Wildcats prevail in OT, bounce back from Gunnery loss

Wildcats Find Winning Touch; Beat Millbrook, 2-1 in OT

After going 1-1 on the road in their past two games, Williston was excited to get reacquainted with the friendly confines of Lossone Arena on Wednesday afternoon as they took on Millbrook in a late afternoon contest.  With Xander Rogers back in net once again for Williston, stingy defensive play, and an auspicious overtime, Williston took the first game of the season series, 2-1.

Williston began the first period as they have begun recent first periods, getting pucks deep into the offensive zone and not giving up many quality shots early on.  Williston was rewarded for their gritty play just 4:12 in when JT Chamberlain collected a puck just below the left dot of the Millbrook zone and let a shot go that was deflected by a Millbrook player and beat junior goalie Greg Brassard on the far side.  Assists were awarded to sophomore d, Tim Rego and senior forward, Brendan White.  The scoring would end for both teams until third period when Williston was assessed a penalty for hooking.  Then, at 13:24, on the power play, Millbrook struck beating Rogers over his shoulder near the left dot to tie the game at 1-1.  Both teams would work hard but to no avail and for the third time this season, Williston headed to overtime.

In a rarity for the extra frame, Millbrook was assessed two penalties, one for interference and one for hooking.  The latter gave Williston the power play for the remainder of the game.  With just :17 seconds left, and the puck in their own zone, senior Nick Schofield won the draw on the right dot to Rego who collected the puck and chipped it off the glass and deep into the Millbrook zone.  Senior Owen Sylvia raced the Millbrook defender to below the circle where said defender passed the puck up the wall to the hash marks to a waiting Schofield.  Schofield gathered the puck and raced to the net with senior JoJo Carbone driving hard for any loose change.  With another Millbrook defender committed to Carbone, Schofield cut to the crease and roofed a nifty backhander under the crossbar, ringing the water bottle.  A celebration ensued and Williston won, 2-1, improving their record to 8-10.

The game was a fairly contested match with only three penalties called all game.  Rogers made 18/19 saves to earn the win, while Brassard made 32/34 saves in the loss.  Williston takes on the Brunswick Bruins on Saturday at 2:45 at Lossone.  Following the game, the Williston girls team will have their annual Pink in the Rink game to raise money for breast cancer.  Following the game, kids will be able to skate with the girl’s team.

At one o’clock, the annual alumni game will be held so come down early to see all your favorite players from yesteryear, including Coach PJ McCadden ‘10.  It will be a busy Saturday at Lossone so please stop by and show your support!

Williston Cannot Complete Season Sweep of Gunnery; Falls 4-2

On Saturday, the Williston Wildcats took to the road once again, this time heading to Washington, CT to take on the Gunnery Highlanders.  Unfortunately, two goals in the third period took down the Cats, 4-2.

The opening frame began with vengeance as Williston dominated most of the first ten minutes of the game, dumping pucks deep, pounding Gunnery in the defensive zone, and not allowing much, if any, formidable offense for their opponents.  But, as it happened, Gunnery was able to take advantage of some sloppy play and went up 1-0 at the 9:02 mark.  Williston mounted the offensive train immediately and just :52 seconds later, Williston senior JT Chamberlain netted his fourth goal of the year with assists to Steven Gower and Kyle Caddo.  Then, at the 14:43 mark, Connor Power scored his first goal of the season letting a blast go from just inside the blue line that beat Gunnery goalie, Cedrick Andree.  Brendan White was credited with the assist.  With the period winding down, and Williston feeling like they were going to go to the dressing room up a goal, a Gunnery clear was unable to be corralled by a Williston defenseman at the red line; Gunnery collected the puck and let a shot go with 1 second left that beat Xander Rogers.  The first period ended 2-2.

The second period saw a barrage of shots from both clubs, but to no avail as both teams went to the break still tied, 2-2.

