In-depth coverage of Williston boys varsity hockey

Williston loses to Millbrook; Upends Canterbury in OT

 

The Williston hockey team dropped its fourth straight game when it lost to Millbrook 5-3 last Saturday afternoon.  However, with a change in the game plan, some tenacious play, and a hat trick by captain Sam Milnes, Williston was able to defeat the Canterbury Saints, 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday afternoon.

When Millbrook came to town on Saturday, they were riding a three game win-streak and it looked like early on, they were about to take it to the Wildcats when they scored on the power play at the 6:19 mark of the first period after a sluggish start by the home team.  They took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room after one.

In the second, Brendan Hansen was able to capitalize on the power play when Logan Geisness corralled a pass from Tim Rego and broke into the Millbrook zone down the left side.  Geisness then made a tape-to-tape pass to a streaking Hansen who had an open net.  With increased pressure, David Novotny made it 2-1 at the 5:24 mark of the period and things looked like they were rolling for the ‘Cats.  James Belleavoine got the assist.  Unfortunately penalties cost Williston as Millbrook scored on a 5×4 and then on a penalty shot while Williston was on the power play.  Millbrook went up 4-2 at the 16:54 mark when a loose puck out front was banged home.

Williston let up another goal at the beginning of the third to go down 5-2.  At the 4:41 mark, Billy Smith found Cam Mariani in front of the net who was able to power in a goal, however that would be all the scoring for the day.  Williston was outshot, 31-26.

Yesterday, the Canterbury Saints came marching in looking to sweep the season series but the Wildcats were ready for the task.

Williston began the period with gusto controlling much of the play and outshooting Canterbury, 12-3.  Sam Milnes got Williston on the board at the 7:34 mark of the period when he took a pass from Logan Geisness, streaked down the right boards, and let a shot go from the circle tops that beat the Saint’s goalie far side.  Zach Riccitelli would answer the call on a short-handed goal at the 15:48 mark of the period.  The teams would go into the dressing room knotted at one.

In the second period, Williston continued to dominate play for much of the period outshooting Canterbury 13-3 but neither team could find the net.

In the third, the goals started coming.  Canterbury got on the board first on a shot from the slot.  Williston’s Sam Milnes answered on the doorstep after a low blistering shot was released by Alex Berg, knocked around by Logan Geisness, and eventually buried by Milnes for his second of the game.  Williston went up 3-2 just over a minute later when Kyle Caddo took a shot and Ethan Agostoni buried a rebound.  Connor Power got the other assist.  Then, at the 16:38 mark and with the goalie pulled, Canterbury tied the game on a shot off a draw that beat Williston goalie Greg Iverson.  Following the goal, Williston would face more adversity as they were called for an interference call giving the Saints even more momentum. Down, on the penalty kill, but not defeated, Williston went to overtime.

In the overtime frame, Williston killed the Saint’s penalty and at the 2:33 mark and off a Brendan Hansen faceoff win, Sam Milnes buried a laser past a screened Canterbury goalie.  Players’ arms went up, mammas’ tears came down, and Williston snapped a four-game losing streak.

Williston outshot Canterbury 41-21, with Iverson getting the win.  Game puck went to Sam Milnes for his hat trick.

On Friday night Williston plays Deerfield at Eaglebrook at 6pm.  Be there. (But if you can’t, you can check it out at: https://deerfield.edu/athletics/events/2018/02/hockey-boys-varsity-vs-williston/10251371/)

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Williston Drops Two Games to Connecticut Foes

Last week, Williston dropped a pair of games to NEPSAC rivals Westminster and Loomis Chaffee.  While the Wildcats played hard, they were unable to secure the win losing the first contest 4-1 and the second 2-1.

On Monday, January 29th, Westminster rolled into the Lossone Ice Palace ranked in the top ten and looking to avenge an overtime loss from the year before.  The game began with great pace and both teams battled hard in the first period.  Williston got on the board first when Billy Smith screamed down the left wall and let a rip go from the tops of the circle.  The Westminster goalie made the save but Wisco-native Logan Geisness, in a you-can’t-draw-this-up-any-better play, slammed home the rebound giving Williston a 1-0 lead at the end of the first.

In the second, Westminster got on the board when Williston failed to get the puck deep and tied the game a few moments later.

In the final frame, with the score tied 1-1, Westminster got the eventual game winner on a shot from the circle tops that beat goalie Xander Rogers.  A few minutes later, Westminster scored again to make it 3-1.  Westy would get an empty netter to seal the deal for the Martlets.  Williston was outshot in the game 26-25.

On Wednesday, Williston loaded up the coach bus and headed to Loomis Chaffee.  Greg Iverson got the start.

