Williston Breaks the Mustangs

After a week-long hiatus due to a hellacious storm on Saturday that cancelled Williston’s game against Gunnery, the Wildcats took to the ice against a talented Millbrook Mustang team who won the Pingree Christmas Tournament and had taken down top-ranked Salisbury and Gunnery this season.  Williston played hard-nosed hockey today and took the first of two games this season, 4-2.

Williston came out fast in the opening period putting pucks on net and driving for rebounds.  Williston struck first at the 1:55 mark when Matt Pimental got the puck to defenseman Mitchell Hansen who let a wrist shot fly from the point.  The puck took off like a Jeff Sluman drive on the first tee at Oak Hill rising slowly and beating a screened Cam Fernandez over the glove.  The goal was Hansen’s first of his Williston career.

In the second after close chances by both teams, Brendan Nehmer got sprung for a breakaway by Jake Sacratini and beat Fernandez on a low shot in the lower right corner with seven minutes left in the period.  Pimental picked up his second assist.  The Wildcats went into the break, up 2-0.

In the third, Tim Rego took a pass from Jack Purcell and flew up the left boards into the zone, fired a slick pass to Tommy Harty who drove down to the dot, cut to the net, caught the pass, and let a low blast go that found the back of the net.  Millbrook would pull within a goal on two power play goals—one with the goalie pulled—only to have Rego seal the deal with his ninth goal of the season when, with the Millbrook goalie pulled, he corralled a puck to the side of his net and, from a knee, shot the puck into the open net.  Williston arms went up and Millbrook spirits went down. Kyler Breland got the win for the Wildcats.

The game puck went to Mitchell Hansen.  Williston plays the Brunswick Bruins on Saturday at 1:30pm.  Last year, Brunswick knocked the Wildcats out of the first round of the playoffs, 2-0.  This year the clubs met at the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament and tied 4-4.  This promises to be an excellent matchup.

Also on Saturday, the Williston girls’ team plays Hotchkiss in their annual “Pink the Rink” game after the boys’ game.  There will be snacks and raffles for excellent prizes with all proceeds going to support breast cancer research.  Bring your moolah!

Williston Drops Two, Wins One

Last Friday, the Winchendon Wapitis came to town and Williston was up to the task for two solid periods playing shut out hockey.  However, in the third, Winchendon broke open the scoring on a 5×4 off a faceoff. Williston answered the call three minutes later when Jack Purcell let a shot go that beat Max Caouette with assists going to Matt Pimental and Brendan Nehmer.  However, with just over two minutes left in the game, Winchendon got a puck in the slot that beat Williston’s Kyler Breland.  Williston ended up taking a penalty with 1:40 remaining, and, interestingly, had some of their best opportunities of the game getting robbed twice by Caouette and hitting the post once.  Shots were Williston 42-Winchendon 24.  The Wildcats played some of their most determined hockey of the year but just came up short.

The next day, Williston traveled to Sheffield, MA for a rematch of last Saturday’s soiree with the Berkshire Bears.  Williston looked to avenge the previous week’s loss, but after going down 6-0, the Wildcats were put into a hole that they just could not climb out of.  While Williston tried their best and played a very solid third period, they could not avenge the six goals they spotted the Bears and ended up losing 6-3.  Goal scorers were Tim Rego (Mitchell Hansen), David Novotny (unassisted), and Tim Rego (Cam Mariani.)

On Wednesday, Williston traveled to the Green Mountain State to take on the Vermont Academy Wildcats looking to get back into the win column.  While Williston struggled to pull away in the first two periods, in the third they did just that, winning 6-3.

Vermont got on the board early in the game on a defensive breakdown leaving a Vermont player all alone in the front of the net.  He beat Kyler Breland cleanly.  However, with just under a minute remaining in the period, James Belleavoine came streaking down the right wall in the zone, put a shot on net that was saved but then buried home by a fortuitous Hunter Sarro who charged the net like former Rochester Red Wing Cal Ripkin stealing home plate at the old Silver Stadium on Norton Street.  Williston was happy to go into the break tied.

