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Huskies Should Be Proud Despite Quarterfinal Loss to Rivers

The New Hampton Huskies traveled to Weston, MA today to take on The Rivers School in the Quarterfinals of the Small School Tournament. New Hampton and Rivers have played one another earlier in the year, at the Belmont Hill/Nichols Tournament, in the end of December. Last time these two team met, Rivers defeated the Huskies in a thrilling double overtime game. Tonight’s game should be similar, with both desperate to advance to the semi-finals and neither team wanting their season to end yet. The game started out as expected, fast pace, back and forth hockey. In the opening minutes, both New Hampton and Rivers created some grade “A” scoring chances. Four minutes into the period, the hard forecheck of the Huskies, resulted in Rivers taking a penalty. On the power play, New Hampton worked the puck around quickly to set up Isaac MacLeod in the slot. MacLeod scored on a shot, low to the blocker side, giving the Huskies the early lead. Marcus Joughin and Jake Dunlap had assists on the play. Shortly after the Huskies took the lead, a questionable penalty call put Rivers on the power play. Rivers was able to answer back on their power play, tying the game at one. The next seven minutes saw New Hampton control the pace of the game, creating several offensive chances. The Huskies pressure lead to another power play. However, it was not New Hampton that was able to take advantage on the power play. Rivers scored short-handed with two and a half minutes left in the period to take a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. The Huskies came out flying to start the second period, scoring just over a minute in, to tie the game at two. Adam Shuchart picked off a pass at the red line and chipped the put to Jake Dunlap. Dunlap took a hit at the offensive blueline to chip the puck by a defender. Marcus Joughin picked up Dunlap’s chip around the hash marks and then made a nice pass to Isaac MacLeod in the slot. MacLeod fired a similar shot, low to the blocker side, off the post and in. After tying the game at two, New Hampton got into some penalty trouble. The strong goaltending of Lucas Brine and good defensive play, the Huskies were able to kill off four penalties in a row. Just as it looked as if New Hampton was going to escape the second period in a tie, Rivers scored to go back up by one. The third period did not start off how the Huskies would have liked, Rivers scored 1:19 into the period to take a two goal lead. New Hampton had been in a similar situation last time they played Rivers, down 4-2 in the third period and came back to tie. So, there was still plenty of hope for the Huskies. Two minutes after Rivers scored, Isaac MacLeod scored his third of the game to bring New Hampton back within one. Will Hilfiker made a breakout pass to Jack Ring. Ring sent a nice cross ice pass to MacLeod, streaking down the boards on the far side. MacLeod skated in just past the top of the circles and ripped a shot far side top corner. A minute later, the Huskies had back to back penalties called on them, giving Rivers a 5-on-3 power play for almost two full minutes. If New Hampton had any chance of staying in the game, this penalty kill was crucial. The Huskies stood strong, played perfect positional hockey and blocked several shots to kill off the penalty. After killing off Rivers power play, New Hampton still had plenty of time left to try and tie the game. With five minutes left to play in the game, Jake Dunlap beat his defender wide and was then hauled down by a Rivers player to prevent him from going in alone on net. The Rivers penalty gave New Hampton a chance to tie the game on the power play. Tie the game is exactly what the Huskies, did. New Hampton won the offensive zone faceoff and work the puck around nicely to get set up. Marcus Joughin eventually got the puck on the half-wall and made a cross-ice pass to Steven Ardagna sneaking in to the far post. Ardagna tried to pass backdoor to Cory Morris, but a Rivers player got his stick in the lane. Fortunately for the Huskies, the Rivers player deflected the puck in his own net. With four minutes to go in the game, New Hampton and Rivers were tied at four. Two minutes later, Rivers scored a controversial goal, on a fluky play to take a 5-4 lead. In the final two minutes, the Huskies left it all out there and had a chance to tie the game when they went on the power play with 1:30 left in the game. On the power play, it did look as if New Hampton tied the game, but unfortunately for the Huskies, the goal was called off. Then, in the final seconds, MacLeod beat the Rivers goaltender with a backhand shot high to the glove side but was denied by the post. It was a heartbreaking end to a great game and season for the Huskies, but they should be extremely proud of how hard they fought today and the excellent season they had! New Hampton would like to thank the graduating Seniors and PG’s for their hard work and dedication to the hockey team and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.
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