Tag Archives: Merrimack Tomahawks

GHS Hockey: Goffstown 1 at Merrimack 4


The Team. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

West Side Arena, Manchester, NH.

Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Goffstown at Merrimack, 500pm.


Brett Lassonde, Kyle LaSella, and Nick Nault. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

Merrimack and Goffstown are not too fond of one another. At least the high school hockey teams from these two towns tend to show much disdain toward each other. For the third straight meeting between these two teams, Goffstown was in a position of having to pull their goaltender. And for the third straight time, they allowed an empty net goal to Merrimack. Goffstown has lost 4 straight games to the Tomahawks since the 2013-14 season. The Grizzlies have been outscored 16-7 in those 4 losses. The schools are only about 11 miles apart, and the rinks they play in, are less than a mile from one another. But on the ice, these two teams are from different worlds. The Tomahawks are, well they are just like their nickname, sharp, tough, dangerous, and not terribly accurate. They play their style of hockey better than most teams do. Like it or not, they’re effective. They are not nearly as talented as they have been in recent years, but if you play their game, you may be worse for the wear.


Brett Lassonde against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

Saturday night, Merrimack recognized their 6 senior players in an inaudible pregame ceremony of sorts. Then the Merrimack seniors came out and accounted for all 4 goals and 2 assists that they put on the board. Greg Amato stopped nearly everything in net, and Merrimack earned a 4-1 victory over a team that resided some seven spots ahead of them in the standings.

Amato was HUGE! He made 39 saves on 40 shots, none of which included the following shots. A shot from the corner that Tyler Riendeau put between Amato’s pads from a terrible angle that still disappeared under the pads, and crossed the goal line all before caroming off of the inside of the left pad and through the backside of the crease. Ruled no goal.


Griffin Cook battles against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

Then there was the shot that Sebastian Beal shot from behind the goal line, trying to bank the puck off of Amato, and in. Except, Amato moved, and the Tomahawk defenseman who was surprised to see the puck, watched as the puck deflected off of his left skate and into the empty net. He quickly swiped the puck out of the net, and away. Ruled no goal. Then after a long possession, and a flurry of shots, the Grizzlies thought they had another goal when Greg Amato and a defenseman were laying in the net when the whistle sounded. After everyone shifted and jostled out of the net, the puck was produced. It looked like Amato made a tremendous glove save, but did so with his glove behind goal line, in the net, before they dislodged the net. Ruled no goal.

Now having any one, or more, of these being called goals, then maybe future results change. Maybe not. Regardless, early in the first period, a little thought started to grow in the back of my mind. The thought was that of the Concord-Salem game in Division I on Friday night. Concord was stymied by Salem, and goaltender Paddy Capsilas, who made 54 saves on the night. Goffstown carried the play in the opening period but had a 1-0 deficit to show for it. Merrimack scored when Dylan Hyers had his shot from the left point blocked directly back to him. Hyers then tried to flip the puck deep into the zone, but the puck went to right to


Nick Nault and Tyler Riendeau headed up ice against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

John Tiano of Merrimack. Tiano made a quick pass to Owen O’Brien, and the race was on. Tiano and O’Brien raced up ice on a 2-on-1 against Colin Burke who rotated back on defense when Hyers was caught up ice without the puck. Tiano to O’Brien, a nice pass at full speed, and O’Brien buried it. 1-0 Tomahawks, just 68 seconds into the game. Goffstown would dominate play in the sense of offensive zone possession and shots on goal. At 14:30 of the period, O’Brien would make a nice inside-out move against Dylan Hyers and walk in for a clean shot against Kyle LaSella. LaSella was beat cleanly, but the shot rang loudly off of the post and kicked wide. After a full period, Goffstown led the shots battle 11-4, yet trailed 1-0.

The second period, which has been a stumbling block to Goffstown all season, was an odd period to say the least. Goffstown would draw 5 penalties on Merrimack in the period, by absolutely owning the puck for almost the entire period. The Grizzlies outshot Merrimack 15-3 in the period and still trailed 2-1 after two. Merrimack got their first two shots on goal, 9 and a half minutes into the period. Owen O’Brien made a pass to Owen Hastings who shot on goal from an awful angle just above the goal line on the left-wing side. LaSella made the save, hugging the post in doing so. Somehow though, the puck landed in a spot where Hastings could tap the puck into the net between the post and LaSella’s right skate. It was 2-0 Merrimack at 9:21 of the second. Long before this goal, the Grizzlies had just started killing a penalty on Brett Lassonde when Nick Nault picked off a pass and skated up ice.


