From the Rochester Ice Arena in Rochester, NH –
Last night out in Rochester I walked, or slid, or skated, and might have completed an inadvertent toe loop as I made my way through the maze of mayhem in the frozen area formerly known as a parking lot. I finally made it to the entrance and walked into the old building on Lowell Street just in time to see Somersworth-Coe Brown wrap up their 11-2 win over Laconia-Winnisquam, getting their first win of the season, in Division III action. By the time the ice was resurfaced and introductions were done, Goffstown and Spaulding faced off at just about 8:10pm.
Ultimately, this game settled down into something that resembled a reasonable high school hockey game. The opening ten minutes of the game resembled a jailbreak of sorts. Both teams came out like they had been penned up for far too long, had one too many energy drinks, and then skated like rules were a mere suggestion. It was spirited to say the least. Within ten minutes of play, 6 goals had been scored, 6 penalties totaling 20 minutes had been called, including 14 minutes in penalties issued to one player, who also had already scored a goal.
I saw a Spaulding player hit a Goffstown player on a legal hit, stand over the fallen player admiring his hit, while just 25 feet away, Goffstown proceeded to finish the play and score a goal. It was wild and it was crazy for awhile. Spaulding scored on their first shot, just 36 seconds into the contest, Garrett Langis from Hunter Camire. Then with Langis in the box for the first of his trio of penalties, Max Lajeunesse scored 20 seconds into the power play from Colin Burke and Sebastian Beal, tying the game 1-1 at 1:48 of the period.
Goffstown scored three more goals in a span of 1:49, when Michael Fortin netted his first of the season on a rebound of a Max Lajeunesse shot after a brilliant 2-on-1 breakout from the pair of seniors. Then, freshman Grady Chretien, scored his fifth goal of the season on an unassisted goal. The threesome of goals was completed 25 seconds later when Sebastian Beal picked a Red Raider’s pocket wide of their own net, spun with the puck, and scored his fifth goal of the season and giving Goffstown a 4-1 lead and the period wasn’t even half over yet.
Spaulding scored the next goal on Adam Enscoe’s breakaway bid at 9:25 of the first period, cutting the deficit to 4-2. In between all of the goals I have covered thus far, there were the six penalties I mentioned earlier. There were headlocks, running of goaltenders, hits after the whistle, and even upending opposing players on top of teammates. The referees doubled up on a couple of penalty calls as if to send a loud message of, “Knock it off!” to both teams, and eventually that helped, or the game settled on it’s own, or the ring leader never returned. Before the period ended, Goffstown got a goal from Griffin Cook, his first of the season, assisted by Colin Burke and Noah Charron. The period finally ended with Goffstown holding a 5-2 lead on the scoreboard, and a staggering 21-6 lead in shots on goal.
Spaulding’s goaltender Brenden Stanley probably won’t get many accolades for backstopping a Red Raider team that lost 10-4, but he should. He made some tremendous saves, and lots of them. The scorer’s booth had the official shot count at 59-11 in favor of Goffstown, which would mean that Stanley made an astounding 49 saves in the game!
Goffstown outshot the Red Raiders 27-2 in the second period which was really the story of the period. For the most part, the liberties taken on the ice had largely stopped, or seemed less noticeable. Goffstown managed to score a pair goals in the period, which kind of seemed underwhelming considering Stanley’s performance in net. Even Goffstown’s Madeline Sage made two very good saves on the only two shots she faced in the period. Noah Charron scored his first of two goals in the game, after being set up by Brett Lassonde and Sebastian Beal. The goal came after every member of the Grizzlies unit on the ice had each touched the puck at least once. Late in the period, Goffstown took a 7-2 lead when Brett Branscum scored his third goal of the season when he snapped a shot “bar-down” after Theo Milanes and Grady Chretien had worked the puck beautifully up the ice and into the offensive end. After two periods, Goffstown led 7-2, and led in shots 48-8.
