In a game in which Williston lost 2-1 to St. Sebastian’s School (St. Seb’s), the Arrows, took advantage on a key Williston penalty, which ended up being the deciding factor in the game.
Going into the second half (each tournament game was played with two 25 minute halves), the game was deadlocked at 1-1. Senior forward and team captain Max Willman tied the game up when junior forward Brandon Borges took a shot from just inside the circle, which bounced off St. Seb’s goalie right to Willman who netted the rebound.
Although Williston was able to kill all four of its penalties in the first half, four more came in the second. With thirteen minutes to play, senior forward Matt Arnold was sent to the box for boarding, but was given a five-minute game misconduct. On the same play, senior defenseman Nick Staub was called for slashing. This gave St. Seb’s two minutes of 5-on-3, which the Wildcats survived.
Then, during the 5-on-4, the puck ricocheted off the stick of a St. Seb’s player and found the back of the net.
Williston did have four power play opportunities through the course of the game, but only took advantage of one.
During halftime, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha told his team, “Expect to win this game. In your heads, expect victory from today. The only way we get there is by 25 minutes of good hockey. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a winnable game.” He added, “Every time we go into a second half, we want to give ourselves a chance to win a game.”
The Wildcats were definitely in position to win this game until penalties suspended that opportunity. A late Williston penalty prevented the Wildcats from being able to put an extra skater on the ice for more than 30 desperate seconds at the very end.
After the game, Williston senior goalie Tim Nowacki, “I think that we could have capitalized on our power play a little better. We, maybe, took penalties at the wrong time of the game.”
After the game, St. Seb’s Head Coach Sean McCann said, “I thought that Williston for the most part outplayed us during the whole game. They’re extremely aggressive, make good decision with the puck, they drove the net hard.” He added, “But I think it was the power play, the five-minute major, it hurts any team. That’s the difference right there [in the game].”
With this loss, Williston was eliminated from the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament’s winner bracket. The Wildcats will play in a consolation game for third place against Northwood on Sunday, December 22nd at 1p.m.