In-depth coverage of Williston boys varsity hockey

Williston Wins Two, Loses Two  

Williston took a two-game winning streak into its away game against Worcester last Wednesday and extended it to three by defeating the Highlanders, 9-3.  

The first period saw both clubs try to feel each other out with a number of scoring opportunities but alas, neither team ripped the twine.  

In the second period, however, Williston came out guns blazing getting on the board at the 13:23 mark of the period when Will Tripp made an in-zone, rink-wide pass to Tommy Harty who made a back diagonal pass to Jake Sacratini flying down the slot.  The Montreal-native buried the shot between the Worcester goalie’s pads.  Williston’s second goal came when Tyler Varin took a shot from the left hash marks that the goalie gloved down high but could not control; the puck dropped to his feet and Alex Latkovski tapped in the rebound.  Connor Hagness netted the third goal of the game when Zach Gmerek put the puck into the left corner and Shaul Mitton zipped a pass cross-crease to a patient Connor Hagness.   

Worcester got on the board at the 4:17 mark but Williston answered two minutes later while short handed when Tripp broke out of the Worcester zone and flew down the left-hand boards.  Mitton streaked toward the net and Tommy Harty was the high man on the drive.  Tripp made a backdiagonal pass to number eight who made a quick pass back to Tripp who then banked a shot off the goalie’s stick for their fourth goal of the game.  Latkovski got his second of the game when he stepped out of the penalty box, took a pass from Roscoe Eade from the defensive zone and showed how you stick handle in a phone booth by driving toward the net and putting a backhander into the net from the goal crease.  It was a nifty goal that put the Wildcats up 5-1. 

In the third, Tommy Harty scored an unassisted goal when he collected an errant puck at the blueline and buried a shot past the Worcester goalie from the hash marks.  Brandon Barrett got his first of the year when he got a pass in the high slot and buried the puck in an all-in-onemotion shot to the far side.  Williston would score two more times with goals from David Novotny (assisted by Sacratini) and Ryan Deschamps (assisted by Tripp and Hunter Wilson.)  The game puck when to Alex Latkovski for playing an excellent game.  Emile Savoie and Ryan Hennigan combined for the win. 

Williston traveled to Winchendon on Friday night for a 6 o’clock tilt with the Wapitis.  Williston got down early in the game and could never rebound, losing the game 6-1.  The Wildcat’s lone goal was scored off a rebound by Tommy Harty.  Latkovski and Novotny got the helpers. The box of rain continued on Saturday afternoon when Berkshire beat Williston 7-1. Down 2-0 with about 5 minutes left in the second period, the floodgates opened as the Bears scored 4 more to close out the 2nd. Connor Hagness scored for Williston, assisted by Tommy Harty. 

On Wednesday, Vermont Academy dropped by Lossone for a matinee against the Wildcats.  The game was tight early but Williston was able to pull away and take the game, 8-4.  Ryan Hennigan got his first start in net for the home team. 

Will Tripp got Williston on the board early in the period when he played the pinball wizard shooting a puck that deflected off two Vermont d-men and into the net past goalie Mason Kucenski.  Vermont answered almost immediately on a man-up deflection as Wildcat in orange and black let a shot go from the half-wall that deflected off his forwardstick and past Hennigan.  Williston answered back nearly fourteen minutes later, short-handed, when Zac Gmerek got a puck to Matt Pimental who skated into the Vermont end, dropped a pass to Ryan Deschamps and cut toward the net.  Deschamps drove to the corner and hit a wide-open Pimental in front who deflected the puck in.  Williston went into the dressing room up, 2-1. 

The Wildcats got things going early in the second when Connor Hagness got a pass from Tyler Varin and skated around and into the slot.  In the meantime, winger Alex Latkovski skated from behind the net and took a pass from the ever-moving Hagness and tucked in a nifty backhander past Kucenski. Williston made it 4-1 when Hunter Wilson busted up the right side into the VA zone and let a shot go from the corner that puzzled Kucenski, who couldn’t control the rebound as the puck landed by the near-post.  A hard-skating Pimental collected his second goal of the game.  Brandon Barrett got into the mix when Pimental won the puck in the corner, skated behind the net and made a pass through the crease that he got a stick on.  It was Barrett’s second on the year, making it 5-1.  

Williston’s sixth goal came when Connor Hagness skated in on a breakaway, made a nifty move but brought a five-iron rather than a pitching wedge to the game and wasn’t able elevate the puck; no matter, he got his own rebound, took the puck behind the net and fed Latkovski in front who buried his second of the game.  Vermont scored two-in-a-row but Williston bookended the scoring for the period when Barrett got his second goal of the game off a hard-working Richard Stefanik who won the puck behind the net and made a cross-slot pass to Barrett who buried the rebound.  Williston took a 7-3 lead into the intermission.   

