The Williston boys’ hockey team started the New Year when the Saints of Canterbury came marching into town this past Wednesday. Williston took the opening game of the two-game series, 3-1, and inched even closer to the .500 mark on the season.
Greg Iverson got the nod in net for the first time since before Christmas vacation when he helped defeat Academie St.Louis, 5-1 on December 9. He did not disappoint the eager Williston faithful.
The first period was tightly contested as Canterbury had a game plan and stuck with it nicely. Canterbury ran a well-played 2-3 forecheck that initially stymied the Williston team as they continued to get hemmed into their own zone. However, a mid-period tactical alteration opened up the zone and allowed Williston the opportunity to break out consistently. For much of the period, play was tight with few grade-A scoring opportunities as both teams were trying to feel one another out. At the horn, both teams retreated to their dressing rooms with the game knotted at zeroes.
The opening minutes of periods have, at times, been killers for the Williston Wildcats and Canterbury took advantage 53-seconds into the second frame. Williston won an offfensive zone faceoff on the left side to our defenseman who let a cannon go but missed the net. With the puck careening around the boards, another Williston player unsuccessfully attempted to keep the puck in the zone which sent away Canterbury’s Nick Parody—who interestingly enough, needed his skates sharpened between periods. The job was left to assistant coach Kyle Hanford, who, upon giving Parody’s skates back to their coaching staff commented: “If he gets a goal, he better mention me to the papers.” Time will tell if that came true. Either way, the Wildcats were down, 1-0 early in the second period. Parody blasted down the left wing on a two-on-one and was able to beat Iverson near-side putting the Saints up 1-0.
Williston would even up the score on a power play bid when senior Nick Schofield let a shot go from the high slot forcing Canterbury goalie Dan Seitz to make the initial save, however, he could not corral the rebound and a heads up hustle play by sophomore Tim Rego on the crease shuffled the puck to a patient JoJo Carbone who netted his fifth goal of the year at 10:49 of the second period. Williston and Canterbury continued to trade jabs but to no avail and both teams entered their dressing rooms tied 1-1.
The third period was a continuation of the first two periods with both teams and both goaltenders making play after play, save after save, with some great chances coupled with some great saves. The Wildcats finally solved the tie when a hard working Steven Gower muscled his way with the puck through the neutral zone and let go a shot that got parlayed into the corner. However, strong work by Kyle Caddo and Kevin Lassman eventually lead to the puck bouncing sweetly onto senior Owen Sylvia’s stick. Upon collecting the puck, the Dartmouth, MA native took two strides off-center to the right of the goal and was able to beat the outstretched arms of Seitz putting the boys in blue up 2-1.
The Wildcats would take an unfortunate too many men on the ice penalty with 1 minute left in the game. With Seitz pulled for the extra attacker the Williston PK core of Gower, Nick Day, Brendan Hansen, and Sam Milnes were up to the task to defend. Milnes would end the game on an empty net goal. Milnes lives by a strict “empty net goals are soft” credo and thus his celebration was one of little jubilation. Still, Williston won, 3-1 with Iverson getting his third win of the season and stopping 35 shots. Sylvia received the game puck and earned the right to lead the boys in the singing of “Sammy” sung in the dressing room upon every win.
This Saturday, the Wildcats take on a very skilled Berkshire School at Lossone Arena at 3.15. Very good seats are still available.