Unable to Capitalize on Opportunities, Williston Suffers Loss Against Cushing

Team Report & Writer-Nate Gordon ’16

In a game in which Williston was never able to control the puck in its offensive and was out played physically by a much bigger team, the Wildcats lost to Cushing Academy, 7-3. This is Williston’s second straight loss and puts the team at 1-2-1 on the season. This was the third of four games in a home stand in which the Wildcats face four of the best teams they will see this season.

This game was marked by Cushing taking advantage of opportunities to score and Williston being unable to come through in key moments of the game. This was first shown five minutes into the game when Cushing scored the first goal of the game off a Williston turnover in its defensive zone. Cushing would add two more goals before the first period ended.

Near the end of the first period, down 2-0, Williston junior forward Justin Lindsay scored on a rebound right in front of Cushing’s net. Junior forward Will Flynn was credited with the assist. After the goal, junior forward Chris Dumont was hit by a Salisbury player. Dumont left the game and has suffered a leg injury.

During the first intermission, Williston’s Head Coach Derek Cunha told his team, “Down 3-1, we put ourselves in this position. This is a team you guys can skate with neck and neck for the next 36 minutes.” As Coach Cunha often tells his team when they are down, “don’t push the panic button.”

Williston started the second period on a 5-on-3 power play, but the Wildcats were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

With just under eight minutes to play in the period, once again, the Wildcats were unable to net the puck when a member of the green and blue had the puck on his stick with a wide open goal. Cushing’s goalie made a diving save on the backhand shot.

One minute later, senior defenseman Seth Cupak was sent to the penalty box for a hit to the head of a Cushing player. Because Cupak already had been given a penalty in the game, and the hit to the head was a major, Cupak was given a game misconduct.

Going into the third, Williston was still down just two goals. Three minutes into the period, Williston goalie Shane Mason tried to make a very aggressive save, coming way out of his crease to knock a puck away. The puck did not bounce in the direction Williston would have liked. A Cushing Penguin picked up the puck, threw the puck at the goal, and another Cushing player tipped the puck into the open net.

This was Mason’s first game in a Williston uniform. He was given the challenge to defend a team that is very fast and good in transition. Mason, a sophomore, had twenty saves in the game. They included many quick pad saves and numerous chest saves. Mason started in place of senior Tim Nowacki, who has started Williston’s previous three games.

On the decision to start Mason instead of Nowacki, Coach Cunha said, “He [Mason] has been practicing well, he earned the start. Tim’s been playing great for us so far, but it’s a long season and we will need both of them.”

Cushing added two more goals and had a 6-1 lead with eight minutes left.

Junior forward Brandon Borges next scored two rebound goals. The first came with 7:25 left on the clock and was assisted by junior forwards Tyler Scroggins and Jack Gethings. The second came with 4:50 left in the period. This one was assisted by junior forward Brandon Bork and again by Scroggins.

After the game, Borges talked about his goals, which were his first two of the season. “It was good to finally get that [the goals] over and done with. [But] it doesn’t mean much to me, we didn’t come out with a W, so it really doesn’t mean much to me at all.”

Cushing added a late goal on an open net, with Williston pulling Mason to put an extra skater on the ice.

After the game, when asked what his team did best in the game, Cushing Head Coach Ron Gagnon said, “Number one, we killed penalties well because we were on the penalty kill a lot. Number two, when we player 5-on-5, we were jumping on loose pucks and we knew we had to get pucks to the net and we did that and we were able to capitalize.”

After two more practices, the Wildcats will face The Gunnery on Saturday at home. This is the team’s last regular season game before going on its holiday break.

Wildcats vs. Cushing Preview, Broken Glass

Team Reporter & Writer-Nate Gordon

Williston vs. Cushing Preview

On Wednesday, December 11th, at 4:30 p.m., Williston hockey will host Cushing Academy for the team’s third home game of the year.

Cushing comes into the game with a 4-1 record, with its one loss against the Dexter School. In their last game, the Penguins defeated Avon Old Farms 3-1.

Hockey Night in Boston News 2013/2014 Prep School Preview Edition ranks Cushing number eight in its preseason poll. This will be the third consecutive game Williston plays against a team ranked in the top ten of that poll.

Cushing Hockey has an outstanding reputation. Approximately 195 boys’ and girls’ players have gone on to play D1 college hockey. This is the most from any New England prep school.

The Wildcats are coming off a gritty 3-2 loss against Salisbury. Williston’s Head Coach Derek Cunha says the team has been working on its penalty kill and power play, both weaknesses in the game against Salisbury.

I will be tweeting throughout the game via the team’s twitter feed (@WillistonHockey).

Broken Glass

Before Tuesday’s practice, a pane of glass was shattered when players were skating before practice. Strangely, though, it was not a slap shot that caused the damage. According to Coach Cunha, defenseman Jo Labreque apparently just flicked the puck high up on the glass. Rink managers were able to quickly clean up the shards and install a new pane. Coach Cunha says that this is the first time glass has been shattered since new boards and glass were set up a few years ago.


