Williston Closes the Door on Deerfield, 3-2

In what was already a special night for the Williston boys hockey team who donned special military-inspired jerseys emblazoned with the crests of each of the armed services in honor of military appreciation night, the Wildcats took it a step further by defeating their green and white rival, #11-ranked Deerfield, in a Lossone Arena that was packed to the hilt with spectators and fans of both clubs.  The energy was palpable from the get-go, the music was bumping, and the action was intense.  In the end, Williston was able to garner three goals to Deerfield’s two, taking their first game off the Green Doors in the last six years.

Williston got on the board just :46 seconds into the tilt when, toward the end of their shift, Hunter Sarro worked a puck in the neutral zone to James Belleavoine who broke down the left side of the ice into the Deerfield zone and made a pass across the top of the crease to a streaking Cam Mariani who deflected the puck past Dartmouth-bound goalie, Thomas Gale.  The rest of the period was a battle with gritty plays and explosive body-checks echoing around the Quonset hut of Lossone.  Williston entered the first intermission up, 1-0.

In the second, Williston added to the lead at the 5:14 mark when, the Belleavoine-Mariani-Sarro line struck again.  First, Sarro worked hard along the left offensive wall to keep up a puck in the zone, getting it down to the corner.  Mariani raced to it, beat his man and with his back almost flush against the wall, made a tape-to-tape pass to a wide open Belleavoine, ten feet from the crease near the left-circle hashmarks.  Belleavoine knew what to do and put a neat shot just past Gale’s glove.  Big Red doesn’t fly off the handle often, but his celebration rivaled that of famed 1980s Rochester American blueliner Jim Hofford.

Deerfield would claw back three minutes later but Jake Sacratini got the eventual game winner when Matt Pimental worked a puck to Brendan Nehmer who broke in the Deerfield offensive zone, took a shot that was blocked but was quickly gathered by Sacratini in the mid-slot who took all that Vezio ever taught him and beat Gale glove-side.  Sacratini said hello to the ice with his glove and then jumped high into the glass in celebration.  The rest of the period continued to be a battle as both teams pounded one another trying to gain any advantage they could.  As the horn sounded for the end of the period, Williston led, 3-1.

In the third, Williston fell back into a more defensive shell at times but one that kept Deerfield at bay allowing Wildcat goalie Kyler Breland to see and gather all incoming shots.  Always a club with a flare for the dramatic, Williston gave up a late goal on a 6-5 after a Wildcat defender’s stick was slashed out of his hand, but the whistles were put away early in this contest, so no foul was called.  After the goal, Williston coach Derek Cunha respectively disagreed with the no-call but to no avail.  While the game still had two minutes left, Williston buckled down, sacrificed their bodies, and as the final horn blew, I swear some of the solar panels atop the arena were jostled free from the eruption of cheers and huzzahs emitted from the Williston faithful.

Deerfield outshot Williston, 36-22.  The game puck was earned by Jake Sacratini whose strong play in Wednesday’s Canterbury game carried over to this one.

With the win, Williston inched one game closer to .500 and even closer to an elusive playoff birth, though the fates still hold the cards for the latter.

With just three remaining games left, Williston welcomes Albany on Wednesday afternoon.  Fans will remember that Williston took one on the chin at the hands of the Cadets back in December when they lost in the first game of the St. Sebastian’s Holiday Tournament, 3-0.  Williston, though, is a different team than two months ago, so look for an exciting rematch.  Puck drops at 4pm on Wednesday at Williston.  We look forward to seeing you there.

The Heavens Can’t Save the Saints As Williston Takes Down Canterbury

The Williston boys hockey team boarded the mini busses on Wednesday and headed down to New Milford, CT to take on the Canterbury Saints in a rematch of their December 12th game.  In this go-round, Williston got the better of the Saints, winning 6-4.

Williston got on the board early in the first period when Brendan Nehmer worked hard in the corner to work a puck to the right point to Alex Berg who played a little pinball with a shot that hit a number of Canterbury sticks and deflected past goalie, Cal Skwara.  The goal was the Floridian’s first of the year.

