In-depth coverage of Williston boys varsity hockey

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.

 

Williston Ties NMH; Sweeps Millbrook, Canterbury

Coming of the heels of a much-needed mid-winter break, Williston took a short sojourn up route 91 to face the Northfield Mount Herman Hoggers last Wednesday.  Sophomore goalie Greg Iverson got the nod on this day earning a 1-1 tie.

NMH got on the board at the 8:33 mark of the first period on a shot from the left dot that beat Iverson over the shoulder on a screen.  Iverson settled in and played an aggressive game for the remainder.  The second period was a scoreless affair leading to a high-energy third period for Williston.

Williston controlled much of the play entering the final frame and was able to solve Eric Green when the puck got to sophomore defenseman Tim Rego on the right point. Rego skated down Broadway and let a low shot go from just above the hashmarks that beat Green between the pads.  Overtime was needed but to no avail as Williston’s recorded improved to 10-11-1. Iverson made 32 saves on the day.

 

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On Saturday afternoon, Williston traveled across state lines into New York to take on the Millbrook Mustangs in a five o’clock tilt.  Williston took the game, 7-6 giving Greg Iverson the win, but not without a battle from the ‘Stangs.

Millbrook got on the board at the 7:09 mark and held the lead for just under three minutes when Connor Power scored his second goal of the season off of a pass from defensive partner and roommate, Tim Rego, to Nick Day who made a nifty give and go to Power slicing down the slot beating Millbrook goalie Greg Brassard on the far post.  Just :49 seconds later, Billy Smith took a Brendan Hansen pass at the top of the left circle and let a light shot go that coasted over the left shoulder of Brassard.  Millbrook would get two more goals and eventually took the lead into the dressing rooms after the first, 3-2.

Williston tied the game early in the second period on a deflected goal by Steven Gower off a shot from Connor Canterbury.  Roommate and linemate, Owen Sylvia received the second assist.  Then, at 11:43 and on the powerplay, Lassman let a rope go from the left point that careened off the near post and in.  Assists were awarded to JT Chamberlain and Sam Milnes.  Millbrook would score at the 14:06 mark of the period tying the game.

In the third, Millbrook went up 5-4 at the 6:44 mark but again Williston had the answer as they scored three straight.  The first came just :36 seconds later when Kyle Caddo scored his first goal of his Williston career off of a Brendan Hansen shot; Brassard made the initial save but could not contain the rebound as Caddo smelled blood and pounced on the loose puck.  From this writer’s position, it looked as if the junior from Jersey “dabbed” his way down the ice in celebration.

Steven Townley took a pass from JoJo Carbone and made it six on a shot from the right circle that beat Brassard and then just over a minute later, Tim Rego put the proverbial Nail in the coffin when he took a pass from Brendan White in the mid-slot on a 2-1 that was initially saved by Brassard but who let out a rebound that Rego batted home.  While Millbrook was able to get a goal with 14:57 left, Iverson was able to close the door.

Iverson earned the win saving 21 shots and Kyle Caddo earned the game puck.

 

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On Wednesday afternoon, Williston once again took a two-hour bus trip, this time to the Nutmeg state to play Canterbury.  While Canterbury gave Williston quite the battle, the boys from Williston were able to take home a victory, 4-2.  Xander Rogers was given the nod in this contest and earned the win.

After a scoreless first period, JT Chamberlain got Williston on the board just :19 seconds into the second period on a breakaway beating Saint’s goalie, Connor Cherry.  Williston would get their second goal at the 6:56 mark of the game when Jake Durocher took a shot from the point that was deflected by Brendan White, hit Cherry in the pads and bounced into the mid-slot where a waiting Sam Milnes, while getting tripped, was able to put it home.  Nick Schofield scored a nifty goal at the 15:50 mark when a shot was taken on the left side of the net and Schofield was able to gain possession of the puck on the right side near bottom of the circle and put a sweet backhander past Cherry. However, just under :30 seconds later, Canterbury scored to put the game within two as the teams headed to the break.

