This afternoon the Grizzlies of Goffstown hosted the Oyster River Bobcats at Sullivan Arena for a rematch from a game they played way back before Christmas. Goffstown lost 4-2 at the Whittemore Center the first time they played. But then, the last five meetings, including the earlier contest this season, have not been great ones for the Grizzlies.
In the 2015-16 season the Grizzlies dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions to the Bobcats. Last season, Goffstown split with Oyster River, winning 2-1 at home and losing 2-0 on the road. So today on home ice, the Grizzlies were certainly looking to avenge the earlier loss and show the Bobcats their best effort. Goffstown ended up scoring 2 goals in each of the three periods to earn a total team victory, 6-2 over the visiting Bobcats.
The 10-2 Grizzlies started the game against the 5-4 Bobcats and I know that some of us were wondering, would we see the Goffstown team that has really kicked things in to gear since Christmas, or would we see the Grizzlies that have scored just 6 goals in their last five meetings against Oyster River. Well, it didn’t look good for Goffstown early on. First, Lucas Hamilton scored on a rebound from a Ben Caron shot on Madeline Sage that, honestly could have been scored by two different Bobcat skaters as there was not much resistance from Goffstown. Then less than a minute later, Oyster River skated into the offensive zone, with speed, on a 2-on-1 break. Eric Donovan ripped a shot past Sage in net, but the puck hit the far post and bounced wide of the net. The Grizzlies dodged that bullet.
Senior, alternate captain, Max Lajeunesse rescued the Grizzlies at 3:21. He tied the game when he took a pass from Jacob Noonan and somehow broke free from Eric Donovan and another Bobcat defender at center ice with enough speed to beat Zach Leichtman to the slot area and rip a wrist shot that clanged off the inside of the far post and into the net. A few minutes later the CBC line did everything but score when Griffin Cook had a tremendous backhand attempt, in close, that was snuffed out by Colin Clark in net for Oyster River. The Grizzlies continued pile up shots on goal, but mostly they were from the outside, and handled easily by Clark.
Finally, Goffstown started to mount some offensive zone time, and moved the puck while looking for creases, angles, and openings in which to attack the Bobcats. Sebastian Beal wrapped the puck through the corner back to the point man, Evan McCuaig. McCuaig made a nifty move to make a pass to Griffin Cook moving in the middle of the ice. Cook let a backhand shot go before Colin Clark could get set to defend the shot, and Cook’s bid found the back of the net giving the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead at 12:23 of the opening period. The score would hold through one, and Goffstown led the shot count 14-7.
Most of us probably think of offense when we think of skating speed in hockey. Well, Max Lajeunesse can motor with the best of them, and he used his after burners to score in the first period, leaving a wake of defenders. Max had a great night in my opinion and you will hear more from him in this story, but I had to make a note of a play he made, using his speed at 3:30 of the middle period. With the Grizzlies scrambling to defend in transition, Lajeunesse turned on the jets to back-check and assist defenseman, Brett Lassonde, just in time to break up a Bobcat scoring bid. It was a great play. Midway through the period, with the score still tight, at 2-1, Goffstown gained possession of the puck in their own end and looked poised to breakout of their zone. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the pass from Colby Gamache, banked off of the end boards, lost its steam, and ended up being put into the back of their own net by Will Cilia from Eric Donovan at 7:24.
The opponents continued to play hard, and go end to end with not much being accounted for at least as far as the score-sheet was concerned. Then Griffin Cook and Noah Charron worked with each other to feed a pass out to Sebastian Beal in the slot, who promptly shot the puck wide. All was not lost though as Brett Lassonde wrapped the puck deep from the right wing point. Sebastian Beal grabbed the puck and fed Noah Charron down low, Charron walked out front and put his shot between the post and Colin Clark’s shoulder. The assists went to Beal and Lassonde at 10:22, and the Grizzlies were back in front, 3-2. After Madeline Sage made an enormous save for Goffstown, directly off of an Oyster River offensive zone face-off win, Max Lajeunesse used his speed again to break in all alone only to be completely robbed by a spectacular left pad save by Colin Clark for Oyster River. Again, Goffstown persevered, and Lajeunesse scored seconds later when Colin Burke’s shot was deflected by Theo Milianes right to Max, at 11:03. The score would hold for the rest of the period, but it was not from a lack of action in the final four minutes of the period.