The first period saw Williston get down early when a fortuitous bounce behind the net and a quick pass to the slot put Loomis up 1-0.  Then, just over a minute later and on the power play, Loomis went up 2-0 when a Loomis player stepped up from out of the corner and beat Iverson over the shoulder.  Williston, however, would not go down without swinging.  Two minutes later, defensemen Tim Rego joined a Williston rush, picked up a loose puck on the side of the net, cut hard across the crease and was able slide the puck past the outstretched leg of the Loomis goalie.  Unfortunately that would be all the scoring in the game.  Williston battled hard and carried the play for much of the game but struggled to generate any grade-A scoring chances.  Shots were 25-22 in favor of Williston.

Williston welcomes the Millbrook Mustangs this Saturday at 4 pm at Lossone for what looks to be a battle.  Williston took the first game against Millbrook 4-3 in overtime and the Mustangs are seeking payback.  Good seats are still available.

Also, after the boy’s game the Williston girls will have their annual Pink the Rink game against Andover starting at 6.  Bring your money for baked goods and a raffle with excellent prizes.  See you there!

 

 

Williston Beats Vermont, Millbrook; Loses to Gunnery, Brunswick

After defeating Berkshire at home, the Vermont Wildcats entered Lossone last Wednesday afternoon and your host Williston Wildcats earned the victory behind a 13 save performance from Xander Rogers, 6-2.

Williston was down early in the game when a Vermont player was able to deflect a point shot on the power play.  However, at the 15:07 mark, James Belleavoine took exception to the lead and buried a puck past the Vermont goalie Dylan Regan on an assist from the Sauce, Cam Mariani.  Kyle Caddo wanted a piece of the action and just a minute later, beat Regan on a blast with an assists from Belleavoine and Tim Rego.

In the second, Williston added to their lead at the 1:49 mark when Captain Sam Milnes went in on a 2-1 with freshman David Novotony charging down the center of the ice.  In a move taken from the St. Sebastian’s game, Milnes put a puck right on the tape of Novo who buried the puck.  At the 14:14 mark, the exact same thing happened again. (No need for a recap, just read above.)  Connor Canterbury decided to get in on the action when he took a puck on the left point, walked in a few strides and let a blast go just above the circle tops.  For the Alaskan Assassin, this was his first goal of the year.  Logan Geisness and Billy Smith earned the helpers.  Then just two minutes later, Sam Milnes made the game 6-1 when he put in a greasy goal on the doorstep with assists from Geisness and Brandon McGill.

The third period featured only one goal by Vermont, but was highlighted primarily by the text book game management of the Williston group.  Canterbury earned the game puck.

On Saturday, the Gunnery Highlanders came to town.  This would be the only meeting of the season between the two clubs due to a snowstorm that cancelled the Williston trip to Washington, CT. In a highly physical and contentious game, there were no goals scored in the first period.  In the second, Gunnery was able to score when the puck could not be cleared by Williston.  Gunnery scored their second goal on the power play at the 11:47 mark.  Later in the period, Kevin Lassman pulled the ‘Cats to within one when he skated into the Gunnery zone and beat goalie, JP Mella. Assists when to Geisness and Smith.  However, that would be as close as Williston would get.  The Wildcats dropped the contest 2-1.  Goalie Greg Iverson played very well making 32 saves in the loss.

This past Wednesday, Williston packed their bags once again and headed out to the great state of New York and home of the New York Yankees and the Erie Canal!  Millbrook was battling a bout of illness but their Pink in the Rink game gave them extra strength to make a game out of the day, but Williston would overcome and win 4-3 in overtime.

Not making the trip was captain Sam Milnes who battled his own illness.  Keeping him home was like trying to put a ten foot tiger into a nine foot cage, but health services was able to do it.

Williston started the first period with a set game plan and executed it swimmingly.  Williston maintained heavy pressure all period and even gaining a 5-3 advantage at one point, but to no avail.  Both teams entered the dressing rooms locked a zeroes.

In the second period, Millbrook got on the board on their own 5-3 at the 3:10 mark. Williston would even the frame at the 15:35 mark when Billy Smith worked the puck to Tim Rego who skated in the zone on the left hand side, took a shot, collected his rebound, went behind the net and slid a sweet pass to Brendan Hansen right on the doorstep.  The puck went through a hole and Williston was happy.

In the third, Williston took the lead at the 2:43 mark when Hunter Sarro took pass from Brendan Hansen and buried shot from 20 feet out.  Canterbury earned the assist.  Cheese-head Brandon McGill made it 3-1 when he let a laser go from the right wing that beat Millbrook goalie Cam Fernandez on the far side at the 8:30 mark.  Williston was feeling good about itself but two untimely penalties got Millbrook to even the score, the final goal coming with just 50 seconds left. Overtime was to determine the fate of the two teams.