The third was tightly contested and Canterbury made things interesting getting a goal with just under three minutes remaining on a deflection off of a Wildcat shin pad that careened past Rogers.  The flurry that ensued in the final moments of the game was heart-pounding and stress-filled, but Milnes was able to seal the deal with an empty net goal shot from just outside of the Williston blue line.

Williston took home the “dub” and improved their record to 12-11-1 while Rogers earned the game puck.

This Friday, Williston takes on their Pioneer Valley foe to the north, Deerfield in a 6 pm matchup.  Williston has not defeated the Big Green since 2012 and look to get back at Deerfield for their four-year dominance.  Good seats are still available.

Williston Takes Down Brunswick, Westminster

It looks like a nice series is beginning to brew between the Williston Wildcats and the Brunswick Bruins.  The match-up was orchestrated by Williston trustee and current Brunswick faculty member John Booth—Williston class of ’83–last year in Greenwich with the host Bruins taking the game 5-3.  This year, Williston evened the series, winning 1-0.

The teams were deadlocked at zeroes for two full periods with both clubs battling hard.  It wasn’t until the 13:04 mark of the third period when sophomore Kevin Lassman broke the tie with a high shot from the left point that beat Bruin goalie Strauss Mann over the left should with a bevy of blue and white jerseys in front of him.

Xander Rogers earned the win making 22 saves.  Mann saved 34 shots in the loss.

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On Monday afternoon, Williston took a fifty-minute jaunt down Route 10 to the Westminster School for a five o’clock tilt with the Martlets.  Williston was able to take down their Connecticut foe 3-2 in overtime but not before losing their senior captain, Nick Schofield, to injury.

Williston got on the board quickly when junior Billy Smith took a Brendan Hansen pass and beat Westminster goalie Kai Edmonds past his glove at the :51 second mark.  However, just six minutes later, Schofield took the puck up the left wall in the neutral zone and dumped the puck deep.  Feeling pressure, he turned to avoid a hit but an oncoming Martlet defensemen could not slow up his momentum and slammed Schofield into the boards.  He lay on the ice for some forty minutes as the Westminster trainer and doctor assessed the fallen player and waited for an ambulance.  Nick was taken to St. Francis Hospital for a CT scan and MRI.  Both were negative.

With emotions running high for both teams, the players took the ice to finish the remainder of the period.  After failing to score on a 5-minute misconduct for the Schofield hit, Westminster went on the power play and was able to knot the score at one at the 9:42 mark.  Then, just seven minutes later, they capitalized again on the power play and went to the dressing room up 2-1.

In the second period, Williston was able to even up the game when sophomore Tim Rego let a blast go on the power play that beat Edmonds between the pads.  Assists were awarded to senior JoJo Carbone and Lassman.  The rest of the game was a back-and-forth contest with neither team being able to solve the others’ goaltender.  Overtime would be needed once again for Williston and the hero for the boys in blue and green would be Rego once again.  With just over two minutes left, Westminster dumped the puck into the Williston end where Connor Power got the puck to a waiting Sam Milnes who took the it up the right wall.  As he crossed into the Westminster end, Milnes made a tape-to-tape pass to Rego who was the high trailer who buried the puck putting Williston up, 3-2 for the win.

For Williston, this was their third win in row and second overtime win in three games putting them at .500 for the season.  Xander Rogers earned the win kicking out 31/33 saves.

The Wildcats take on the Loomis Chaffee Pelicans on Wednesday at 4:45 at Lossone.  Be there.

Wildcats prevail in OT, bounce back from Gunnery loss

Wildcats Find Winning Touch; Beat Millbrook, 2-1 in OT

After going 1-1 on the road in their past two games, Williston was excited to get reacquainted with the friendly confines of Lossone Arena on Wednesday afternoon as they took on Millbrook in a late afternoon contest.  With Xander Rogers back in net once again for Williston, stingy defensive play, and an auspicious overtime, Williston took the first game of the season series, 2-1.

