From the ICENTER in Salem, NH –
Have you ever felt like you are a part of an event that appears to have been a massive afterthought? That’s kind of how it felt in Salem this evening. Playing on the lower rink, where the clock is difficult to read, the puck marred glass above the boards severely impairs everyone’s vision, and the facilities are better suited for Middle School hockey or a practice, the main event of Timberlane hosting Goffstown in a NHIAA Division II regular season game seemed completely out of place.
The good news, if you are a Goffstown Grizzlies hockey fan, is that the Grizzlies are 3-1 on the season. The bad news is that the Goffstown squad often times has looked like they are trying to be surgical and sharp, but have nothing but dull tools to work with. For what it’s worth, the visiting Grizzlies managed to get 34 shots on sophomore netminder, Joshua Petrin, but for the second year in a row, Petrin turned away 30+ shots. Last season Petrin made 34 saves on 37 shots in a 3-1 loss to Goffstown. This season, he snagged 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss.
Timberlane kept coming, never gave up, and made everything the Grizzlies got, tough to come by. Goffstown certainly had the better of the play, but really had very little to show for it. When Jared Knight scored for the Owls on an assist from Jake Murphy with 10:15 to play in the game, it was almost hard to believe this was a one-goal game in the 3rd period. The Grizzlies though, they laid down a whole bunch of dots, but they could not connect nearly any of them.
Grady Chretien got the visitors on the board with 5:07 left in the first period on an accurate shot that beat Joshua Petrin in goal for the Owls. After one period, the Grizzlies led 1-0, and outshot Timberlane 13-7. Goffstown killed 3 penalties in a six minute span ending the first period and for the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period.
Somehow in between all of the penalties, the Grizzlies cashed in on an even-strength goal. Max Lajeunesse ended up getting the goal, with assists going to Colin Burke and Colby Gamache. Goffstown had possessed the puck in the offensive zone for quite some time before Max buried his 3rd goal of the season giving the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead. Later in the period, Goffstown would get a couple power play opportunities of their own, including a 5-on-3 advantage. Goffstown could not add to their lead. Good shifts from Noah Charron, Sebastian Beal, and Griffin Cook were backed up by Max Lajeunesse, Colby Gamache, and Brett Branscum, then add hustling Michael Fortin and smooth skating Grady Chretien, but Goffstown just could not click on enough cylinders to add to their lead. Jacob Noonan, Brett Lassonde, Evan McCuaig, Colin Burke, and Eric DesRuisseaux played a more conservative game from the defensive end with many less risky rushes up the ice than in previous games.
The result kept the odd man rushes to a minimum even though Jacob Heckman, William Downes, and Matthew Lanceleve skated hard. Heckman is always a threat with his speed, but the Grizzlies almost always managed to have a player back to get between Heckman and clean breakaways.
Kyle LaSella got his first start in net for Goffstown this season, giving Madeline Sage an evening off. LaSella played well. He made 15 saves on 16 shots, including a point blank save after a Grizzlie turnover directly in front of his net.
The Grizzlies do not play another regular season game until 2018, but will play games on December 26 at 4pm, December 27 at 2pm, and December 28 at 8pm in the Manchester High School Christmas Tournament at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.
In other NHIAA Division II action tonight, Keene played Bow in a rematch of last season’s championship game with the Blackbirds taking the contest, 6-2, behind a hat-trick from Tim Greenwood. Keene is now 2-1 while Bow dropped to 1-2. Dover was upset by Portsmouth-Newmarket, 5-4, dropping Dover to 3-1. Oyster River went to Kingswood and skated away with a 7-1 win to improve to 2-0. Windham continued to roll, raising their record to 4-0, with a 6-1 win at Merrimack.
Goffstown (3-1) @ Timberlane (0-2)
ICENTER, Salem, NH
December 20, 2017. 7:00PM Start:
Timberlane: 0-0-1 = 1
Timberlane: 7-5-4 = 16
2nd Goffstown at 1:02. Even. Max Lajeunesse (3) from Colin Burke (5) Colby Gamache (2).
Timberlane Power Play: 0 for 5.
Goffstown: Kyle LaSella 15 of 16.
Timberlane: Joshua Petrin 32 of 34.