In OT, both clubs had a number of scoring opportunities and Williston goalie, Xander Rogers was up to the task.  Williston, on the other hand, wanted to leave Upstate New York with a win and it came with just 12 seconds left when Geisness let a shot go from the right half-wall that Billy Smith, with hands like a surgeon, was able to corral between Fernandez’ five-hole.  Williston’s arms went up, moms’ tears fell down, and Williston boarded the bus with Four Brothers Pizza and a win.  Smith earned the game puck.  Rogers made 35 saves.

On Saturday Williston headed down to Southwest Connecticut to face the Brunswick Bruins.  While the Wildcats would lead by two goals twice in the game, penalties proved to be their Achilles heel as the Bruins converted on three power play opportunities.  Brunswick took the game 4-3.

The period opened with both clubs feeling one another out. Ethan Agostoni got Williston on the board at the 12:32 mark of the first period when he jammed in a puck on the side of the net.  Connor Power got the assist.  Sam Milnes put Williston up by two a minute later when he took control in the offensive zone skated around a myriad of players and beating Bruin goalie Dan Dachille in the slot.  Brunswick got a late goal in the period on the power play on a rebound opportunity.

Williston looked like they would continue to roll when a 1:23 into the 2nd period, Mariani pick-pocketed a Bruin defensemen behind the net and put a shot on Dachille that was saved, but Billy Smith poked in the rebound.  However, Williston would go on the penalty kill and Brunswick took advantage netting two opportunities.  They would get eventual game winner with 8:46 in the period.

While Coach Cunha tried to rally the Wildcats with a Charles Dickinson-esque speech between periods, it was to no avail.  Greg Iverson made 31/35 saves on the day.

Williston plays Westminster tonight at Lossone at 5.  Williston beat Westminster last year in overtime and no doubt the Martlets would like to repay the favor this year.  Great seats are still available.

Williston Takes Six Points in Three-Game Week: Wildcats top the Hilltoppers, Wapitis, and Bears

 

Williston headed out on their eighth straight road trip on Wednesday to take on a much improved Worcester Hilltopper club at the Worcester Ice Center.  Xander Rogers got the nod for the Wildcats and was excellent when he needed to be.  Williston dominated much of the play but a stingy Nathan Pickett in goal for Worcester had Williston in fits for two periods.  It wasn’t until early in the third that Williston was able to tie the game and then pull away.

Williston came out in the first period with solid pressure controlling much of the play.  While they outshot Worcester 18-5 in the period, Williston’s shot selection was not daunting and Pickett had easy work for many of the opportunities and frustrated the Williston offense.  With time running out in the first and a Williston power play nearing an end, an errant pass was picked off by a Worcester forward at the Williston blue line who then stormed toward Rogers and was able to beat him on the short side.  Williston was stunned after territorially dominating the play.  However, with just 33 seconds remaining in the period, Williston looked to tie up the game on a tipped shot by Cam Jefferson.  However, the referees were forced to confer due to the net being off its moorings.  The Williston coaching staff failed to get the officials to see their way and soon after the goal was called off. Williston entered the end of the period licking its wounds and hoping for a change in the second.

In the next frame, both Williston and Worcester traded power play opportunities with Williston gaining the edge in calls for.  But much to the chagrin of the Williston faithful, the Wildcats could not find the back of the net.  Rogers made some key saves and kept the score within one.

After a Saban-esque speech between the second and third period, Williston began the period on the warpath and five minutes into the frame Kyle Caddo drove from behind the net, used his Shaquille O’Neal-like reach and finally broke the enigma in net.  Brandon McGill earned the assist.  A little over two minutes later, McGill found his scoring ways tipping a blast from Logan Geisness off a pass from Tim Rego on the power play.  Williston was finding the light.  Then, four minutes later Caddo made a pass out of the left corner that McGill put in.  Caddo was not done.  Having been sick of seeing a zero next to his name in the points’ column, he decided to make a dandy pass to James Belleavoine who let a ripper go from the slot securing the win, 4-1.

Xander Rogers faced 21 shots but Williston outshot the Hilltoppers, with 38.  Kyle Caddo did New Jersey proud by earning the game “pen” for his work (1g, 2a).  (Worcester game pucks were impossible to come by at the sound of the buzzer.)

On Friday, Williston completed its 9th straight road game at Winchendon.  Kayaks were needed at times for the rains were plenty and the creeks were running like the mighty Genesee River in springtime in Upstate New York.  With under an hour to get ready, Williston took the ice behind a willing and able Greg Iverson who had defeated Winchendon in a shootout at the St. Sebastian’s Tournament at Christmas.  Iverson continued his run defeating the Wapitis 3-2 behind a 25 save performance.