Williston allowed one more goal in the third period but the Wildcats sealed the win with their eighth of the game when Latkovski made a pass from the left dot of the Vermont zone to an open Hagness who fired a laser that was blocked by Kucenski but drilled home by Deschamps camped out on the crease. 

Williston outshot Vermont 64-20 on the day.  Brandon Barrett earned the game puck and Hennigan ended the game with 16 saves.   

On Saturday the boys varsity hockey team will face off against Gunnery at 6 in an Alzheimer’s Awareness game.  Our team has been deeply affected by this disease and as such it is the focus of this year’s charitable giving. The team will wear custom-created uniforms supporting the cause and there will be a raffle to win a game jersey. There is already quite a buzz on Twitter and Instagram about the game, the cause, and the jerseys! 

If you can’t make it to the game and would like to participate in the raffle there will be a Venmo option at @WillistonNorthamptonSchool and denote ENDALZ. Tickets will be 1 ticket for $2, 3 for $5, 10 for $10, and body length for $20.  Your tickets will then be added into the raffle!  All proceeds will go to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund at https://curealz.org. 

See you there! 

Williston Beats the Berkshire Bears, 5-2 

When the last bolt of sunshine hit the Berkshire Mountains on Saturday night, Williston headed to the dressing room after three hard-fought periods with its second win inarow and its first in Sheffield, MA since January 10th, 2009 when Williston won the contest 3-2.  This time, Williston won 5-2. 

Williston looked to get things going quickly on Saturday afternoon, and that they did scoring just a 1:04 into the game.  Williston worked the puck deep into the Berkshire zone and Berkshire attempted to clear the puck up the lefthand boards.  A fortuitous jump by d-man Hunter Wilson enabled the junior defenseman to scoop the puck off the wall and let a quick shot that Berkshire goalie, Jed Baliotti, saved with his right pad but the rebound zipped right to Connor Hagness’s stick who buried the rebound.  Wilson got his second assist of the game when David Novotny tried to get the puck from the corner to Wilson standing at the middle of the blue line.  Berkshire was able to get a stick on the pass but was not able to gather the puck.  Wilson took a shot that was deflected into the air, hit Baliotti in the chest and bounced onto Novotny’s stick who was skating to the front of the net; he buried his opportunity at the 5:10 mark.  

Williston got their third of the period on the power play when Tyler Varin got the puck on the left point and passed to his d-partner Will Tripp. Tripp skated to the middle of the ice and put a shot on Balliotti, who appeared screened in front.  The goal was the final straw for the Berkshire coaching staff who pulled Baliotti.  The game would remain 3-0 for the remainder of the period and for all of the second period.   

Berkshire finally got on the board in the third only to be answered by Shaul Mitton who received a pass from Varin sending him on a breakaway.  Mitton trucked down the right wing, approached Berkshire goalie Sam Woessner, and beat the junior on a backhand, top shelf.  Word on the street is that there was a monkey running out of the building and into the night as Mitton finally got him off his back, netting his first goal of the year.  The Williston faithful hope that this can get the Charlettetown, PEI senior on the right track from here on out.  Berkshire got a second goal with 1:50 left but that was all they could muster as Hagness closed out the game with an empty-netter.  The game puck went to Mitton for the game.  Trevor Corsello had a splendid afternoon in net making timely saves at important moments.  He finished the game with 43 saves.   

Williston has a three-game week coming up.  First, the Wildcats head to New England’s second-largest city and home of Polar Selzer on Wednesday afternoon against the Worcester Hilltoppers at 4 pm.  On Friday night, Williston is at Winchendon.  Then on Friday, Williston plays its first home game in the New Year and first in nine games when Berkshire comes to town for a 4:45 tilt.  Good seats are still available.  See you there! 

Wildcats Put Pieces Together, Defeat Saints, 3-2 

The Williston boy’s hockey team got off the schneid with a big roadwin at Canterbury on Wednesday afternoon, with a 3-2 decision over the Saints. 

Both clubs entered the game with a 1-8-1 record and looking to get on the winning side of things.  Williston started off the game like mad-men in the defensive zone with Zac Gmerek leading the charge; he would end the day with five blocked shots.  Canterbury scored first when a Canterbury defenseman hit a man in front that deflected errantly into goalie, Trevor Corsello, who could not corral the puck.  A Saint forward pounced on the rebound giving the Saints a 1-0 lead into the first break. 

