Williston Takes Six Points in Three-Game Week: Wildcats top the Hilltoppers, Wapitis, and Bears

 

Williston headed out on their eighth straight road trip on Wednesday to take on a much improved Worcester Hilltopper club at the Worcester Ice Center.  Xander Rogers got the nod for the Wildcats and was excellent when he needed to be.  Williston dominated much of the play but a stingy Nathan Pickett in goal for Worcester had Williston in fits for two periods.  It wasn’t until early in the third that Williston was able to tie the game and then pull away.

Williston came out in the first period with solid pressure controlling much of the play.  While they outshot Worcester 18-5 in the period, Williston’s shot selection was not daunting and Pickett had easy work for many of the opportunities and frustrated the Williston offense.  With time running out in the first and a Williston power play nearing an end, an errant pass was picked off by a Worcester forward at the Williston blue line who then stormed toward Rogers and was able to beat him on the short side.  Williston was stunned after territorially dominating the play.  However, with just 33 seconds remaining in the period, Williston looked to tie up the game on a tipped shot by Cam Jefferson.  However, the referees were forced to confer due to the net being off its moorings.  The Williston coaching staff failed to get the officials to see their way and soon after the goal was called off. Williston entered the end of the period licking its wounds and hoping for a change in the second.

In the next frame, both Williston and Worcester traded power play opportunities with Williston gaining the edge in calls for.  But much to the chagrin of the Williston faithful, the Wildcats could not find the back of the net.  Rogers made some key saves and kept the score within one.

After a Saban-esque speech between the second and third period, Williston began the period on the warpath and five minutes into the frame Kyle Caddo drove from behind the net, used his Shaquille O’Neal-like reach and finally broke the enigma in net.  Brandon McGill earned the assist.  A little over two minutes later, McGill found his scoring ways tipping a blast from Logan Geisness off a pass from Tim Rego on the power play.  Williston was finding the light.  Then, four minutes later Caddo made a pass out of the left corner that McGill put in.  Caddo was not done.  Having been sick of seeing a zero next to his name in the points’ column, he decided to make a dandy pass to James Belleavoine who let a ripper go from the slot securing the win, 4-1.

Xander Rogers faced 21 shots but Williston outshot the Hilltoppers, with 38.  Kyle Caddo did New Jersey proud by earning the game “pen” for his work (1g, 2a).  (Worcester game pucks were impossible to come by at the sound of the buzzer.)

On Friday, Williston completed its 9th straight road game at Winchendon.  Kayaks were needed at times for the rains were plenty and the creeks were running like the mighty Genesee River in springtime in Upstate New York.  With under an hour to get ready, Williston took the ice behind a willing and able Greg Iverson who had defeated Winchendon in a shootout at the St. Sebastian’s Tournament at Christmas.  Iverson continued his run defeating the Wapitis 3-2 behind a 25 save performance.

Williston entered the campaign ready to manage a game against a high-powered offense whose top line had scored 31 points in its last three games.  With a strict game plan and a disciplined core of players, Williston took a 1-0 lead when Logan Geisness took a pass from behind the net from Billy Smith and buried it past Winchendon goalie, James Corcoran.  Connor Canterbury would get the second assist.

In the second, Hunter Sarro scored an unassisted goal when he stripped a puck away from a defender at the Winchendon blueline and rifled a shot that beat Corcoran to the blocker side.  Winchendon would get a greasy power play goal from a shot that deflected off a Williston defender beating Iverson.  However, thanks to some nifty passing and puck control, Sam Milnes and Canterbury were able to find Kevin Lassman—the Florida Kid—in the slot who beat Corcoran cleanly.  While Lassman’s celebration looked like a surfer on roller skates—Williston was happy and took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room.

Winchendon would get another goal in the third period but Williston was up to the challenge defeating Winchendon 3-2.  For his efforts and the game winner, Hunter Sarro earned the game puck.

On Saturday afternoon, the Lossone faithful welcomed back its club when Williston took on Berkshire to complete its two-game season series.  Williston came out guns blazing and outplayed Berkshire for much of the first period.  At the 4:14 mark of the period, Billy Smith took a puck just inside the right circle and let go a bomb that beat Berkshire goalie Tom Draper high on the blocker side.

