It’s Tournament Time! The Grizzlies host Lebanon tomorrow night (Wednesday 3/9 at 5:00pm @ Sullivan Arena) in the prelim round of the Division II Hockey Tournament. The Grizzlies earned the #7 seed and will host the #10 seed, Lebanon Raiders. The winner of Wednesday night’s game will advance to play #2 seed, Merrimack on Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t too long ago, when the Goffstown Grizzlies Ice Hockey team found themselves mired in mediocrity. They were hovering at .500 with a 5-5 record, and were in the bottom half of the standings. It was the end of January and they were looking up at most of the division, with games against perennial powerhouses, Dover and Spaulding staring them in the face. Throw in a 10-day layoff, a hole in the schedule if you will, and the Grizzlies went to play at Dover on February 10th.
As it turned out, the Grizzlies beat Dover and Spaulding back-to-back and started to shape their season in a different manner. The Grizzlies would end up going 5-2-1 over their last 8 games and would catapult up the standings from as low as 12th, all the way to 7th seed, and hosting a first round tournament game.
Goffstown will play host to the Lebanon Raiders whom they tied 2-2 up at Campion Rink less than two weeks ago. The Raiders finished in the #10 spot by finishing strong, going 6-2-1 down the stretch, ending the regular season with an 8-8-2 record.
For some notes that we can compare, between these two teams, I give you the following. Both Lebanon and Goffstown played several common opponents this season. Among the common opponents, the edge goes to the Grizzlies, Goffstown was 8-7, while Lebanon was 5-8 against teams they played in common. Against teams that qualified for the tournament, again the Grizzlies had the advantage, going 3-7-1 while the Raiders were 0-7-1 against playoff contenders, the one tie being against the Grizzlies.
Both teams finished the regular season on a strong note. Combined, they were 11-4-2 down the stretch. They played each other recently which should make for an even more exciting matchup in the first round. In their meeting on Feb. 27, the Grizzlies made a long bus ride on a Saturday afternoon on the final weekend of Feb. vacation week, just hours after losing a physical battle against the Keene BlackBirds. After the first period in that game, the Grizzlies carried the play for the most part. Then again, this is why they play the games. Anything can happen out there.
The Goffstown Grizzlies are playing their final home game of the 2015-16 season on Wednesday night, and it happens to be a Tournament game. So, Grizzlies’ Nation, come out and wear your maroon, have fun, and be loud! I can tell you that after being at Sullivan Arena on Sunday for the 2016 NEPSAC (Prep Schools) Ice Hockey Championships, where nobody was a ‘home’ team; it can get really loud in the arena at St. Anselm College. So come out and support the Grizzlies Hockey team on Wednesday at 5pm.
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.