Williston entered the campaign ready to manage a game against a high-powered offense whose top line had scored 31 points in its last three games.  With a strict game plan and a disciplined core of players, Williston took a 1-0 lead when Logan Geisness took a pass from behind the net from Billy Smith and buried it past Winchendon goalie, James Corcoran.  Connor Canterbury would get the second assist.

In the second, Hunter Sarro scored an unassisted goal when he stripped a puck away from a defender at the Winchendon blueline and rifled a shot that beat Corcoran to the blocker side.  Winchendon would get a greasy power play goal from a shot that deflected off a Williston defender beating Iverson.  However, thanks to some nifty passing and puck control, Sam Milnes and Canterbury were able to find Kevin Lassman—the Florida Kid—in the slot who beat Corcoran cleanly.  While Lassman’s celebration looked like a surfer on roller skates—Williston was happy and took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room.

Winchendon would get another goal in the third period but Williston was up to the challenge defeating Winchendon 3-2.  For his efforts and the game winner, Hunter Sarro earned the game puck.

On Saturday afternoon, the Lossone faithful welcomed back its club when Williston took on Berkshire to complete its two-game season series.  Williston came out guns blazing and outplayed Berkshire for much of the first period.  At the 4:14 mark of the period, Billy Smith took a puck just inside the right circle and let go a bomb that beat Berkshire goalie Tom Draper high on the blocker side.

In the second period, Williston built onto its lead when Sam Milnes was able to send David Novotny in on a breakaway beating Draper low on the blocker side.  Then, just under two minutes later on the power play, Brendan Hansen went thin mints on the right hand side finding daylight over Draper’s shoulder.  Berkshire would get a goal late in the second period but Williston would take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room at the end of the second.

In the third, Williston played some stingy defense keeping Berkshire off the board for the remainder of the game.  Post-grad Cam Jefferson sealed the deal with 15:18 left in the frame when he nipped top corner.  The Belmont native flew down the left side and let a shot go from inside the dot.  The defensive pair of Connor Power and Tim Rego received the assists.  For his efforts, Jefferson earned the game puck.  Xander Rogers stopped 24/25 shots.

Make sure to dust off your snowmobile on Wednesday as Williston takes on the Vermont Wildcats at Lossone at 4:30.  Tickets are selling out fast.

Williston Loses to Canterbury; Ties Berkshire

Williston returned from break to hit the road in the mini busses on Wednesday, January 3rd to New Milford, Connecticut to battle a tough Canterbury Saints club.  Williston tied it up in the middle of the third period but lost on a sneaky shot in the waning minutes to lose 3-2.

The first period was a battle as both teams took their time feeling each other.  Williston played stingy defense and did not let Canterbury have any grade-A chances.  Offensively, Williston struggled to create many scoring opportunities; it wasn’t a bad period, per se, but it didn’t have any razzle-dazzle.

The second period saw Canterbury start on the power play which Williston was able to kill.  However, Canterbury was able to get on the board at the 5:15 mark off the period when a Canterbury shot was deflected by a Williston defensemen beating goalie Greg Iverson.  Canterbury struck the back of the net again at 16:58 of the period when a Canterbury forward came out of the corner and let a shot go that beat Iverson.

In between periods, Coach Cunha challenged the Williston squad to break the period up into three six-minute periods and win each period.  Williston heard this loud and clear and buried two goals in the first six-minute span.  The first was off the stick of Brendan Hansen who let a laser go from the right point that found the top left corner.  Williston’s second goal was less than two minutes later when Wisconsin native, Logan Geisness streaked down the right boards creating a two-on-one and found his cheese-head counterpart, Brandon McGill, bounding down Broadway.  McGill corralled the puck and slipped it by the Canterbury netminder to tie the game, 2-2.  Williston maintained solid pressure over the course of the period but Canterbury scored the game winner at 16:38. Shots in the game were Williston 37, Canterbury 40.

 

Williston’s next opponent was the Berkshire Bears on Saturday.  Williston and Berkshire traded blows over the course of the contest but could only muster a tie.  While they say a tie is like kissing your sister, Williston was still happy to come away with a point.  Greg Iverson earned the start.

The first period saw Williston battle hard in the offensive zone while adjusting to Berkshire stretching an offensive player to pull a Williston defender off the blue line.  While Williston seemed to control much of the play in the period garnering many chances, it was the Bears who struck first when a forward stepped over the blue line and let a shot go from the circle tops that beat Iverson.  Williston went to the dressing room at the end of the period down one but feeling confident.