Williston Loses Tight Game against Salisbury

by Team Beat Writer & Reporter-Nate Gordon

In a game marred by penalties, Williston wasn’t able to add to its early lead until it was too late. The Wildcat were defeated for the first time this season by the defending New England Division 1 Champion, Salisbury.

Both teams came out playing very physically. With just under four minutes left, it seemed as if Salisbury would take the first lead in the game, but the goal was called off when the refs decided a Salisbury player had used his hand to swat the puck into the goal.

Two minutes later, junior forward Brandon Bork of Williston scored on a beautiful pass right in front of Salisbury’s net. The pass came from junior forward Tyler Scroggins, who received the puck from senior defenseman and team Nick Staub.

A total of five penalties occurred in the first eighteen minutes, the least of any period. Four of those penalties resulted in Williston going on the power play.

During the first intermission, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha told his team to play the way they have been practicing. “Stick to what we know, stick to what we do,” said Cunha. Cunha said that to win the game, the team must play hard for the rest of the game. “This is going to be an absolute fight for the next thirty-six minutes.” He also reminded his players to stay out of trouble after the whistle.

In the second period, the game settled down and became less chippy, though the penalties continued. With 16:37 left on the clock, Williston went on the first power play of the period when a Salisbury player was sent to the box for a five-minute major. Just over three minutes into the power play, Williston junior forward Chris Dumont was called for a slash when a Salisbury player was on a breakaway.

Six minutes later, while on the power play, Salisbury came back to tie the game on a rebound from a shot close to the left side of the goal.

Two minutes later, again on the power play, Salisbury took the lead on another rebound goal. The same Salisbury line scored the team’s first two goals. Just 16 seconds later, once again on the power play, Salisbury added to its lead on a wraparound goal.

Thirty seconds later, senior forward and team captain Max Willman scored on a wrist shot, which was assisted by sophomore defenseman Nick Garofano and senior forward and captain Phil Angelo.

After the goal, the two teams had an altercation that resulted in one minor misconduct for each team.

The theme of this second period was Williston being unable to kill penalties, which were aplenty, and the Wildcats being unable to take advantage on the power play.

After the game, Williston assistant coach Kyle Hanford said, “When they scored a goal, it just kind of deflated us a little bit, but I’m really proud of the way the guys came back and continued to battle on. You know, it just didn’t happened today.”

Team captain Nick Staub after the game spoke about the team’s mentality after Salisbury scored quick goals. “A little depressed, but I mean we were ready to bounce back right away and we got a little unlucky on the penalty kill, but we found a way to battle and give it our all.”

Williston went into the third period down one goal, looking to at least get one point in the standings by sending the game to overtime. Before the period, Cunha told his players that the team that wins will be the one that keeps its emotions in check.

Sixteen seconds into the third period it seemed as if Salisbury would take a three-goal lead, but the refs called the goal off, saying a Salisbury player had “high-sticked” to knock a puck in that had bounced off the cross bar.

For almost ten minutes, in between 16:12 and 6:38, Williston successfully killed two cross-checking penalties and one high-sticking penalty.

With under 1:50 left on the clock, Williston decided to pull its senior goaltender, Tim Nowacki to put an extra skater on the ice. Nowacki had thirty five saves on thirty-eight shots.

At the end, Williston desperately tried to score in the final seconds. Williston had four players on the ice, with its goalie pulled, and Salisbury had just three players due to penalties.

Salisbury Head Coach Andrew Will said after the game, “Both teams played extremely hard and I think the big thing for us was that we continue to do a lot of the little things. With all the penalties and special teams, that was a big thing that separated us. We’re definitely going to have to be more disciplined. We took ten penalties, that’s too many. We got to stay out of the penalty box.”

Although this game was a loss, it gave Williston the confidence that they could play with the best teams in the league.

This upcoming Wednesday, the Wildcats will take on Cushing Academy at home at 4:30. Cushing was ranked number eight in Hockey Night in Boston News 2013/14 Prep School Preview Edition’s poll.


Wildcats To Take on Defending Champs, Salisbury-Mini Preview

by Team Beat Writer & Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

The Wildcats will take on the Salisbury Crimson Knights at 6:30 p.m. on December 7th at Williston’s Lossone Rink. Salisbury comes into the game with a 1-0 record, winning its first game against Taft 5-0.

Hockey Night in Boston News 2013/14 Prep School Preview Edition ranked Salisbury number one in its preseason poll. The Crimson Knights are looking to defend their New England Division 1 Championship, which they won last year.

The Wildcats are coming off a thrilling 4-4 tie against Kimball Union Academy this past Wednesday that ended in overtime. Against Salisbury, the team is looking to improve to 2-0-1.

Derek Cunha, Williston’s Head Coach, said that to beat Salisbury, the team will need to play physically in all three zones. He also said his team needs to stay disciplined on the fore-check.

