by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

As was announced via the team’s Twitter feed this morning, Williston Boys Hockey (13-10-2) missed a spot in the playoffs by .004 of an RPI percentage point.

Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said this to the team in an email earlier today:

“I am sorry to have to report that we did not qualify for a playoff spot. Despite our strong ending we finished just .004 away from getting in. Our final RPI percentage was 0.5269330 and the 8th seed was 0.5309567. It’s hard to imagine that it came down to 4/1000 of a point of us getting in but it is a testament to how competitive it is to make the prep hockey playoffs. Though initial news is disappointing you need to know how incredibly proud Coach Hanford and I are of this group and the strides we made this season.”

The team will have its “banquet night” on Tuesday where team awards will be given out. Soon after, I will post my season recap on the blog.

Williston WIns 3rd Straight, Does It Mean Anything?

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon


The Wildcats won their final three games of the regular season, including a 4-2 win over the Pomfret Griffins (3-21-2) on Saturday, February 22nd. Will this mean anything tomorrow when the teams that make the playoffs are announced? After this win, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said, “The whole math and the spread sheet and all that stuff, it’s out of our hands, right now.”

Williston Boys Hockey finished its 2013-14 regular season with a 13-10-2 record. The team defeated its final three opponents and outscored them 16-4. Coach Cunha said after the game, “Regardless of what happens tomorrow with the rankings, you guys had had a very good year.”

After the game, senior forward Kyle Hall said about the winning season and a potential playoff berth, “It feels good, it has been a long two years, last year was not the greatest season, so this year it feels good to actually be in a spot to play in the playoffs.”

In the first period, both teams created prime scoring chances, but Pomfret capitalized first midway through the period while on the power-play.  Three minutes later, junior forward Brandon Borges skated through Pomfret’s defensemen and tied the game at 1. Senior forward Max Willman and junior forward Tyler Scroggins had the assists on the play. This was Borges’ third goal in the past two games.

Borges ended up sitting out much of the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.

In the locker room after the first period, Coach Cunha was not pleased. He told his team, “For a team that I think wants a chance to play next week, it didn’t look like it that period.”

Just over two minutes into the second period, on the power-play, junior forward Will Flynn gave Williston its first lead of the game. The goal was assisted by Chris Dumont and Rourke Ferguson. After the game, Flynn said about the goal, “It was a nice pass by Dumont on the power-play, we had good puck movement, and I just had to bury it at the end.”

The second period was similar to the first—both teams got scoring chances—but in this period Williston manufactured goals as a team. With 8:45 remaining in the period, junior forward Rourke Ferguson picked the puck up in the slot and scored. Junior forward Brandon Bork had the assist on the play.

Each team scored one goal in the third period with Pomfret’s coming just over three minutes into the period. For almost fifteen minutes in the third period, Williston was hanging onto a one-goal lead. Then, with thirty-five second to play, on the power-play, senior forward Matt Arnold scored his first goal of the season to put the game out of reach for the Griffins.

In the past three games, Williston has scored seven power-play goals.

Once the playoff situation is announced tomorrow, the results will be posted here on the blog. Also, follow the team’s Twitter (@WillistonHockey) for the latest news.

Coach Cunha said after the game, “My true hope is that we’re getting on the ice Monday for practice.”



Senior Night, Williston Shuts Out Winchendon

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

Seven seniors finished their final home game of their Williston Hockey (12-10-2) careers with a 5-0 victory over the Winchendon Wapitis (11-14-2) on Friday, February 21st. This was the second time the Wildcats defeated Winchendon this season and the team’s second straight win. This defeat of the Wapitis keeps the team’s playoff hopes alive with its final game of the regular season against Pomfret tomorrow, the 21st.

After the game, senior forward Matt Arnold said about winning on Senior Night, “It’s good, I’ve been here three years, so it’s nice to get that last win here at home with all the boys.”