In the second, and with Williston on the power play, Tyler Varin and William Tripp played catch at the blue line before Tripp sent a quick pass to a wide-open Tommy Harty in the slot who one-timed a low shot that beat Canterbury goalie Cal Skwara between the legs.  It was reminiscent of the captain’s two goals against Northwood a month earlier.  Williston and Canterbury traded opportunities but ended the period 1-1. 

In the third, Williston took the lead at the 2:40 mark of the period when David Novotny worked a puck to Tripp from the halfwall.  Trip zipped a quick pass to Varin at the right point who started to drive toward the net and with the patience of St. Stephen waited out a Canterbury defender who slid by looking to block a potential shot; the assistant captain continued toward the net and forced Skwara to drop putting the puck over his shoulder.  However, eight minutes later Canterbury scored on a one-timer from the blue line that beat Corsello.  The Williston bench was down but quickly pulled themselves up by the metaphorical boot straps and plodded along until less than two minutes later when Novotny got the puck to Jake Sacratini in the corner who skated toward the blue line and around the circle on his backhand, rounded the circletop, moved the puck to his forehand and slipped a quick shot under the arm of Skwara.  It was a dandy of a goal and put Williston up, 3-2, with just under five minutes remaining.   

At this point, Williston buckled up the defense and shut down Canterbury for the win.  Shots were 28-27, Canterbury.  Gmerek earned the game puck for his excellent and focused defense and willingness to block shots. 

Williston heads to Sheffield, MA on Saturday to take on the Berkshire Bears at 3:15.  If you’re making the trip, flip flops and Hawaiian shirts are encouraged due to the spring-like temps for the weekend.  Bring an umbrella though, the heavy stuffs gonna’ be coming down too. Till then. 

Holiday Break with the Wildcats 

On December 20th, the Williston boy’s hockey team loaded up the busses and headed to The St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament in Needham, MA for a late-night tilt against an already-seasoned Northwood team who came into the night having played close to thirty-five games.  Northwood would get on the board once in the first half of the game and early in the second half, but Williston turned things on to tie and then win it in a shootout, 3-2. 

For much of the first half, Williston stuck to its game plan and was only down 1-0 at the end of the period.  Northwood got on the board a little more than two minutes in the second period when a shot was taken from off a rush from just over the blueline that kissed the left post and careened in past Williston goalie, Trevor Corsello.  However, Williston’s power play was clicking as senior captain, Tommy Harty scored twice to even the game. 

The first came on the power play when Harty took a one-timer from David Novotny who was sitting on the right hash marks.  Harty found an opening on the far post past the Northwood goaltender.  Tyler Varin got the other assist.  The goal was scored at the 7:32 mark of the period.  Harty got his second of the game when he took a pass, again in the slot, and let a lazy lightening of a backhand shot go that looked to beat the Northwood goalie in the middle of the net, tying the game.  Both teams would trade chances but none would fall.  A fiveminute overtime yielded no victor, either. 

On to a shootout. 

Northwood shot first and Corsello thwarted the effort.   

Harty took the first shot for Williston and beat their goalie on deke to a backhand.     

Corsello stopped the next Northwood shooter. 

Novotny was the second shooter for Williston in the best of three shootout and he capitalized sending the Williston bench into jubilation.  They would play the late game the following day over a very strong St. Andrews Saints team from Toronto. 

The following day, Williston dropped a 6-1 decision to the Saints.  Novotny got the lone goal for Williston with assists to Sacratini and Varin.  Williston then faced St. Sebastian’s on Sunday for the thirdplace game and lost 4-1.  Connor Hagness scored with an assist from Sacratini. 

After the New Year, Williston reconvened back in Boston to take on Noble and Greenough School and, once again, St. Sebastian’s.  Williston was the home team against Nobles at St. Sebastian’s and started out the game by finishing the first period even at zero. 

In the second period, Williston got on the board just three minutes into the frame when Hagness drove into the zone and put a backhander on Nobles goalie, Marc Smith, from the bottom of the circle.  The odd-angle shot deflected at just about crossbar-height and Williston assistant captain and baseball extraordinaire, Matt Pimental batted in the rebound.  Then, a little over a minute later, Charles Monteith gathered a puck just inside the blue line and a fortuitous screen by Ryan Deschamps allowed the puck to beat Smith once again.  Things appeared to be going well for the Wildcats who dominated play.  However, bad penalties in the second and third period and four Nobles power play goals erased all hope for a Wildcat win and Nobles took the game 6-2.  Williston was outshot, 44-23, Corsello taking the loss. 

The next day Williston played St. Sebastian’s and took the loss, 5-1.  Connor Hagness got the lone goal when he ripped a shot that went bar-down to tie the game at one midway through the second stanza.  Shaul Mitton got the assist.  Williston hung close but eventually Sebs pulled away. Williston was outshot in this game 46-20, while Emile Savoie took the loss.   

