Williston won their second and third straight games after Christmas defeating Nobles 3-2 and St. Sebastians 4-3 in OT. The two wins put the team’s record at 5-3-1. In last season’s pre-/post-Christmas games, Williston went an unimpressive 1-4. This year, they turned the tables and went 3-1-1.
Wildcats from across the United States reunited at the Noble’s rink for an hour skate last Thursday night in preparation for their two contests. For being off for just under two weeks, the club looked solid and crisp and became reacquainted with one another rather quickly. Following the skate, the team met family and friends at The Chateau in Norwood for an Italian dinner that couldn’t be beat. The dinner has been a staple for Williston hockey as it has brought parents and players together for the past number of years and has been a really great kick-off to the meat of their season.
The following day, Williston had the late game at St. Sebastian’s versus a talented Nobles team. Greg Iverson got the nod in goal for the game and did not disappoint making 30 saves to secure the win.
Tim Rego got the ‘Cats on the board at the 9:08 mark of the first period when he took a pass from Billy Smith and ripped a shot from the point thought a screen beating Nobles’ goalie Matt Lane. Then, just three minutes later on a power play and with Williston setting up a shooting gallery in the offensive zone, Rego got his second of the game. After ringing the cross bar, Rego remained patient, took a pass from the left hash mark and drove to the net from the left side and beat Lane again. Logan Geisness earned the helper.
In the second, Nobles got their first goal off a rush up the ice from a shot that was tipped, beating Iverson. The teams ended the period 2-1.
In the third period, freshman David Novotny scored his first of two game-winning goals on the weekend when cleaning up on a Sam Milnes breakaway miss that got jammed on the right post. Novotny with the quickness of a jackrabbit pounced on the rebound. Nobles would score to cut the lead to one but Williston’s stingy defense and goaltending kept the lead secure for the win. The game puck went to Tim Rego for his two-goal night.
The next day, Williston crossed to the other side of 95 to Dedham to take on a strong St. Sebastian’s team that contains five Division I commits. Williston got out of the gate rather sluggishly and looked flat for the first third of the period. St. Sebastians, on the other hand, came out swinging and in the first six minutes beat Williston goalie Xander Rogers three times. The opening goal came off a 5×3 power play opportunity and the second shortly after still man up 5×4. Trying to change the momentum, the Williston coaching staff decided to replace Rogers with Iverson. There was no scoring in the rest of the period but Williston’s play altered and they gained a number of opportunities.
Williston entered the second period with the mindset of chipping away at the Sebs’ lead. It took some time as both Williston and St. Sebs battled back and forth for much of the period. However, at the 11:13 mark of the period, Billy Smith broke the juggernaut. On a pass from Alex Berg, Billy crossed over the Sebs’ blueline on the right side, cut to the middle and let a Hyde Park Howitzer go from three feet inside the line, deflecting off the Sebs’ goaltender’s stick and finding the back of the net. The goal energized the Wildcats and they entered the dressing room with a glimmer of hope and some intensity.
In the third, Williston and Sebs traded blows with neither team budging until the 10:23 mark when, on the power play, Logan Geisness worked the puck to Brendan Hansen who fired a shot that was tipped in by Sam Milnes to bring the score to within one. Then, after a time-out with under two minutes to go, Williston was able to get the puck into the St. Sebs’ zone and with just twelve seconds left, Milnes put a dart of a shot into the short-side top corner of the Sebs net from the goal line. With a delayed penalty at the same time, Williston went into overtime on the power play.
In overtime, Williston was unable to get anything going with the man-up and after an offensive breakdown, had to haul down a Sebs player on a breakaway resulting in a penalty shot. Penalty shots are rare, and in overtime would be considered non-existent, however the call was warranted and Iverson stood tall making the much needed save. Play went back and forth with few chances for either side until a loose puck corralled by Milnes in the neutral zone led to a 2-1 with David Novotny driving the net. Milnes held onto the puck looking to shoot and at the last moment made a saucer pass just over an outstretched Sebs’ defender’s stick that Novotny drove into the net. Game. Set. Match. Williston 4. St. Sebastian’s 3.
Novotny earned the game puck for the night and Greg Iverson pitched a shutout saving all 27 shots he faced.
Williston’s next game is on Wednesday when they take the mini busses down into Connecticut to face a very strong Canterbury Saints club. Good seats are still available.