It’s not every night in NHIAA Hockey where both the home team and the visiting team arrive to the rink, and then leave the rink in school buses. But then again, Goffstown High School (Goffstown, NH) traveled to play Winnacunnet High School (Hampton, NH) in Haverhill, MA, naturally. As if this wasn’t odd enough, the rest of the night kind of followed suit.
I don’t know which feeling took first place in the race within my being this evening, feeling bad for the opponent, or feeling angry that matters were so terribly disjointed. Probably the latter. I will try to explain.
First, let me say that even though Goffstown pounded 50 shots on goal, scored 7 goals, and allowed 0, it is safe to say that Winnacunnet is improved, and tougher to play against this season, than last. Then, there are the Warriors of Winnacunnet whom have home games on the schedule this season in three different rinks, which has to be a distraction at some level.
Then there was the game presentation tonight in Haverhill at the Valley Forum. I did feel bad. Poor sound system. Couldn’t start the clock. Couldn’t stop the clock. Couldn’t stop shots from all angles headed towards Jack Ellis in net for the Warriors. Couldn’t put penalties up on the scoreboard, except for the matching penalties, which of course don’t go on the board.
Multiple meetings of officials at the scorers booth, and/or the team benches. So, ya disjointed seemed to fit.
When the game finally started at 7:52pm the Grizzlies were chomping at the bit to play the game and test their skills against the Warriors. It didn’t take too long to see that Goffstown was in control of play right from the get go. Winnacunnet tried to be physical. They blocked shots while getting skates, sticks, and bodies in passing and shooting lanes. Finally, Goffstown broke through shortly after their first power play opportunity had expired. Max Lajeunesse scored the goal on a feed from Colin Burke after Sebastian Beal had wrapped the puck around the boards to Burke at 13:27 of the first period.
At 14:42 of the opening period, Michael Fortin scored Goffstown’s second goal on a beautiful play set up by Lajeunesse and Colby Gamache. The Grizzlies led in score, 2-0, and 16-3 in shots, after the first period.
As play continued through the second period, Goffstown was imposing their will for the most part, but it was still just a 2-0 game. Then at 9:24 of the period, the Grizzlies broke through to take a 3-0 lead, when Colby Gamache scored an unassisted goal. Next, it was Max Lajeunesse again, this time, from Michael Fortin on another gorgeous play. Noah Charron scored his 50th career goal at 13:49 of the period as Griffin Cook and Sebastian Beal made consecutive passes leading to Charron’s milestone goal. At 14:34 Colby Gamache got his second goal of the night on Michael Fortin’s second assist of the night.
All of the sudden, it was 6-0 in favor of the visiting team from Goffstown. After two periods of play, Goffstown had 33 shots to just 9 for Winnacunnet.
In the third period, with running time, and the occasional chippy play, Goffstown still managed 17 shots while allowing just 2 against LaSella. Sebastian Beal would get the only goal at 5:36 of the period from Griffin Cook and Brett Lassonde. Goffstown would end up holding on to the 7-0 shutout win, and slammed 50 shots on goal before all was said and done. Winnacunnet’s Jack Ellis made some tremendous saves in this one, and he made bunches of them, 43 of 50 to be exact. Kyle LaSella played well for Goffstown, and made all the saves required of him, saving all 11 shots he faced. Goffstown improved to 8-1 on the season while Winnacunnet slipped to 3-5.
The Grizzlies (8-1) host the Saints of St. Thomas Aquinas (8-1) on Wednesday night at Sullivan Arena with the game scheduled for 7:15pm.
Tonight’s effort in Haverhill was a total team effort. The Grizzlies were backstopped by Kyle LaSella in net, while the defensive corps of Jacob Noonan, Colin Burke, Evan McCuaig, Brett Lassonde, Melanie Riendeau, and Eric DesRuisseaux, all worked at keeping Warrior shots to a minimum. It didn’t hurt the defensive support that the offense was so dominant at the other end of the ice either.
Around NHIAA Hockey today:
Dover improved to 6-3-1 with a 5-2 win over Alvirne. Kingswood scored as time expired in regulation and ended up getting a 5-5 tie at Merrimack. Bow lost at Oyster River, 5-0. And Keene went into the ICenter in Salem, and beat Windham 5-2. Keene hasn’t lost since their opening game back on December 13.
In Division I play: Pinkerton remained undefeated with an 8-4 win over Bedford. Bishop Brady beat Manchester Central West, 6-1. Hanover beat Bishop Guertin 3-1. Salem got past Trinity 3-2. And Concord beat Nashua South Pelham 6-3.
There are only five weeks left in the regular season and things are shaping up, or at least getting interesting. This should be a lot of fun.
Goffstown (8-1) at Winnacunnet (3-5)
Haverhill Valley Forum, Haverhill, MA
January 20, 2018. 7:35PM Start: 7:52PM Actual
Goffstown: 2-4-1 = 7
Winnacunnet: 0-0-0 = 0
Winnacunnet: 3-6-2 = 11
Winnacunnet Power Play: 0 for 6.
Winnacunnet: Jack Ellis 43 of 50.