The third period looked as if the pace of the game would remain the same, and it did, until the 5:03 mark when Gunnery’s Matt Danner scored and then just :09 seconds later, Gunnery’s Marc Gatcomb sealed the deal.  At this point, Andree buckled down and Williston would pull no closer.  The loss was Williston’s tenth on the season and put them three games below .500.

The Wildcats take on the Mustangs of Millbrook on Wednesday at 4:45 at Lossone rink.  The Mustangs are riding a high this season with key wins and solid goaltending and the game should be a good one.  See you there.


Williston Beats Vermont, Loses to Winchendon and Berkshire

On Wednesday, the Williston hockey team boarded a coach bus and made tracks to snowy Saxtons River, VT to take on Vermont Academy for a 4:30 tilt.  Williston was able to overcome a second period, five-minute major penalty to win convincingly, 6-2.

Williston struck early just 1:12 into the first frame when senior Brendan White received a pass from sophomore defenseman Tim Rego on the left wall in the neutral zone.  White was able to break wide around a defender and drive hard to the net sliding a puck past Vermont goaltender, Guy Piccolo.  Williston maintained nice pressure over the first third of the period, not allowing Vermont to gain any offense.  Williston defenders broke up countless plays just inside their blue line, including three or four by junior defenseman Connor Canterbury who led many an odd man rush up the ice.  However, the tides would turn momentarily at 7:51 of the first when Tyus Watson-Tummings was able to elude a Williston defender in front of the net and get a stick on a pass from the corner to beat junior goalie Xander Rogers.  Both teams would go to their respective locker rooms tied 1-apiece.

The second period began with an early goal by Mike D’Ambrosio on a shot from the point, however, the goal was disallowed because of goaltender interference by JT Chamberlain.  While the Williston coaching staff reached for their rulebooks on the call, it was to no avail and the game remained knotted, 1-1.

Williston would break the tie at the 10:00 minute mark when off a Nick Schofield-face-off win, JoJo Carbone let a howitzer go from the right dot.  The shot beat Piccolo over the shoulder giving Williston a 2-1 lead.  Williston would earn their second goal of the period on White’s second goal of the game when he drove down the right side of the ice and cut hard to the net beating Piccolo on the doorstep.  Assists were given to D’Ambrosio and junior Jake Durocher.  The period would end with Williston up 3-1.

In the third, Williston continued to roll.  At the 1:56 mark, D’Ambrosio at the blue line let go a quick pass to junior Brendan Hansen who was waiting on the doorstep—he made a quick move to his back hand and put it over the leg of Piccolo.  White picked up the other assist.  At 3:34, Vermont forward Nathan Smith cut the lead to 4-2 but JT Chamberlain put the lead back to three goals with assists going to White and Kevin Lassman.  The sixth and final goal for Williston came at the 9:10 mark of the third period.  Sophomore and Vermont native Steven Townley scored the first goal of his Williston career in front of his proud parents with assists going to sophomore Tim Rego and junior Connor Power.  Xander Rogers earned his third win on the season saving 30 of 32 shots.  Williston’s next game is on the road where they face a very tough and seasoned Gunnery team who looks to avenge an early season loss to the Wildcats in December.  Game time is at 4:30 in Washington, CT.  If you go, dress in layers as their rink is cold.


On Friday, January 13th, Williston faced Winchendon at Lossone.  The ‘Cats got down early and could never regroup, losing 7-4. The closest margin was when Williston pulled within 1 midway through the second at 4-3. Goals were scored by Kevin Lassman, JoJo Carbone, and Sam Milnes with assists on the evening going to Nick Schofield, Owen Sylvia, Tim Rego, Brendan White and Milnes.  Williston gets another crack at Winchendon on February 24th.

The next day, Williston traveled to Berkshire to avenge their overtime loss to the Bears the week prior.  Unfortunately, it was not to be on this day as Williston lost in a heartbreaker, 4-3.  Goals were scored by Nick Schofield, Kevin Lassman, and Steven Gower with assists going to JoJo Carbone, Owen Sylvia, Schofield, Kyle Caddo and JT Chamberlain.