Williston got their second goal of the game when Brendan Nehmer poke checked a Canterbury forward trying to skate the puck out of the zone.  As Nehmer grabbed the puck, he drove to inside the right circle and let a pass go cross-crease that was tipped in neatly by Jake Sacratini giving the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead after the first.

In the second, Canterbury found their way coming out strong and scoring a goal three minutes into the frame.  Williston scored the next two goals; the first coming off a Shaul Mitton faceoff win in the Canterbury zone that went back to Jack Purcell who let a Chicago-clapper go from the top of the left circle.  Fans who were there said that the shot reminded them of the butterflies known to frequent Rochester, New York’s Lilac Festival in early May.

Jake Sacratini got his second goal of the game when some crafty maneuvering below the circle tops saw Tommy Harty work a puck to Brendan Nehmer who made a pass on the Canterbury crease where Sacratini took a swipe at the puck only to have it kicked in by an opposing defenseman. Then, with under a minute-and-a-half remaining, Canterbury cut the lead to two.

In the third, Canterbury scored two goals, tying the game at the 7:04 mark.  However, Williston put the screws to the Saints when Tommy Harty and David Novotny worked hard in the deep left corner of the Canterbury zone working a puck to a streaking Tim Rego who buried the puck just five feet from the goal past Skwara replacement, Connor Cherry.  Brandon Barrett sealed the deal when Shaul Mitton put on a hard forecheck forcing a turnover that Brandon Barrett was able to collect behind the Canterbury net.  With the patience of a monk, Barrett crept from behind the goal line and found daylight through a minute hole that beat Cherry.  Chippy play at the end of the game was no match for Williston as they sealed the win.

Williston outshot Canterbury, 31-30.  Barrett earned the game puck for his diligent efforts all game and his more than timely goal.

This Friday, Deerfield (our neighbors to the north) come to visit the Lossone Ice Palace.  Williston will be honoring those in our armed services in military appreciation night.  The Williston team will be wearing military inspired jerseys and socks in honor of those men and women who serve and who have served.  There will be raffles and other fun activities throughout the game.  Please come on down and support the Wildcats and the United States Military.


Williston dropped by Hoggers, Tame the Mustangs in OT

Williston entered last Wednesday’s game against the #8-ranked Northfield Mount Herman Hoggers looking to find their way back in the playoff hunt after losing to Loomis before Long Weekend.  However, the Wildcats took another step away from their final goal of playing in the post-season losing, 3-2.

NMH got on the board in the second period when a Williston turnover inside their own blueline resulted in a goal from a shot at the circle tops that beat Kyler Breland between the legs.  Williston responded four minutes later at the 15:08 mark when James Belleavoine skated the puck out of the Williston zone, into the Hoggers end and drove to the left corner.  Number fourteen then evaded a defenseman and slipped a pass through the crease to a patient Tim Rego at the right point.  Rego’s hands were as smooth as Abbotts Custard as he cruised to the top of the left circle, careened to the side of the net and brought the puck from his backhand to his forehand tossing a shot into the upper right corner.  It was a dandy goal and one that brought the Williston faithful to their feet.

In the third, NMH scored a goal on a cross ice feed on the power with 3 minutes remaining in play and then the next shift on an innocent looking shot from the top of the left circle to go up 3-1.  Williston scored with one-second remaining, but it was not enough.

Williston was outshot 36-22.  The ‘Cats played an excellent game but a two-minute lapse toward the end of the third period was the downfall of the boys from Easthampton.



The Wildcats stabled the Millbrook Mustangs on Saturday afternoon in Millbrook, NY.  Millbrook had all sorts of reasons to come up big—Senior Day, Military Appreciation Day, Alumni Weekend, Winter Weekend, and thoughts of avenging an earlier loss to Williston a month prior.  Fortunately for the Wildcats, they had the antidote: J-I-M-M-Y.  James Belleavoine notched a hat-trick, including the game winner in overtime to win the game, 4-3.

