by Team Reporter Nate Gordon ’16
The good news for Williston Boys Hockey (1-4-0) is that one of the toughest stretches of the season is over. The bad news is that the Wildcats finished this stretch without a single point in the standings, losing all four games.
Williston’s last four games have been against Kimball Union, Salisbury, Cushing, and Gunnery. All of these teams were ranked in the top seven of USHR’s New England Prep Preview; Salisbury and Gunnery were one and two, respectively.
On December 13th, the Wildcats wrapped up the stretch against Gunnery (3-2-0) at Lossone. Saturday was also alumni day with former Williston hockey players returning to play a game and watch their former teams compete.
Gunnery built an early 2-0 lead that was erased in the final 3:15 of the first period. Junior forward Jack Kelly and senior forward Rourke Ferguson scored. After a first period in which the the Wildcats trailed by two, but clawed back to tie the game, the Highlanders took control of the game in the second period scoring two unanswered goals. Gunnery added two goals early in the third period to cushion its lead.
The third period involved sloppy play by both teams resulting in eight combined goals, three for Williston. In the last ten minutes, Jack Gethings ’15, Brandon Bork ’15, and Nick Schofield ’17 added goals for the Wildcats.
Junior goaltender Shane Mason was pulled after Gunnery scored its sixth goal during the third period. Sophomore Don Battimelli replaced Mason for his first appearance in a Williston uniform.
In the past two games, the Wildcats have allowed fourteen combined goals.
The Wildcats have their work cut out for them now three games below .500. However, last season Williston didn’t win their games against Kimball Union, Salisbury, and Gunnery and those games did not define the team’s season.
The sentiment expressed by Williston’s coaches after the game was that the team needs to move on from this tough stretch and focus on winning its upcoming games. Talking about the season, Head Coach Derek Cunha said, “They’re all winnable games, that’s what you need to take away from this. The only way we’re going to be successful this year is as a team.”
From the start, this game was played at a very high speed and level of physicality. Seventeen penalties were handed out in the game. For the first time this season, the Wildcats were the less penalized team with the Highlanders going to the box eleven times.
Schofield ’17, still recovering from a shoulder injury that keep him out of the Cushing game, was available in a limited role for the Wildcats. For the final two periods against Gunnery, junior defenseman Brad Budman was sidelined with an upper body injury.
This was Williston’s last game before the holiday break tournament and showcase. After practices Monday through Thursday, the Wildcats will face St. Andrew’s, a top Canadian team, in the St. Sebastian’s Tournament on Friday.
In the next few days, stay tuned for a weekly preview, which will take a look at the season, so far. Also, stay tuned for a guest post from a former Williston Hockey team captain.