In the he second period, Williston killed a 5-3 penalty where many of the Williston defenders proved that not all heroes wear capes; shots were blocked, and goals were deferred.  Williston used the kill to find momentum and found it when James Belleavoine hustled to a loose puck in the Berkshire zone, put the puck deep in the zone where Alaskan native Connor Canterbury made a beauty pass cross-ice to a waiting Cam Mariani.  “The Sauce” had a wide open net and buried the puck tying the game at 1.

Williston entered the third period with gusto and Sauce scored his second goal on a one-timer at the 10:17 mark that tucked in nicely under the cross bar.  Williston tried to keep the lead but failed to get the puck out of their zone and Berkshire was able to tie it two minutes later.  Williston and Berkshire battled through overtime but to no avail.

Williston heads west to play Worchester Academy on Wednesday afternoon at 4 so if your anywhere north of the Mass Pike near 290, stop on by.

Williston Takes Four points in Post-Christmas Soiree in Boston

Williston won their second and third straight games after Christmas defeating Nobles 3-2 and St. Sebastians 4-3 in OT.  The two wins put the team’s record at 5-3-1.  In last season’s pre-/post-Christmas games, Williston went an unimpressive 1-4.  This year, they turned the tables and went 3-1-1.

Wildcats from across the United States reunited at the Noble’s rink for an hour skate last Thursday night in preparation for their two contests.  For being off for just under two weeks, the club looked solid and crisp and became reacquainted with one another rather quickly.  Following the skate, the team met family and friends at The Chateau in Norwood for an Italian dinner that couldn’t be beat.  The dinner has been a staple for Williston hockey as it has brought parents and players together for the past number of years and has been a really great kick-off to the meat of their season.

The following day, Williston had the late game at St. Sebastian’s versus a talented Nobles team.  Greg Iverson got the nod in goal for the game and did not disappoint making 30 saves to secure the win.

Tim Rego got the ‘Cats on the board at the 9:08 mark of the first period when he took a pass from Billy Smith and ripped a shot from the point thought a screen beating Nobles’ goalie Matt Lane.  Then, just three minutes later on a power play and with Williston setting up a shooting gallery in the offensive zone, Rego got his second of the game.  After ringing the cross bar, Rego remained patient, took a pass from the left hash mark and drove to the net from the left side and beat Lane again.  Logan Geisness earned the helper.

In the second, Nobles got their first goal off a rush up the ice from a shot that was tipped, beating Iverson.  The teams ended the period 2-1.

In the third period, freshman David Novotny scored his first of two game-winning goals on the weekend when cleaning up on a Sam Milnes breakaway miss that got jammed on the right post.  Novotny with the quickness of a jackrabbit pounced on the rebound.  Nobles would score to cut the lead to one but Williston’s stingy defense and goaltending kept the lead secure for the win.  The game puck went to Tim Rego for his two-goal night.

The next day, Williston crossed to the other side of 95 to Dedham to take on a strong St. Sebastian’s team that contains five Division I commits.  Williston got out of the gate rather sluggishly and looked flat for the first third of the period.  St. Sebastians, on the other hand, came out swinging and in the first six minutes beat Williston goalie Xander Rogers three times.  The opening goal came off a 5×3 power play opportunity and the second shortly after still man up 5×4.  Trying to change the momentum, the Williston coaching staff decided to replace Rogers with Iverson.  There was no scoring in the rest of the period but Williston’s play altered and they gained a number of opportunities.

Williston entered the second period with the mindset of chipping away at the Sebs’ lead.  It took some time as both Williston and St. Sebs battled back and forth for much of the period.  However, at the 11:13 mark of the period, Billy Smith broke the juggernaut.  On a pass from Alex Berg, Billy crossed over the Sebs’ blueline on the right side, cut to the middle and let a Hyde Park Howitzer go from three feet inside the line, deflecting off the Sebs’ goaltender’s stick and finding the back of the net.  The goal energized the Wildcats and they entered the dressing room with a glimmer of hope and some intensity.

In the third, Williston and Sebs traded blows with neither team budging until the 10:23 mark when, on the power play, Logan Geisness worked the puck to Brendan Hansen who fired a shot that was tipped in by Sam Milnes to bring the score to within one.  Then, after a time-out with under two minutes to go, Williston was able to get the puck into the St. Sebs’ zone and with just twelve seconds left, Milnes put a dart of a shot into the short-side top corner of the Sebs net from the goal line.  With a delayed penalty at the same time, Williston went into overtime on the power play.

In overtime, Williston was unable to get anything going with the man-up and after an offensive breakdown, had to haul down a Sebs player on a breakaway resulting in a penalty shot. Penalty shots are rare, and in overtime would be considered non-existent, however the call was warranted and Iverson stood tall making the much needed save. Play went back and forth with few chances for either side until a loose puck corralled by Milnes in the neutral zone led to a 2-1 with David Novotny driving the net.  Milnes held onto the puck looking to shoot and at the last moment made a saucer pass just over an outstretched Sebs’ defender’s stick that Novotny drove into the net.  Game.  Set. Match.  Williston 4.  St. Sebastian’s 3.

