Grizzlies hitting a wall
Goffstown’s first two games in the ice this winter ended in losses to Merrimack, 3-0, and Spaulding, 7-2, back in December. Then, the Grizzlies went on a tear.
They dropped six opponents in a row, including rival Bedford, which has one loss all season. They capped off the winning streak with a 4-0 shutout on the road at Dover, which is 6-2-1 and averages four goals a game.
But the past two games, both of which were on their home ice, the Grizzlies returned to their sluggish early season form. They fell to Oyster River on Jan. 17, 3-2, and then looked stymied by Kingswood, which was 3-5 heading into the game, in a 7-2 loss on Jan. 19.
Head coach Paul Roy has been disappointed with his team’s work ethic in the past two games.
“You can’t replace effort. Contrary to their record, they outworked us – that’s the bottom line,” he said. “We had a six-game winning streak and now we’re struggling here the last two games. We just don’t have a good team effort, collectively.”
In the Kingswood game, the teams played almost the entire first period without scoring. With 45 seconds left, CJ Sirrell snuck one past Goffstown goalie Ben Genest. The Knights nearly scored again seconds later, but the shot harmlessly ricocheted off the left post.
Then, with 8:36 left in the second period, senior Tyler Brady tied the game at 1-1 for the Grizzlies.
Kingswood wouldn’t need long to answer, and got help from a Goffstown double penalty, which gave the Knights a two-man advantage. The goal sparked a Knights scoring barrage that never let up.
They added another before the horn sounded to end the second period, and a fourth goal near the beginning of the third, after Roy made a goalie change, exchanging senior Chase Gagne for Genest.
“It was a gut feel,” said Roy. “Either one of the goalies, we didn’t give them a lot of support, you know. Seven goals against, people could pin it on either one of them, but I basically only made a change for a little momentum hope, and it didn’t work out.”
Goffstown showed life when junior Griffin Barbaro scored to make it 4-2 with time left in the third for a comeback, but Kingswood answered less than 10 seconds later.
“That one hurt,” Roy said. “We had a little jump right after we scored that second goal, and to be honest with you, I thought we’d be right back into it, but to their credit, they came right back down, scored and you could see the deflation.”
Kingswood scored two more times to cap off the 7-2 victory.
Brady echoed his coach, attributing the loss to a lackadaisical effort.
“They outworked us,” Brady said. “We had a win streak going and we’re falling down right now. We just need to have the drive to win more. We need to work harder, beat them to the corners and get to the puck first. We’re letting them go in first and they’re capitalizing.”
Goffstown has a full week of practice before their next game – Jan. 26 at Lebanon, a team Roy said is similar to Kingswood in that they don’t have tremendous talent, but work hard.
“We need to turn it around,” Brady said. “We have a week of practice ahead of us to turn things around in practice, work hard and hopefully come out and get a win next week.”
The Grizzlies are now 6-4 just past the halfway point of the season. With eight games to go before the playoffs, they are floating just above the middle of the Division II standings.
Roy said his players often ride the momentum from their quintet of leaders – Barbaro, Brady, Andrew Chretien, Dakota Mulcay and Nevin Houle – and will need them to “click” if they hope to get back to their winning ways.
“If you take the last two games out, I’d say, overall, we’re pretty happy where we were,” Roy said. “The last six periods we have not played well as a team and our effort has been suspect. Are we happy where we are? You can never be happy enough.”