Wildcat senior Tim Nowacki recorded his first shutout of his one-season Williston career. He stopped seventeen shots in tonight’s game. Senior defenseman Seth Cupak scored two goals in his last Williston home game. Junior forward Brandon Borges added two more goals and had an assist to raise his season totals to thirteen goals and twenty-six assists. This gives Borges 39 points—second most on the team, with one game to play.

Williston dominated the first period, only allowing to Winchendon to get shots in transition. Midway through the period, Cupak, the team’s defenseman leader in goals (3), assists (9), and points (12), gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 power-play. The goal was assisted by senior forward Max Willman and junior forward Tyler Scroggins This was the first of three 5-on-3 power-plays Williston had throughout the game. Winchendon went to the box nine times for 21 minutes while Williston accumulated just four penalty minutes.

In the past two games, the team’s biggest strength has been its power-play, which hasn’t been successful much of the season. The team has scored a combined three power-plays goals. Recently, Williston has begun to put more emphasis on screening the opposing team’s goalie with the man advantage and throwing lots of pucks at the net.

In the second period, Williston scored three goals in less than five minutes to take a 4-0 lead. Borges scored the first just fifteen second into the period with a shot from the slot that was assisted by Willman and Scroggins.

The second, just over two minutes later, on the power-play, was scored by senior defenseman Seth Cupak and assisted by Scroggins.

Senior forward Anthony Mantz scored his third goal of the season 4:32 into the middle period. Junior forward Rourke Ferguson won an offensive zone faceoff, Mantz picked the puck up and shot it on the ice from the top of the circle. After the game, Mantz said about his goal, “I was just trying to get it to the net, we’ve been trying to get more shots to the net lately. When we get pucks to the net, good things happen.”

Like the second period, fifteen seconds into the final period, Borges scored. His second goal of the game gave Williston its 5-0 lead. Borges, when asked what he thought was working well with his line in the game, said, “The breakouts…my wingers were finding me every time and [we were] just shooting the puck.”

After the game, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said in the locker room, “We took care of business tonight, I’m proud of you guys, I’m proud of the seniors to win that last game on home ice in such convincing fashion.”

Tomorrow Williston will travel to Pomfret to play the Griffins (3-20-2). About this game, Cunha said, “Right now, you guys have put yourselves in position to win tomorrow and have a chance to play in the playoffs.”

Senior Night, Nowacki To Play at Hamilton

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

On Friday, February 20th, Williston Boys Hockey (11-10-2) will host its final home game of the regular season against the Winchendon Wapitis (11-13-2). For the seven Williston seniors on the team, this will be their final game at Lossone Arena.

Williston’s Seniors:

  • Nick Staub (#4)-Defenseman & Team Captain
  • Max Willman (#20)-Forward & Team Captain
  • Seth Cupak (#3)-Defenseman
  • Kyle Hall (#17)-Forward
  • Anthony Mantz (#19)-Forward
  • Matt Arnold (#24)-Forward
  • Tim Nowacki (#31)-Goaltender

Although there will be celebration tomorrow, the Wildcats will be competing in a game they must win to stay in playoff contention. Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said after Williston’s game against Albany Academy (AA) on Wednesday, “Our focus isn’t on posters and flowers, our focus is on winning.”‘

The Wildcats are fresh off a 7-2 win over the AA Cadets on the 19th, which improved the team’s record to one game above .500.

Winchendon has lost three of its past five games, but most recently defeated Hoosac 6-3 on the 15th. On January 10th, Williston defeated Winchendon 4-1 on the Wapitis’ home ice. Winchendon’s leader in goals (12), assists (13), and points (25) is junior forward Jarod Fitzpatrick.

Nowacki to Play at Hamilton College

Earlier this week, Williston goaltender Tim Nowacki’s decision to play college hockey at Hamilton College was announced via the Williston Hockey Twitter feed. About this Decision, Nowacki said earlier this week, “I’m happy, I’ll be playing in college, it’s definitely nice.”

Hamilton is a member of the of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which includes ten teams.

Nowacki, along with senior Max Willman (will play at Brown next season), becomes the second member of the team to make the commitment to play at the next level.




