by Team Reporter Nate Gordon ’16
One of the best teams in Midwest Prep Hockey, St. Andrew’s College (16-3-1) played at a very high tempo, which caught Williston (1-5-0) flat-footed. The Saints capitalized on the Wildcats’ defensive lapses. With three goals in the game’s two halves, the Saints delivered Williston its fifth straight loss.
This game was part of the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament, which the team competes in annually.
After a home-opener victory back on November 22nd, the Wildcats have not won since. The previous four opponents, Kimball Union, Salisbury, Cushing, and Gunnery, are all top ten New England Prep teams.
Down 3-1 at halftime, the game was still very much in reach for the Wildcats. That changed early in the second half when the Saints scored three goals in the period’s first five minutes.
St. Andrew’s senior forward Justin Fregona, who has committed to UNH, scored two goals for the Saints.
The game was played with two twenty-five minute halves, an unusual format. This meant that the game was four minutes shorter than what the Wildcats generally play with three eighteen minute periods.
As Williston has shown in parts of each the team’s five losses, there were long stretches, especially in the second half, when the Wildcats played with the Saints stride for stride.
After the game, both players and coaches expressed in the locker room that win or lose, the team will play together for the rest of the season. So, the attitude each player has during each game, is critical for the rest of team.
Williston Head Coach Derek Cunha said, “There is a lot of hockey left to play, regardless of the results, you guys are going to be a team. You guys have to stick together as a team to make this meaningful.”
The Saints have three players, two forwards, one defenseman, who have committed to Division 1 schools (Harvard, University of New Hampshire, RPI).
One positive of this game was that the Wildcats were the less-penalized team. The Wildcats went to the box five times, the Saints six. Williston’s first goal was scored on the power play.
Sophomore Don Battimelli got his first start in net for Williston. He made strong saves early for the Wildcats, but the Saints’ pressured attack, with Williston’s defensive mishaps, became too much to handle.
The team’s usual starter Shane Mason ’16 replaced Battimelli after St. Andrew’s scored its fifth goal.
With just under three minutes to play in the game, senior defenseman Chris Dumont blocked a shot in the defensive zone, which gave him a breakaway and he scored a shorthanded goal on his own rebound. This goal made the score 6-2.
This loss puts the Wildcats into the tournament’s consolation bracket. Today, Saturday, the team will face Northwood at 1 p.m. Yesterday, Northwood (1-3-1) was defeated by Thayer 4-2. Northwood sophomore, Kaden Pickering (#17), has committed to play Division 1 hockey at St. Lawrence University.
Updates on the tournament are available on the team’s Twitter feed @WillistonHockey.