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.