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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.
1st 8:27 HB Michael Chiasson unassisted.
1st 3:25 G PP Dylan Hyers (3) from Nick Nault (5) and Sam Greenwood (6).
1st 0:43.3 G PP Noah Charron (12) from Sam Greenwood (7).
1st 0:05.8 G Tyler Riendeau (6) from Sam Greenwood (8) and Stephen Provencher (2).
2nd 9:45 HB Sam Poisson unassisted.
2nd 9:29 G Tyler Riendeau (7) from Sebastian Beal (8) and Nick Nault (6).
3rd 14:44 HB Michael Chiasson from Sam Poisson and Alec MacEachen.
3rd 14:08 G Noah Charron (13) from Max Lajeunesse (5) and Sam Greenwood (9).
3rd 0:55.2 HB PP (6-on-4) Sam Poisson from Alec MacEachen.
Hollis-Brookline: Patrick MacDonald 53 of 58 (Wow!)
Goffstown: Colin Holt 21 of 25
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.
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.
Oyster River 0-0-2=2
Oyster River 5-4-5=14
3rd 11:45 PP Oyster River: Tyler Harvey from Anson Thibault and Michael Donovan
3rd 11:29 Oyster River: Dylan O’Connell from Sam Dreher
3rd 9:53 PP Goffstown: Noah Charron from Sam Greenwood and Nick Nault
Oyster River: Liam McNamara 15 of 16
Goffstown: Colin Holt 12 of 14
Saturday, February 13, 2016. 400pm @ Sullivan Arena, Goffstown, NH – Goffstown vs. Dover.
In the end, Goffstown did make the road upset win at Dover stand up. The Grizzlies came out and beat the high-flying Red Raiders of Spaulding High School in Rochester, 3-1. The win raises the Grizzlies record to 7-5 on the season while Spaulding drops to 8-6.
With the winds escalating and the wind chills dropping into the -20°F and lower, the game inside was hotly contested. Spaulding came to the campus of St. Anselm College ready and raring to go.
Early on, both teams had their legs going pretty well and the action was up and down the ice. Goffstown’s Max Lajeunesse made a nice play to cause a turnover at center ice and get a pass off to Sam Greenwood who skated into the open space to collect the puck. The innocent looking 2-on-2 turned into a goal when Greenwood ripped a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Spaulding netminder, Ben Toussaint, and under the crossbar, into the net. The goal was Greenwood’s 6th of the season, with the assist going to Max Lajeunesse (4), Goffstown led 1-0 just 1:29 into the game. Little did we know then that there would not be another goal scored in this game until almost 32 minutes, of game-time, later. After one period, the Grizzlies led 1-0, but were outshot 7-5. Worth noting, a trend started that almost cost Goffstown dearly before the game was over. The Grizzlies would get more chances than the stat sheet would show, because they missed the net completely with several shots.
The second period was completely dominated by the visitors. Layers were important in this period for both teams. First, the Red Raiders layers of aggressive forechecking, and also their layering of controlling the neutral zone in transition time, were effective and kept the Grizzlies playing catch up to the puck. Defensively, while spending lots of time in their own end, Goffstown kept the play largely to the perimeter and, for the most part, out of harm’s way. The Grizzlies looked tired, and lost nearly every race to a free puck throughout the period. The Red Raiders outshot the Grizzlies 8-1 in the period. Goffstown’s Colin Holt made everything okay, saving all 8 shots he faced. After two periods, the Grizzlies led 1-0 on the scoreboard despite being outshot 15-6 and looking a little sluggish in the middle stanza.
In the third period, Spaulding came out with some intensity, trying to get the tying goal, and impose their will. Dylan Hyers laid out 3 or 4 big hits in one shift, while Jake Noonan, then Mike Fortin, Colin Burke, and Brett Lassonde worked down low to move the puck. Nick Nault was on the ice a lot in the 3rd period and carried the puck well while working hard to get open for shots on the offensive end. Spaulding was getting the better stats, with shots on goal, and Holt was answering all of them, with a bit of good fortune as well. One save he made with his chest while practically laying on the ice. Goffstown had chances as well, but in no particular order, Tyler Riendeau, Max Lajeunesse, Noah Charron, and Nault all had shots that failed to find the net. Then with 3:48 to play, on the forecheck, Riendeau jumped to glove down a clearing attempt by Spaulding and fired a shot that Ben Toussaint saved, but Ben Roy (4) was there to put home the rebound. The lone assist went to Riendeau (9). Spaulding answered with a goal of their own just 92 seconds later. Drew Healey scored from Brody McDougal with 2:16 to play. Both teams exchanged more chances, and somehow Holt covered a loose puck in front of his net through a maze of players that included just about everyone on the ice. With 1:05 to play, Spaulding took their timeout. The ensuing faceoff, in the Grizzlie defensive end, led to the Red Raiders pulling Toussaint in favor of a sixth attacker. Spaulding would press, but not score. Noah Charron would break up a passing play as the Red Raiders were retrieving the puck from their own end. Charron would tie things up long enough for the cavalry to arrive, in the form of Sam Greenwood. Greenwood would fire a spinning backhand from out near the blue line, but it was right on target, and into the empty net. The goal was Greenwood’s second of the game and 7th of the season while Charron earned the assist (6). The goal came with just 0:03.6 seconds to play. Goffstown would earn the 3-1 victory even though they were outshot 25-12 in the game. The Grizzlies had at least that many shots that never hit the net.
