Winchendon, Mass – This game pit New Hampton and Winchendon, two teams with 10-plus wins on the season, against each other. It featured end-to-end action, but the Wapiti carried the play in all three periods and won 5-1.
The first 16 minutes of the first period featured bouncing pucks, turnovers and missed shots. There was frantic action at both ends, but neither team controlled play. With just 1:16 left, Matt Fawcett (Lincoln, RI/Quinnipiac) shoveled one home in a netfront scramble to start the scoring. Just 30 seconds later, Winchendon was back on the attack and senior forward Justin Alves (Woburn, MA) shot a puck off the rush that rolled down the goalie’s leg and sat in the crease, where Nolan McDonough (Dorchester, MA) barreled into the crease and buried it. Winchendon took the 2-0 lead into intermission.
Back-and-forth action characterized the second period, but Winchendon still dominated. At the 7:36 mark, Alves lifted a backhander over the goalie’s left shoulder to make it 3-0. Less than 30 seconds later, New Hampton goaltender Matt Sayles (Milton, GA) took a hit up high and doubled over in pain, but the whistles never blew and the puck squirted out to Matt Rickard (Coventry, RI), who made it 4-0. Winchendon goalie James Corcoran (Walpole, MA) responded with point-blank save after point blank-save.
“That’s pretty standard for him,” Winchendon coach Jarrett Sampson said. “The key to us winning games is having him playing well on the back end.”
Winchendon scored one more goal just as time expired in the second period when Rickard converted a sharp cross-ice pass.
The third period saw New Hampton create more quality chances, but once again Corcoran stood tall. New Hampton converted one at the 10:32 mark, when a shot by Lukas Uhler (Upland, CA) caromed off the goalie’s stick and rolled across the goal line.
“For us this was a rebound game,” Sampson said. We tied Hoosac [last game], and emotionally we were kind of at odds. We came out playing so hard in this game. I thought tonight we played some of our best hockey we’ve played all season.”
Next up for Winchendon is a road tilt at Albany Academy on Saturday, while New Hampton will host Kimball Union.
Two notable performances came from Winchendon senior forward Ryan Black (Pomfret, CT) and New Hampton senior forward Bradley Shaw (Timberlea, NS). Black was strong on the puck all game long and made great decisions on the rush, while Shaw put in a full 54 minutes of work and was a matchup problem because of his speed on the outside.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Matt Rickard, Winchendon, D: 2 G
2nd Star: Justin Alves, Winchendon, F: G, A
3rd Star: James Corcoran, Winchendon, G: 1 GA