Williston has struggled out of the gate, but with the strength-of schedule that the Wildcats play has only helped to season them as they begin the next two-thirds of their schedule in the New Year.  Williston is on the road again for the next four games with the next game this Wednesday at 3:30 at Canterbury.  Both teams have identical records and are looking for their second win of the season and a chance to go on a run.  See you in New Milford! 

Penguins Trip Up Wildcat’s Late-Game Surge; Williston Garners First Win Versus ASL; Highlanders Keep Wildcats in the Lowlands 

 

The Cushing Penguins continued to have Wililston’s number, defeating the Wildcats 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon.  Williston pulled out all the stops in the second and much of the third period but could not secure a win or tie on the day.

Cushing jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period that led the Williston coaching staff shaking its collective heads.  Williston had a game plan and stuck to it quite well but Cushing took advantage of its chances, while Williston just couldn’t find the back of the net, even after a hitting-from-behind penalty that cost a Cushing player some time—five minutes.  Still, the Williston team felt like they had some jam and could get things going in the second.

After the break, Williston entered the period on a mission.  There was an energy and power that had been lacking from the club and they got right to work by methodically putting pressure on the Cushing defense, hemming them into their own zone for much of the period.  At around the ten-minute mark, Williston went on its second 5-minute power play and capitalized early.  The first goal was scored when Shaul Mitton (Charlottetown, PEI) worked a puck to Jake Sacratini in the left corner of the Cushing zone.  Sacratini fired a pass across the low slot to a wide-open David Novotny who buried the puck past Cushing freshman goalie, Jackson Irving.

Before the echoes from the cheers could die down, and still nursing the five-minute power play, sophomore Connor Hagness (Guilford, CT)drove down the right lane into the Cushing zone and let a shot ride that was saved by Irving but that was buried by new sophomore Ryan Deschamps (Burriville, RI).  With a fire on the mountain, the Wildcats continued working to even the score.  Yet even with the momentum in their favor, they still trailed at the end of the period.

Cushing was able to take a two-goal lead in the third period on a two-on-one just 1:48 into the period.  Williston continued to battle and with the goalie pulled, heavy pressure, and just under two minutes remaining in the game, Sacratini buried a puck on the near side to pull within one; however the fourth goal would never come to fruition and Williston took the loss, 4-3.

Williston outshot Cushing, 42-34.

 

On Friday night, Academie St-Louis rolled into town to take on Williston.  Williston got out to a 2-0 lead in the first and never looked back.

The Wildcats got on the board just 1:52 into the game when Shaul Mitton took a shot from the slot that missed the net sending a puck curtailing into the corner and up the boards to a down-charging Hunter Wilson who, from the right hash marks, let a wrister go that landed on the stick of Ryan Deschamps two feet above the crease; Deschamps buried the pass past Sameul Clausiau.  Williston got its second in the period when Alex Latkovski worked a pass in the neutral zone back to defenseman Roscoe Eade (Catonsville, MD) who skied a puck over center ice to a streaking Rich Stefanik (Whitehouse Station, NJ).  Stefanik broke into the zone on a break-away and made a nifty backhand to forehand move that beat Clausiau.

In the second, ASL got its first goal of the period on a 3-1.  However, every silver lining has a touch of gray, and any hopes to draw even were dashed when David Novotny intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and found Captain Tommy Harty (Billerica, MA) streaking to the net.  His initial shot didn’t go but his quick stick on the rebound slid the puck between the legs of the ASL goalie. David Novotny put the Wildcats up two goals when Will Gaca (Durham, NC) made a textbook regroup pass to Assistant Captain Tyler Varin (Smithfield, RI) who then hit number ten splitting the ASL d.  Novotny broke in and beat Clausiau with some silky moves.

Connor Hagness got his first goal of the year when, off a face-off, he took a cross-ice feed from Mitchell Hansen that was initially stopped. However, he kept after his rebound, circled behind the net and wrapped it in past Clausiau.  This would be the final goal of the game giving Williston a 5-1 win.  Trevor Corsello was excellent in the game making 24 saves.  Williston had 52 shots on net.

 

The following evening, Williston traveled to Washington, CT to take on Gunnery.  Williston got on the board about midway into the second when William Tripp (Lakeville, MA) collected an errant puck at the blue line as Gunnery was looking to break out and made a pass to Tommy Harty.  Number eight drove to the net and put a pass to the far post that was tipped by Alex Latkovski and saved by Gunnery goalie, Carmine Andranovich, however Tripp attacked the net and batted the rebound in.

