by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16
Before the game, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said, “Excellent third period on Saturday, we use that momentum in the first period [of tonight’s game].” And that’s exactly what the Wildcats did.
Williston Boys Hockey (10-6-2) used the momentum generated from a three-goal third period against Albany Academy on Saturday, the 25th to play arguably its best period so far this season. In the first eighteen minutes on Monday, January 27th, the Wildcats scored three goals against the Westminster Martlets (8-7-2) and put the game out of reach.
This is the first time since 1987 that Williston Boys Varsity Hockey has defeated Westminster. This was the team’s second straight win and its fifth since the holiday break.
Junior forward Tyler Sccroggins put Williston on the board just three minutes into the game when he got the puck down low near the goal and scored. Senior forward Max Willman and junior forward Will Flynn had assists on the play. This was Scroggins’ tenth goal of the season.
Four minutes later, senior forward Kyle Hall got a breakaway after fighting past a Westminster defenseman and shot the puck past the goalie’s blocker on the left side of the net. Senior defenseman Seth Cupak and junior forward Jack Gethings had the assists on the play.
With 4:17 to go in the first period, Williston took a commanding lead on a Willman goal. Junior forward Brandon Borges skated down the right side (facing the net) of the rink and passed the puck through a Martlet defenseman to Willman who deked the goalie and scored on his backhand.
After this first period, when asked if he thought it was the best period his team had played all season, Coach Cunha said, “Close to it, close to it. In terms of goal production, the way we were moving the puck, we’re happy with it, but not satisfied. I think that’s the message we just had to give the boys.”
After the first period,the game settled down and just three total goals were scored in the final thirty-six minutes. Just over three minutes into the second, the Wildcats got their first power-play of the period. However, that power-play turned into a 4-on-4 when junior Borges went to the box for slashing fifty-one seconds into the power-play. This gave Westminster just over one minute of power-play in which the Martlets got scoring opportunities, but were denied by senior goaltender Tim Nowacki.
Nowacki stopped twenty-seven of twenty-eight shots (.964%) in the game. Nowacki has the eighth best save percentage (.933) this season of all New England prep school hockey teams. Nowacki also has the eleventh most saves (406) of New England prep hockey goalies.
With 4:09 remaining in the second period, the Wildcats left a Martlet standing alone in front of the net, so Westminster scored its first and only goal.
As it has so often this season, Williston responded quickly after its opponent scored a goal. With 18.4 seconds remaining, junior Gethings got the puck on the right side (facing the net) of the ice in the offensive zone and netted the puck with a backhand shot. Cupak had the assist on the goal.
At the end of the second period, the Wildcats had a 4-1 lead.
Cunha reminded his team before the third period to do the little things well. Williston moved the puck well in the third and added one more goal with 13:57 to play.
Willman got the puck down low on the right side of the net. He hesitated for a second before hitting the back of the net for his second goal of the game. This was Willman’s 18th goal and 33rd point of the season—both team highs.
After the game, Westminster Head Coach Tim Joncas said of the first period, “I think the first eighteen [minutes] were, I don’t think we were ready to play and that’s a credit to their team [Williston]. Our guys just weren’t ready to go and they jumped on us, buried their chances and we had a hard time digging ourselves out of that hole.”
Junior forward Scroggins said about the win, “We were just moving the puck, making smart plays. But today was a team effort, I think we played the best game of the year, and it felt good to get the win.”
On Wednesday, January 29th, Williston will travel to Windsor, Connecticut to take on Loomis Chaffee (8-7-2). After Monday’s game, Coach Cunha reminded his team of how easy it is to have a letdown in the next game and how it cannot afford one in this part of the season.