Goffstown plays again on Thursday, February 18th, when they play host to Oyster River High School. Goffstown lost 2-1 at Oyster River one month ago. The game will be played in Sullivan Arena on the campus of St. Anselm College in Goffstown, NH at 7:30pm. Won’t you come out and join us in enjoying the wonderful sport of high school hockey, and support the Goffstown Grizzlies? This team plays hard, and plays for each other. See you at the rink.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016. 645pm @ Dover Ice Arena, Dover, NH – Goffstown @ Dover.
This afternoon, it hit me. Not the thought that the Goffstown Hockey Team was finally hitting the ice for a game after a 10-day layoff, but the fact that I would be in Dover again. See, in my feeble mind I attach events, emotions, and memories to surroundings, to songs, to the places where I felt the strongest of feelings. So, without dragging you all through the personal reasons I have, I share, quickly, this. On November 6th, 2015, the last time I was in Dover, for one of Sebastian’s games. I sat in the parking lot before the game, and wrote most of Sadder-Day in a tribute to a dear friend I lost that very week. Feel free to check it out if you would like. That’s the end of my plug, and the reason why this afternoon took on a different meaning once tonight’s destination registered with me. Thank you.
Goffstown hadn’t played a game since playing a very good, entertaining game against the Bow Falcons back on January 30th. Tonight they entered play with a 5-5 record (10th in DII) on the season. The Grizzlies traveled to Dover to play one of the top teams in Division II, the Dover Green Wave, who came in at 9-2-1 (3rd in DII) on the season. If there was a silver lining in Dover’s record from a visitors standpoint, the Green Wave were just 2-2-1 in their last five games.
To the game we go. Honestly, I told myself in the very first minute of the game, that unless something went horribly wrong, Goffstown should be in this game until the end. It was apparent early that Goffstown came to play. It took more than 4 minutes for Dover to register a shot on Goffstown’s goalie, Colin Holt. Then again, after their first shot or two, Dover did draw a penalty and went on the power play. It took just 30 seconds for the Green Wave to make the Grizzlies pay for the minor penalty. On a beautiful power play possession, capped by consecutive perfect passes, Eric DeGregorio scored into the empty side of the net. Cole Shelgren made a nice pass from his defensive point to Griffin Guerra down low. Guerra, with his head up, slid the puck across the front of the crease to a wide open DeGregorio. Dover led 1-0 with 10:00 to play in the opening period. For the rest of the period, Goffstown went 0-for-2 on their own power plays, and Dover failed to score on another power play opportunity they earned. Then with just over a minute to play in the period, just one second after Goffstown’s power play expired, the Grizzlies tied the game. Sebastian Beal (1) banged home his first career varsity goal on the rebound after being set up by Tyler Riendeau (8) and Ben Roy (5). Game tied 1-1. The first period ended in a tie, with Goffstown mustering 10 shots on goal while Dover had 11. Towards the end of the period though, something started to show up; the Grizzlies were moving their feet, and getting to the areas where the puck battles are won and lost, before Dover was.
In the second period, Goffstown picked up where they left off. They moved the puck quickly, and they kept skating. The Grizzlies power play may not be as strong as it could be, but they got plenty of practice in the middle stanza. Dover took five, yes five, consecutive minor penalties in the period, and they only overlapped for 15 seconds; meaning, the Grizzlies had 5 power plays in the period. Goffstown would go 1-for-5 on the power play in the period. Honestly, after talking with several Dover parents on this, it would be tough to argue the apparent one-sidedness in the calls. As most of us hockey fans know, the team that is moving their feet generally gets the better of the calls, and tonight it was Goffstown that was moving their feet, leaving Dover to chase the puck. The Green Wave were also guilty of taking a couple of penalties in retaliation to being pressed. These were just too obvious not to call. Finally, after all of the penalties, the Grizzlies scored with 2:29 to play in the period, on the power play. A power play earned when Goffstown’s Noah Charron didn’t respond to a player in his face, and Dover did retaliate, cross-checking Charron to the ice. Sebastian Beal (7) would make a great play along the boards to strip a Dover player cleanly of the puck and make a pass to Ben Roy (6) who shot on net and Mike Fortin (2) was there to put the puck into the net, giving the Grizzlies a lead, 2-1. Goffstown would carry a 2-1 lead to the locker room. The visitors would register 15 shots on goal in the period while allowing just 6 shots. Colin Holt did make one incredible save on a shorthanded bid by Dover when he batted a loose puck out of mid-air with his blocker while the Dover faithful were all ready to erupt for what they thought would be a sure goal.