Gunnery tied the game at the 12:27 mark.  In the third, they scored three unanswered goals and the Wildcats lost, 4-1.  The ‘Cats boarded the bus and headed down the road feelin’ bad.  Nothing else to say.

 

The Wildcats are off this Wednesday afternoon as they prepare to head to the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament in Needham, MA.  Williston gets the 8 o’clock game on Friday as they take on Lake Placid, NY’s Northwood School.

Three-Peat Not in the Cards for Wildcats

The Williston boy’s hockey team kicked off its 2019-2020 season on Wednesday against the Avon Old Farms Winged Beavers.  The Wildcats looked to take their third straight opener from Avon but it was not to be as the boys from Connecticut took the game, 4-2.

Things looked like they were going to get off to a great start as Williston buried its first shot on net when junior David Novotny of Boca Raton, Florida made a pass to a wide-open Jake Sacratini—a senior from Montreal, Quebec—beating Connor Callaghan over the blocker.  Avon  tied it up five minutes later and then took the lead at the 17:01 mark of the first period, first beating senior goalie, Trevor Corsello (Selden, NY) off a rebound and then on a hard wrist shot across the grain on a one-on-one.  Truth be told, Williston was caught in slow motion in a dash for the door and Avon took it to them in the first period. It was Corsello who pulled out as many stops as he could making nineteen saves including a diving, cross-crease save that brought the fans of Lossone Arena to its feet.

Avon would get two goals in the second period but were met by a much grittier Williston team who had many opportunities but couldn’t finish.  The period ended, 4-1.

Williston began to find its ways even more in the third and finally got on the board for their second of the game when junior Alex Latkovski from Westmount, Quebec made a pass to senior Matt Pimental (East Providence, Rhode Island) who stepped over the blue line and let a low rocket go beating Callaghan again.  Williston would get a few power plays in the third, including a 5×3 and a 6×5 at the end of the game but could not finish.  When the horn sounded after fifty-four minutes, Avon had taken the game, 4-2.

Shots in the game were 34 for Avon and 18 for Williston.

Williston heads to northwestern Connecticut on Saturday evening for a foray with the NEPSAC Open Division runners-up, the Salisbury Scarlet Knights at 5:00 in Salisbury, Connecticut.

Williston Closes the Door on Deerfield, 3-2

In what was already a special night for the Williston boys hockey team who donned special military-inspired jerseys emblazoned with the crests of each of the armed services in honor of military appreciation night, the Wildcats took it a step further by defeating their green and white rival, #11-ranked Deerfield, in a Lossone Arena that was packed to the hilt with spectators and fans of both clubs.  The energy was palpable from the get-go, the music was bumping, and the action was intense.  In the end, Williston was able to garner three goals to Deerfield’s two, taking their first game off the Green Doors in the last six years.

Williston got on the board just :46 seconds into the tilt when, toward the end of their shift, Hunter Sarro worked a puck in the neutral zone to James Belleavoine who broke down the left side of the ice into the Deerfield zone and made a pass across the top of the crease to a streaking Cam Mariani who deflected the puck past Dartmouth-bound goalie, Thomas Gale.  The rest of the period was a battle with gritty plays and explosive body-checks echoing around the Quonset hut of Lossone.  Williston entered the first intermission up, 1-0.

In the second, Williston added to the lead at the 5:14 mark when, the Belleavoine-Mariani-Sarro line struck again.  First, Sarro worked hard along the left offensive wall to keep up a puck in the zone, getting it down to the corner.  Mariani raced to it, beat his man and with his back almost flush against the wall, made a tape-to-tape pass to a wide open Belleavoine, ten feet from the crease near the left-circle hashmarks.  Belleavoine knew what to do and put a neat shot just past Gale’s glove.  Big Red doesn’t fly off the handle often, but his celebration rivaled that of famed 1980s Rochester American blueliner Jim Hofford.

Deerfield would claw back three minutes later but Jake Sacratini got the eventual game winner when Matt Pimental worked a puck to Brendan Nehmer who broke in the Deerfield offensive zone, took a shot that was blocked but was quickly gathered by Sacratini in the mid-slot who took all that Vezio ever taught him and beat Gale glove-side.  Sacratini said hello to the ice with his glove and then jumped high into the glass in celebration.  The rest of the period continued to be a battle as both teams pounded one another trying to gain any advantage they could.  As the horn sounded for the end of the period, Williston led, 3-1.