Williston Drops Albany 7-2, Bork Scores Hat-Trick

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

On Wednesday, February 19th, Williston Boys Hockey (11-10-2) got back on track for playoff contention with a 7-2 road victory over Albany Academy (7-17-3). Junior forward Brandon Bork recorded a Hat-Trick and senior forward Max Willman added another two goals.

This is the team’s first win since January 27th—a 5-1 win over Westminster. Since then, Williston has lost four of its five games and tied one against Northfield Mt. Hermon.

Against Albany, Bork put Williston on the board when he scored a power-play goal with just under two minutes remaining in the first period. Senior defenseman Seth Cupak and Willman had the assists on the goal. This was the first of three power-play goals in the game. Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said after the game, “Offensively, I thought we did a good job of moving the puck today. As soon as we started moving the puck, we started seeing good results, that and our power-play was great today.”

Cunha credits the success on the power-play to “a lot more net presence than we’ve had in [previous games].

Albany had numerous opportunities, most of them off Williston turnovers, to take the lead in the first eighteen minutes, but was never able to get the advantage.

In the second period, Williston erupted with four goals. Willman gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead almost seven minutes in. Junior forward Brandon Borges had the assist on the play.

Three minutes later, Willman scored his second of the game, a shorthanded goal. Twenty-two seconds later, junior forward Tyler Scroggins scored to give Williston a 4-0 lead. With 23 seconds remaining in the period, junior forward Rourke Ferguson gave Bork a great pass that he was able to tip into the goal for his second of the game.

Each team scored two goals in the third period. Williston took a 6-1 lead 9:24 into the final period when Cupak tipped a shot into the goal while screening Albany’s goaltender. Willman and Borges assisted the power-play goal. Bork completed his Hat-Trick with another power-play goal with just over 4:30 to play. Bork got the puck in the slot and rifled it past the Albany goalie. The goal was assisted by Scroggins and Borges

After the game, Bork said, “Me just going to the net, getting the puck, winning battles. We needed the win, so it was good to help the team out.”

With this win, the Wildcats stay in playoff contention with just two games remaining on the regular season schedule. On Friday, Williston will host its final home game of the season against Winchendon.

Playoff Situation, Albany Academy Preview

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon

If the regular season ended today, February 18th, Williston Boys Hockey (10-10-2) would not qualify for postseason play. Luckily for the Wildcats, the regular season doesn’t end today; it ends this upcoming Saturday.

Even luckier for Williston is that the team’s final three opponents, Albany Academy, Winchendon, and Pomfret have a combined 18-48-7 record.

The New England prep school hockey playoffs are split into three sections. The first is the “Elite 8”–the eight highest ranked teams in New England. After that, there is the “Large School” and “Small School” tournaments, which each consist of eight teams. Whether a team is in the “Large” or “Small” categories depends on the number of students at its school.

Five days ago, the latest RPI (ratings percentage index) was released by the U.S. Hockey Report website (USHR). As of that date, February 13th, Williston was the final seed in the “Large-School” Tournament.

Since the date of that poll, Williston lost its one game against Deerfield on Friday, the 14th. Deerfield was the number nine seed in that RPI rankings.

That game against Deerfield was the team’s third straight loss. The Wildcats have not won a game since January 29th.

Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said after the team’s loss to Deerfield about the upcoming week, “You guys win Wednesday, you guys win Friday, you win Saturday, that’s enough to hopefully squeak us in.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th, the Wildcats will face the Albany Academy Cadets (7-16-3) on the road. On January 25th, Williston defeated the Cadets 6-2 at home. Albany comes into the game on a five-game losing streak and hasn’t scored a goal in its last three games.

About tomorrow’s game, Cunha told his team after the Deerfield game, “The only thing you can control now is winning against Albany.”

Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter account (@WillistonHockey).