Sebastian Beal turns the corner at West Side. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

Nault beat everyone up the ice with good skating and nifty moves to get a clean shot at Amato. Nault’s shot was stopped by Amato, but the rebound kicked out to Sebastian Beal who had hustled up ice just behind Nault. Beal lifted a shot that got off of the ice, but not enough to clear Amato’s left pad. Two Grade A chances turned aside at 3:52 of the second period. Goffstown got their only goal of the night on the power play at 14:47 of the period. Tyler Riendeau scored the goal set up by Griffin Cook and Nick Nault.



Tyler Riendeau had Goffstown’s only goal against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

The third period was more of the same, only with much worse attitudes. There were seven penalties called in the final period and probably a dozen more that weren’t. Neither team was innocent. Merrimack got a whopping four shots on goal in the period, including the empty netter with 34 seconds left. One of the other shots they got on net was a goal scored by Owen O’Brien when he threw a backhand from a tough angle and found the twine behind LaSella. Kyle had come up with a huge save earlier though, when Max Lajeunesse turned the puck over out by the blue line and Jeff Gerhard walked in alone. LaSella made a ridiculous stick save which left Gerhard looking up at the ceiling wondering how he hadn’t scored. Goffstown would end up with 14 shots in the period, and 40 for the game. Goffstown somehow held Merrimack to just 11 shots in the game. Their final shot coming when Owen Hastings lofted a high arching shot, like he was trying to drop a punt inside the 10, from his side of center ice. The puck landed and slid into the wide open net. Final score in favor of Merrimack, 4-1.


Noah Charron against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

There were several, near melees on the ice in the second and third period’s. It could have been worse. No, actually, it was worse. Sometimes I wonder if the officials called everything, which would require work on their part, would some of this playground, no harm no foul, but I am still going to punch you in the head, stuff, would go away. If everything was called last night, there would likely have been some of the senior mom’s needed to suit up and finish the game. Goffstown would’ve killed some major penalties, and likely an ejection or two.


Dylan Hyers ready to play against the Tomahawks. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

Listen, I am biased towards Goffstown. I have been following Goffstown sports and writing about them for almost 20 years. I try very hard to be objective, and call it like I see it, regardless of who did what. A few things I have noticed, as it relates to hockey. There are some coaches and programs that just play a different brand of something that resembles hockey. Goffstown has a very good team, especially when they can play gentlemen’s hockey. Then, they get completely out of their game when they try to be the big-hitters and chase hits around the ice. The Nashua South’s, the Oyster River’s, the Dover’s, and certainly the Tomahawks get them out of their comfort zone. The Grizzlies can hit. They can skate. They can score. They play their hearts out, giving maximum effort. Perhaps their approach needs to be updated, if not streamlined. Simple answer: Do what they do better than they do it now. Demand perfection. Raise the standard.


Good goal! Goffstown. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

On the other side of the coin, there is a modus operandi that seems to drive the Grizzlies crazy. And the best way I can describe it would be to use a term that was really perfected by the first Americans in the Revolutionary War. The term is guerrilla warfare. For this example I will define it as such: a form of irregular hockey in which a small group of competitors use less than ordinary tactics including any back alley type activity that would seem invisible to officials, heavy stick work, petty maneuvers, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to battle a structured but less-disciplined traditional hockey club. Last night, the Grizzlies outplayed Merrimack in a traditional hockey sense by at least a 4-1 margin, yet Goffstown had no chance to win that game.


Mickey Bridgeman makes a quick stop against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)


Nick Nault gets up to full speed. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

No chance when playing into the hands of an opponent that thrives on just that. Instead, in a domination of play at 364% (40-11) over the opponent, the Grizzlies got only 25% (1-4) of the desired result. That’s my own math, and I know many factors go into this type of thing, but this incident isn’t isolated. At Nashua South, 141% (31-22) over the opponent, got only 83% (5-6) of the desired result. At Oyster River, 258% (31-12) over the opponent, got only 0% (0-2) of the desired result. Again, my math, but I hope the point is made. Even in the wins against Kingswood and Oyster River (at home), the result was nowhere near the level of domination. I point this out as a closer look into numbers, because frankly, even after 24+ hours, I don’t have a lot of nice words to say about last night’s game.


So, after this week’s action, the playoff picture is rounding out.

1) Keene is 15-0 after beating Bow again, 5-3.
2) Bow is 14-2-1, only losing to Keene, and a tie with Windham.
3) Windham is 11-4-1, with Alvirne and Goffstown left.
4) Goffstown is 10-6, and needs one more win to maintain 4th place.
5) Dover is 9-6-1, plays Winnacunnet and Lebanon, and could finish 11-6-1.
6) Oyster River is 7-6-1, finishes against 4 teams with worse records.
7) Portsmouth is 8-7, plays OR, St. Thomas, and Bow.
8) St. Thomas is 8-7, plays Portsmouth, Winnacunnet, and Lebanon.
9) Spaulding is 8-8, only has Keene showing on their schedule.
10) Merrimack is 6-8-1, showing only Belmont left on their schedule.


