MANCHESTER — Holiday tournaments are a great time for coaches to work on areas for their teams to improve on.
Thursday, Merrimack and Goffstown got to work on special teams — whether they wanted to or not.
The teams matched up in the Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic at JFK Coliseum, with Merrimack earning a 4-2 win in a game filled with penalties. On the day, Merrimack went 1-for-7 on the power play and Goffstown was 1-for-5.
"I knew it was going to be chippy. We just played these guys in the regular season (a strong."
The tournament continues Friday with the following schedule: Hanover vs. Manchester Memorial at 2 p.m., Concord vs. Bedford at 4 p.m., Trinity vs. Goffstown at 6 p.m. and Merrimack vs. Manchester Central at 8 p.m. Pool play continues Saturday and the tournament finishes up on Sunday with the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. and championship at 7:30 p.m.
Merrimack led 3-0 before Goffstown responded to make it a game. The Grizzlies made it 3-1 with a goal from freshman Nick Nault at 3:47 of the third period. Captain Griffin Barbaro made a pass from the deep left side to Nault all alone on the right post and Nault finished with a shot through Matt Brewster's five-hole.
The Grizzlies cut the lead to 3-2 at 8:43 of the period with a power-play goal. Cory Kasiaras' shot from the left point was tipped in the slot by Nevin Houle for the goal.
Goffstown had a golden opportunity to tie the game with just over five minutes remaining when Ian Gately was pulled down on a shorthanded breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Gately went for a backhander, but Brewster slid across for a right pad save on the penalty shot to preserve the lead.
"This is his first start. A 4-2 win, coming up with some big saves, that's what we were looking for," Mithoefer said of the junior Brewster. "I'm pleased."
Merrimack added an insurance goal at 10:43, scoring on the power play. Tomahawks sophomore Tyler Brewster had the puck come right to his tape on the doorstep when Goffstown goalie Colin Holt couldn't poke it clear. Brewster snapped a shot over Holt's shoulder for the capper.
"I didn't think we were very disciplined all game. I thought the officials did a great job. We just took some bad penalties," said Grizzles coach Paul Roy. "For a young team trying to learn its identity, this is a good lesson learned. That's what a Christmas tournament is all about."
Merrimack took a 1-0 lead at 11:33 of the first period on a goal from Aaron Tupper, who connected on a two-on-one with Owen O'Brien. Tupper skated in and passed to O'Brien cruising into the slot, who gave the puck back to Tupper on the left side for a wrist shot past Holt stick-side.
The Tomahawks made it 2-0 just 13 seconds later. Holt stopped an initial shot, but a goal-mouth scramble resulted in the puck popping out to Evan McCormick for a slap shot from the right circle that found the net.
Merrimack pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second period on a goal from John Tiano with 22.2 seconds remaining in the period. Shane Foye led the rush and went deep on the left side before passing back to Tiano in the slot for a shot through Holt's five-hole as the goalie tried to get across in time.
Hanover 3, Concord 1: The tournament began with a tight contest between Division I schools. Hanover scored the only goal of the first period, getting a tally from Jonathan Goff at 6:11 orf the first frame.
Concord tied the game at 4:09 of the second period on a goal from captain Tim Weinhold. Hanover reclaimed the lead just 16 seconds later when Gus Lyons scored. The Marauders added an insurance goal at 10:54 of the third period on a strike from Kordell Lindsay to account for the 3-1 final.
Hanover goalie Mike Stinson made nine saves in the win. Concord netminder Ben Nelson turned aside 25.
Trinity 8, Central 3: Mitch Myers, Brian Madden and Drew Merrick each had two goals for the Pioneers. Myers and Merrick added two assists.
Jack Collins and Tyler Chipman added goals for Trinity.
Tim Tetreault, Patrick Barry and Jon Mathieu had goals for Central.
Neil McCarthy made 20 saves in the Trinity net. Ian Beliveau stopped 28 shots for Central.
Bedford 4, Memorial 2: Patrick Gagliardi and Harrison Voloshin scored third-period goals to break a 2-2 deadlock and give Bedford the win.
Bryer Bilodeau tied the game for Memorial with his third-period goal. Zach Pelletier had the other Memorial goal.
Chris Viola and Mike Dee scored for Bedford.