In the third, Williston fell back into a more defensive shell at times but one that kept Deerfield at bay allowing Wildcat goalie Kyler Breland to see and gather all incoming shots.  Always a club with a flare for the dramatic, Williston gave up a late goal on a 6-5 after a Wildcat defender’s stick was slashed out of his hand, but the whistles were put away early in this contest, so no foul was called.  After the goal, Williston coach Derek Cunha respectively disagreed with the no-call but to no avail.  While the game still had two minutes left, Williston buckled down, sacrificed their bodies, and as the final horn blew, I swear some of the solar panels atop the arena were jostled free from the eruption of cheers and huzzahs emitted from the Williston faithful.

Deerfield outshot Williston, 36-22.  The game puck was earned by Jake Sacratini whose strong play in Wednesday’s Canterbury game carried over to this one.

With the win, Williston inched one game closer to .500 and even closer to an elusive playoff birth, though the fates still hold the cards for the latter.

With just three remaining games left, Williston welcomes Albany on Wednesday afternoon.  Fans will remember that Williston took one on the chin at the hands of the Cadets back in December when they lost in the first game of the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament, 3-0.  Williston, though, is a different team than two months ago, so look for an exciting rematch.  Puck drops at 4pm on Wednesday at Williston.  We look forward to seeing you there.

The Heavens Can’t Save the Saints As Williston Takes Down Canterbury

The Williston boys hockey team boarded the mini busses on Wednesday and headed down to New Milford, CT to take on the Canterbury Saints in a rematch of their December 12th game.  In this go-round, Williston got the better of the Saints, winning 6-4.

Williston got on the board early in the first period when Brendan Nehmer worked hard in the corner to work a puck to the right point to Alex Berg who played a little pinball with a shot that hit a number of Canterbury sticks and deflected past goalie, Cal Skwara.  The goal was the Floridian’s first of the year.

Williston got their second goal of the game when Brendan Nehmer poke checked a Canterbury forward trying to skate the puck out of the zone.  As Nehmer grabbed the puck, he drove to inside the right circle and let a pass go cross-crease that was tipped in neatly by Jake Sacratini giving the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead after the first.

In the second, Canterbury found their way coming out strong and scoring a goal three minutes into the frame.  Williston scored the next two goals; the first coming off a Shaul Mitton faceoff win in the Canterbury zone that went back to Jack Purcell who let a Chicago-clapper go from the top of the left circle.  Fans who were there said that the shot reminded them of the butterflies known to frequent Rochester, New York’s Lilac Festival in early May.

Jake Sacratini got his second goal of the game when some crafty maneuvering below the circle tops saw Tommy Harty work a puck to Brendan Nehmer who made a pass on the Canterbury crease where Sacratini took a swipe at the puck only to have it kicked in by an opposing defenseman. Then, with under a minute-and-a-half remaining, Canterbury cut the lead to two.

In the third, Canterbury scored two goals, tying the game at the 7:04 mark.  However, Williston put the screws to the Saints when Tommy Harty and David Novotny worked hard in the deep left corner of the Canterbury zone working a puck to a streaking Tim Rego who buried the puck just five feet from the goal past Skwara replacement, Connor Cherry.  Brandon Barrett sealed the deal when Shaul Mitton put on a hard forecheck forcing a turnover that Brandon Barrett was able to collect behind the Canterbury net.  With the patience of a monk, Barrett crept from behind the goal line and found daylight through a minute hole that beat Cherry.  Chippy play at the end of the game was no match for Williston as they sealed the win.

Williston outshot Canterbury, 31-30.  Barrett earned the game puck for his diligent efforts all game and his more than timely goal.

This Friday, Deerfield (our neighbors to the north) come to visit the Lossone Ice Palace.  Williston will be honoring those in our armed services in military appreciation night.  The Williston team will be wearing military inspired jerseys and socks in honor of those men and women who serve and who have served.  There will be raffles and other fun activities throughout the game.  Please come on down and support the Wildcats and the United States Military.

 

Williston dropped by Hoggers, Tame the Mustangs in OT

Williston entered last Wednesday’s game against the #8-ranked Northfield Mount Herman Hoggers looking to find their way back in the playoff hunt after losing to Loomis before Long Weekend.  However, the Wildcats took another step away from their final goal of playing in the post-season losing, 3-2.

NMH got on the board in the second period when a Williston turnover inside their own blueline resulted in a goal from a shot at the circle tops that beat Kyler Breland between the legs.  Williston responded four minutes later at the 15:08 mark when James Belleavoine skated the puck out of the Williston zone, into the Hoggers end and drove to the left corner.  Number fourteen then evaded a defenseman and slipped a pass through the crease to a patient Tim Rego at the right point.  Rego’s hands were as smooth as Abbotts Custard as he cruised to the top of the left circle, careened to the side of the net and brought the puck from his backhand to his forehand tossing a shot into the upper right corner.  It was a dandy goal and one that brought the Williston faithful to their feet.