Williston began the first period as they have begun recent first periods, getting pucks deep into the offensive zone and not giving up many quality shots early on.  Williston was rewarded for their gritty play just 4:12 in when JT Chamberlain collected a puck just below the left dot of the Millbrook zone and let a shot go that was deflected by a Millbrook player and beat junior goalie Greg Brassard on the far side.  Assists were awarded to sophomore d, Tim Rego and senior forward, Brendan White.  The scoring would end for both teams until third period when Williston was assessed a penalty for hooking.  Then, at 13:24, on the power play, Millbrook struck beating Rogers over his shoulder near the left dot to tie the game at 1-1.  Both teams would work hard but to no avail and for the third time this season, Williston headed to overtime.

In a rarity for the extra frame, Millbrook was assessed two penalties, one for interference and one for hooking.  The latter gave Williston the power play for the remainder of the game.  With just :17 seconds left, and the puck in their own zone, senior Nick Schofield won the draw on the right dot to Rego who collected the puck and chipped it off the glass and deep into the Millbrook zone.  Senior Owen Sylvia raced the Millbrook defender to below the circle where said defender passed the puck up the wall to the hash marks to a waiting Schofield.  Schofield gathered the puck and raced to the net with senior JoJo Carbone driving hard for any loose change.  With another Millbrook defender committed to Carbone, Schofield cut to the crease and roofed a nifty backhander under the crossbar, ringing the water bottle.  A celebration ensued and Williston won, 2-1, improving their record to 8-10.

The game was a fairly contested match with only three penalties called all game.  Rogers made 18/19 saves to earn the win, while Brassard made 32/34 saves in the loss.  Williston takes on the Brunswick Bruins on Saturday at 2:45 at Lossone.  Following the game, the Williston girls team will have their annual Pink in the Rink game to raise money for breast cancer.  Following the game, kids will be able to skate with the girl’s team.

At one o’clock, the annual alumni game will be held so come down early to see all your favorite players from yesteryear, including Coach PJ McCadden ‘10.  It will be a busy Saturday at Lossone so please stop by and show your support!

Williston Cannot Complete Season Sweep of Gunnery; Falls 4-2

On Saturday, the Williston Wildcats took to the road once again, this time heading to Washington, CT to take on the Gunnery Highlanders.  Unfortunately, two goals in the third period took down the Cats, 4-2.

The opening frame began with vengeance as Williston dominated most of the first ten minutes of the game, dumping pucks deep, pounding Gunnery in the defensive zone, and not allowing much, if any, formidable offense for their opponents.  But, as it happened, Gunnery was able to take advantage of some sloppy play and went up 1-0 at the 9:02 mark.  Williston mounted the offensive train immediately and just :52 seconds later, Williston senior JT Chamberlain netted his fourth goal of the year with assists to Steven Gower and Kyle Caddo.  Then, at the 14:43 mark, Connor Power scored his first goal of the season letting a blast go from just inside the blue line that beat Gunnery goalie, Cedrick Andree.  Brendan White was credited with the assist.  With the period winding down, and Williston feeling like they were going to go to the dressing room up a goal, a Gunnery clear was unable to be corralled by a Williston defenseman at the red line; Gunnery collected the puck and let a shot go with 1 second left that beat Xander Rogers.  The first period ended 2-2.

The second period saw a barrage of shots from both clubs, but to no avail as both teams went to the break still tied, 2-2.

The third period looked as if the pace of the game would remain the same, and it did, until the 5:03 mark when Gunnery’s Matt Danner scored and then just :09 seconds later, Gunnery’s Marc Gatcomb sealed the deal.  At this point, Andree buckled down and Williston would pull no closer.  The loss was Williston’s tenth on the season and put them three games below .500.

The Wildcats take on the Mustangs of Millbrook on Wednesday at 4:45 at Lossone rink.  The Mustangs are riding a high this season with key wins and solid goaltending and the game should be a good one.  See you there.

 

Williston Beats Vermont, Loses to Winchendon and Berkshire

On Wednesday, the Williston hockey team boarded a coach bus and made tracks to snowy Saxtons River, VT to take on Vermont Academy for a 4:30 tilt.  Williston was able to overcome a second period, five-minute major penalty to win convincingly, 6-2.