In the second, Jack Purcell got a goal when Brendan Barrett cruised down the left wing and let a shot ride from the dot.  The VA goalie made the save but Jack Purcell skated like the Chicago wind and buried a rebound to go up, 2-1.  Vermont scored again to tie it up, but just minutes later, Tim Rego headed into the Vermont zone on a 2-1.  He made a sweet pass to Brendan Nehmer who missed the net but Rego drove behind, corralled the puck and tucked it past the goaltender.  Sloppy play led to Vermont tying the game, 3-3 heading into the dressing room.

In the third, Williston started to put things together, first when Tommy Harty won the faceoff to Mitchell Hansen who quickly moved the puck to Rego.  The senior defensemen cranked down the left side of the ice and ripped a shot top-cheddar to go up, 4-3 just :13 seconds into the frame and on the power play.  Then, Matt Pimental took a puck from the left corner, drove the net and let a backhand rip that looked like it was shot from a sand wedge going top corner.  Brandon Barrett got his second helper of the day.  Finally, Cam Mariani scored an empty net goal from Alex Berg to seal the deal, 6-3.

Williston outshot Vermont 40-15 as Kyler Breland got the win.

Yesterday, the Wildcats enjoyed the first pond skate of the year playing shinny hockey with the coaching staff and their kids, Gus, Ryan, and Will.  There was something beautiful about making the first tracks of the year on black ice that warmed this writer’s soul.  Hopefully it will lead to some magic for the players as we push to make the playoffs.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, the ‘Cats head to Gunnery for a 4:30 tilt.  Check the twitter for updates.

Williston Dropped by Bears, Climb the Mountain Versus the Hilltoppers

On Saturday, Williston looked to rebound against the Berkshire Bears after a two-game losing streak that ended 2018.  With a number of alumni on hand, the Wildcats looked to impress; unfortunately, it was not to be as Williston dropped the contest, 5-3.  Twenty minutes in penalties did not help the cause.

Williston jumped out on top at the midpoint of the first period.  Brendan Nehmer took a pass on the half-wall and sprinted up the ice on the right side with Cam Mariani and James Belleavoine jumping into the rush with the speed and energy of Irondequoit Creek in the April thaws of Upstate New York.  As Nehmer crossed into the zone, he dropped the puck to a waiting Belleavoine who let a shot go from the far hash marks.  A fortuitous Mariani darted at the net and was able to get a stick on the puck beating Berkshire post-graduate goalie, Kenny Burgess.  Williston would hold the lead for the remainder of the period.

In the second, Berkshire got two goals, both on the power play to put the Bears up 2-1.  The lead would hold for three minutes when, on a power play of their own, Williston tied the game at two.  Tommy Harty took a puck in the left corner of the Berkshire zone and passed to David Novotny at the point.  David worked the puck back to Harty who curled around the top of the circle and let a shot fly that was deflected onto Jake Sacratini’s stick on the high left post.  Seeing an opportunity, Novotny cruised into the slot, took a pass from Sacratini and let a backhander rip from the mid-slot that beat Burgess between the pads.  While no panes of glass were trembling at the ferocity of the shot, it was good enough to tie the game.  The tie would only last for a little over three minutes when Berkshire scored with just 23 seconds left in the period to go up 3-2.

In the third, Cam Mariani tied the game with a blast from just inside the blue line that went in the top right corner (Belleavoine and Novotny with the assists) but Berkshire was too much, scoring two more goals to seal the win.

Shots in the game were 27 for Williston, while Tyler Breland faced 30.

On Wednesday, the Worcester Hilltoppers came to Lossone.  Last year, the Wildcats were losing to Worcester, 1-0 going into the third only to pull out a 4-1 win.  This year was a different story as Williston beat Worcester 14-3.  Notable efforts for the afternoon were Jake Sacratini (3g, 1a), Hunter Sarro (2g, 2a), David Novotny (2g, 2a), Brendan Nehmer (1g, 2a), and Tommy Harty (3a).  Trevor Corsello got the win.  Williston outshot Worcester, 42-16.