In the second period, Williston built onto its lead when Sam Milnes was able to send David Novotny in on a breakaway beating Draper low on the blocker side.  Then, just under two minutes later on the power play, Brendan Hansen went thin mints on the right hand side finding daylight over Draper’s shoulder.  Berkshire would get a goal late in the second period but Williston would take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room at the end of the second.

In the third, Williston played some stingy defense keeping Berkshire off the board for the remainder of the game.  Post-grad Cam Jefferson sealed the deal with 15:18 left in the frame when he nipped top corner.  The Belmont native flew down the left side and let a shot go from inside the dot.  The defensive pair of Connor Power and Tim Rego received the assists.  For his efforts, Jefferson earned the game puck.  Xander Rogers stopped 24/25 shots.

Make sure to dust off your snowmobile on Wednesday as Williston takes on the Vermont Wildcats at Lossone at 4:30.  Tickets are selling out fast.

Williston Loses to Canterbury; Ties Berkshire

Williston returned from break to hit the road in the mini busses on Wednesday, January 3rd to New Milford, Connecticut to battle a tough Canterbury Saints club.  Williston tied it up in the middle of the third period but lost on a sneaky shot in the waning minutes to lose 3-2.

The first period was a battle as both teams took their time feeling each other.  Williston played stingy defense and did not let Canterbury have any grade-A chances.  Offensively, Williston struggled to create many scoring opportunities; it wasn’t a bad period, per se, but it didn’t have any razzle-dazzle.

The second period saw Canterbury start on the power play which Williston was able to kill.  However, Canterbury was able to get on the board at the 5:15 mark off the period when a Canterbury shot was deflected by a Williston defensemen beating goalie Greg Iverson.  Canterbury struck the back of the net again at 16:58 of the period when a Canterbury forward came out of the corner and let a shot go that beat Iverson.

In between periods, Coach Cunha challenged the Williston squad to break the period up into three six-minute periods and win each period.  Williston heard this loud and clear and buried two goals in the first six-minute span.  The first was off the stick of Brendan Hansen who let a laser go from the right point that found the top left corner.  Williston’s second goal was less than two minutes later when Wisconsin native, Logan Geisness streaked down the right boards creating a two-on-one and found his cheese-head counterpart, Brandon McGill, bounding down Broadway.  McGill corralled the puck and slipped it by the Canterbury netminder to tie the game, 2-2.  Williston maintained solid pressure over the course of the period but Canterbury scored the game winner at 16:38. Shots in the game were Williston 37, Canterbury 40.

 

Williston’s next opponent was the Berkshire Bears on Saturday.  Williston and Berkshire traded blows over the course of the contest but could only muster a tie.  While they say a tie is like kissing your sister, Williston was still happy to come away with a point.  Greg Iverson earned the start.

The first period saw Williston battle hard in the offensive zone while adjusting to Berkshire stretching an offensive player to pull a Williston defender off the blue line.  While Williston seemed to control much of the play in the period garnering many chances, it was the Bears who struck first when a forward stepped over the blue line and let a shot go from the circle tops that beat Iverson.  Williston went to the dressing room at the end of the period down one but feeling confident.

In the he second period, Williston killed a 5-3 penalty where many of the Williston defenders proved that not all heroes wear capes; shots were blocked, and goals were deferred.  Williston used the kill to find momentum and found it when James Belleavoine hustled to a loose puck in the Berkshire zone, put the puck deep in the zone where Alaskan native Connor Canterbury made a beauty pass cross-ice to a waiting Cam Mariani.  “The Sauce” had a wide open net and buried the puck tying the game at 1.

Williston entered the third period with gusto and Sauce scored his second goal on a one-timer at the 10:17 mark that tucked in nicely under the cross bar.  Williston tried to keep the lead but failed to get the puck out of their zone and Berkshire was able to tie it two minutes later.  Williston and Berkshire battled through overtime but to no avail.

Williston heads west to play Worchester Academy on Wednesday afternoon at 4 so if your anywhere north of the Mass Pike near 290, stop on by.

Williston Takes Four points in Post-Christmas Soiree in Boston

Williston won their second and third straight games after Christmas defeating Nobles 3-2 and St. Sebastians 4-3 in OT.  The two wins put the team’s record at 5-3-1.  In last season’s pre-/post-Christmas games, Williston went an unimpressive 1-4.  This year, they turned the tables and went 3-1-1.