Gavin Macentee against Merrimack. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017. (Photo by Charron)

With two games to play, Goffstown could jump into third with a pair of wins, but Windham would have to lose to Alvirne also. Dover could win both games and leapfrog GHS. Oyster River could run the table and finish ahead of the Grizzlies, even if Goffstown can split the last two games. If you dare think the unthinkable, Goffstown could drop as low as 8th with a pair of losses. We will just have to watch and see.

NHIAA Hockey

Updated records.

Goffstown (10-6) @ Merrimack (6-8-1)

West Side Arena, Manchester, NH
February 18, 2017. 5:00PM Start:
Merrimack: 1-1-2 = 4
Goffstown: 0-1-0 = 1

Merrimack: 4-3-4 = 11
Goffstown: 11-15-14 = 40

1st Merrimack at 1:08. Even. Owen O’Brien from John Tiano.

2nd Merrimack at 9:21. Even. Owen Hastings from Owen O’Brien.
2nd Goffstown at 14:47. PPG. Tyler Riendeau from Griffin Cook and Nick Nault.

3rd Merrimack at 7:35. Even. Owen O’Brien unassisted.
3rd Merrimack at 14:25. Empty Net. Owen Hastings unassisted.

Merrimack Power Play: 0 for 4.
Goffstown Power Play: 1 for 7.

Merrimack: Greg Amato 39 of 40.
Goffstown: Kyle LaSella 7 of 10.


The beginning of every article. (C) 1inawesomewonder 2017.

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.


GHS Hockey: Goffstown 5 @ Merrimack 8 (Quarter-Final)

Saturday, March 12, 2016. 400pm @ West Side Arena, Manchester, NH – #7 Goffstown vs. #2 Merrimack. (Go ahead and click on the pictures, they open in their own page)

quarter finals bear

What’s a Goffstown hockey game without a Grizzlie on the ice? (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Well, where do I begin without letting the end get in the way. The Goffstown Grizzlies showed up with a whole bunch of their fans at West Side Arena this afternoon. I know that I, for one, hoped for the upset, the chance for the #7 seed to pounce, and knock off the #2 seed. In short, Merrimack was prepared, they were sharp, and they were better. Right from go. Their intensity waned not. After all was said and done, the Merrimack Tomahawks advanced to the Semi-Finals with an 8-5 victory over the upset-minded Goffstown Grizzlies.

Merrimack’s win today extends their streak to 13 consecutive games without a loss. They will move on and play in the Semi-Finals. The Tomahawks have a good team, and they should be good again next year. They did get 5 goals and 3 assists from their senior players today, but they have a strong junior class as well as a sophomore goaltender.

Sam Greenwood sprints up the left wing. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Sam Greenwood sprints up the left wing. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

The Grizzlies, the school, and the fans, all saw Colin Holt, Sam Greenwood, and Ben Roy play their last game in a Grizzlies’ hockey uniform today. I have only known these kids for a few months, and it pains me still, to write that last sentence. In true Goffstown fashion, with no quit in their vocabulary, these guys led a charge that took a 6-2 deficit and cut it to 7-5 with 1:46 to play. But today, the better team had too many answers, and that was as close as Goffstown could get in the final period.

Colin Holt and Nick Nault getting ready to defend. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Colin Holt and Nick Nault getting ready to defend. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Merrimack senior, Ryan Downie scored 3 goals and added an assist. He scored an empty net goal with 0:43 seconds left and capped the Goffstown comeback bid. The Tomahawks got 4 assists from Remy Tupper (Jr), and a goal from his brother Aaron Tupper (Sr). Owen O’Brien (Jr) had a pair of goals while John Tiano (Jr) had a goal and an assist. Kyle Feeney (Sr) added a goal and 2 assists of his own. Goaltender, Greg Amato (So), looked shaky at times but ended up saving 20 of 25 shots in the win for Merrimack.

Goffstown, on the other hand, got 2 goals and 3 assists from sophomores and freshmen in this afternoon’s tilt. Sam Greenwood (Sr) had a goal and an assist in his final game for GHS.

