Last Friday, the Winchendon Wapitis came to town and Williston was up to the task for two solid periods playing shut out hockey. However, in the third, Winchendon broke open the scoring on a 5×4 off a faceoff. Williston answered the call three minutes later when Jack Purcell let a shot go that beat Max Caouette with assists going to Matt Pimental and Brendan Nehmer. However, with just over two minutes left in the game, Winchendon got a puck in the slot that beat Williston’s Kyler Breland. Williston ended up taking a penalty with 1:40 remaining, and, interestingly, had some of their best opportunities of the game getting robbed twice by Caouette and hitting the post once. Shots were Williston 42-Winchendon 24. The Wildcats played some of their most determined hockey of the year but just came up short.
The next day, Williston traveled to Sheffield, MA for a rematch of last Saturday’s soiree with the Berkshire Bears. Williston looked to avenge the previous week’s loss, but after going down 6-0, the Wildcats were put into a hole that they just could not climb out of. While Williston tried their best and played a very solid third period, they could not avenge the six goals they spotted the Bears and ended up losing 6-3. Goal scorers were Tim Rego (Mitchell Hansen), David Novotny (unassisted), and Tim Rego (Cam Mariani.)
On Wednesday, Williston traveled to the Green Mountain State to take on the Vermont Academy Wildcats looking to get back into the win column. While Williston struggled to pull away in the first two periods, in the third they did just that, winning 6-3.
Vermont got on the board early in the game on a defensive breakdown leaving a Vermont player all alone in the front of the net. He beat Kyler Breland cleanly. However, with just under a minute remaining in the period, James Belleavoine came streaking down the right wall in the zone, put a shot on net that was saved but then buried home by a fortuitous Hunter Sarro who charged the net like former Rochester Red Wing Cal Ripkin stealing home plate at the old Silver Stadium on Norton Street. Williston was happy to go into the break tied.
In the second, Jack Purcell got a goal when Brendan Barrett cruised down the left wing and let a shot ride from the dot. The VA goalie made the save but Jack Purcell skated like the Chicago wind and buried a rebound to go up, 2-1. Vermont scored again to tie it up, but just minutes later, Tim Rego headed into the Vermont zone on a 2-1. He made a sweet pass to Brendan Nehmer who missed the net but Rego drove behind, corralled the puck and tucked it past the goaltender. Sloppy play led to Vermont tying the game, 3-3 heading into the dressing room.
In the third, Williston started to put things together, first when Tommy Harty won the faceoff to Mitchell Hansen who quickly moved the puck to Rego. The senior defensemen cranked down the left side of the ice and ripped a shot top-cheddar to go up, 4-3 just :13 seconds into the frame and on the power play. Then, Matt Pimental took a puck from the left corner, drove the net and let a backhand rip that looked like it was shot from a sand wedge going top corner. Brandon Barrett got his second helper of the day. Finally, Cam Mariani scored an empty net goal from Alex Berg to seal the deal, 6-3.
Williston outshot Vermont 40-15 as Kyler Breland got the win.
Yesterday, the Wildcats enjoyed the first pond skate of the year playing shinny hockey with the coaching staff and their kids, Gus, Ryan, and Will. There was something beautiful about making the first tracks of the year on black ice that warmed this writer’s soul. Hopefully it will lead to some magic for the players as we push to make the playoffs.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, the ‘Cats head to Gunnery for a 4:30 tilt. Check the twitter for updates.