Novotny earned the game puck for the night and Greg Iverson pitched a shutout saving all 27 shots he faced.

Williston’s next game is on Wednesday when they take the mini busses down into Connecticut to face a very strong Canterbury Saints club.  Good seats are still available.

Williston Takes 3rd in St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament

Williston headed east last Friday for a three-day tournament at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, MA.  The Wildcats drew the 8 o’clock pm game against a young but talented St. Andrews club from Toronto, Ontario.

Williston got on the board in the first half of the game when centerman Brendan Hansen won a draw in the offensive zone to Sam Milnes who touched the puck to Kevin Lassman.  Lassman let a rip go from the right point.  With a bevy of players in front of the net, St. Andrews goaltender, Aidan Hosein was screened the entire way and could not make the save.  The ‘Cats took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

The second half saw Williston add to their lead at the 8:14 mark when David Novotny tipped in a shot from defenseman Alex Berg with an assist from Sam Milnes.  St. Andrews would pull within one but that margin would last for less than a minute as Sam Milnes scored on a power move down the left side of the ice, driving across the crease and slipping the puck past the outstretched St. Andrews goalie for a man-down goal.  Brandon McGill got Williston’s fourth goal when he drove down the right side and went thin mints, top shelf, beating the goaltender on the near post over the shoulder.  Lassman added the clincher on an empty net goal from near his own goal line on an assist from Hansen.  St. Andrews would pull to within three with about a minute to go but Williston took game one of the tournament and earned the late game on Saturday.  Williston outshot St. Andrews 31-23.  Xander Rogers made 21 saves.

Williston played Rivers School on Saturday and never got things going dropping the tilt, 4-0.

The next day, Williston played the Winchendon School in the consolation game in the tournament.  Greg Iverson got the nod for this game and he brought it.  Williston came out of the gate with angst and outplayed the Wapitis for much of the period.  That said, Winchendon would get on the board first on a goal off a faceoff.  The lead would be short lived as Brandon McGill would let a rip go from the blue line that deflected off of a Winch defenseman.  It appeared as if sophomore Ethan Agostoni would also screen the Wapitis goaltender as well.  Logan Geisness earned the assist.  Winchendon got its second goal half when a winger hit his centerman at the red line sending him in on a breakaway and beating Iverson on a backhand over the glove.  Winchendon went into the half with a 2-1 lead.

Williston started the second half on the penalty kill and worked hard for the minute and change left on the Winch power play.  Cam Mariani later knotted the score at twos when he took a pass in the slot from Kevin Lassman and beat the Winch goalie.  The remainder of the period and a five minute overtime could not solve the tie and a shootout was needed.  In the 5th Round, Kevin Lassman scored the deciding goal on a nifty shot over the goalie’s glove.  Iverson would save the rebuttal and Williston took the game.  Iverson made 30 saves on the night. Though the Wildcats went 2-1 in the tournament, officially, they went 1-1-1 for the weekend since shootout outcomes are not included in overall records.  Williston will meet Winchendon two more times this season in what promises to be good battles.

Williston is off until December 29th when they take on Nobles at 1:15 at St. Sebastians, and then the 30th when they play St. Sebs at Nobles at 2:15.  As I begin to pack the sleigh for the land of Kodak and Garbage Plates, I want to wish you all Happy Holidays with your and your family.  See you back in Boston!

 

Williston Blanks Academie Saint-Louis, 7-0

On Friday night, Academie Saint-Louis of Quebec City traveled to Williston for a 6 o’clock tilt against the Wildcats and left a bit worse for the wear.  Behind a shut out performance by goalie Greg Iverson, Williston had seven different scorers and got their first win in a little over a week since defeating Avon Old Farms in the season opener.

The game started out a bit shaky for Williston as they struggled to find a flow in the period, but as the time progressed, they ironed things out and got into a rhythm.  Ethan Agostoni would get the first goal of the game and the eventual game winner when he took a rebound off a Billy Smith shot from the slot.  The puck hit the end boards and an opportunistic Agostoni tucked in a rebound on the right side of the net.  Cam Mariani had the other helper.  Logan Geisness would add his third goal of the season on a shot from high in the zone that appeared to be off of a screen.  Fellow Wisconsinite, Brandon McGill and defensemen Tim Rego added the assists.

