ADAM FOSS controls the puck during roller hockey action July 30 in Rochester. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 06, 2012ROCHESTER — Last year, the Wolfpack came from seemingly out of nowhere to win the Rochester Arena's roller hockey league title.
This year, the team fought through a little adversity and pushed into the semifinals, before dropping an 8-6 decision to the top-seeded team on Monday, July 30.
The team, coached by Chris Hart, had to break in a new goalie over the previous few weeks, with Mark Fitzpatrick stepping between the pipes in a new position.
"He's big, which is good," Hart said. "He's a work in progress."
The team had to deal with a few short bench issues early in the season and worked through its share of concerns before arriving in the semifinals.
Roller hockey is played on the normal ice rink, just covered with tiles. The game is played in three 15-minute periods, with running time for most of the game. The games are played four-on-four plus the goalie and all players wear inline skates, with the exception of the goalie, who is permitting to wear regular shoes to allow side to side movement.
The Wolfpack had a couple of early chances, with Nick Moore and Adam Foss getting good looks, but the Rochester squad also had a few chances, with Fitzpatrick making a couple of saves and a couple of other shots sailing high.
Matt Fitzpatrick got the Wolfpack on the board first 3:30 into the game, as he fired a shot home for a 1-0 lead.
After a Sam Hart chance was turned away moments later, Rochester came back and tipped a shot past Mark Fitzpatrick to tie the game at one.
Rochester kept pressuring, with the elder Fitzpatrick making the saves, but with just under eight minutes to go, they put in another tally for a 2-1 lead.
The Wolfpack came back strong, with Greg Melanson, Foss, Aaron Kolb and Keith Therrien all getting great looks in the offensive zone, though they couldn't put the puck in the net.
However, with 12 seconds to go in the period, Melanson tied the game with a shot to the back of the net to make it 2-2 after one period.
The Rochester team came out and scored the first goal of the second period just 2:01 into the frame. The Wolfpack came back with some good pressure, with Foss putting a nice shot on net. His shot did lead to a great chance for Melanson and he didn't miss, tying the game at three.
Rochester came back strong, sending numerous shots on net that sailed wide. Hart, Foss and Matt Fitzpatrick countered for the Wolfpack, but they were turned away by the Rochester defense. Mark Fitzpatrick made a number of big saves on great pressure, but with 1:22 to go in the period, Rochester got in close and managed to squeak a shot by to take a 4-3 lead after two periods.
The first two minutes of the third period proved to be tough for the Wolfpack, as Rochester scored two goals to up the lead to 6-3. Though Kolb was able to fire home a shot off a faceoff with 12:30 to go, the Wolfpack still found themselves trailing by two at 6-4.
Rochester upped the lead to three with just less than 11 minutes to play and with 8:32 to go the lead leaped to 8-4. Mark Fitzpatrick continued to stop numerous Rochester chances, but the Wolfpack couldn't find the back of the net, with Melanson, Foss, Kolb and Hart all getting good looks in front.
Finally, with 3:50 to go, Moore fired home a shot to cut the lead to 8-5. The team added a final goal in the last few minutes with Mark Fitzpatrick out of the net, but they couldn't cut the gap anymore and dropped the 8-6 decision.
The Wolfpack roster included Adam Foss, Mark Fitzpatrick, Matt Fitzpatrick, Aaron Kolb, Keith Therrien, Nick Moore, Greg Melanson Mike Potenza and Sam Hart.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126