Miller's late tally leads Knights to win
Kingswood scores twice in final minutes to power past Oyster River
|SAM HART controls the puck off a faceoff during action in Durham on Saturday, Jan. 8. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
January 10, 2011DURHAM — Coming off a performance he wanted to forget, Kingswood hockey coach Fred Antonucci was hoping his Knights would be much better on Saturday, Jan. 8, as they faced off with Oyster River.
When all was said and done, the team certainly didn't disappoint the veteran coach, as the Knights scored twice in the final 1:03 of play to knock off the Bobcats 3-1 at the Whittemore Center on the campus of the University of New Hampshire.
"It was a better exhibition than it was at Lebanon," Antonucci said. "I think Lebanon took the wind out of our balloon, today we took it back."
The Knights battled the Bobcats hard on the large Towse Rink sheet, but through the first portion of the first period they didn't have much to show for it.
Matt Fitzpatrick, Alex Boucher, Brad Riley, CJ Sirrell, Matt Mitchell, Nick Moore, Sam Hart and Alex Lapar all had good chances on the Oyster River net in the opening minutes of the game, but the Bobcat keeper and defense held strong.
Oyster River came back and put a few shots on Kingswood keeper Shawn Goggin, but the sophomore was solid, turning away anything that came his way.
Lapar and Kienan Miller turned the puck up on the offensive end, but again, couldn't find the back of the net and again Oyster River came back, forcing Goggin to make a save at the other end.
Fitzpatrick, Riley and Sirrell continued the Kingswood offensive attack as the first period clicked into the final third, but they couldn't register anything on the scoreboard.
Kingswood took its first penalty of the game with 3:48 to play in the first period. The Bobcats had a couple of chances, with one soaring high and another floating wide. Goggin also made a save and the penalty was killed off.
However, just seconds after that penalty was killed, the Knights took another and this time, Oyster River made it count, scoring just eight seconds into the power play to take a 1-0 lead.
Oyster River returned the favor, however, just seconds later, as the Bobcats took a penalty with 1:15 on the clock.
Moore had a shot deflected and the Knights pressured the Oyster River goalie, but couldn't get anything by.
With the seconds winding down, Chris Pollini took the puck behind his own net and moved it all the way up the ice, eventually moving into the left corner. He drew the defense with him and made a great feed to Fitzpatrick, who was sitting at the corner of the net and he tapped it home, tying the game at one with just 18.3 seconds remaining in the period.
Goggin made one final save in the period and the two teams went to the break tied at one.
Kingswood came out with a few quick chances in the second period, as Sirrell, Hart and Lapar all went in on net, but they couldn't get anything through to the twine.
The Knights got a power play with 12:33 to play in the period and Moore, Boucher and Mitchell all had chances, but still couldn't connect. Oyster River had a shorthanded bid deflected high and the penalty was killed off.
Boucher, Hart, Fitzpatrick, Sirrell and Mike Bernier had more offensive chances for the Knights as the period wore on, but the Kingswood kids still couldn't find the back of the net.
Goggin made a couple of big saves for Kingswood in the closing minutes of the second period, allowing the game to stay tied at one after two periods.
The Knights took a penalty less than three minutes into the third period, but a couple of solid clears from the Knight defense kept Oyster River from any good chances.
Goggin continued to shine, making a couple of big saves as the Bobcats went looking for the go-ahead goal. Lapar and Boucher had shots for the Knights, but they were turned away as well.
The Knights got another power play chances with 6:44 to go in the game and Miller had a shot stopped and Fitzpatrick made a nice pass through the middle, but nobody was there to tap it in and the Bobcats killed off the penalty.
With 3:20 to play, Kingswood got another power play and Lapar and Hart both had chances but they couldn't find the back of the net and again the Bobcats escaped the man-advantage without a goal.
However, the Kingswood pressure did pay off, as just 17 seconds after the power play expired, Miller unleashed a shot from the blue line that found its way through everyone and into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Goggin then made a huge save as the Bobcats pressured with an extra attacker.
With 10.1 seconds to play, Moore sent the puck out of the zone and three-quarters the length of the ice and into the net for the empty net goal and the 3-1 win.
Antonucci noted that getting a goal quickly after the Bobcats scored was big, particularly heading to the intermission.
"When you come in the locker room at 1-1, you know if you play hard you can play with them," he said. "I thought that was a hell of a game."
While he admits that he doesn't have the big guns of years past, he knows that if these players use their heads, they can play with anyone.
"I thought everybody played pretty well," he said, classifying the victory as a good team win. "Now when I yell at them in practice and say they can win, they can believe me."
Antonucci also noted that the win was also good in the fact that the boys were heading into Dover (after deadline Wednesday), which is always a big game on the schedule.
The Knights will be hosting Winnacunnet in the first home game of 2011 on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.