they don’t measure up in the area of this stat or that stat. Then people moan and whine that stats are no good. I would beg to differ, the stats aren’t the problem. Measuring to know where one stands, is good. Better yet, is when one learns where they stand, and then they continue to work, or even make adjustments to close the gap between themselves and those ahead of them. As they say, if you want to improve something, measure it first.
So, that all being said, here’s the bottom line. Bow outshot the Grizzlies 36-13, and held Goffstown to just 1 shot on goal in the final 20 minutes of play. Goffstown led this game 3-2 with just 19:18 to play in the game. Bow scored 5 unanswered goals to win 7-3 and improve to 11-1-1 on the season. But this information is all good. The experience is good. Goffstown will be a better team for having run up against one of the best teams around and taken information to use for improving. Next week Goffstown hosts Keene, and Keene shut the Falcons out, 3-0. I mentioned to my wife, imagine how fast Bow practices, they probably skate harder in practice than many teams skate in games. Measurement, goals, that’s what you shoot for. Shoot for the best. What do they do that makes them better? Learn it. Emulate it. Make it part of what makes you better in the future.
The first two periods of the game were a blur. Literally both teams were flying up and down the ice, and passes, shots, saves, hits, goals, penalties, blocks, turnovers, you name it, was happening at breakneck speed.
It was exciting and it was difficult not to get caught up in the accelerated pace of this matchup. As time wore on, the relentless pressure and speed applied to every shift started taking its’ toll on the Grizzlies. Goffstown was finding offensive chances hard to come by, and for a while, they found it nearly impossible to get a puck to the end boards to make a comfortable line change. That’s okay. Always, there is a chance to learn.
Alright, backing up now. Goffstown arguably stunned the home team and home crowd by scoring first, on the second shift of the game. First, the starting line of Mickey Bridgeman, Tyler Riendeau, and Max Lajeunesse, along with Nick Nault and Brett Lassonde, on D, barely let Bow get out of their own end. Bang; quick line change, out comes the CBC (any Canadians could appreciate the initials) line of Griffin Cook, Sebastian Beal, and Noah Charron. Dylan Hyers and Colin Burke jump over the boards on D, and the Grizzlies are in the offensive zone. Beal centers the puck from out high on the right-wing to Charron, Noah looks left and feeds Cook for a one-timer. In the net. Goffstown scored on their first shot on goal at 1:38 into the game. The Falcons from Bow responded, and scored the next 2 goals. Austin Scarinza scored on a set up from Chris Mead to tie the game at 1-1.
Bow’s Brendan Ulrich rang a wrist shot off of the post just a few seconds later. Bow took the lead, 2-1 at 6:34 of the opening period when Colin Tracy made a perfect two-line pass before stepping off of the ice on a defensive change. The pass was on the mark to Chris Mead who carried the puck over the blue line on a sudden 2-on-1 advantage and fed a pass over to the, ever ready to shoot, Doug Champagne. Champagne did bury the shot, with Mead and Tracy getting the assists. At 9:49 of the period, the Grizzlies tied the game at 2-2. Mickey Bridgeman scored the goal on a nice feed from Griffin Cook. Even on the Goffstown goal, the Grizzlies had maintained puck possession, and they were in the middle of completing another line change while in the offensive end when they scored. Bow’s Nate Carrier kept the game tied at 2 apiece when he made a beautiful save on Max Lajeunesse’s power play shot at 12:25 of the period. Lajeunesse found himself alone for a quick shot after brilliant consecutive passes made by Nick Nault, Tyler Riendeau, and Noah Charron. Then, with 26 seconds to play in the period, Curtis McKay made a pair of sensational saves on Falcon forwards taking shots on the edge of the crease before the puck squirted free and was cleared by Colin Burke. The period ended in a 2-2 tie, with Goffstown holding a 9-8 advantage in shots.
After an intermission where the teams, the fans, and probably the stat sheets all needed a breather, Bow intended to turn up the heat. Early on, at 3:25 to be exact, Noah Charron won a faceoff back to Dylan Hyers at the left point. Hyers let a quick wrist shot go through a maze of players. Nate Carrier never saw the puck through the traffic, but to his good fortune, the puck pinged directly off of the post and out of harm’s way. A few seconds later, Charron was whistled for a penalty. While the Grizzlies were struggling to disrupt Bow’s power play prowess, the puck took a hop that favored the visitors, Max Lajeunesse grabbed the puck out by the blue line and was off to the races. Bow’s top defender, Colin Tracy, used his speed and long reach to make sure Max never got a shot off, but he did commit the cardinal sin of taking one hand off of his stick to keep Max from turning the corner to the net. Immediately the officials’ arm went up, and Tracy went off for holding. Play resumed with both teams at 4-on-4 for a bit, until Charron’s penalty expired. Then on a brief power play, the Grizzlies took the lead. Noah Charron cycled the puck down low to Griffin Cook. Cook made a pass that was contested, but won by Tyler Riendeau, who turned away from where the defender thought he was going to go. This created space for Riendeau, and Tyler made a beautiful pass to Nick Nault who had stepped in from the point, to some open space. Nault ripped a low slapshot, all in one motion, that was deflected up, but still under the crossbar, and into the net for the power play goal. Riendeau and Cook earned the assists. Goffstown led 3-2 at 6:35 of the middle period. Two minutes later, Nick Nault busted through the Bow defense at full speed, for a clean breakaway, only to be denied by Nate Carrier in net. A minute later, Riendeau was whistled for a cross check that I honestly did not see. Either way, the Falcons went on the power play.
