Before it was time to say goodbye to an auspicious 2016 for the Williston boys hockey team—a November and December that saw Williston defeat Salisbury, Gunnery, and St. Sebastians—the Wildcats headed down the Mass Pike for two final games—one, a rematch against St. Sebastians, and the other against traditional New England power, Noble and Greenough School.
In the first game versus St. Sebastians in Needham, the boys fought valiantly but produced zero goals losing to the Arrows, 1-0. Xander Rogers got the nod once again in net for Williston having defeated Sebs 2-1 in overtime before Christmas break in the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament. The first period saw Williston come out sluggish with little giddy-up, and just 2:04 into the game, Sebs’ senior captain Brendan Goostray scored the first and only goal of the contest beating Rogers between his pads. The first period was rather lackluster for the Wildcats as they went to the dressing room down. After a spirited pick-me-up from head coach Derek Cunha, Williston worked hard and showed resilience through the final two frames but it was for naught. Even an eighteen shot outburst by Williston in third period could not help the boys from Easthampton.
The next day Williston traveled to Nobles and came out on the losing end of a 4-2 contest. This game saw senior Donny Battimelli get his third start of the year in net. Nobles took the lead early in the fisrt period when a Nobles player took a shot from the right inside hashmark that hit Battimelli in the head. The puck dropped by his feet and Sean Wrenn was on the doorstep for an easy tap-in goal. Nobles would head to the first intermission ahead 1-0.
Nobles got its second goal of the game early in the second period when a shot was taken on the left faceoff dot. Battimelli made the initial save and deflected the puck in the corner. A Nobles winger scooped up the puck and drove hard to the other side of the net and made a cross-crease pass that Zach Janfaza buried. Williston looked defeated for a time but on the power play with 3:01 left in the second, Brendan White took a puck from the right corner and used his big 6-2 frame and jammed the puck at the feet of goalie Matt Lane; the puck took a fortuitous bounce and hit the mesh at the top of the net. The period ended with Nobles leading 2-1.
Once again the beginning of periods was not good for Williston on this day and in the third Nobles winger Sean Wrenn took advantage. Driving down the right wing, with senior defenseman Mike D’Ambrosio in front of him, Wrenn stepped over the blue line and let a shot go on net that beat Battimelli over the blocker giving Nobles a 3-1 lead. However, a little over two minutes later, White was back to his old tricks, this time driving from the left corner and finding a small opening between Lane’s pad and the post cutting Nobles’ lead to one. However, Nobles’ Ryan Stevens, son of former BC and NHL star, Kevin Stevens, gathered a bumbled puck at their own blue line and went down on a breakaway gingerly sliding the puck between Battimelli’s pads for the fourth and final goal by either team. While Williston mounted intense pressure at the end of the game, Matt Lane stood tall to the task.
Williston has lost 4 or its last five but looks to rebound early in the New Year when they take on Canterbury at Lossone on Wednesday, January 5th at 4. See you there.