It’s Tournament Time, and the Grizzlies have advanced to the NHIAA Division II Ice Hockey Quarter-Finals! The Grizzlies travel to West Side Arena in Manchester, NH to take on the #2 seed, Merrimack Tomahawks. The puck drops at 4pm tomorrow, Saturday, March 12th at West Side Arena. For you Grizzlies’ fans, come out and support your #7 seed, Goffstown Grizzlies.
Before I get into this brief preview, full of stats and numbers that often times don’t matter once the puck drops, I have one other thing that does matter, and I have wanted to cover this for quite some time. Recently, a video has made its way around cyberspace providing perfect segway to get this teaching moment off of my chest.
I have discussed this with my kids long before this video came around, but I encourage any parent or coach to share this with their kids or their players, early, and often if needed. This is about honor and respect. It’s about our flag, our anthem, our country. My kids will tell you that my favorite song is our National Anthem (it’s true). So, I share this video. Just click on the link and take the 4+ minutes required to watch it. Share it and make sure this generation understands what it all stands for. It drives me crazy when I see players, coaches, or anyone else who can’t stand up straight and quit being a distraction or being distracted long enough to honor our country. Again, this isn’t about views or sides, but about honor and respect; two things that this world could use a lot more of. Thanks.
Now, on to tomorrow’s matchup. Back on January 6th, Merrimack beat Goffstown 2-0 at Sullivan Arena. It was the first game for both teams after the Christmas break, and a lot has happened since then. After the win on January 6th, Merrimack would lose 3 games in the next 5 days. They haven’t lost since. The Tomahawks finished the season with a 13-3-2 record, and haven’t lost since January 13th (10-0-2 in the streak).
Goffstown has a style all their own. The Grizzlies are the lowest scoring team of the 10 teams that qualified for the Tournament. Goffstown has struggled to find the net at times, both getting pucks to the net, and getting pucks into the net. But man, do they compete?!?! They just won’t go away. It’s a beautiful thing.
When the Grizzlies tangled with the Tomahawks in early January, both teams had 21 shots on goal. The Grizzlies trailed 1-0 for most of the game, right up until Merrimack scored an empty net goal with 20 seconds left in regulation. Obviously, no team is any hotter than the white-hot Tomahawks. Then again, they haven’t played a meaningful game since Feb. 25th. By tomorrow, that will be 16 days since they last played. The Grizzlies are now 6-2-1 in their last 9 outings and have started to generate some momentum themselves. Anything can happen as we all know, and tomorrow we will find out if any of these numbers mean a thing.
The Grizzlies are led by seniors, Colin Holt (G), Sam Greenwood (F), and Ben Roy (F). The Goffstown juniors are, Tyler Riendeau (F), Nick Nault (D), and Dylan Hyers (D). Goffstown is loaded with freshmen and sophomores, starting with 2nd year players, Mike Fortin (F-D), Max Lajeunesse (F), Ethan Smith (G), Noah Charron (F). The freshmen are, Stephen Provencher (F), Colin Burke (D), Jake Noonan (D), Brett Lassonde (D), Alex McCarthy (F), Sebastian Beal (F), and Griffin Cook (F). The coaching staff is led by Head Coach Ben Slocum (1st year), and Assistant Coaches, John Nanoff and Shane Tufts.