Tyler Riendeau takes a faceoff in quarter-final action. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Tyler Riendeau takes a faceoff in quarter-final action. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Colin Holt, the workhorse, in net would save 30 of 37 shots he faced today, and finished a stellar final season for the Grizzlies. Holt was 11-8-1 in goal, saving more than 90.3% of the shots he faced during the regular season and tournament play. Noah Charron (So) registered 2 goals and an assist, while Tyler Riendeau (Jr) scored a pair of goals for the Grizzlies. Nick Nault (Jr) had a pair of assists with helpers also coming from Dylan Hyers (Jr), Mike Fortin (So), and Sebastian Beal (Fr).

Sebastian Beal and Ben Roy getting after Remy Tupper. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Sebastian Beal and Ben Roy getting after Remy Tupper. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

The ice was hard and fast. Merrimack was fast, and hard to play against. Goffstown was gritty, and never let up. The officials were atrocious, at least one of them, and I think both teams would agree. Blatant penalties committed by both teams were not whistled right from the start. Offsides and icings were merely a suggestion, not a rule to be enforced. This lack of control almost blew up in the officials’ (and everyone else’s) faces when the final 5 minutes of the third period looked as much like a melee as it did a hockey game. Players at this level learn quickly, if it’s not called, then for today, it’s okay. One Merrimack defenseman slashed someone on just about every shift. He usually acted on his moments of bravery when he thought nobody was watching, but I was. So were the refs on a couple of the hacks, but not a single whistle blew. (Maybe, like me, he is just upset winter is coming to an end, as if we had a winter this year.)

Dylan Hyers and Max Lajeunesse looking for a chance off of a faceoff. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Dylan Hyers and Max Lajeunesse looking for a chance off of a faceoff. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

This approach led to the chip-chip-chippiness in the third period. As I said, both sides took liberties and got away with them, nearly all of them. You know what I am saying.

The game saw an empty net goal, a goal with an extra attacker, goals from each power play, wicked wrist shots, broken sticks, pucks bouncing off of the lively boards, and hard, fast action. The old West Side Arena, which looks better than ever, was pretty full, and the game didn’t disappoint. Merrimack is a good team and certainly could contend for a title if they play with the edge they had today.

Mike Fortin moves the puck up ice to Sam Greenwood. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Mike Fortin moves the puck up the ice to Sam Greenwood. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

The Tomahawks will play #6 Windham who upset #3 Portsmouth-Newmarket 7-4 tonight out in Exeter. Keene and Bow advanced in the other side of the bracket.

I have a feeling I will get one more Grizzlies’ update in before spring tryouts start. So for now, I will leave it here. The Grizzlies have been a joy to watch, and it has been my honor and my pleasure to keep #GrizzlieNation updated with the measurables that are measured. Thank you all for the opportunity. Go Grizzlies!


The 2015-16 Goffstown Grizzlies Boys Varsity Ice Hockey team. Thank you guys. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

The 2015-16 Goffstown Grizzlies Boys Varsity Ice Hockey team. Thank you guys. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Goffstown: 8-5-12=25
Merrimack: 14-13-11=38

Goffstown: 1-1-3=5
Merrimack: 3-3-2=8

Goffstown: 1 for 3
Merrimack: 1 for 2

Goffstown: Colin Holt saved 30 of 37 shots he faced in the loss.
Merrimack:  Greg Amato saved 20 of 25 shots he faced in the win.

1st : 14:17 M Ryan Downie from Remy Tupper.
1st : 7:15 G Noah Charron (16) unassisted.
1st : 6:50 M Kyle Feeney from Ryan Downie.
1st : 4:30 M Aaron Tupper from Remy Tupper.

2nd : 12:42 G Tyler Riendeau (10) from Noah Charron (9) and Mike Fortin (7).
2nd : 9:30 M PP Owen O’Brien from Kyle Feeney and Jeff Gerhard.
2nd : 3:33 M John Tiano from Remy Tupper.
2nd : 1:06 M Ryan Downie unassisted.

3rd : 6:35 G PP Sam Greenwood (9) from Dylan Hyers (8) and Nick Nault (10).
3rd: 5:49 M Owen O’Brien from John Tiano and Remy Tupper.
3rd: 5:07 G Noah Charron (17) from Sam Greenwood (14) and Sebastian Beal (12).
3rd: 1:46 G Tyler Riendeau (11) from Nick Nault (11).
3rd: 0:43 M EN Ryan Downie from Kyle Feeney.


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.

Grizzlies Hockey ~ It’s Quarter-Final Time!

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.

The teams line up for the National Anthem. (c) 1inawesomewonder (Photo by Charron)

The teams line up for the National Anthem. (c) 1inawesomewonder (Photo by Fortin/Charron)

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.

Grizzlies line up during pre-game. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

Grizzlies line up during pre-game. (c) 1inawesomewonder. (Photo by Charron)

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.