BRAD RILEY fights for the puck in action against Merrimack on Dec. 15. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)
December 17, 2012WOLFEBORO — While the results may not have been what the Kingswood hockey team was looking for in the opening week of the season, new coach Andrew Trimble walked away from the first two games with a solid feeling about his team.
"I'm not overly pleased with the results, but I like how we stack up," Trimble said after his team dropped an 8-2 decision at Dover on Wednesday, Dec. 12, and a 3-1 decision to Merrimack at the Pop Whalen Arena on Saturday, Dec. 15.
"I'm really excited about where the kids are going," the first-year Knight coach stated.
In the home opener against Merrimack, the Knights fell behind 1-0 and were trailing 2-1 when the visitors added an empty net goal in the final 10 seconds of the game to round out the scoring.
The Knights were playing without junior Chris Pollini, expected to be one of the team's top scorers all season.
"We still thought we could beat them," Trimble said. "And we had our chances on the power play, we just didn't finish."
The Knights were successful in holding Merrimack's top scorer to one quality chance, though he did convert on that chance. That came just three days after he had scored a hat trick in the opening game of the season.
"We weren't intimidated by him at all," Trimble said.
The first game of the season was at the Dover Ice Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 12, and the Knights were unable to get anything in the net, despite outshooting the Green Wave,
However, the Knights took way too many penalties on the night, spending about 20 minutes in the box and giving the Green Wave numerous power play chances, including back-to-back five-on-three chances.
Dover jumped out to a quick lead in the game, scoring less than a minute in for a 1-0 lead and the hosts upped the lead to 3-0 before the Knights finally got on the board for the first time this season.
Brad Riley scored with less than three minutes to go in the period on assists from Matt Mitchell and Austin Chasse, cutting the led to 3-1 after one period of play.
The Knights came out charging in the second period and Pollini fired home a shot two and a half minutes into the second period, cutting the lead to 3-2.
However, the hosts scored with less than four minutes to go in the frame and added another in the final minute of the period to take a 5-2 lead to the third period.
Dover added three goals in the final frame for the 8-2 win.
"Five-on-five, I thought we were the better team," Trimble said. "They put more points in the net, but even-strength, they weren't better than us."
Trimble noted that the penalties were the problem for the Knights in their first game of the season.
"We just ran into some discipline issues," Trimble said. "We took too many penalties."
With the first two games in the books, Trimble was excited to look forward to the second week of the season, as the Knights faced off with Spaulding after deadline on Wednesday and head to Keene on Saturday, Dec. 22, for a 5 p.m. game, the final regular season contest of 2012.
Once again, the Knights will be participating in the Exeter Holiday Tournament. They open on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 6 p.m. against St. Thomas and will take on host Exeter at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126