From Dover Ice Arena in Dover, NH – January 9, 2019:
After last night’s trip to Dover, there remains only one team in D2 Hockey without a loss in league play, and that is Dover. They are now 6-0 on the season. Dover held the Grizzlies to a pair of goals and broke open a 2-2 game in the third period, added an empty-net goal, and won 5-2.
One of the first things I thought of last night, while I was still in the rink, was from my formative years and some good old cartoons. Dover’s team showed up, punched the clock, went to work, executed their shifts, punched out, and left. Something like the cartoon below.
That is what I thought of. Shift after shift they just kept playing, executing their game plan, and ultimately, won the contest. Yes, they had a lot to say from the looks of things, a recurring theme with Dover hockey teams. But until someone silences them in the league, then so be it.
Before the game started, Goffstown, Dover and the large crowd gathered paused to remember Steve Chenard (a Dover grad and former player) who passed away suddenly while on vacation with his wife and kids in Florida on December 30th. We also remembered a Dover 14-year-old, Alexander LeClerc, who died on this date (January 9th) last year. I happened to be in Dover last season watching a high school game on the night we removed our caps for a moment of silence honoring Alexander before that game. During the game last night, I sat behind one of Steve Chenard’s kids and offered my prayers and condolences to him and his family. When I had asked if he was part of the family I was pleasantly surprised by the confident, proud response he gave me, “Yes, I am his son.” We all could hope for such a response from one of our own in the face of such a tragedy. This season alone I have been at four different games in four different rinks where pre-game ceremonies were carried out to remember or honor someone we lost. Life is short my friends, and there are reminders all around us. Each of these people was too young, or it was too soon, but there’s always a plan, and for each, I pray for peace and strength.
After the National Anthem and the opening faceoff, Goffstown never really got anything going last night. Partly because they didn’t really play well, but I always contend that most of the time, a team’s lack of performance is rarely in a vacuum, and usually has a lot to do with their opponent. One trend, that really became evident in the game against Somersworth-Coe-Brown, which was Goffstown player’s losing the puck to poke checks while trying to stickhandle, or “dangle” as it were, showed up early last night too. Colin Burke was caught up ice, was stripped of the puck, and had to watch as Grizzlie goalie, Kyle LaSella, saved his bacon with a huge save at 2:25 of the opening period. At 9:37 of the period Griffin Cook broke loose and was able to tuck a puck under Devon Lapierre in net for Dover. Lapierre had the puck but slid into his own net far enough for the puck to cross the goal line. Goffstown led 1-0 and would take their lead to the dressing room. In the final minute of the period though, Dover would shell LaSella with shots, all saves, including two point-blank saves with no defensive interference right in front of the net.
In the second period, Dover kept coming, shift after shift. They continued to play physical, on the edge somewhat, but no calls were being made and the children were allowed to play. At 1:43 of the period Dario Ceppetelli crushed Theo Milianes with a brutal hit directly to the helmet and facemask of Milianes. There was no call despite Theo flipping backward and hitting the back of his head on the ice with a thud. I learned today that the hit has resulted in Milianes being knocked out of action for at least the next two weeks. He was ‘out’ on his feet after the play and was helped off of the ice by his teammates. Midway through the period, Goffstown’s Jacob Noonan was the last man back, at center ice, trying to corral a bouncing puck, and as he did, he spun to the middle instead of the outside and gave the puck right to Nick Marchuk who stormed into the offensive end and set up Colby Roy for the tying goal. Less than a minute later, Colin Burke lofted a nice, high-arching pass out of the defensive end towards Griffin Cook. Cook settled the puck and took off with a burst of speed to break in on Lapierre in goal. Cook’s first shot was rejected but the puck came back to him and he scored the goal to give Goffstown a 2-1 lead at 8:35. Dover kept coming. At 9:14 of the period, Dover thought they had the game tied when Kyle LaSella made a nice save but the rebound sat in the crease waiting for a Dover forward to pounce on it. Goffstown’s Brett Lassonde swept through and cleared the puck to the corner before anyone else could get to it. Then, off of a faceoff 14 seconds later, Marchuk scored on a rebound set up by Colby Roy and Trevor Gnall. The game was tied at 2-2. The rest of the period was spirited at best. Sebastian Beal put Goffstown on the penalty kill when he was called for contact to the head, which in comparison to the vicious hit on Milianes, looked like he may have been petting an animal. Either way, there were two sets of matching penalties whistled for roughing’s and elbowings over the final 2 minutes of the frame.
In the third period, Goffstown looked tired. Their shots on goal were coming from further and further away. The big boy hockey was having the desired effect, Colby Gamache and Beal were scoreless and didn’t muster much offense. The Grizzlies have played this brand of hockey before and played well, but not last night. Anyways, Asa Forbes burst in from the right wing boards and put a shot past LaSella on the short-side post at 3:52, giving Dover a 3-2 lead. The play was set up by Trevor Gnall and Dominic Ciccotelli. Again, midway through the period, Goffstown’s defense made a mistake. This time Colby Wright fell down at center ice and the puck was left to a wide-open Dover rush. Colin Burke hustled back though and cleanly poke-checked the puck to safety just before a shot could be fired. Dover took a 4-2 lead at 8:31 when Ollie Stevens scored from the slot after a feed from Aiden McDonough. Like many Americans, their softest spot is their middle, and such was Goffstown’s defense down low. At 12:01 LaSella made a beautiful right pad save on Nick Marchuk to keep the deficit at two. With 90 seconds left in the game, Goffstown pulled LaSella for an extra skater, but could not score. Gnall added an empty-net goal after Jameson Goodridge clanked his breakaway shot off of the post. Dover won 5-2 and led the shot count 33-29 for the game.
Goffstown returns to action and finally plays a home game, on Saturday night at Sullivan Arena against Alvirne-Milford (3-2-1) at 7:30 pm.
Goffstown 8-2-1 overall (5-1-1)
Dover (8-1-0) overall (6-0)
Dover Ice Arena, Dover, NH
January 9, 2019. 6:30 PM Start:
Goffstown: 1-1-0 = 2
Dover: 0-2-3 = 5
Goffstown: 08-10-11 = 29
Dover: 10-10-13 = 33
1st Goffstown at 9:37. Even. Griffin Cook (14) unassisted.
2nd Dover at 7:39. Even. Colby Roy from Nick Marchuk.
2nd Goffstown at 8:35. Even. Griffin Cook (15) from Colin Burke (8).
2nd Dover at 9:28. PPG. Nick Marchuk from Colby Roy and Trevor Gnall.
3rd Dover at 4:52. Even. Asa Forbes from Trevor Gnall and Dominic Ciccotelli.
3rd Dover at 1:31. Even. Ollie Stevens from Aiden McDonough.
3rd Dover at 2:33. Empty. Trevor Gnall from Jameson Goodridge.
Sebastian Beal 2:00
Griffin Cook 2:00
Jacob Noonan 2:00
Aiden McDonough 2:00
Jameson Goodridge 2:00
Goffstown Power Play: 0 for 0.
Dover Power Play: 0 for 1.
Goffstown: Kyle LaSella 28 of 32. (43:31)
Dover: Devon Lapierre 27 of 29. (45:00)