From the Conway Arena in Nashua, NH –
In an attempt to see the glass as half full, it was a throwback to younger days, with our three youngest in the van, my wife and I, all going to a road hockey game. The glass may well have been half full, and maybe the water was completely frozen but it’s January in New Hampshire, what else would you expect?
Well, coming off of the offensive onslaught out in Rochester the other night, I had high hopes for the Goffstown Grizzlies in this afternoon’s tilt at Nashua North-Souhegan (NNS). The offense did not disappoint. On a more alarming note, this afternoon marked the sixth time in nine games that the Grizzlies had allowed 4 or more goals in a game. Goffstown is 3-3 in those six games. NNS had scored a total of 7 goals in 4 previous games before erupting for 7 goals in one game this afternoon. Before I get to some of the finer details from the action today, and I will try to give a short version because so much took place. There were 18 goals scored, 12 penalties, a delay to clear the ice, a goalie completely run over, 2 power play goals, 2 shorthanded goals, a 5-minute major, and an anthem sung by a world record holder.
Sometimes, it only takes one to get you going; one goal, one hit, one break, one chance, one whatever. Goffstown’s Griffin Cook got his first goal of the season out at Spaulding the other night. He ended up just the one point in a 10-4 win even though he played a really good game, but only showed up on the score sheet for goal. That might have been the one that got him going. Fast forward to this afternoon, and Cook seemed to get a point every time he touched the puck. Before the second period ended, the junior forward had amassed 3 goals and 3 assists in the game. If you break it down even further, in 19:53 of game time Cook racked up 6 points. He and his linemates scored 7 goals and collected 7 assists as well.
Okay, so Griffin Cook opened the scoring on a classic hockey play (in my book) when the Grizzlies were working the puck out of their own end and executed perfectly on a breakout that every coach they ever had should be able to take credit for. Jacob Noonan made a simple, but effective pass from the corner to his winger, Sebastian Beal, on the half wall. Beal looked to the middle for his center, Noah Charron, but he was still deep in the zone after working 200 feet from his own net to eradicate the puck from the defensive end. Beal went to his second option which was the other winger, Griffin Cook, who was busting into center ice with speed. Beal banked a backhanded pass off of the boards and past the defenseman for NNS who was trying to hold the left point. Cook maintained speed, skated on to the path of the gliding puck, raced to the net and buried his shot in the back of the net. Goffstown moved the puck from one goal line to the other goal line in a matter of seconds. I have watched hours and hours of coaches working with teams of all shapes, sizes, and ages on the ‘breakout’, and this one was a beauty.
On the very next shift the next line cashed in on a similar play. Again, Jacob Noonan worked the puck to Grady Chretien and the Grizzlies were off and skating hard. Chretien got the puck ahead to Colby Gamache, and Gamache buried a shot into the net just as Cook had. Goffstown led 2-0. Cook struck again in the first period, being set up by Noonan and Sebastian Beal on a beautiful passing play. Goffstown took a 4-0 lead on a passing play that was just a gorgeous play. Griffin Cook passed the puck from the right wing boards, through the corner, to Sebastian Beal who was stationed behind the net. Beal in one fluent motion received the puck and passed it just as quickly, to the crease where Noah Charron was set up and waiting to pound the puck into the yawning net. Less than a minute later Beal was called for roughing on the second of successive explosive hits on different opponents. Matty Eskensas got the home team on the board with an unassisted power play goal. The period ended with the Grizzlies leading 4-1 while shots on goal were even at 9 to 9.
In the second period, Nashua North Souhegan turned up their intensity, or at least their resolve to get back into this game. Although, Goffstown scored just 26 seconds into the period when Noah Charron was set up by Griffin Cook.
It was 5-1 Goffstown as a result of the goal. This NNS team could have packed it in, taken their lumps, and just went away, but they didn’t do any of that. As a matter of fact, from that point on, they played a 6-6 game against the Grizzlies over the final 29:34. Jared Egersheim scored a goal set up by Dean Paquette, offering a rebuttal just 11 seconds after falling behind by four goals. Then John Natale scored a goal to cut into the lead even further.
The goal was assisted on by Griffin Masseur and it was 5-3. Goffstown freshman defenseman, Evan McCuaig ripped a slapshot past Robbie Morel in net, that was set up beautifully by Colby Gamache and Griffin Cook while the teams were playing 4-on-4. NNS answered again when Cade Facey scored from Ryan Dancoes. The score was 6-4 in favor of the visitors with more than five minutes to play in the middle period. Then like a “bomb cyclone” (that nobody ever heard of before the storm the other day) the Grizzlies scored 3 goals in less than two minutes to take a 9-4 lead after two periods.
