Williston entered last Wednesday’s game against the #8-ranked Northfield Mount Herman Hoggers looking to find their way back in the playoff hunt after losing to Loomis before Long Weekend. However, the Wildcats took another step away from their final goal of playing in the post-season losing, 3-2.
NMH got on the board in the second period when a Williston turnover inside their own blueline resulted in a goal from a shot at the circle tops that beat Kyler Breland between the legs. Williston responded four minutes later at the 15:08 mark when James Belleavoine skated the puck out of the Williston zone, into the Hoggers end and drove to the left corner. Number fourteen then evaded a defenseman and slipped a pass through the crease to a patient Tim Rego at the right point. Rego’s hands were as smooth as Abbotts Custard as he cruised to the top of the left circle, careened to the side of the net and brought the puck from his backhand to his forehand tossing a shot into the upper right corner. It was a dandy goal and one that brought the Williston faithful to their feet.
In the third, NMH scored a goal on a cross ice feed on the power with 3 minutes remaining in play and then the next shift on an innocent looking shot from the top of the left circle to go up 3-1. Williston scored with one-second remaining, but it was not enough.
Williston was outshot 36-22. The ‘Cats played an excellent game but a two-minute lapse toward the end of the third period was the downfall of the boys from Easthampton.
The Wildcats stabled the Millbrook Mustangs on Saturday afternoon in Millbrook, NY. Millbrook had all sorts of reasons to come up big—Senior Day, Military Appreciation Day, Alumni Weekend, Winter Weekend, and thoughts of avenging an earlier loss to Williston a month prior. Fortunately for the Wildcats, they had the antidote: J-I-M-M-Y. James Belleavoine notched a hat-trick, including the game winner in overtime to win the game, 4-3.
Belleavoine got things going at the 5:32 mark of the first period when Cam Mariani cleared the puck up the left-wing boards. Belleavoine came screaming up the wall and was able to beat the pinching defenseman to it and head up on a 2-1. Looking off his roommate Hunter Sarro, Belleavoine shot from the hash marks that was saved by Millbrook goalie Cam Fernandez but following up the shot, he buried the rebound. Millbrook evened up the game five minutes later.
Then, with :47 seconds remaining in the period, Belleavoine struck again when Cam Mariani knocked a puck to the left boards that was picked up by Alex Berg who skated up the wall and made a pass to Belleavoine who had a step on two Millbrook defenders; Belly split the d and drove to the net letting a back hander go with pressure from his right. The puck sailed over Fernandez into the top right corner.
In the second, good forechecking led to Tim Rego picking up a puck outside the Millbrook blueline creating a three-on-one with Brendan Nehmer on his left. Rego slid a pass to Nehmer who used his fancy mitts to slip the puck between Fernandez’s pads to go up 3-1.
Penalties hurt Williston as Millbrook scored with :11 seconds left in the second period to bring the game to within one and then with :42 seconds remaining in the third and on a 6-on-4, Millbrook buried the tying goal.
Williston could have packed up their bags and quit after losing a two-goal lead but in overtime, Shaul Mitton got a puck in the offense zone to Tim Rego at the point who, again, slipped from the right point to the slot and let a backhand ride that was blocked; the puck then bounced fortuitously to Belleavoine who drove down from the point after covering for Rego and let a Rhode Island Rocket go from just above the hashmarks. Word from Millbrook has it that they are still looking for the puck. Williston arms went up; Millbrook heads went down; and Manager Oscar Ngyuen was one happy manager.
Williston was outshot in the match, 32-24 but no matter. Belleavoine earned the game puck for his timely hat-trick.
Williston has two games this week. The first is at in New Milford, CT against the Canterbury Saints on Wednesday afternoon at 4:15. The Wildcats dropped their first game of the two-game series in December and look to split the difference. Then, Friday night, Williston takes on Route 91 foe Deerfield at 6pm at Lossone. Williston will be honoring our armed forces in Military Appreciation night. There will be games and raffles during the game so please make sure you bring a friend and head on down!