The second period would be all Williston as they dominated the play for much of the period.  Senior captain Sam Milnes got the period off the ground at the 8:32 mark of the period from an assist from fellow senior, Brendan Hansen. James Belleavoine scored his first goal of the young season on an assist from Geisness.  Brandon McGill closed out the scoring in the period on a nifty tip on the power play off a ripper from Rego from the point.  Hansen would get the other assist.

Billy Smith got his third goal of the season mid-way through the third period with assists going to his linemates Mariani and Agostoni, and freshman David Novotny got the first goal of his career to close out the scoring on assists from Belleavoine and senior Connor Power.  Academie Saint-Louis was outshot 48-12 in the game.

The next day Williston was supposed to travel to Gunnery but a snowstorm kept the bus from rolling to Washington, CT.  In this Upstate New Yorker’s eyes, it was merely a flurry, but according to the minds that be in New England, it was enough to ground all Williston teams and cancel or postpone many other games in the Northeast region.

Williston is off this Wednesday as they gear up for the St. Sebastian’s Tournament in Needham, MA.  The Wildcat’s first game will be at 8 o’clock Friday night against mighty St. Andrews.  Good seats are still available.  And try the hot chocolate, it’s quite good.

Williston Battles Hard; Loses to Cushing 2-1

On Wednesday afternoon, Cushing Academy took an hour and half bus ride south to Easthampton to take on your Williston Wildcats.  Williston has yet to beat Cushing in the modern era and was hoping to use a big win over Avon and a strong showing versus Salisbury to push them to victory.  Sadly, it would have to wait until next year.

The puck dropped at 3:30 sharp on Wednesday afternoon and that was pretty much the only interesting thing that happened in the first period.  The play was sloppy on both ends with Cushing amassing six shots to Williston’s five.

While the second period pace picked up for the Wildcats, both teams entered the dressing room after eighteen minutes of play still knotted at zeroes.

The third period started evenly with both teams continuing to trade opportunities.  However, at the 5:55 mark, Cushing was able to beat Williston goalie, Xander Rogers on a 3 on 1 after the Wildcats failed to clear the puck out of their zone. Just under two minutes later, Williston again failed to clear the puck as a Cushing defender was able to keep the play alive. A pass went cross ice in the zone and a Cushing forward took a page out of Ovechkin’s playbook placing a one-timer over Rogers’ shoulder.  A little over two minutes later, however, and on the penalty kill, post-graduate Logan Geisness won a puck in the neutral zone and barreled down the right side on a breakaway.  As he cut to the left across the crease, he slid the puck between the goalie’s pads to cut the lead to one.  However, that was as close as the Wildcats would come.  Even with a 5 on 3 to end the game, Williston could not solve the Cushing penalty kill. Williston was 20/21 in shots while Rogers made 26/28 saves

Williston looks to get on the winning side of things on Friday night at 6pm as Academie St. Louis comes to town.  We hope to see you there!

Williston Drops Hard-Fought Road Game to Salisbury, 4-2

The Williston Wildcats got down by four goals early to the Salisbury Scarlet Knights tonight and couldn’t muster enough offense to rally in the end.

As usual, a Saturday evening game at Salisbury meant that the Scarlet Knight cheering section was in full effect bringing a raucous spirit to the arena that is rivaled by few other barns in prep hockey.  It reminded this writer of Cornell games he used to watch in the late-90s at Lynah Rink in Upstate New York: plenty of spirit and passion.

Williston began the game winning the initial draw and setting the tone early suggesting that perhaps last year’s 6-1 thrashing of Salisbury was not a fluke.  Williston broke into the zone and got things going for the style of hockey that they wanted to play.  Early on, both clubs went back and forth up and down the ice, feeling each other out.

Just about mid-way into the first period, however, Salisbury got on the board when a player came out of the corner, threw a hard shot that hit Williston goalie Greg Iverson in the mask and popped into the slot.  A fortuitous bounce put the puck on another Salisbury player’s stick and he slammed it home for a 1-0 lead.  Salisbury would score two more goals in the next minute forcing Williston coach Derek Cunha to call a time-out and replace Iverson with Xander Rogers.   Rogers was tested early and only relinquished one goal at around the 14:00 mark.

Williston, however, was not going to go down without a fight.  With just over a minute left in the period, Williston defenseman Tim Rego cleared the puck up the right wall just outside the blue line.  A Salisbury defensemen went to collect the puck and post-graduate Logan Geisness powered though him taking the puck from him and racing like a stallion out of the gates at the Kentucky Derby down the right wing; at the top of the right circle he sliced gingerly toward the middle of the ice and let a blast go beating the Salisbury goalie, far side, closing the gap to 4-1.