In the third, NMH scored a goal on a cross ice feed on the power with 3 minutes remaining in play and then the next shift on an innocent looking shot from the top of the left circle to go up 3-1.  Williston scored with one-second remaining, but it was not enough.

Williston was outshot 36-22.  The ‘Cats played an excellent game but a two-minute lapse toward the end of the third period was the downfall of the boys from Easthampton.

 

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The Wildcats stabled the Millbrook Mustangs on Saturday afternoon in Millbrook, NY.  Millbrook had all sorts of reasons to come up big—Senior Day, Military Appreciation Day, Alumni Weekend, Winter Weekend, and thoughts of avenging an earlier loss to Williston a month prior.  Fortunately for the Wildcats, they had the antidote: J-I-M-M-Y.  James Belleavoine notched a hat-trick, including the game winner in overtime to win the game, 4-3.

Belleavoine got things going at the 5:32 mark of the first period when Cam Mariani cleared the puck up the left-wing boards.  Belleavoine came screaming up the wall and was able to beat the pinching defenseman to it and head up on a 2-1.  Looking off his roommate Hunter Sarro, Belleavoine shot from the hash marks that was saved by Millbrook goalie Cam Fernandez but following up the shot, he buried the rebound.  Millbrook evened up the game five minutes later.

Then, with :47 seconds remaining in the period, Belleavoine struck again when Cam Mariani knocked a puck to the left boards that was picked up by Alex Berg who skated up the wall and made a pass to Belleavoine who had a step on two Millbrook defenders; Belly split the d and drove to the net letting a back hander go with pressure from his right.  The puck sailed over Fernandez into the top right corner.

In the second, good forechecking led to Tim Rego picking up a puck outside the Millbrook blueline creating a three-on-one with Brendan Nehmer on his left.  Rego slid a pass to Nehmer who used his fancy mitts to slip the puck between Fernandez’s pads to go up 3-1.

Penalties hurt Williston as Millbrook scored with :11 seconds left in the second period to bring the game to within one and then with :42 seconds remaining in the third and on a 6-on-4, Millbrook buried the tying goal.

Williston could have packed up their bags and quit after losing a two-goal lead but in overtime, Shaul Mitton got a puck in the offense zone to Tim Rego at the point who, again, slipped from the right point to the slot and let a backhand ride that was blocked; the puck then bounced fortuitously to Belleavoine who drove down from the point after covering for Rego and let a Rhode Island Rocket go from just above the hashmarks.  Word from Millbrook has it that they are still looking for the puck. Williston arms went up; Millbrook heads went down; and Manager Oscar Ngyuen was one happy manager.

Williston was outshot in the match, 32-24 but no matter.  Belleavoine earned the game puck for his timely hat-trick.

Williston has two games this week.  The first is at in New Milford, CT against the Canterbury Saints on Wednesday afternoon at 4:15.  The Wildcats dropped their first game of the two-game series in December and look to split the difference.  Then, Friday night, Williston takes on Route 91 foe Deerfield at 6pm at Lossone.  Williston will be honoring our armed forces in Military Appreciation night.  There will be games and raffles during the game so please make sure you bring a friend and head on down!

Wildcats Out-Claw Bruins; Cage the Martlets; Pecked by the Pelicans

Williston won their third and fourth games in-a-row on Saturday and Monday defeating the Brunswick Bruins 6-2 and the Westminster Martlets 3-1.  The wins improved Williston’s record to 8-10-1 and moved them closer to the playoff conversation, though there is much more hockey left to play in the season.

With the Bruins visiting Lossone on Saturday, Williston looked to add to their two-game winning streak with number three.  Two hours after the start time, it happened.

Williston got the ball rolling at 2:25 of the first period when Jake Sacratini bumped a pass from the top of the right circle to Tim Rego at the point; the captain let a shot go as he was drifting backwards that beat Brunswick goalie Dan Dachille over his shoulder.  A well-timed screen by Tommy Harty allowed the floater to hit the back of the net undetected.

Five minutes later, Sacratini found his name on the goal side of the score sheet when he chased a Brunswick defender into the offensive zone, applied great pressure that worked a puck to the front of the net.  Linemate Brendan Nehmer got a stick on the puck that ping-ponged  around until center Matt Pimental chopped a backhand on Dachille that was saved; eventually, it squeaked out to Sacratini on his forehand who drove the puck into an open net.

Cam Mariani made it a 3-0 game with just under three minutes left in the period when he picked off a pass with his glove at the Williston blue line and sped in on a breakaway.  His initial shot was saved by Dachille but he could not control the rebound.  The puck sailed three feet straight up and rolled in off his back.  The ‘Cats went into the dressing room with the lead.