Williston Blanks Hilltoppers, 6-0

On Wednesday, the Williston Wildcats welcomed the Hilltoppers of Worcester Academy to Lossone rink for a late afternoon soiree.  A five-minute power play coupled with a Williston club beginning to find an identity as a gritty, hard-working team helped seal the deal for the ‘Cats.

Sophomore Greg Iverson got his fifth start in net for Williston and, though not tested with many high percentage shots, he was a stalwart early in the game making a cross-crease pad save that did not allow Worcester to gather momentum.  After that, it was all Williston.  Brendan Hansen garnered his fourth goal of the season on a hard-working play behind the Worcester goal by Nick Day who was able to slide the puck to the slot where Hansen let a one-timer go beating Hilltopper goalie Olof Djurberg on the near side.  That would be all the scoring for the period.

Williston began the second period with gusto as Sam Milnes was able to find twine 1:05 into the period as he barreled down the left hand side and let a nasty snap shot go beating Djurberg over his glove on the far side.  At around the nine-minute mark, Connor Power drove deep into Worcester territory and was hit from behind by a Hilltopper forward.  The play earned a five-minute power play for Williston who took full advantage of Worcester’s misplay.  At the 9:15 mark of the period, captain JoJo Carbone struck first with assists to Tim Rego and assistant captain Nick Schofield putting Williston up 3-0. Eleven seconds later, Billy Smith broke down the left wing cutting toward the net at the top of the circle and beating Djurberg across the crease.  Jake Durocher and Mike D’Ambrosio were awarded the assists.  And at the 12:27 mark of the period, Carbone earned his second goal of the game and the third goal of the power play as he was knocking on the doorstep burying a puck lost in the crease.  By the end of the period the carnage was nearly complete as Williston lead 5-0.

Williston finished their work at the 16:15 mark of the third period when Sam Milnes found Brendan White driving to the left side of the net.  Just as White looked like he was going to go around the goal, he made a no-look pass behind his back to a crashing Jake Durocher who buried the sixth and final goal.  Iverson earned his fourth win of the season saving all seventeen shots he faced.  Williston mustered sixty-three total shots, the most that this writer has seen a Wildcat team have in his time in Easthampton.  The game puck went to Eagle River, Alaska native and junior defenseman, Connor Canterbury, for his relentless work and contributions to the defensive effort.

This Friday marks the end of the Williston homestand when they take on the Winchendon School at 5:30.  The next day, Williston boards the bus for a rematch with Berkshire looking to avenge last Saturday’s overtime loss.  The puck drops in Sheffield, MA at 3.15.

Williston Loses a Heartbreaker to Berkshire in OT

On a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon, the Berkshire Bears migrated to Easthampton to take on the Williston Wildcats in a matinee at the Lossone Rink.  The game was hard-fought and even for much of the contest before the Bears were able to sneak a nifty shot past Williston goalie Xander Rogers in OT to take home a 3-2 victory.

The first period the had the makings of the 1972 Bobby Fischer/Boris Spassky chess match with neither team willing to concede much ground.  At the ten-minute mark, Williston and Berkshire had only one shot apiece with both teams playing magnificent defense keeping each other’s play to the perimeters and corners.  The period ended with Williston gaining the edge in shots, 7-6.

The second period began in much the same way but at the 9:54 mark Mike D’Ambrosio put a cross ice pass from the left dot to a streaking Sam Milnes who was able to able to get his stick on the puck and deflect it between a sliding Thomas Draper’s pads to put the ‘Cats up 1-0.  Nick Schofield was credited with the second assist.  However, the lead was soon vanquished when Berkshire leading scorer Jack Lloyd was able to beat Rogers on the power play, knotting the score at one all.

