From Sullivan Arena on the campus of St. Anselm College, Goffstown, NH –
After sitting here looking at my screen for several minutes, literally not knowing where to start, I guess I will start. In an 8 day span that started last Saturday with weather that was too cold for buses, the Grizzlies won in Nashua, Dover upset unbeaten Windham, Oyster River lost twice, Keene won three times, and St. Thomas improved to 7-0. Then to cap it off, Goffstown beat Dover 8-5 and ran their record to 6-1 on the season.
I was in Dover on Wednesday night and watched Dover beat Windham 2-1 in a great hockey game that saw the Green Wave execute almost flawlessly against a very good Windham Jaguars team that was 6-0 entering that game. Tonight was much different from Wednesday night. I don’t like to give credit where it isn’t due so I will say this; in the first period and the final 11 minutes of the game, Goffstown dominated play. The second period belonged to Dover as they turned up the pressure, brought their fore-checking game, and scored four times. The second period wasn’t enough even though Dover held a 5-3 lead with less than 11 minutes to play in the contest.
So coming off of what I saw with my own two eyes on Wednesday night, I knew that the Grizzlies certainly would have their hands full with all the things that Dover brings to the table. Then again, these are high school kids, and consistency is hard to master in our youth, this is also why they play the games and don’t just mail them in. In the end you just never know how things are going to turn out, it’s one of the beauties of sport.
In the first period Goffstown came out playing strong right from the get-go. It took a tick more than 11 minutes for the Grizzlies to score but they held the advantage in play. At times it honestly looked like Dover defenders were mildly shocked that one Goffstown line after the next were creating chances to score and piling up massive amounts of offensive zone time with the puck. Finally, at 11:01 of the opening period, Michael Fortin broke in behind the Dover defense after a nice pass from Max Lajeunesse, and lifted a shot over the left shoulder of Austin Gilbert in net for Dover. At the time, Goffstown led 10-3 in shots on goal, and would end up holding a 13-4 edge in shots on goal after the first period.
After the intermission, it was immediately clear that Dover had another gear or two, and they showed it early. Aiden McDonough scored an unassisted goal just 1:06 into the second period.
Goffstown skates seemed to be fading, gliding backwards, waiting for the puck to come to them, and Dover filled those spaces, picking off one pass after another like it was way too easy. Goffstown did get a huge goal at 5:05 of the period from freshman, Grady Chretien, even when the Green Wave was playing like the tide was rising. Chretien and Brett Branscum did some disruption of their own, and turned it into a Goffstown goal. Chretien scored the goal while Branscum added the assist, and for the moment, the Grizzlies were back in front, 2-1.
With Dover trailing 2-1, but playing like their pant legs were on fire, they broke through. In an 8-second span that the Grizzlies would be better off to forget, they allowed Dover to score a pair of goals. First the speedster, Garrett Swan scored for the Green Wave with an assist going to Jake LeClerc at 5:51. Then at 5:59 Wyatt Allaire scored from LeClerc and Trevor Gnall. All of the sudden, Dover led 3-2.
Goffstown came back to tie the game at 7:47 of the period, while on a 5-on-3 power play. Noah Charron scored the goal with assists going to Colin Burke and Sebastian Beal. Game tied, 3-3 with half a game to go.
Dover scored the final goal of the period at 12:25 when Jameson Goodridge scored an unassisted goal. After two periods, Dover led the game 4-3. Dover had more shots on goal in the period, 11-7 over the Grizzlies.
To start the third period, Dover scored when the Green Wave were given multiple chances to shoot, gather rebounds, reload, and shoot again, and Madeline Sage seemed to be left alone to fend for herself in between the pipes. Jake LeClerc ended up getting the goal with assists going to David Bouregard and Asa Forbes. Dover now led the game 5-3 just 2:43 into the final period. As the clock ticked under 11 minutes to play, and the Grizzlies had looked largely like their skates had been frozen to the ice for a good period or more, the CBC line and friends heard the alarm go off, and awoke promptly. Noah Charron scored from Grady Chretien and Colin Burke and the Grizzlies cut the lead to 5-4 at 4:16.