Williston Defeated by Deefield, Still in Playoff Contention

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

Coming into the game, Williston held the eighth seed in the playoffs. Deerfield Academy  (DA: 9-8-3, including this game) was ninth and it played like it needed to win the game. The Wildcats (10-10-2), including this game) gave up five goals in the first two periods and lost its third straight game on Friday, February 14th.

This was the teams’ annual rivalry game, which this year was held at the Big Green’s home rink. A very large and loud Deerfield student section showed up for the game, but Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha didn’t think it affected the Wildcats.

DeefieldcrowdThe Deerfield student section.

“It wasn’t the crowd that beat us, Deerfield beat us today. They beat us to pucks, they were stronger in the corners, they made the most out of scoring chances. I wouldn’t say the crowd had anything to do with it,” said Cunha.

In the first period, DA scored three goals, with the first a shorthanded goal just under five minutes into the game. A Big Green player took a shot from the top of the left circle. It deflected off a Williston player and found its way past Williston goaltender Tim Nowacki.

Seven minutes later, Deerfield struck again. Senior forward Trevor Yates skated into Williston’s defensive zone and scored on a backhand shot. Yates, who is tied with the most goals (20) for Deerfield, has committed to Cornell University for college hockey.

Deerfield then took a 3-0 lead with 4:53 remaining in the first period.

Before the second period, Cunha told his team, “They’re not earning their goals right now. We gave them three in an eighteen-minute period…Plain and simple, they want it more.

After the first period, each team scored two goals, but Williston was unable to make up for the three goals allowed in the first period.

To start the second period, sophomore goalie Shane Mason replaced Nowacki in net for Williston. DA took a four-goal lead when senior forward Sam Lafferty, the team’s leader in points (47), and a Brown University commit, scored 5:14 into the period.

Two minutes later, junior forward Brandon Bork put Williston on the board when he tapped the puck into goal right in front of the net. The goal was assisted by junior forward Tyler Scroggins.

With just under two minutes remaining in the middle period, Yates scored his second goal of the game to give the Big Green a 5-1 lead.

In the third period, Williston found its stride and competed with Deerfield for eighteen minutes. The Wildcats scored the lone goal in the final period with just five seconds remaining after Williston pulled Mason to put a sixth skater on the ice. The goal was scored by Bork, his second of the game, and assisted by Scroggins and junior forward Rourke Ferguson.

This was the third time this season an opponent has beaten Williston by three or more goals.

Although the team hasn’t won a game since the end of January, the Wildcats are still able to make the playoffs. Cunha said after the game, “Did we play 54 [minutes]? We did not play 54. Did we get everybody’s best effort? No, we did not get everybody’s best effort. Are we still in contention [for the playoffs]? Yes, we are still contention and that is what we have to know going home from here.”

This upcoming week, the Wildcats have three games against teams with losing records. Earlier this season, Williston defeated two of those opponents, Albany Academy (7-14-3) and Winchendon (10-13-2). On Saturday, February 22nd, Williston will play its final regular season game against Pomfret (3-19-2). Williston will need to win all three of these games to have a chance to make it into the playoffs.

Williston vs. Deerfield Mini-Preview

by Team Reporter-Nate Gordon ’16

On Friday, February 14th, Williston Boys Hockey (10-9-2) will travel to Deerfield Academy (8-8-3) to take on the Big Green. This is the Wildcats’ annual rival game against Deerfield. For the game, Williston will be sending a student fan-bus to support the team.

Williston is looking to win its first road game since January 10th-a 5-1 win over Winchendon. The Wildcats are currently on a two-game losing streak and their last win was against Westminster on January 27th.

Deerfield is coming off a 3-2 loss to Taft on February 12th. Senior forward and team captain Sam Lafferty is the team’s leader in assists  (24) and points (40). Lafferty has committed to Brown University for college hockey. Another team captain, Trevor Yates, who leads the team in goals (17) committed to Cornell University.

Game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter account (@WillistonHockey).