In the third period, two major things happened, and one of them you could have guessed. Dover came out with a 9-2-1 record on the line in a home game, and they turned up the pressure by a lot. The other thing that happened was that the officials swallowed their whistles, and nothing was called in the entire period. Maybe they had just had enough of the penalties (9 of them) and how much time it took to play two periods. I don’t know, but the Grizzlies certainly benefitted from the lack of calls in the opening half of the period. Either way, the Green Wave dominated the puck possession game. For what it was worth though, much of their possession was spent slinging the puck around the boards or chipping the puck deeper into the zone after keeping it in at the point. After all was said and done they would only get 8 shots on goal in the period. Finally, after another failed clearing attempt by the hemmed in Grizzlies, Eric DeGregorio made them pay. With 3:31 to play he skated from his left to his right, down low, and slid a nice backhand shot right through the five hole on Holt for the tying goal. For a few seconds, my heart skipped a couple of beats while I conferred with myself. I said something like, Goffstown has played too well tonight to, NOT come out of Dover with a victory. Then after not generating much of anything in the period, the Grizzlies made my little conversation with myself stand up. Sam Greenwood (5) scored the game winner with 1:54 to play. Assists went to Mike Fortin (5) and Griffin Cook (2). Goffstown would hold on for the upset road victory even though Dover pulled their goaltender for the last 1:10 of the game. Nick Martinen played well in net for Dover with 25 saves on 28 Goffstown shots. Colin Holt rebounded from a 4-goal game versus Bow with a stellar performance, saving 23 of 25 shots from the Dover Green Wave.
This was a huge win for the Grizzlies. On the road, against the #3 team in the Division II rankings. The win pushed Goffstown back up over the .500 mark at 6-5. The Grizzlies were missing Max Lajeunesse and Alex McCarthy for tonight’s contest, both being sick. I have to say that the boys came to play, and they were pretty darn happy with their efforts and the results from playing Grizzlie hockey for 45 minutes. Stephen Provencher and Ethan Smith were there, and part of the team achievement. Colin Burke, Dylan Hyers, Nick Nault, Brett Lassonde, and Jake Noonan, all contributed to this Grizzlies’ team victory. It took all of them, and all of them were ready. Now, I suppose the best way to make tonight all the more impressive, would be to go out and beat Spaulding High School on Saturday afternoon.
Goffstown plays again on Saturday, February 13th, when they play host to Spaulding High School. The game will be played in Sullivan Arena on the campus of St. Anselm College in Goffstown, NH at 4:00pm. Won’t you come out and join us in enjoying the wonderful sport of high school hockey, and support the Goffstown Grizzlies? See you at the rink.
Saturday morning the NH Avalanche 2000 team opened play against the Advantage Ice at Dover Arena. Both teams had earned victories in their first games of the tournament. The Advantage Ice team had beaten Maine Hockey Academy 4-0 the evening before, while the Avs had beaten Seacoast Spartans 4-2. Everyone knew this would be a tough game.
The Avalanche ending up on the short end of a 4-0 score. The Advantage Ice were well schooled and didn’t make many mistakes. They capitalized quickly when the Avs did make a mistake. The Avalanche just couldn’t get things clicking, in part, due to the Advantage team. If the Avs had a player at the front of the net, the puck was out wide. If the puck was sent through the crease or on net, the Avs had players outside of that area. They just could not string anything together during game two.
As the Avs headed in to the final game of the opening round, they needed some help from the Seacoast Spartans just to be in the tiebreaker conversation in order to get to the Championship round.
The final game was played at The Whittemore Center on the campus of UNH, against the team from Maine Hockey Academy. Maine had played the two teams who would end up meeting in the finals, and had not scored a goal in two games. The NH Avalanche 2000 team jumped out to an early lead, getting goals from Max Lajeunesse, Caiden Paradise, and Sydney Herrington. After one period the Avs were helping themselves in the standings and leading 3-0. Assists on the goals came from Michael Perry, Jon Last, and Cody Sullivan.
Did you ever have one of those days when things never really come together but there are glimmers of hope throughout the day that give you a sense that they could come together, only to have it all crash in the end? Well that’s kind of how this finishes. The Avs would not score again, and would end up losing the game 5-3. In the meantime, the Spartans did their best to upset the Boston Advantage, but ended up losing 1-0. The loss left the Avs with a record of 1-2, and out of the playoff round. Boston Advantage would go on to beat Advantage Ice 1-0 in the title game.