Williston struck early just 1:12 into the first frame when senior Brendan White received a pass from sophomore defenseman Tim Rego on the left wall in the neutral zone.  White was able to break wide around a defender and drive hard to the net sliding a puck past Vermont goaltender, Guy Piccolo.  Williston maintained nice pressure over the first third of the period, not allowing Vermont to gain any offense.  Williston defenders broke up countless plays just inside their blue line, including three or four by junior defenseman Connor Canterbury who led many an odd man rush up the ice.  However, the tides would turn momentarily at 7:51 of the first when Tyus Watson-Tummings was able to elude a Williston defender in front of the net and get a stick on a pass from the corner to beat junior goalie Xander Rogers.  Both teams would go to their respective locker rooms tied 1-apiece.

The second period began with an early goal by Mike D’Ambrosio on a shot from the point, however, the goal was disallowed because of goaltender interference by JT Chamberlain.  While the Williston coaching staff reached for their rulebooks on the call, it was to no avail and the game remained knotted, 1-1.

Williston would break the tie at the 10:00 minute mark when off a Nick Schofield-face-off win, JoJo Carbone let a howitzer go from the right dot.  The shot beat Piccolo over the shoulder giving Williston a 2-1 lead.  Williston would earn their second goal of the period on White’s second goal of the game when he drove down the right side of the ice and cut hard to the net beating Piccolo on the doorstep.  Assists were given to D’Ambrosio and junior Jake Durocher.  The period would end with Williston up 3-1.

In the third, Williston continued to roll.  At the 1:56 mark, D’Ambrosio at the blue line let go a quick pass to junior Brendan Hansen who was waiting on the doorstep—he made a quick move to his back hand and put it over the leg of Piccolo.  White picked up the other assist.  At 3:34, Vermont forward Nathan Smith cut the lead to 4-2 but JT Chamberlain put the lead back to three goals with assists going to White and Kevin Lassman.  The sixth and final goal for Williston came at the 9:10 mark of the third period.  Sophomore and Vermont native Steven Townley scored the first goal of his Williston career in front of his proud parents with assists going to sophomore Tim Rego and junior Connor Power.  Xander Rogers earned his third win on the season saving 30 of 32 shots.  Williston’s next game is on the road where they face a very tough and seasoned Gunnery team who looks to avenge an early season loss to the Wildcats in December.  Game time is at 4:30 in Washington, CT.  If you go, dress in layers as their rink is cold.

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On Friday, January 13th, Williston faced Winchendon at Lossone.  The ‘Cats got down early and could never regroup, losing 7-4. The closest margin was when Williston pulled within 1 midway through the second at 4-3. Goals were scored by Kevin Lassman, JoJo Carbone, and Sam Milnes with assists on the evening going to Nick Schofield, Owen Sylvia, Tim Rego, Brendan White and Milnes.  Williston gets another crack at Winchendon on February 24th.

The next day, Williston traveled to Berkshire to avenge their overtime loss to the Bears the week prior.  Unfortunately, it was not to be on this day as Williston lost in a heartbreaker, 4-3.  Goals were scored by Nick Schofield, Kevin Lassman, and Steven Gower with assists going to JoJo Carbone, Owen Sylvia, Schofield, Kyle Caddo and JT Chamberlain.

 

Williston Blanks Hilltoppers, 6-0

On Wednesday, the Williston Wildcats welcomed the Hilltoppers of Worcester Academy to Lossone rink for a late afternoon soiree.  A five-minute power play coupled with a Williston club beginning to find an identity as a gritty, hard-working team helped seal the deal for the ‘Cats.

Sophomore Greg Iverson got his fifth start in net for Williston and, though not tested with many high percentage shots, he was a stalwart early in the game making a cross-crease pad save that did not allow Worcester to gather momentum.  After that, it was all Williston.  Brendan Hansen garnered his fourth goal of the season on a hard-working play behind the Worcester goal by Nick Day who was able to slide the puck to the slot where Hansen let a one-timer go beating Hilltopper goalie Olof Djurberg on the near side.  That would be all the scoring for the period.

