From J.F.K. Coliseum in Manchester, NH:
Undefeated Hanover remained unbeaten with a 5-1 win over Goffstown this afternoon in the Christmas Hockey Classic game at 2:00 pm. Hanover scored each of their five goals with 3:16 or less to play in that period. These goals made matters seem worse, especially for a Grizzlies team that generated a lot of great chances, but could not cash in, only to give up goals late in periods. The Hanover High Marauders are a very well coached team, and just about everything they do, is done with purpose and within a structure that they are all well versed in.
The first 12+ minutes of this game were equally owned by the Grizzlies as much as they were by the Marauders from Hanover. Then with the Grizzlies really struggling to clear the zone, or the space in front of the net, Hanover scored first. Charlie Plottner finished the play with a goal from David Lehmann. It was just a moment later when Goffstown’s Colby Gamache tried to force a pass from his defensive blue line ahead to Max Lajeunesse, but the pass lacked some pace, and Plottner stole the pass. Before you could count to ten, Plottner stepped forward with the puck and hit Braxton McNulty with a pass as he crossed the blue line. McNulty had a lot of room to work with, and he did not miss, giving Hanover a 2-0 lead. The newly formed MGM line (Max-Gamache-Michael) was borderline dominating prior to the this quick turn of events. They cycled the puck very well and created gaps to maneuver in, all over the offensive end on just about every shift. Just misses, saves, blocked shots, and not getting to rebounds, ended up posting a big 0 on the scoreboard though. After one period, Hanover led 2-0, and other than the score, they may not have been happy with their first period performance.
Oddly, the second period didn’t really resemble the opening period, but the result was eerily similar. For example, one difference was that Hanover cranked up their defense of their own end, which in turn, created much better breakouts from their own zone. Ultimately it led to lots more shots on goal, but Madeline Sage was outstanding in Goffstown’s net, turning one shot after another away. Then again, with less than 2:30 to play in the second period, in a 2-0 game, Goffstown fell asleep and didn’t show any sense of urgency to defend their net as if they were waiting for Maddie to save anything sent her way. Well, the onslaught caught up to the Grizzlies when David Lehmann scored a goal from Sylas Oberting and Owen Stadheim, just 24 seconds before Charlie Plottner cashed in again from Braxton McNulty. Two periods, both looking like they might end scoreless, were somehow and actual 4-0 lead for Hanover. Good teams find ways to make opponents pay immediately for their turnovers, mistakes, and lulls. Hanover held Goffstown to just 4 shots on goal in the second period even though the MGM line was effective once again.
With Goffstown trailing 4-0 to start the third period, they could have mailed in the rest of this game and maybe no one would have known any different, but they didn’t. After maintaining puck possession in the offensive end, the line of Theo Milanes centering Grady Chretien and Brett Branscum, and the defensive pairing of Jacob Noonan and Brett Lassonde made a beautiful passing play to get Goffstown on the board. Though several Grizzlies touched the puck in succession, it was a gorgeous pass from Branscum diagonally back to the right point and Brett Lassonde that led to the shot. Lassonde let a low shot go towards the net when Chretien, in traffic, deflected the puck perfectly up under the cross-bar, beating Harris LaRock for the only time all day. It was a great hockey play ending with a goal for Grady and the Bretts. Unfortunately, late in the period again, Chretien made a clearing attempt that was just too soft, and a combination of Marauders made the Grizzlies pay instantly with Sylas Oberting scoring from Elias Zinman and David Lehmann. Ethan Smith came in to play the last 3:16 in net for Goffstown and made the save on the one shot he faced. In the meantime, the MGM line turned out more quality shifts and almost scored when Michael Fortin ripped a shot that clanked off of the post and sailed wide.
Hanover won the game 5-1 but somehow both teams had some things to be happy about over the course of the game.
Goffstown returns to the J.F.K ice tomorrow evening at 8pm against Bow (1-4) who lost to Hanover 6-2 on Tuesday, and lost to Concord tonight, 7-3. Concord and Hanover are both 2-0, but that will change when they play each other on Thursday at 6pm. In other Christmas Hockey Classic games today, Trinity beat Manchester Memorial 4-2, after losing 5-4 in OT to Bedford on Tuesday night. In the 4pm game, Bedford doubled up Manchester Central/West, 10-5.
Hanover (5-0) @ Goffstown (3-2)
JFK Coliseum, Manchester, NH
December 27, 2017. 2:00PM Start:
Hanover: 2-2-1 = 5
Goffstown: 0-0-1 = 1
Hanover: 10-12-9 = 31
Goffstown: 13-4-6 = 23
1st Hanover at 12:23. Even. Charlie Plottner from David Lehmann.
1st Hanover at 13:37. Even. Braxton McNulty from Charlie Plottner.
2nd Hanover at 13:46. Even. David Lehmann from Sylas Oberting and Owen Stadheim.
2nd Hanover at 14:10. Even. Charlie Plottner from Braxton McNulty.
3rd Goffstown at 3:15. Even. Grady Chretien (3) from Brett Lassonde (1) and Brett Branscum (2).
3rd Hanover at 11:44. Even. Sylas Oberting from Elias Zinman and David Lehmann.
Hanover Power Play: 0 for 1.
Goffstown Power Play: 0 for 0.
Hanover: Harris LaRock 22 of 23.
Goffstown: Madeline Sage 25 of 30.
Goffstown: Ethan Smith 1 of 1.