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.