Belleavoine got things going at the 5:32 mark of the first period when Cam Mariani cleared the puck up the left-wing boards.  Belleavoine came screaming up the wall and was able to beat the pinching defenseman to it and head up on a 2-1.  Looking off his roommate Hunter Sarro, Belleavoine shot from the hash marks that was saved by Millbrook goalie Cam Fernandez but following up the shot, he buried the rebound.  Millbrook evened up the game five minutes later.

Then, with :47 seconds remaining in the period, Belleavoine struck again when Cam Mariani knocked a puck to the left boards that was picked up by Alex Berg who skated up the wall and made a pass to Belleavoine who had a step on two Millbrook defenders; Belly split the d and drove to the net letting a back hander go with pressure from his right.  The puck sailed over Fernandez into the top right corner.

In the second, good forechecking led to Tim Rego picking up a puck outside the Millbrook blueline creating a three-on-one with Brendan Nehmer on his left.  Rego slid a pass to Nehmer who used his fancy mitts to slip the puck between Fernandez’s pads to go up 3-1.

Penalties hurt Williston as Millbrook scored with :11 seconds left in the second period to bring the game to within one and then with :42 seconds remaining in the third and on a 6-on-4, Millbrook buried the tying goal.

Williston could have packed up their bags and quit after losing a two-goal lead but in overtime, Shaul Mitton got a puck in the offense zone to Tim Rego at the point who, again, slipped from the right point to the slot and let a backhand ride that was blocked; the puck then bounced fortuitously to Belleavoine who drove down from the point after covering for Rego and let a Rhode Island Rocket go from just above the hashmarks.  Word from Millbrook has it that they are still looking for the puck. Williston arms went up; Millbrook heads went down; and Manager Oscar Ngyuen was one happy manager.

Williston was outshot in the match, 32-24 but no matter.  Belleavoine earned the game puck for his timely hat-trick.

Williston has two games this week.  The first is at in New Milford, CT against the Canterbury Saints on Wednesday afternoon at 4:15.  The Wildcats dropped their first game of the two-game series in December and look to split the difference.  Then, Friday night, Williston takes on Route 91 foe Deerfield at 6pm at Lossone.  Williston will be honoring our armed forces in Military Appreciation night.  There will be games and raffles during the game so please make sure you bring a friend and head on down!

Wildcats Out-Claw Bruins; Cage the Martlets; Pecked by the Pelicans

Williston won their third and fourth games in-a-row on Saturday and Monday defeating the Brunswick Bruins 6-2 and the Westminster Martlets 3-1.  The wins improved Williston’s record to 8-10-1 and moved them closer to the playoff conversation, though there is much more hockey left to play in the season.

With the Bruins visiting Lossone on Saturday, Williston looked to add to their two-game winning streak with number three.  Two hours after the start time, it happened.

Williston got the ball rolling at 2:25 of the first period when Jake Sacratini bumped a pass from the top of the right circle to Tim Rego at the point; the captain let a shot go as he was drifting backwards that beat Brunswick goalie Dan Dachille over his shoulder.  A well-timed screen by Tommy Harty allowed the floater to hit the back of the net undetected.

Five minutes later, Sacratini found his name on the goal side of the score sheet when he chased a Brunswick defender into the offensive zone, applied great pressure that worked a puck to the front of the net.  Linemate Brendan Nehmer got a stick on the puck that ping-ponged  around until center Matt Pimental chopped a backhand on Dachille that was saved; eventually, it squeaked out to Sacratini on his forehand who drove the puck into an open net.

Cam Mariani made it a 3-0 game with just under three minutes left in the period when he picked off a pass with his glove at the Williston blue line and sped in on a breakaway.  His initial shot was saved by Dachille but he could not control the rebound.  The puck sailed three feet straight up and rolled in off his back.  The ‘Cats went into the dressing room with the lead.

In the second, Brunswick finally got on the board early in the period when they went guns blazing on Williston.  The period ended, 3-1.

In the third, Williston began to run away with it.  Matt Pimental got the puck deep on the left side of the ice and forechecked like the mighty winds off of Lake Ontario during a polar vortex.  Coupled with his aggressiveness was the other guy who knows bone-chilling gales, Jack Purcell, who also pursued the puck behind the net.  Pimental created space for himself in front and received a Purcell-pass on the doorstep; he shifted left, drove right and slipped a pretty backhander past Dachille.

