Huskies Beat Winchendon, Advance To Small School Championship
The #4 seed, New Hampton Huskies, traveled down to Winchendon, MA today to take on the #1 seed, Winchendon School Wapiti, with a chance to play in the Prep Small School Championship on the line. The opening faceoff started with a battle between the New Hampton and Winchendon centerman for puck position. From there on out, players on both teams were flying all over the ice, finishing their checks and doing whatever they could to help their team win. One could tell that this game was going to be a war all over the ice between two very determined teams. In the first period, neither team gave up much offensively, and when they did both Matt Sayles and the Winchendon goaltender were there to stop the puck. The second period started off similar to the first, both teams working hard to score that first goal, but neither giving up much offensively. As the period went on, the Huskies gradually started to possess the puck more and more in the offensive zone. Just before the three-and-a-half-minute mark, Lynden Breen got a pass as he was cutting to the net and tried to stuff it far side, but the Winchendon goaltender’s leg came flying out of nowhere and stopped Breen’s scoring attempt. Breen was able to pick up his own rebound, then circled out towards the boards looking to pass to a Husky player. Joe Dunlap got open in the high slot and Breen hit him with a perfect pass. Dunlap corralled the puck and ripped a shot, beating the Winchendon goaltender high to the blocker side to put New Hampton up by one. Two minutes later, a Winchendon player hit Jackson Kyser from behind, giving the Huskies a five-minute power play. On the power play, Joe Dunlap got the puck from Michael Kesselring in the neutral zone, skated the puck wide down the boards into the Winchendon zone, continued to skate with the puck below the goal line past the net before finding Michael Kane all alone in the slot with a pass. Kane caught the pass and quickly snapped a shot in the back of the net, to give New Hampton a two-goal lead. After the Huskies second goal, the pace picked up a bit with both teams creating some Grade A opportunities to score. Matt Sayles and the Winchendon goaltender made some unbelievable saves to keep the score 2-0, after two periods of play. The third period started off with Winchendon pressing New Hampton hard. The Huskies stayed strong and played solid defense during the first five minutes of the third period. Just past the six-minute mark, Winchendon scored a power play goal to cut New Hampton’s lead in half. Winchendon’s goal did not phase the Huskies, they remained calm and kept to their game plan. New Hampton’s commitment to playing smart, simple hockey paid off six minutes later. The hard work of Jake Dunlap, Alec Grace and Cory Morris got the puck back to James Hatzepetros on the point. Hatzepetros fired a shot through a screen that found its way into the top corner, giving New Hampton their two-goal lead back, with five minutes remaining. The Huskies continued to play solid defense, but gave Winchendon some life when they took a penalty with two minutes left to play. Winchendon was able to capitalize and make it a one goal game with forty-five seconds remaining. In the final forty-five seconds, New Hampton buckled down defensively and did not even allow Winchendon to get in their zone, winning a hard-fought game against a very good Winchendon team, 3-2. Matt Sayles was awesome in net stopping 30 of the 32 shots faced. The Huskies will travel to St. Anselm College in Goffstown, NH tomorrow to take on Lawrence Academy in the Prep Small School Championship.