Wildcats from across the United States reunited at the Noble’s rink for an hour skate last Thursday night in preparation for their two contests.  For being off for just under two weeks, the club looked solid and crisp and became reacquainted with one another rather quickly.  Following the skate, the team met family and friends at The Chateau in Norwood for an Italian dinner that couldn’t be beat.  The dinner has been a staple for Williston hockey as it has brought parents and players together for the past number of years and has been a really great kick-off to the meat of their season.

The following day, Williston had the late game at St. Sebastian’s versus a talented Nobles team.  Greg Iverson got the nod in goal for the game and did not disappoint making 30 saves to secure the win.

Tim Rego got the ‘Cats on the board at the 9:08 mark of the first period when he took a pass from Billy Smith and ripped a shot from the point thought a screen beating Nobles’ goalie Matt Lane.  Then, just three minutes later on a power play and with Williston setting up a shooting gallery in the offensive zone, Rego got his second of the game.  After ringing the cross bar, Rego remained patient, took a pass from the left hash mark and drove to the net from the left side and beat Lane again.  Logan Geisness earned the helper.

In the second, Nobles got their first goal off a rush up the ice from a shot that was tipped, beating Iverson.  The teams ended the period 2-1.

In the third period, freshman David Novotny scored his first of two game-winning goals on the weekend when cleaning up on a Sam Milnes breakaway miss that got jammed on the right post.  Novotny with the quickness of a jackrabbit pounced on the rebound.  Nobles would score to cut the lead to one but Williston’s stingy defense and goaltending kept the lead secure for the win.  The game puck went to Tim Rego for his two-goal night.

The next day, Williston crossed to the other side of 95 to Dedham to take on a strong St. Sebastian’s team that contains five Division I commits.  Williston got out of the gate rather sluggishly and looked flat for the first third of the period.  St. Sebastians, on the other hand, came out swinging and in the first six minutes beat Williston goalie Xander Rogers three times.  The opening goal came off a 5×3 power play opportunity and the second shortly after still man up 5×4.  Trying to change the momentum, the Williston coaching staff decided to replace Rogers with Iverson.  There was no scoring in the rest of the period but Williston’s play altered and they gained a number of opportunities.

Williston entered the second period with the mindset of chipping away at the Sebs’ lead.  It took some time as both Williston and St. Sebs battled back and forth for much of the period.  However, at the 11:13 mark of the period, Billy Smith broke the juggernaut.  On a pass from Alex Berg, Billy crossed over the Sebs’ blueline on the right side, cut to the middle and let a Hyde Park Howitzer go from three feet inside the line, deflecting off the Sebs’ goaltender’s stick and finding the back of the net.  The goal energized the Wildcats and they entered the dressing room with a glimmer of hope and some intensity.

In the third, Williston and Sebs traded blows with neither team budging until the 10:23 mark when, on the power play, Logan Geisness worked the puck to Brendan Hansen who fired a shot that was tipped in by Sam Milnes to bring the score to within one.  Then, after a time-out with under two minutes to go, Williston was able to get the puck into the St. Sebs’ zone and with just twelve seconds left, Milnes put a dart of a shot into the short-side top corner of the Sebs net from the goal line.  With a delayed penalty at the same time, Williston went into overtime on the power play.

In overtime, Williston was unable to get anything going with the man-up and after an offensive breakdown, had to haul down a Sebs player on a breakaway resulting in a penalty shot. Penalty shots are rare, and in overtime would be considered non-existent, however the call was warranted and Iverson stood tall making the much needed save. Play went back and forth with few chances for either side until a loose puck corralled by Milnes in the neutral zone led to a 2-1 with David Novotny driving the net.  Milnes held onto the puck looking to shoot and at the last moment made a saucer pass just over an outstretched Sebs’ defender’s stick that Novotny drove into the net.  Game.  Set. Match.  Williston 4.  St. Sebastian’s 3.

Novotny earned the game puck for the night and Greg Iverson pitched a shutout saving all 27 shots he faced.

Williston’s next game is on Wednesday when they take the mini busses down into Connecticut to face a very strong Canterbury Saints club.  Good seats are still available.