Williston began the second period with gusto as Sam Milnes was able to find twine 1:05 into the period as he barreled down the left hand side and let a nasty snap shot go beating Djurberg over his glove on the far side.  At around the nine-minute mark, Connor Power drove deep into Worcester territory and was hit from behind by a Hilltopper forward.  The play earned a five-minute power play for Williston who took full advantage of Worcester’s misplay.  At the 9:15 mark of the period, captain JoJo Carbone struck first with assists to Tim Rego and assistant captain Nick Schofield putting Williston up 3-0. Eleven seconds later, Billy Smith broke down the left wing cutting toward the net at the top of the circle and beating Djurberg across the crease.  Jake Durocher and Mike D’Ambrosio were awarded the assists.  And at the 12:27 mark of the period, Carbone earned his second goal of the game and the third goal of the power play as he was knocking on the doorstep burying a puck lost in the crease.  By the end of the period the carnage was nearly complete as Williston lead 5-0.

Williston finished their work at the 16:15 mark of the third period when Sam Milnes found Brendan White driving to the left side of the net.  Just as White looked like he was going to go around the goal, he made a no-look pass behind his back to a crashing Jake Durocher who buried the sixth and final goal.  Iverson earned his fourth win of the season saving all seventeen shots he faced.  Williston mustered sixty-three total shots, the most that this writer has seen a Wildcat team have in his time in Easthampton.  The game puck went to Eagle River, Alaska native and junior defenseman, Connor Canterbury, for his relentless work and contributions to the defensive effort.

This Friday marks the end of the Williston homestand when they take on the Winchendon School at 5:30.  The next day, Williston boards the bus for a rematch with Berkshire looking to avenge last Saturday’s overtime loss.  The puck drops in Sheffield, MA at 3.15.

Williston Loses a Heartbreaker to Berkshire in OT

On a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon, the Berkshire Bears migrated to Easthampton to take on the Williston Wildcats in a matinee at the Lossone Rink.  The game was hard-fought and even for much of the contest before the Bears were able to sneak a nifty shot past Williston goalie Xander Rogers in OT to take home a 3-2 victory.

The first period the had the makings of the 1972 Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky chess match with neither team willing to concede much ground.  At the ten-minute mark, Williston and Berkshire had only one shot apiece with both teams playing magnificent defense keeping each other’s play to the perimeters and corners.  The period ended with Williston gaining the edge in shots, 7-6.

The second period began in much the same way but at the 9:54 mark Mike D’Ambrosio put a cross ice pass from the left dot to a streaking Sam Milnes who was able to able to get his stick on the puck and deflect it between a sliding Thomas Draper’s pads to put the ‘Cats up 1-0.  Nick Schofield was credited with the second assist.  However, the lead was soon vanquished when Berkshire leading scorer Jack Lloyd was able to beat Rogers on the power play, knotting the score at one all.

The third period saw the Wildcats gain the lead when Brendan White gathered the puck in the neutral zone and took off down the right wall, beating a Berkshire defenseman wide sliding the puck past Draper.  Assists were given to JT Chamberlain and Milnes.  However, at 6:07, Lloyd notched his second of the game when he let a shot go from the left dot in Williston’s zone that was able to find the smallest of holes to beat Rogers on the near post.  Play was fierce for the remainder of the period but to no avail sending the game to overtime.  For Williston, this would be their second trip to an extra frame this season while it would be the fourth time for Berkshire.

In the opening shift of overtime, both teams played it close to the vest, careful to not commit any errors.  However, in the third minute, a Williston bounce inside their own blue line sent White on a breakaway with the nearest Berkshire defender at least twenty feet behind.  White took the puck looking to duplicate his second period feat but was denied trying to sneak the puck between Draper’s legs.  A Berkshire defender was able to clear the puck from the crease and a chip out of the zone sent Berkshire forward Briggs Gammill on a one-on-one with Williston defenseman Jake Durocher. Gammill was able to step over the blue line and let a laser of a shot go past Rogers’ shoulder hitting the back pipe and sealing the victory for the Bears.  The Williston bench and fans were silenced as they watched the Berkshire team empty out of their bench in victory.

