The Goffstown Grizzlies traveled out to Dover, NH this afternoon to play the Green Wave of Dover High School. The Grizzlies hadn’t played since their 6-1 victory over Nashua North-Souhegan last Saturday, on home ice. In that same span the Green Wave had lost two games already this week. They lost to Bow, 4-2, and then to Windham 4-3, on consecutive days. Funny thing though, they played two teams that are a combined 10-2 thus far, and judging by the scores, the games were competitive. Dover also was in the heat and intensity of game action twice this week, while the Grizzlies were idle. Honestly, that seemed to carry right into the game this afternoon.
The game was scheduled to start at 2:00pm, but started just after 2:15pm. The rink in Dover was cold, mostly full, and grew louder as the day went on. Dover entered play with a 2-4 record, having played the three top-ranked teams in Division II already. Goffstown came in at 4-0, while holding opponents to less than 16 shots per game, allowing just 6 total goals. Then again, that’s why they play the games. Before the afternoon was over, Dover would get their 3rd win of the season by virtue of their 4-3 win against Goffstown, in overtime.
Goffstown skated in the pre-game warmup, but they didn’t appear to get all that warm. As the first period played out, fans from both sides noticed that the Grizzlies were not sharp. One gentleman remarked that, “Dover was getting turnovers without applying much pressure”. Another noted that, “Goffstown was not sharp, and nothing was connecting”. I point these things out as a testimony to the play, other than just my own observation. I am a student of the game, and although I have never coached hockey, I have followed the game intently since I was a little boy. And just like watching a finely tuned athlete try to run at full speed with an injury, it’s noticeable when things are not operating fully and in sync. Today, was one of those days when synchronicity was replaced with effort and intensity. Dover was the opponent, and they provided a disruption strong enough to keep Goffstown from going to 5-0. Dover’s Jesse Frase would score the opening period’s only goal, with the assist going to Jameson Goodridge. Goodridge would be a thorn in the Grizzlies side all day. Goffstown would manage just 4 shots on goal while allowing the Green Wave only 5 shots. The score was 1-0 after the first 15 minutes, and no penalties were called.
Things got a little more interesting during the second period. Goffstown would get 9 shots on goal, while also taking 4 penalties. I mention the penalties because I am still trying to decide (for myself) whether the game would have been cleaner had more penalties been called early on, or if there would have been the same amount of competitive bitterness. Anyhow, the Grizzlies made short work of their first power play opportunity, when then they finally got a power play, 8:12 into the second period. Seven seconds later, Tyler Riendeau won the offensive zone face-off. The puck went back to Nick Nault at the right point. Nault slid the puck to Noah Charron at the left point, set up for a fluid one-timer.
Charron let a hard, low shot go, towards the net. Dylan Hyers had planted his large frame perfectly in front of the net, and he skillfully deflected the puck up, and past the stick side of goaltender, Colby Stewart. Game tied, 1-1. The tying goal was scored shortly after Dover’s Alex Schlapak rang a shot off of the crossbar while on the power play. Less than a minute after Hyers’ goal, he and defense partner Melanie Riendeau were split by the oncoming speed and passing of Aiden McDonough and Jameson Goodridge. The play quickly turned into a two-on-none in front of Curtis McKay. McDonough would score the goal with the assist going to Goodridge. Dover was back on top, 2-1. Shortly thereafter, captain, Nick Nault would serve his 2-minute minor for tripping. As he came out of the penalty box, Dylan Hyers and Griffin Cook would make consecutive passes to get the puck out of their own end, and out to center ice. Nault gathered the puck with speed despite being pestered thoroughly, all the up the ice. Nault would finish the play by splitting defenders and deking the goalie with a brilliant backhand shot for the game-tying goal. Cook and Hyers would get the assists. Score tied 2-2. While Colin Burke was serving yet another, Goffstown penalty, the Grizzlies’ Curtis McKay would make an outstanding save, lunging to his right to foil another Dover two-on-one break, with just 27 seconds left in the period. After two periods, the score was tied 2-2.
The third period was really controlled by Goffstown. The Grizzlies would allow only 3 shots on goal, with two of those coming on one power play for the Green Wave. Colby Stewart made key saves to keep the game tied for Dover. Not to be outdone, Goffstown’s McKay, facing his first shot of the period, made a huge blocker save at 9:14 of the period on a shot fired from point-blank range after a Goffstown turnover. With 4:42 to play, Goffstown would punctuate a long shift of domination and puck possession, when Griffin Cook would tap in a goal assisted by Nault and Charron. Cook’s goal gave the Grizzlies a 3-2 lead while it looked like the visitors might actually complete the turn around and win again. But the only certainty this afternoon, was that nothing came easy, and everything was a battle. 38 seconds after Cook’s goal, a minor melee broke out. Somehow, despite multiple players from both teams being involved, the Grizzlies had Sebastian Beal and Noah Charron sent to the box for minor penalties, while Aiden McDonough was called for a major penalty for head-butting. Dover received only one penalty, albeit, a major penalty, but the way things were called, allowed Dover a 2-minute, 4-on-3 power play. With 5 seconds remaining in the power play, for Dover, they scored after their second shot of the period was saved by McKay, but the third shot found the strings, and the game was tied with 2:47 to play. Goodridge got the goal, with the assist going to Jared Turgeon. Goffstown spent the last 2:04 of regulation on the power play, but could not get the game-winner.
In overtime, Goffstown started with 56 seconds of power play time, but did not get a single shot on goal. Then 9 seconds after the penalty expired, Alex Schlapak would score the game-winning goal set up by Jesse Frase and Arie Johnson, 1:05 into the extra frame, on the only shot, by either team, of overtime. Final score, Dover 4, Goffstown 3, in overtime.