At 12:43 of the second period Brett Lassonde lost the puck and Oyster River was right there to take possession but the Bobcats blasted a shot that caromed off of the post and out of harm’s way. Goffstown regrouped and at 13:03 Michael Fortin made a nice play, getting the puck ahead to Lajeunesse who barreled into the zone on another breakaway only to have Clark make a splendid blocker save to keep his team in the game. A minute later Colby Gamache sent Brett Branscum in on a partial breakaway when Declan Daubney came flying out of nowhere for Oyster River to break up the play as Branscum was ready to fire. Goffstown led 4-2 after two periods, and held a 21-13 edge in shots.
Goffstown had a goal waived off at 0:44 of the final period as the puck was played with a high stick. That didn’t get the Grizzlies down though as they collected a pair of goals for the third straight period en route to a 6-2 win. The first goal of the period came at 3:21 when Noah Charron buried one of the best shots I have seen all season, assisted by Brett Lassonde and Griffin Cook. Charron had the puck out toward the right-wing corner, just above the goal line, and he ripped a shot over Clark’s left shoulder but under the crossbar where Grammy hides the homemade doughnuts for a brilliant goal. Even the officials were talking about that shot after the game was over. Half a minute later, Colin Burke scored a Grizzlie goal set up by Michael Fortin and Max Lajeunesse to give Goffstown a 6-2 lead. Goffstown would hold on and win by the 6-2 score, thanks in large part to Madeline Sage who made several big saves in the final ten minutes. Colin Clark made 17 saves but was pulled after the Burke goal, and Nick Milano played the final 11:09 making 4 saves on 4 shots. Sage saved 18 of 20 Bobcat shots.
Goffstown returns to action out on the west coast of New Hampshire, in Keene, against the red-hot, top-ranked, Keene Blackbirds (9-1-1) on Wednesday night at 8pm. Oyster River dropped their third straight game in a stretch against, Dover, St. Thomas, and Goffstown.
Goffstown (11-2) vs. Oyster River (5-5)
Sullivan Arena, St. Anselm College, Goffstown, NH
February 3, 2018. 2:00PM Start:
Oyster River: 7-6-7 = 20
Oyster River Power Play: 0 for 1.
Goffstown: Madeline Sage 18 of 20.
Oyster River: Colin Clark 17 of 23 (33:51)
If you click on a gallery photo, click on it again to open the larger original image.
Around NH tonight:
- The St. Thomas Saints held on to win 5-4 over Portsmouth-Newmarket out in Dover. The Saints (10-2) scored first, Matt MacLean from JoJo Grella, and then jumped to a 4-1 lead after two periods. M. MacLean, JoJo Grella, and Brendan Tersolo got the 2nd period goals. Meanwhile, Portsmouth-Newmarket got a hat trick from Andrew Weeks, and a goal from Luke Squire with a minute to play, to tie the game at 4-4. Jacob McGuire scored for the Saints with 0:26 left in regulation on a rebound to secure the win.
- The Dover Green Wave ripped off their fourth straight win beating Spaulding 8-2, and earned their 9th win, as they are now, 9-3-1 on the season. Colby Roy had a pair of goals, and Dover got single goals from Jared Turgeon, Garrett Swan, Nick Marchuk, Wyatt Allaire, Josh Ball, and Jameson Goodridge on their way to victory. Garrett Langis had a pair of goals for Spaulding.
- Merrimack got their 3rd win with a 7-5 victory over Alvirne at West Side Arena.
- Timberlane routed Sanborn 11-3 and now have won two of their last three games.
- Kingswood traveled to Concord to play the Bow Falcons, and left town with a 5-1 win. Nick Potenza had a hat trick for the Knights, Sean Harrington scored, and Cole Emerson added an empty netter for Kingswood. Joey Vetanze made 36 saves for the Knights.
- Keene routed Winnacunnet 6-0 and the BlackBirds haven’t lost since their first game of the season.