Williston Loses Second Straight, Falls to Canterbury

by Nate Gordon ’16

On Wednesday, February 12th, Williston Boys Hockey (10-9-2) squandered a 1-0 lead in the third period and fell to the Canterbury Saints (15-11-1) 3-1 at home. This is the Wildcats’ second straight loss; the team has not won a game since January 27th against Westminster.

Williston’s first game against Canterbury was on November 23rd, a 4-2 win on the road.

Due to the team’s lack of success recently, Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha decided to split up the team’s top line—Tyler Scroggins, Max Willman, Brandon Borges. Cunha, though, put the lines back to their normal arrangement in the second period because of an unproductive first period that ended in a scoreless tie.

Cunha said before the game, “Coming off the stretch that we’ve had, we haven’t had enough consistency with our success, so when things aren’t going as well as we want, we gotta try to mix it up a little, and we’re going to see how it works today.”

Just under four minutes into the third period, Canterbury tied the game on the power-play. Just over two minutes later, again with the man-advantage, Michael Decker, a Saint defenseman, took a shot from the blue line that was deflected in front of the net by forward J.D. Pogue.

Upset about the officiating, the Wildcats’ play became sloppy and unfocused after Canterbury took its 2-1 lead with 12:00 to play. After the game, Cunha told his team, “The discipline factor wasn’t there…offensive-zone penalties [were] what ended up costing us the game.”

Early in the third period, within a period of just over three minutes, Williston was sent to the box three times. Williston did get three power-plays in the game, but did not capitalize. In the past two games, Williston’s opponents have gone to the penalty box ten times and Williston hasn’t scored on any of those power-plays. In fact, Williston hasn’t scored on the man-advantage since January 29th against Loomis Chaffee-a game the Wildcats lost 5-4.

With 17 seconds left to play, desperation time for the Wildcats, Canterbury made it 3-1 when it scored an empty-net goal.

In the second period, senior forward Kyle Hall scored Williston’s lone goal with 9:08 to play. Senior forward Anthony Mantz passed the puck to junior defenseman Jo Labreque who took a shot from the slot. The rebound came to Hall who scored while Canterbury’s goalie was out of position.

Canterbury’s goaltender, Christian Short, a 6-foot-4-inch senior stopped 26 of 27 (.962%) shots in today’s game.

For Williston, senior goaltender Tim Nowacki stopped 32 of 35 (.914%) shots.

After the game, Canterbury Head Coach Padraic McCarthy said, “Our energy was held all three periods, even though we were down 1-0, our energy level stayed high throughout the game and we started to get some bounces finally in the third. Those rebound goals we got early [in the third period], were the type of goals we needed to score against Williston because they were playing tough D.

The Wildcats will have one day of practice before heading to Deerfield Academy (7-8-3) on Friday, the 12th. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and Williston will be sending a student “fan-bus” to the game.

Wildcats Looking to Bounce Back, Williston vs. Canterbury Preview

by Nate Gordon ’16

On Wednesday, February 12th at 4:30 p.m. Williston Boys Hockey (10-8-2) will face the Canterbury Saints (12-11-1) in a rematch of the Wildcats’ season opener.

Williston won the previous game against the Saints on November 23rd by a score of 4-2 in Canterbury’s rink.

Williston does not expect to see a team that is similar to the one it faced almost two-and-a-half months ago. Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha says, “I don’t think they’re going to look anything like the team we played the first game. In terms of our preparation, we’re playing them as if it’s the first time that we’re seeing them.”

On Wednesday, Canterbury will be looking to keep a three-game winning streak alive. The Saints haven’t lost since January 15th , when they were defeated by Westminster.

The Saints’ leader in goals (12) and points (26) is senior forward Mark Bowen.

Williston is looking to bounce back after a 3-1 loss to Millbrook this past Saturday. In the team’s last five games, the Wildcats are 2-2-1. In those games, Williston scored an average of 3.6 goals per game, but have allowed an average of 2.6 goals.

Including tomorrow’s game, Williston has just five games left on its regular season schedule. Every game will be critical if the Wildcats want to compete in the playoffs.

As usual, game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter account (@WillistonHockey).