Williston got their fifth goal of the game when Shaul Mitton skated hard into the offensive zone, forced a turnover at the half-wall that was picked up by Harty who drove hard to the goal line from just above the bottom of the circle.  A Bruin defenseman stepped up to him but winger David Novotny drove from the corner next to Harty who shoveled him a pass.  Novotny took no time and buried the puck under the crossbar.

Brunswick would get a second goal on the power play, but Hunter Sarro put the knife in the heart of the Bruins when he received a pass from roommate James Belleavoine on the most selfless play of the season.  Belleavoine drove into the zone on a three-on-one, passed up a sure goal on the empty net, and slid the puck to his Sarro.  The play epitomized the selfless play of the Wildcats on this day and earned him the game puck.

Williston outshot the Bruins, 29-24.  In addition, Williston blocked twenty Bruin shots.




Thank God for Western Mass Hockey Players


Williston journeyed down to Connecticut on Monday to take on the Westminster Martlets in what has become an epic battle of Route 10.  The Martlets were riding a five-game win streak into the game, were 8-1-1 in their last ten games, and had just been ranked #6 in New England that day.  This did not deter the Wildcats, and especially two seniors born and raised in the Pioneer Valley.

Brendan Nehmer got Williston on the board first when he blocked a shot, used his speed to out-race a Westy defender to spring himself on a breakaway, and beat Westminster’s Ian Shane on the right side.

In the 2nd period Nehmer got his second of the game when he drove up the right side of the ice, cut to the middle of the Westminster zone and let a wrist shot go from just inside the blue, beating Shane glove-side.  Alex Berg and Tommy Harty were awarded the assists.  Then, just a few minutes later, James Belleavoine got a puck to Cam Mariani on the left side of the neutral zone who drove on a semi-breakaway and beat Shane on the short side.  Shane was pulled for Bennett Ostern.

In the third, Williston weathered a Martlet onslaught, being outshot 18-1. Kyler Breland stood up to the task letting only one goal by.  It should be noted that while the Wildcats did not mount much offense in the period, their defensive zone coverage allowed Breland to see most of the Westy shots, and any rebounds given up were quickly swept away by the Williston boys.

Westminster took it to Williston for much of the game, outshooting them 42-11.  However, Williston’s defensive play including that of Breland and the ability to bury their few chances were the game-changers.  Breland was awarded the game puck.  Williston blocked sixteen Westminster shots.

Williston takes on its third Nutmeg-state opponent in three games, Loomis Chaffee, today at 4:30 in Easthampton.  This is the final game before a well-deserved Winter Long Weekend so please come support your ‘Cats!





On the Wednesday before Long Weekend, the Loomis Chaffee Pelicans came to Lossone for a late-afternoon tilt with the Wildcats.  Williston was looking to extend its win streak to five games but a feisty and talented Loomis team put an end to that bid.  Despite a closely contested game for 51 minutes, Williston eventually dropped the matchup, 5-1.

Williston got on the board at the 16:37 mark of the first period on the power play when Tim Rego made a pass on the top of the power play to his left side to Cam Mariani; Mariani let a low shot go that was blocked by Loomis goalie Kyle Chauvette.  The pass deflected to the right faceoff dot where Hunter Sarro collected the puck and buried the rebound putting the Wildcats up 1-0.  Unfortunately, that would be all the offense they would get as Chauvette shut the door on any other opportunities.

Loomis scored five straight goals including two in the second and three in the third. Down 2-1 with about 3 minutes to go in the game, Williston’s attention drifted towards soon pulling the goalie to tie it up with the extra skater. That plan was foiled when Loomis created a low turnover and capitalized making it 3-1. An empty-net goal followed by a last minute tally quickly turned a 2-1 game into a 5-1 defeat. Shots were 30-28 in favor of the Wildcats.

Williston returns to action on Wednesday at Northfield Mount
Hermon at 3pm.  We are experiencing a bit of a heat wave in these parts so a full snow suit will not be necessary at NMH’s partially enclosed outdoor complex.  Hope to see you there!