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.