First, Griffin Cook scored on the power play from Brett Lassonde. Then Colby Gamache scored his second goal of the afternoon, also set up by Brett Lassonde. Freshman defenseman, Eric DesRuisseaux, capped off the trio of goals when he stripped the puck at center ice, rushed up the left wing, looked off a defender, and beat the retreating defenders to the net with his first career goal. Goffstown led 9-4 and had pounded 18 shots on goal in the period to just 9 for the home team. It is certainly worth noting that in the middle of the period with the score only 5-3, that Robbie Morel in net for the Saber Titans made some absolutely brilliant saves on flurries of shots from the Grizzlies, and kept his team in the game.
Similar to the start of the third period in Rochester the other night, Goffstown came out in the third period and allowed the opponent to score a pair of goals. John Natale scored his second of the game, this time unassisted. Shortly thereafter, Dean Paquette and his free flowing locks of long blonde hair scored from Jason Scott.
In the final period, if Dean Paquette was the engine that wouldn’t quit for the home team, then Sebastian Beal was the same for the visiting Grizzlies. With the game now a bit closer at 9-6, Beal continued to battle and singlehandedly created a goal for Goffstown. The junior winger stole the puck from a defender in the corner, stepped toward the slot, ran over another defender, and buried a shot from inside of five feet.
Just a couple of minutes later, while shorthanded, Noah Charron and Sebastian Beal connected for a brilliant goal on a feed from Charron to Beal who was in the slot. The never give up energy for NNS, personified in Dean Paquette, scored his own shorthanded goal while Goffstown was on a 5-on-3 advantage. Paquette beat a pair of defenders with will, skill, and determination and scored the final goal of the game with 2:01 to play. Goffstown held on to an 11-7 win, improving to 5-1 in league play. The Saber Titans fell to 0-5 but showed that they didn’t give up, and they have some kids who can play. Eren LaBonte played the 3rd period in net for Nashua North Souhegan and made 7 saves on 9 shots.
Goffstown doesn’t play again until next Saturday night when they host the Dover Green Wave (4-1-1) at Sullivan Arena on the campus of St. Anselm College at 7:15pm.
In other action today, Dover beat Kingswood 2-0. Alvirne got their first win of the season, 3-2 over Bow behind a pair of goals from Cole Taylor. Keene doubled up Lebanon-Stevens 4-2. Windham wiped out Spaulding 8-0 and remains undefeated with 4 shutouts, having outscored opponents 41-2 thus far. St. Thomas improved to 6-0 with their 5-2 win over Winnacunnet. The Saints have outscored opponents 38-10 this season. Merrimack got into the win column with a 2-1 win over Portsmouth-Newmarket. So, by my count, Windham and St. Thomas are both 6-0. Dover and Keene are both 4-1-1. Oyster River is 3-0, and the Grizzlies are 5-1.
Goffstown (5-1) @ Nashua North Souhegan (0-5)
Conway Arena, Nashua, NH
January 6, 2018. 3:45PM Start:
Goffstown: 4-5-2 = 11
NNS: 1-3-3 = 7
Goffstown: 9-18-9 = 36
NNS: 9-9-8 = 26
1st Goffstown at 5:31. Even. Griffin Cook (2) from Sebastian Beal (4) and Jacob Noonan (1).
1st Goffstown at 6:50. Even. Colby Gamache (2) from Grady Chretien (2) and Jacob Noonan (2)
1st Goffstown at 8:13. Even. Griffin Cook (3) from Sebastian Beal (5) and Jacob Noonan (3).
1st Goffstown at 10:56. Even. Noah Charron (9) from Sebastian Beal (6) and Griffin Cook (4).
1st NNS at 12:52. PPG. Matty Eskensas unassisted.
2nd Goffstown at 0:26. Even. Noah Charron (10) from Griffin Cook (5).
2nd NNS at 0:37. Even. Jared Egersheim from Dean Paquette.
2nd NNS at 3:28. Even. John Natale from Griffin Masseur.
2nd Goffstown at 8:23. 4on4. Evan McCuaig (1) from Colby Gamache (4) and Griffin Cook (6).
2nd NNS at 9:43. Even. Cade Facey from Ryan Dancoes.
2nd Goffstown at 10:24. PPG. Griffin Cook (4) from Brett Lassonde (5).
2nd Goffstown at 10:52. Even. Colby Gamache (3) from Brett Lassonde (6).
2nd Goffstown at 12:15. Even. Eric DesRuisseaux unassisted (1).
3rd NNS at 2:47. Even. Dean Paquette from Jason Scott.
3rd Goffstown at 6:58. Even. Sebastian Beal (7) unassisted.
3rd Goffstown at 9:01. SHG. Sebastian Beal (8) from Noah Charron (5).
3rd NNS at 12:59. SHG. Dean Paquette unassisted.
NNS Power Play: 1 for 5.