In the second, Brunswick finally got on the board early in the period when they went guns blazing on Williston.  The period ended, 3-1.

In the third, Williston began to run away with it.  Matt Pimental got the puck deep on the left side of the ice and forechecked like the mighty winds off of Lake Ontario during a polar vortex.  Coupled with his aggressiveness was the other guy who knows bone-chilling gales, Jack Purcell, who also pursued the puck behind the net.  Pimental created space for himself in front and received a Purcell-pass on the doorstep; he shifted left, drove right and slipped a pretty backhander past Dachille.

Williston got their fifth goal of the game when Shaul Mitton skated hard into the offensive zone, forced a turnover at the half-wall that was picked up by Harty who drove hard to the goal line from just above the bottom of the circle.  A Bruin defenseman stepped up to him but winger David Novotny drove from the corner next to Harty who shoveled him a pass.  Novotny took no time and buried the puck under the crossbar.

Brunswick would get a second goal on the power play, but Hunter Sarro put the knife in the heart of the Bruins when he received a pass from roommate James Belleavoine on the most selfless play of the season.  Belleavoine drove into the zone on a three-on-one, passed up a sure goal on the empty net, and slid the puck to his Sarro.  The play epitomized the selfless play of the Wildcats on this day and earned him the game puck.

Williston outshot the Bruins, 29-24.  In addition, Williston blocked twenty Bruin shots.

 

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Thank God for Western Mass Hockey Players

 

Williston journeyed down to Connecticut on Monday to take on the Westminster Martlets in what has become an epic battle of Route 10.  The Martlets were riding a five-game win streak into the game, were 8-1-1 in their last ten games, and had just been ranked #6 in New England that day.  This did not deter the Wildcats, and especially two seniors born and raised in the Pioneer Valley.

Brendan Nehmer got Williston on the board first when he blocked a shot, used his speed to out-race a Westy defender to spring himself on a breakaway, and beat Westminster’s Ian Shane on the right side.

In the 2nd period Nehmer got his second of the game when he drove up the right side of the ice, cut to the middle of the Westminster zone and let a wrist shot go from just inside the blue, beating Shane glove-side.  Alex Berg and Tommy Harty were awarded the assists.  Then, just a few minutes later, James Belleavoine got a puck to Cam Mariani on the left side of the neutral zone who drove on a semi-breakaway and beat Shane on the short side.  Shane was pulled for Bennett Ostern.

In the third, Williston weathered a Martlet onslaught, being outshot 18-1. Kyler Breland stood up to the task letting only one goal by.  It should be noted that while the Wildcats did not mount much offense in the period, their defensive zone coverage allowed Breland to see most of the Westy shots, and any rebounds given up were quickly swept away by the Williston boys.

Westminster took it to Williston for much of the game, outshooting them 42-11.  However, Williston’s defensive play including that of Breland and the ability to bury their few chances were the game-changers.  Breland was awarded the game puck.  Williston blocked sixteen Westminster shots.

Williston takes on its third Nutmeg-state opponent in three games, Loomis Chaffee, today at 4:30 in Easthampton.  This is the final game before a well-deserved Winter Long Weekend so please come support your ‘Cats!

 

 

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On the Wednesday before Long Weekend, the Loomis Chaffee Pelicans came to Lossone for a late-afternoon tilt with the Wildcats.  Williston was looking to extend its win streak to five games but a feisty and talented Loomis team put an end to that bid.  Despite a closely contested game for 51 minutes, Williston eventually dropped the matchup, 5-1.

Williston got on the board at the 16:37 mark of the first period on the power play when Tim Rego made a pass on the top of the power play to his left side to Cam Mariani; Mariani let a low shot go that was blocked by Loomis goalie Kyle Chauvette.  The pass deflected to the right faceoff dot where Hunter Sarro collected the puck and buried the rebound putting the Wildcats up 1-0.  Unfortunately, that would be all the offense they would get as Chauvette shut the door on any other opportunities.

Loomis scored five straight goals including two in the second and three in the third. Down 2-1 with about 3 minutes to go in the game, Williston’s attention drifted towards soon pulling the goalie to tie it up with the extra skater. That plan was foiled when Loomis created a low turnover and capitalized making it 3-1. An empty-net goal followed by a last minute tally quickly turned a 2-1 game into a 5-1 defeat. Shots were 30-28 in favor of the Wildcats.

Williston returns to action on Wednesday at Northfield Mount
Hermon at 3pm.  We are experiencing a bit of a heat wave in these parts so a full snow suit will not be necessary at NMH’s partially enclosed outdoor complex.  Hope to see you there!