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.