I will be live-tweeting throughout the game on the team’s twitter (@WillistonHockey). A game report with reactions from players and coaches will be available after the game.


Wildcats Score 4 in 3rd vs. KUA, Ends in Tie in Overtime

by Team Reporter & Writer-Nate Gordon ’16

When all seemed lost, down three goals in the third period to Kimball Union Academy (KUA), the Williston Wildcats surged back scoring four goals before ultimately ending the game in an overtime tie. KUA controlled the puck for much of the first two periods. Williston did get its chances, but was unable to capitalize.

It was looking like the first period would end 0-0, but KUA scored with one second left on a rebound goal right in front of the net. Williston players disputed the goal, asking the refs whether time had expired and whether the net had moved out of place. At both ends of the ice, the nets moved and play was stopped numerous times throughout the game.

During the first intermission, Head Coach Derek Cunha told his team, “we cannot let that derail us, we played a good 18 minutes of hockey right there, and the last second, when the puck goes in, that period shouldn’t be defined by that goal. One goal is not going to win this game.”

In the second period, both teams had scoring opportunities, but the scored remained 1-0.

Then, early in the third period, KUA added to its lead less than three minutes in. The team scored two quick goals, including one from junior forward A.J. Greer who has committed to Penn State for college hockey.


Boys V Hockey vs. KUA 2013Senior captain Max Willman who scored the first of Williston’s four goals. Photo courtesy of Williston Flickr.
With twelve minutes left, the Wildcats went on a seven-minute scoring rampage. It started with senior captain Max Willman scoring on a breakaway with a backhand. The goal was assisted by senior defenseman Seth Cupak.  Next, senior captain Nick Staub netted a top shelf slap shot from the blue line. This goal was unassisted and brought Williston within one goal. To tie the game, junior forward Tyler Scroggins put away a rebound with just under ten minutes left. With five minutes left, the Wildcats went ahead 4-3 when junior forward Brandon Bork scored with assists from Scroggins and junior forward Will Flynn.

After the game, Bork said about the goal, “It felt good because it kept the momentum going, we pushed them back a little bit and it ended up being the goal we needed to send us to overtime.”

Exactly one minute after its last goal, Williston was brought back down to Earth when KUA scored a goal on a wraparound from behind its net.

In overtime, both teams had chances to score, including Willman almost scoring on a backhand very early on.

Senior Goalie Tim Nowacki was a big factor in keeping the team in the game. He had 28 saves on 32 shots. His most exciting moment came in the second period when KUA got a breakaway, but he came out of his net making a sliding soccer goalie-type save.

On the game as a whole, Nowacki said after the game, “We made a great comeback in the third period. It was a really gritty team effort.”

Of the game Cunha said, “I was most proud of the fact that they scored two on us quickly in the third to make it 3-0 and that we continued to come back. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of, that they didn’t give up and that they played for the whole game. They could have folded and they didn’t.”

KUA’s Head Coach, Tim Whitehead said after the game, “We learned a lot, it’s our second game of the year, so we’re still learning about our team. One thing for sure is that, once we got the lead, we took too many chances offensively like defensemen were pinching and our forwards were anticipating offensively instead of defensive. That’s what cost us the win.”

The team will have two more practices before facing Salisbury this upcoming Saturday, the 7th. Salisbury was ranked number one in Hockey Night in Boston News’ 2013/2014 Prep School Preview Edition poll.

Clash of the Wildcats: Williston vs. Kimball Union Mini Preview

by Team Beat Writer & Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

On Wednesday December 4rd at 3:30 p.m., the Wildcats will host their first home game against Kimball Union Academy.

Both teams come into the game having won their first games. The Wildcats of Kimball Union defeated Standstead College of the Midwest Prep Hockey League 2-1 on Saturday, November 23rd. The team is led by former UMaine head coach, Tim Whitehead.

Kimball Union came into the season ranked fourth by the Hockey Night in Boston News 2013/2014 Prep School Preview Edition coming off a 27-3-0 record last season. Williston, though, will see a new team this year as Kimball Union had 16 seniors graduate last year.

However, the team Williston will face is certainly not short on talent. Kimball Union already has two players committed to D1 college hockey schools. Senior forward J.D. Dudek committed to Boston College and junior forward A.J. Greer already committed to Penn State.

The Wildcats are coming off a strong first game win against Canterbury. As Williston’s Head Coach Derek Cunha said, the team will look to establish its fore-check early against Kimball Union. Williston will also be working to shut down Kimball Union in transition, one of the team’s biggest strengths.

Coach Cunha also told his team that “the winner of tomorrow’s game will be the one with the least mistakes.” In a private interview, he said that because it is early in the season, mistakes will be made. Williston can’t make many costly errors and must capitalizes on Kimball Union’s faults.

Tomorrow’s matchup will begin a grueling four-game home stand, with all four opponents ranked in the top ten of the aforementioned poll.

I will be tweeting (@Williston Hockey) during the game (I got the Twitter situation figured out from last game!) and a full game report with reactions from players and coaches will be available after the game.