While Williston was humbled on this day, they were forced to bury the loss; this week, Worcester Academy comes to town on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 while the Winchendon School enters Lossone on Friday at 5:30.  On Saturday, Williston heads west to Sheffield, MA in hopes of evening the season series with Berkshire School at 3:15.

 

Williston Upends Canterbury, 3-1

The Williston boys’ hockey team started the New Year when the Saints of Canterbury came marching into town this past Wednesday.  Williston took the opening game of the two-game series, 3-1, and inched even closer to the .500 mark on the season.

Greg Iverson got the nod in net for the first time since before Christmas vacation when he helped defeat Academie St.Louis, 5-1 on December 9.  He did not disappoint the eager Williston faithful.

The first period was tightly contested as Canterbury had a game plan and stuck with it nicely.  Canterbury ran a well-played 2-3 forecheck that initially stymied the Williston team as they continued to get hemmed into their own zone.  However, a mid-period tactical alteration opened up the zone and allowed Williston the opportunity to break out consistently.  For much of the period, play was tight with few grade-A scoring opportunities as both teams were trying to feel one another out.  At the horn, both teams retreated to their dressing rooms with the game knotted at zeroes.

The opening minutes of periods have, at times, been killers for the Williston Wildcats and Canterbury took advantage 53-seconds into the second frame.  Williston won an offfensive zone faceoff on the left side to our defenseman who let a cannon go but missed the net.  With the puck careening around the boards, another Williston player unsuccessfully attempted to keep the puck in the zone which sent away Canterbury’s Nick Parody—who interestingly enough, needed his skates sharpened between periods.  The job was left to assistant coach Kyle Hanford, who, upon giving Parody’s skates back to their coaching staff commented: “If he gets a goal, he better mention me to the papers.”  Time will tell if that came true.  Either way, the Wildcats were down, 1-0 early in the second period.  Parody blasted down the left wing on a two-on-one and was able to beat Iverson near-side putting the Saints up 1-0.

Williston would even up the score on a power play bid when senior Nick Schofield let a shot go from the high slot forcing Canterbury goalie Dan Seitz to make the initial save, however, he could not corral the rebound and a heads up hustle play by sophomore Tim Rego on the crease shuffled the puck to a patient JoJo Carbone who netted his fifth goal of the year at 10:49 of the second period.  Williston and Canterbury continued to trade jabs but to no avail and both teams entered their dressing rooms tied 1-1.

The third period was a continuation of the first two periods with both teams and both goaltenders making play after play, save after save, with some great chances coupled with some great saves. The Wildcats finally solved the tie when a hard working Steven Gower muscled his way with the puck through the neutral zone and let go a shot that got parlayed into the corner.  However, strong work by Kyle Caddo and Kevin Lassman eventually lead to the puck bouncing sweetly onto senior Owen Sylvia’s stick.  Upon collecting the puck, the Dartmouth, MA native took two strides off-center to the right of the goal and was able to beat the outstretched arms of Seitz putting the boys in blue up 2-1.

The Wildcats would take an unfortunate too many men on the ice penalty with 1 minute left in the game. With Seitz pulled for the extra attacker the Williston PK core of Gower, Nick Day, Brendan Hansen, and Sam Milnes were up to the task to defend. Milnes would end the game on an empty net goal.  Milnes lives by a strict “empty net goals are soft” credo and thus his celebration was one of little jubilation.  Still, Williston won, 3-1 with Iverson getting his third win of the season and stopping 35 shots.  Sylvia received the game puck and earned the right to lead the boys in the singing of “Sammy” sung in the dressing room upon every win.

This Saturday, the Wildcats take on a very skilled Berkshire School at Lossone Arena at 3.15.  Very good seats are still available.