This is a big weekend for the Wildcats.  On Friday night, Winchendon comes to town for a 5:30 game.  Williston defeated the Wapitis 7-1 at the St. Sebastian’s Tournament in December so look for the Green and Black to come out with vengeance.  Then on Saturday, Williston looks to even up the season series with Berkshire in Sheffield, MA at 4:30.  We hope to see you tonight!


Arrows, Bulldogs, Down Wildcats

There’s a scene in The Big Lebowski when The Dude sits down next to an old grizzled cowboy at the bowling alley bar.  As The Dude laments his misfortunes, the cowboy, played by Sam Elliot, finally remarks: “Well, a wiser fellar than mahself once said “Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.””  With his Southwestern drawl, the deity-like cowboy pronounces “bear” as “bar.”  Last year, Williston ate the “bar”, coming from three goals behind to win in overtime, 4-3.  Today, the Williston Wildcats were unfortunately on the receiving end of the “bar,” going down 6-0 and eventually losing 8-3 to St. Sebastians.

While I readily admit the following cliché, the game was not an 8-3 game; fortuitous bounces for St. Sebastians that included a puck ricocheting off a stanchion on a Williston powerplay only to end up on the stick of Sebs penalty killer who took off on a 2-1 and scored; to a shot from the point that was deflected and popped up eight feet in the air and bounced over Kyler Breland’s head and into the net; to a potential 3 on 1 for Williston only to have David Novotny blow a wheel and careen to the ice, losing the possession, the puck-luck needed to beat a very powerful offensive and defensive opponent—that boasts currently seven Division I prospects with more on the way—was not there when the Wildcats needed it.

St. Sebastians took a commanding 6-0 lead through the first period and half of the game through the work of savvy offensive skill and a defensive juggernaut that was difficult for Williston to solve.    In the second, Williston was able to get on the board when, in the offensive zone, Matt Pimental won the draw cleanly to Jack Purcell who let a quick shot go that was saved off the right pad and bounced onto sophomore Brandon Barrett’s stick; Barrett buried the rebound for the first goal of his Williston career.

Then, two minutes later at the 17:19 mark of the period and on the power play, Brendan Nehmer took a puck near the top right point and let a shot go that hit a Sebs player and bounced over the shoulder of a shocked Luke Garrity.  Williston looked like they might have some life to them heading into the third period.

Unfortunately, any hope was shot down as St. Sebastian’s Tommy Lyons drove to the net with two players draped on him and was still able to get the toe of his stick on the puck and sneak a shot past Breland.

Brendan Nehmer got his second goal of the game cutting the lead to 7-3 (Novotny and Sacratini with the assists) but Sebs got its eight goal a little over a minute later.  Trevor Costello went in and made some clutch saves down the stretch, but Williston could never get back into it.

Shots for the game were 24 for Williston and 38 for Sebs (31 on Breland and 7 for Costello.)

On Saturday, Williston played Nobles in a rematch of last year where Williston took the game 3-2.  This year would be different for the ‘Cats as they would drop the match-up, 5-1.

Nobles got on the board early in the game on a powerplay. Williston would answer a few minutes later when Shaul Mitton got a pass from Tommy Harty on the break-out.  Mitton cruised down the right boards and beat Nobles goalie Marc Smith to tie the game at one.  Nobles would score the next four goals, one more in the first period and three in the second.  Williston worked hard in the third to cut the lead but to no avail.

Shots in the game were 29-18 in favor of Nobles.

Williston returns to school on Wednesday and takes on the Berkshire Bears at home on Saturday at 4.30.  The Williston co-ed alumni game takes place at 12.30 that day so let the alumni office know if you will be making the trip in for the game.