If you haven’t seen Bow play this year, go see them if you can, and then hope they get a power play, because the only thing that moves faster than their feet, is the puck, and it’s close. They are fun to watch, in constant, undulating, motion with potential shots coming from anywhere, at anytime. Any how, Sebastian Beal who was defending the left point and shooting lanes (from an offensive standpoint) lost an edge and slid down, and out of the play. This little window was all that Bow needed as Doug Champagne played catch with Colin Tracy out top, back to Champagne, one-timer from the circle where Steven Stamkos often perches for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the game was tied at 10:43. Ryan Tobeler also had an assist on the power play goal. The pressure from Bow was mounting, and as pressure often creates, a leak here and there started to show up. First, Max Lajeunesse, made a soft backhand pass that might be alright against half the league, but not against Bow. Alex Killion swiped the pass and Curtis McKay robbed him point-blank with an incredible save. Seconds later, Nick Nault made a cross ice clearing attempt from deep in his corner, only to have the puck pilfered again by Bow, but the ensuing shot hit about 9 skates in front and slid harmlessly to the opposite corner. With less than two minutes left in the period Dylan Hyers lowered the boom on a Bow forward. The hit had the Bow bench and crowd, literally up in arms calling for a penalty, but the hit was just a big hit. A few seconds later, Hyers took one hand off of his stick while battling players for the puck along the end boards, and up went the officials arm. The Grizzlies would kill off the holding penalty but the tide had indeed turned. After two periods, the score was tied 3-3. Bow led in shots, 20-12, and Goffstown hadn’t had a shot on goal since Nault’s breakaway attempt at 8:38.
Early in the third period, Curtis McKay made a right pad save on a Bow shot that was pure brilliance. But the pressure kept coming. An innocent step in the wrong direction by a pinching defenseman, and instantly, a Bow 2-on-1 with Chris Mead and Doug Champagne turns into the game-winning goal at 4:29. Mead poked the puck past the Grizzlie defenseman attempting to step up and disrupt the play, then in one fluid move, delivered a pass to Champagne flying up the right side; shot, score. A minute later, McKay did his best to keep Goffstown within reach when he made another pair of sensational saves, this time with his left pad. Half of the Falcons on the ice were celebrating a goal that never went in, thanks to Curtis McKay and his left pad. Before long, Max Lajeunesse was called for hooking, and Bow wasted little time, scoring a power play goal 78 seconds later. Chris Mead scored after a beautiful feed from Colin Tracy. At 9:17 Bow was whistled for a cross check on a brutal hit by Austin Scarinza. Goffstown did muster one shot on the power play, which turned out to be the only shot they registered in the period. After killing the penalty, Bow scored again. Alex Killion tipped a Colin Tracy shot past McKay and it was 6-3 Falcons. Less than a minute later, Doug Champagne scored his 4th goal of the game, unassisted, with a quick shift, and accurate shot to tickle the twine.
The final score was 7-3 in favor of Bow, who improved to 11-1-1 on the season. Over the final 21:22 of game time, Bow allowed the Grizzlies just one shot on goal. Champagne had his four goals, while Colin Tracy had four assists, and Chris Mead added a goal and three assists. Goffstown got a goal and two assists from Griffin Cook. Nate Carrier made 10 saves on 13 shots, while Curtis McKay was busy snagging 29 saves on 36 shots.
The Grizzlies travel to UNH on Saturday night to play Oyster River again, this time on the olympic sized sheet.
Goffstown (8-3) v. Bow (11-1-1)
Everett Arena, Concord, NH:
February 1, 2017. 7:30PM Start:
Bow: 2-1-4 = 7
Goffstown: 2-1-0 = 3
Bow: 8-12-16 = 36
Goffstown: 9-3-1 = 13
1st Goffstown at 1:38. Even. Griffin Cook from Noah Charron and Sebastian Beal.
1st Bow at 4:25. Even. Austin Scarinza from Chris Mead.
1st Bow at 6:34. Even. Doug Champagne from Chris Mead and Colin Tracy.
1st Goffstown at 9:49. Even. Mickey Bridgeman from Griffin Cook.
2nd Goffstown at 6:35. PPG. Nick Nault from Tyler Riendeau and Griffin Cook.
2nd Bow at 10:43. PPG. Doug Champagne from Colin Tracy and Ryan Tobeler.
3rd Bow at 4:29. Even. Doug Champagne from Chris Mead.
3rd Bow at 8:32. PPG. Chris Mead from Colin Tracy.
3rd Bow at 11:47. Even. Alex Killion from Colin Tracy.
3rd Bow at 12:35. Even. Doug Champagne.
Bow: Nate Carrier 10 of 13.
Goffstown: Curtis McKay 29 of 36.
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.