In NHIAA high school hockey there is a rule where running time is instituted when a team leads by 6 or more goals in the third period. The back half of that rule is that if the trailing team cuts the lead back to 4 goals then the clock stops on whistles and play resumes as normal. Well, both of those things happened last night. First, the visiting Grizzlies scored at 2:05 when Max Lajeunesse netted his second goal of the game set up beautifully by Milanes and Branscum. Spaulding had only registered a single shot on goal in more than 18 minutes of play before scoring goals on their next two shots on goal, cutting the lead to 8-4. First, Zach Shaw scored from Kaleb Ducharme at 6:42 of the final period. Then, Hunter Camire scored from Brady Blandett at 8:28. At 11:11 of the period, Noah Charron scored again after being set up by Theo Milanes and Brett Branscum. It took just 28 seconds for Goffstown to score again, and push their lead to 10-4. Max Lajeunesse let a wrist shot go towards Stanley in net, when Sebastian Beal tipped the puck up and over Stanley’s shoulder into the back of the net. Running time resumed, and a game that took almost two hours to complete was finally over. The storm on the ice out in Rochester last night might end up failing in comparison to the snow storm that billows outside today, but the Grizzlies won a game they are supposed to win on their schedule, and improved to 4-1 in Division II play.
It’s 2018 and there is a lot of hockey yet to play in the 2017-18 season, but some things are starting to shape up as more games are completed. In action around the state, Oyster River (3-0) remained unbeaten with a 6-1 win over Winnacunnet. St. Thomas Aquinas completed back to back wins on consecutive nights over Bow and Alvirne to improve to 5-0 thus far, while outscoring their competition 33-8. Windham also improved to 5-0 with a win over Portsmouth-Newmarket last night, and they have only allowed 2 goals this season. Dover played Keene to a 3-3 tie last night. Keene is now 2-1-1 while Dover is 3-1-1. Lebanon-Stevens won their third straight game, beating Timberlane 9-3. Merrimack dropped to 0-3 after their 4-0 loss to Bow last night. Bow improved to 2-4 as Ryan Tobeler scored all four goals and eclipsed the 100 career-point mark in doing so.
The Grizzlies return to action on Saturday afternoon at Division I foe, Nashua North (0-4), the start is scheduled for 3:40pm. Bundle up because Conway Arena is usually pretty cold, and the high temperature outdoors is forecasted to be a balmy 4 degrees in Nashua on Saturday.
This morning’s Union Leader.
Goffstown (4-1) @ Spaulding (0-4)
Rochester Ice Arena, Rochester, NH
January 3, 2018. 8:10PM Start:
Goffstown: 5-2-3 = 10
Spaulding: 2-0-2 = 4
Goffstown: 21-27-11 = 59
Spaulding: 6-2-3 = 11
1st Spaulding at 0:36. Even. Garrett Langis from Hunter Camire.
1st Goffstown at 1:48. PPG. Max Lajeunesse (5) from Colin Burke (8) and Sebastian Beal (2).
1st Goffstown at 5:23. Even. Michael Fortin (1) from Max Lajeunesse (3).
1st Goffstown at 6:47. Even. Grady Chretien (5) unassisted.
1st Goffstown at 7:12. Even. Sebastian Beal (5) unassisted.
1st Spaulding at 9:25. Even. Adam Enscoe unassisted.
1st Goffstown at 11:54. Even. Griffin Cook (1) from Colin Burke (9) and Noah Charron (4).
2nd Goffstown at 2:50. Even. Noah Charron (7) from Brett Lassonde (4) and Sebastian Beal (3).
2nd Goffstown at 14:39. Even. Brett Branscum (3) from Theo Milanes (2) and Grady Chretien (1).
3rd Spaulding at 6:42. Even. Zach Shaw from Kaleb Ducharme.
3rd Spaulding at 8:28. Even. Hunter Camire from Brady Blandett.
3rd Goffstown at 11:11. Even. Noah Charron (8) from Brett Branscum (5) and Theo Milanes (4).
3rd Goffstown at 11:39. Even. Sebastian Beal (6) from Max Lajeunesse (4).
Spaulding Power Play: 0 for 2.
Goffstown: Madeline Sage 7 of 11.
Spaulding: Brenden Stanley 49 of 59.