The third period saw the Wildcats gain the lead when Brendan White gathered the puck in the neutral zone and took off down the right wall, beating a Berkshire defenseman wide sliding the puck past Draper.  Assists were given to JT Chamberlain and Milnes.  However, at 6:07, Lloyd notched his second of the game when he let a shot go from the left dot in Williston’s zone that was able to find the smallest of holes to beat Rogers on the near post.  Play was fierce for the remainder of the period but to no avail sending the game to overtime.  For Williston, this would be their second trip to an extra frame this season while it would be the fourth time for Berkshire.

In the opening shift of overtime, both teams played it close to the vest, careful to not commit any errors.  However, in the third minute, a Williston bounce inside their own blue line sent White on a breakaway with the nearest Berkshire defender at least twenty feet behind.  White took the puck looking to duplicate his second period feat but was denied trying to sneak the puck between Draper’s legs.  A Berkshire defender was able to clear the puck from the crease and a chip out of the zone sent Berkshire forward Briggs Gammill on a one-on-one with Williston defenseman Jake Durocher. Gammill was able to step over the blue line and let a laser of a shot go past Rogers’ shoulder hitting the back pipe and sealing the victory for the Bears.  The Williston bench and fans were silenced as they watched the Berkshire team empty out of their bench in victory.

While Williston was humbled on this day, they were forced to bury the loss; this week, Worcester Academy comes to town on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 while the Winchendon School enters Lossone on Friday at 5:30.  On Saturday, Williston heads west to Sheffield, MA in hopes of evening the season series with Berkshire School at 3:15.


Williston Upends Canterbury, 3-1

The Williston boys’ hockey team started the New Year when the Saints of Canterbury came marching into town this past Wednesday.  Williston took the opening game of the two-game series, 3-1, and inched even closer to the .500 mark on the season.

Greg Iverson got the nod in net for the first time since before Christmas vacation when he helped defeat Academie St.Louis, 5-1 on December 9.  He did not disappoint the eager Williston faithful.

The first period was tightly contested as Canterbury had a game plan and stuck with it nicely.  Canterbury ran a well-played 2-3 forecheck that initially stymied the Williston team as they continued to get hemmed into their own zone.  However, a mid-period tactical alteration opened up the zone and allowed Williston the opportunity to break out consistently.  For much of the period, play was tight with few grade-A scoring opportunities as both teams were trying to feel one another out.  At the horn, both teams retreated to their dressing rooms with the game knotted at zeroes.

The opening minutes of periods have, at times, been killers for the Williston Wildcats and Canterbury took advantage 53-seconds into the second frame.  Williston won an offfensive zone faceoff on the left side to our defenseman who let a cannon go but missed the net.  With the puck careening around the boards, another Williston player unsuccessfully attempted to keep the puck in the zone which sent away Canterbury’s Nick Parody—who interestingly enough, needed his skates sharpened between periods.  The job was left to assistant coach Kyle Hanford, who, upon giving Parody’s skates back to their coaching staff commented: “If he gets a goal, he better mention me to the papers.”  Time will tell if that came true.  Either way, the Wildcats were down, 1-0 early in the second period.  Parody blasted down the left wing on a two-on-one and was able to beat Iverson near-side putting the Saints up 1-0.

Williston would even up the score on a power play bid when senior Nick Schofield let a shot go from the high slot forcing Canterbury goalie Dan Seitz to make the initial save, however, he could not corral the rebound and a heads up hustle play by sophomore Tim Rego on the crease shuffled the puck to a patient JoJo Carbone who netted his fifth goal of the year at 10:49 of the second period.  Williston and Canterbury continued to trade jabs but to no avail and both teams entered their dressing rooms tied 1-1.

The third period was a continuation of the first two periods with both teams and both goaltenders making play after play, save after save, with some great chances coupled with some great saves. The Wildcats finally solved the tie when a hard working Steven Gower muscled his way with the puck through the neutral zone and let go a shot that got parlayed into the corner.  However, strong work by Kyle Caddo and Kevin Lassman eventually lead to the puck bouncing sweetly onto senior Owen Sylvia’s stick.  Upon collecting the puck, the Dartmouth, MA native took two strides off-center to the right of the goal and was able to beat the outstretched arms of Seitz putting the boys in blue up 2-1.