Then as a wave of momentum was building in favor of the home team, Sebastian Beal scored his first goal of the game at 7:08 to tie the game at 5-5. Beal’s goal was assisted by Colin Burke and Griffin Cook. With Goffstown possessing the puck for large chunks of time, Colin Burke slammed the go ahead goal home from the crease at 10:37 to play. Noah Charron and Griffin Cook got the assists after cycling the puck in the offensive zone for a long time. Eighty-five seconds later at 12:02, Sebastian Beal scored again, this time from Griffin Cook who stole the puck in the corner and centered a nice pass to Beal who was wide open in the slot. Goffstown now led the game 7-5 and time was running out on the Dover Green Wave to come back. At 14:26 two-thirds (the C’s) of the CBC line were whistled for minor penalties when Noah Charron and Griffin Cook were sent to the box. These penalties created a 5-on-3 advantage for Dover, and with an offensive zone faceoff, that advantage went to 6-on-3 as Dover pulled Austin Gilbert (23 of 30) in favor of an extra attacker. Dover couldn’t keep the puck in the zone and the puck was barely cleared between a pair of Green Wave defenders by Sebastian Beal. The puck got up on one edge and slowly started rolling through the neutral zone, over the blue line, towards the empty net.
Beal and two Dover players, Jake LeClerc and Jameson Goodridge, all hustled back to try to catch, crush, deflect, derail, or somehow manipulate the puck. Ultimately the puck won the race, barely crossing the goal line before the trio of players crashed into the net and subsequently the end boards as the goal counted, giving Goffstown an 8-5 lead, a hat trick for Beal in a span of 7:27, and a goal that was paid for in pure hustle and desire.
My guess is that Dover fans will see this game as a one-sided officiated game that favored Goffstown. I would also say that as well as Dover played on Wednesday night, they were equally suspect tonight in Goffstown. It really did look like, at times, that Dover wasn’t exactly sure what hit them as nearly 2/3 of the game was dictated by the Grizzlies. As for the penalties called or not, there was one recurring theme that I noticed virtually all night, and that was Green Wave sticks parallel to the ice, reaching, tugging, trailing, trying to catch up. It happened a lot, called or not, and the aggressor for the most part was Goffstown. There is no doubt Dover battled, didn’t give up, and tried to match Goffstown’s third period intensity, but fell short.
Goffstown ended up out-shooting Dover 31-21 in the end. The Grizzlies improved to 6-1 in Division II play, and they return to the ice at St. A’s on Monday night (7:15pm) when they host a Nashua South-Pelham team from Division I that is 1-3 thus far, but have been tough to play against. Dover dropped to 5-2-1 and they also play on Monday, at 1pm against St. Thomas who is 7-0 so far this season.
Despite beating Dover, and having a 6-1 record in league play, the Grizzlies find themselves ranked #5 in this week’s Division II Poll from Hockey Night in Boston News. You can find that story right You can find that story right here. On the other hand I would always rather win hockey games than worry about how anyone else ranks things they haven’t seen.
As I wrap this up while watching “Hockey Night in Canada – After Hours” on the CBC Network, I will share: In other Division II action today, Bow beat Spaulding 6-5, and Keene improved to 5-1-1 with a 6-4 win over Oyster River.
Goffstown (6-1) vs. Dover (5-2-1)
Sullivan Arena, St. Anselm College, Goffstown, NH
January 13, 2018. 7:15PM Start:
Goffstown: 1-2-5 = 8
Dover: 0-4-1 = 5
Goffstown: 13-7-11 = 31
Dover: 4-11-6 = 21
1st Goffstown at 11:01. Even. Michael Fortin (2) from Max Lajeunesse (5).
2nd Dover at 1:06. Even. Aiden McDonough unassisted.
2nd Goffstown at 5:05. Even. Grady Chretien (6) from Brett Branscum (6).
2nd Dover at 5:51. Even. Garrett Swan from Jake LeClerc.
2nd Dover at 5:59. Even. Wyatt Allaire from Jake LeClerc and Trevor Gnall.
2nd Goffstown at 7:47. PPG. Noah Charron (11) from Sebastian Beal (7) and Colin Burke (10).
2nd Dover at 12:25. Even. Jameson Goodridge unassisted.
3rd Dover at 2:43. Even. Jake LeClerc from David Beauregard and Asa Forbes.
3rd Goffstown at 4:16. Even. Noah Charron (12) from Grady Chretien (2) and Colin Burke (11).
3rd Goffstown at 7:08. Even. Sebastian Beal (9) from Colin Burke (12) and Griffin Cook (7).
3rd Goffstown at 10:37. Even. Colin Burke (1) from Noah Charron (6) and Griffin Cook (8).
3rd Goffstown at 12:02. Even. Sebastian Beal (10) from Griffin Cook (9).
3rd Goffstown at 14:35. SHG. Empty Net. Sebastian Beal (11) unassisted.
Goffstown Power Play: 1 for 5.
Dover Power Play: 0 for 2.
Goffstown: Madeline Sage 16 of 21.
Dover: Austin Gilbert 23 of 30.