As many Williston students packed their bags and headed for home on Friday, December 16, the Williston Boys’ Hockey Team loaded up the busses and headed to the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament to take on host, the St. Sebastians Arrows in Needham, MA. Xander Rogers was named the starter of the game thanks to his performance against Gunnery less than a week before as the Wildcats took the ice against a riotous student section and with families, friends, coaches and scouts looking on.
Williston opened the scoring 1:11 into the first period when a hard-forecheck by JoJo Carbone led to a takeover in front of the St. Sebastian net; Carbone corralled the puck and took a quick shot beating senior goaltender Alex Zafonte over his glove giving the Williston faithful reason to cheer. The rest of the period would be back and forth with Rogers and Zafonte trading saves.
The second period began with weak defensive play by the Wildcats leading to the Arrows first and only goal. With St. Sebastian’s hemming Williston into their own zone, freshman forward Liam Connors came out of the corner untouched and backhanded a nifty goal over Rogers shoulder to tie the game 1-1. The period would remain dead-locked as the two clubs would head to overtime.
The overtime frame began with St. Sebastians coming out the gate with vengeance entering the zone and getting a great shot on net from the right point, through a screen, that Rogers was able to waffle-board away. Play went back and forth for a short time until senior Owen Sylvia broke into the St. Sebs end and let a shot go that was blocked by Zafonte only to have the puck bounce fortuitously onto senior Steven Gower’s stick who let a quick snap shot go over the outstretched glove of Zafonte. It was a gutsy win and the first overtime victory for Williston in more than a year. The player of the game for the Wildcats was Gower. Rogers stopped 24/25 shots on the day. The win would put Williston into the winner’s bracket of the tournament where they would play Thayer the next day at 3pm.
A win against Thayer would put the Wildcats into the championship game for the first time in many years but sadly, it was not to be on this day as the Wildcats could only muster one goal and give up five to a strong Thayer club. The first line of Thayer, Jay O’Brien (Providence), Casey Carreau (Boston College), and Aiden McDonough (Undecided) proved to be too much for the Wildcats figuring in three of Thayer’s five goals. The lone goal for Williston came as JoJo Carbone beat junior goalie, Jimmy Scannell cutting the Thayer lead to 2-1 midway through the second half. Unfortunately for Williston, this would be as close as they would get as Thayer would answer right back and then add two late goals. Rogers saved 37/42 shots for the loss.
On Sunday, the Wildcats played Rivers School at 1pm losing 3-0. Down 1-0 heading into the second half, a five-minute major against Williston proved to be too much for the squad as they allowed two goals in that span. Williston could never get any offense going as they were thwarted time and time again by a strong Rivers team. Donnie Battimelli made 30/33 for the loss.
Williston is off until December 30 when the travel back to Boston and take on St. Sebastians in Needham, MA. This writer would like to wish all a Happy Holidays.