The Wildcats would take an unfortunate too many men on the ice penalty with 1 minute left in the game. With Seitz pulled for the extra attacker the Williston PK core of Gower, Nick Day, Brendan Hansen, and Sam Milnes were up to the task to defend. Milnes would end the game on an empty net goal.  Milnes lives by a strict “empty net goals are soft” credo and thus his celebration was one of little jubilation.  Still, Williston won, 3-1 with Iverson getting his third win of the season and stopping 35 shots.  Sylvia received the game puck and earned the right to lead the boys in the singing of “Sammy” sung in the dressing room upon every win.

This Saturday, the Wildcats take on a very skilled Berkshire School at Lossone Arena at 3.15.  Very good seats are still available.


Wildcats Can’t Duplicate Earlier Feat Versus St. Sebs; Nobles Wins

Before it was time to say goodbye to an auspicious 2016 for the Williston boys hockey team—a November and December that saw Williston defeat Salisbury, Gunnery, and St. Sebastians—the Wildcats headed down the Mass Pike for two final games—one, a rematch against St. Sebastians, and the other against traditional New England power, Noble and Greenough School.

In the first game versus St. Sebastians in Needham, the boys fought valiantly but produced zero goals losing to the Arrows, 1-0.  Xander Rogers got the nod once again in net for Williston having defeated Sebs 2-1 in overtime before Christmas break in the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament.  The first period saw Williston come out sluggish with little giddy-up, and just 2:04 into the game, Sebs’ senior captain Brendan Goostray scored the first and only goal of the contest beating Rogers between his pads.  The first period was rather lackluster for the Wildcats as they went to the dressing room down.  After a spirited pick-me-up from head coach Derek Cunha, Williston worked hard and showed resilience through the final two frames but it was for naught.  Even an eighteen shot outburst by Williston in third period could not help the boys from Easthampton.

The next day Williston traveled to Nobles and came out on the losing end of a 4-2 contest.  This game saw senior Donny Battimelli get his third start of the year in net.  Nobles took the lead early in the fisrt period when a Nobles player took a shot from the right inside hashmark that hit Battimelli in the head.  The puck dropped by his feet and Sean Wrenn was on the doorstep for an easy tap-in goal.  Nobles would head to the first intermission ahead 1-0.

Nobles got its second goal of the game early in the second period when a shot was taken on the left faceoff dot.  Battimelli made the initial save and deflected the puck in the corner.  A Nobles winger scooped up the puck and drove hard to the other side of the net and made a cross-crease pass that Zach Janfaza buried.  Williston looked defeated for a time but on the power play with 3:01 left in the second, Brendan White took a puck from the right corner and used his big 6-2 frame and jammed the puck at the feet of goalie Matt Lane; the puck took a fortuitous bounce and hit the mesh at the top of the net.  The period ended with Nobles leading 2-1.

Once again the beginning of periods was not good for Williston on this day and in the third Nobles winger Sean Wrenn took advantage.  Driving down the right wing, with senior defenseman Mike D’Ambrosio in front of him, Wrenn stepped over the blue line and let a shot go on net that beat Battimelli over the blocker giving Nobles a 3-1 lead.  However, a little over two minutes later, White was back to his old tricks, this time driving from the left corner and finding a small opening between Lane’s pad and the post cutting Nobles’ lead to one.  However, Nobles’ Ryan Stevens, son of former BC and NHL star, Kevin Stevens, gathered a bumbled puck at their own blue line and went down on a breakaway gingerly sliding the puck between Battimelli’s pads for the fourth and final goal by either team.  While Williston mounted intense pressure at the end of the game, Matt Lane stood tall to the task.

Williston has lost 4 or its last five but looks to rebound early in the New Year when they take on Canterbury at Lossone on Wednesday, January 5th at 4.  See you there.