Less than 24 hours after their first victory of the season the NH Avalanche 2000 team was back on home ice against the Assabet Valley Patriots. Just three weeks ago these teams met at the Ice Den Arena in a contest that resulted in a 5-2 win for the visiting Patriots. That game, as I saw it, was a battle of wills and the Patriots got the better of it. Today was different, although the result was another loss to the Patriots.
Today the Avs opened up a little bit shaky and the Patriots took advantage by piling up some early offensive zone possession time. That didn’t last too long and the balance of the period was played pretty evenly. After one period of play there was no score in the game and only one minor penalty had been called along the way.
In the second period not much changed really except that the Patriots made the Avs pay for every little mistake; Immediately. Over a span of 11:07 in the middle period, the Patriots scored FIVE even strength goals on just 6 shots. Patriot forward, #17, Maxwell Ray scored the first four goals on consecutive shots. #81 for the Patriots, Daniel Desmarais, assisted on all four of those goals, and ended up with one goal and five assists in the contest. Before the period ended, the Avs did get a goal when Sebastian Beal started a play out of nothing by throwing a shot at net which hit the goalie’s pad and the side of the net, but the puck bounced out to Cody Sullivan who followed with his own shot. That shot was saved but the rebound was quickly pounced on by Max Lajeunesse who rifled it home. The goal was the fifth goal this line combination had scored in just two and a half games. The period would end with the Patriots firmly in control, 5-1.
The visitors scored a power play goal early in the third period, taking a 6-1 lead and it looked like the Avs might skate out the balance of the game and just mail it in. However, one of the endearing things about this Avs team has been their willingness to work hard, to try, and not give up. Moments later Sydney Herrington created a great scoring chance with a beautiful move just outside of the crease. She didn’t score but Michael Perry gathered the rebound, paused nicely to gather the puck and improve his angle, then ripped a shot into the net. The Patriots would score one more time and lead 7-2 for the rest of the game. The Avalanche did play hard down the stretch and actually had several chances with good puck possession. I didn’t track all of the shots taken in the game by both sides, but I would be willing to bet that the shots ratio was a whole lot closer than the goals scored ratio. It was one of those days where mistakes were turned into goals in the blink of an eye. And if you blinked at the right time and watched the balance of the game you’d never have felt like the score was that lopsided.
The Avalanche return to action on Friday night the 28th in the Turkey Tournament. Their first game is scheduled to start at 6:30pm Pacific Time, that’s a 9:30pm start here in the East, at Governor’s Academy. Then they’ll play two games on Saturday, at Dover and UNH respectively.
Finally, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Remember, we all have a lot to be thankful for, including tremendous kids.