In the second period, Tim Rego cut the Salisbury lead to two.  Rego gathered the puck in his own end near the dot to the right of Rogers and hit the gas—Rego exploded down the right wing, entered the zone and, using the Salisbury defender as a screen, nipped the top right corner, beating the Salisbury ‘tender with ease.  Unfortunately, the Wildcats would be forced to play much of the second period down a man due to some questionable penalty calls.  Rogers and the Williston penalty killing units stifled a barrage of chances and shots, sending both teams to the dressing room with a 4-2 score.

The third period would see plenty of opportunities for both clubs including a number of pointblank bids by the Williston offense, including a couple of posts and breakaways, but to no avail.

While Williston lost the war in this contest, they continued to grow and become more and more seasoned.  Next up for Williston are the Penguins from Cushing Academy who will travel down interstate 91 on Wednesday, December 6th at 3:30 at Lossone Arena.  Good seats are still available so bring the wife and kids down to the old hockey barn!

Wildcats Clip the Winged Beavers in Season Opener, 3-2

For the first time in over thirty years, the Williston Wildcats took on the Avon Old Farms Winged Beavers yesterday in Easthampton.  Avon came into Lossone vying to defend their 2017 Large-School New England Championship with hopes for a repeat, or better, an Elite 8 Championship in 2018.  Unfortunately for them, their first win had to wait for another day as Williston took the game, 3-2.

Williston entered the tilt with some new faces as well as some fan-favorites from last season.  The Wildcats are led by their captain, Sam Milnes from Middletown, RI.  Milnes is entering his third season at Williston and is looking to build upon a successful 2016-2017 campaign.  Other returners include seniors Kyle Caddo (Chester, NJ), Connor Canterbury (Eagle River, AK), Jacob Durocher (Rochester, MA), Billy Smith (Hyde Park, MA), Connor Power (Woburn, MA), Xander Rogers (Anaheim, CA); juniors, Greg Iverson (Brookfield, WI), Kevin Lassman (Parkland, FL), and Tim Rego (Mansfield, MA).  Newcomers include post-graduates Logan Geisness (Waukesha, WI), Brandon McGill (Mequon, WI), and Cam Jefferson (Belmont, MA); senior, Cam Ziomek (Southampton, MA); juniors James Belleavoine (Smithfield, RI), Alex Berg (Oldsmar, FL), Cam  Mariani (Wilbraham, MA), and Hunter Sarro (North Attleboro, MA); sophomore Ethan Agostoni (Pittsburgh, PA); and freshmen Brandon Barrett (Lake Worth, FL) and David Novotny (Boca Raton, FL).  There is also a new face behind the bench for the ‘Cats this season, David Cunningham.  Cunningham was a four-year goaltender at Amherst College from 2012-2016, winning the Bob Hanford Memorial Award as MVP during his sophomore year, and last year was a Hitchcock Fellow coaching hockey and baseball for the Mammoths.  He currently teaches middle school English.

After killing off a highly suspect roughing penalty just ten seconds into the game, Billy Smith got the Wildcats offense going on Williston’s first shot of the game off a pass from James Belleavoine in the slot.  Smith let it fly beating all six foot five inches of Avon goaltender Alex Aslandis low between the pads at 2:59 of the period.  This appeared to rattle Aslandis who was making his first prep school start, as he took the remainder of the period to settle himself.

Later in the period, with two Williston defenders draped all over him, Avon defenseman Mac Wiseman took a pass and beat Xander Rogers for Avon’s first goal knotting the game at one-all at 7:41.

The tie was short lived as Cam Mariani let a soft backhander go in the high slot that butterflied over Aslandis left shoulder at 9:22 of the first period.  Belleavoine and Connor Power were awarded the assists. Williston would enter the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.  Shots for the period were 9-7 in favor of Williston.

The second period was all Avon as they tied the score at the 11:25 mark of the frame.  The period was inconsistent and lacked flow with penalties marring much of the eighteen minutes.  At about the midway point of the period, Williston took a hit to their personnel as Sam Milnes took a skate to the inner thigh and was forced to leave the game.  He was taken to Cooley-Dickinson Hospital and left with nine stitches.  Avon outshot Williston 11-3.

The final period was a flurry of madness as both sides battled hard to gain the lead, but it was the crafty center from Hyde Park who lifted Williston.  Smith was able to beat Aslandis once again in front of the net.  Cam Jefferson and Kevin Lassman got the helpers.  Key blocked shots at the end of the period solidified the win for the Wildcats.

Xander Rogers played a flawless third period and ended the game making 25/27 saves.

Following the game, Billy Smith was awarded the game puck and led the squad in a boisterous rendition of “Sammy.”

Williston heads to Salisbury on Saturday evening for a tilt against the Scarlet Knights.  You may remember that Williston beat Salisbury 6-1 last year and the newly-minted number one ranked club in New England is likely licking its chops for a rematch.  See you in Connecticut.