Wolfpack win league championship
Local roller hockey players take title in Rochester
|THE WOLFPACK celebrate their roller hockey league championship on July 26 in Rochester. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
August 01, 2011ROCHESTER — Solid defense and stellar goaltending proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack roller hockey team consists of a number of local hockey players who put on roller blades and play indoors at the Rochester Arena each summer.
The team recently concluded the regular season in third place, then earned a chance to play in the league finals against an undefeated team from Rochester.
Behind stellar play from goalie Drew Williams, the Wolfpack picked up a 4-2 win in the title game on Tuesday, July 26.
Roller hockey is played in three 15-minute periods at four-on-four (plus a goalie), with a running clock. In the version of the game played in Rochester, goalies do not wear blades, but rather regular sneakers. The puck is in play at all times until it goes behind the glass or gets caught in the net. For instance, a shot that sails over the glass and hits the wall then bounces back over the glass onto the ice, is still in play.
The game started well for the local team, as the boys came out firing in the offensive zone, with Sam Hart, Nick Moore, Adam Kolb, Adam Foss and Aaron Kolb all making bids to get the team out to an early lead.
However, it was Greg Melanson that opened the scoring, as he took a feed from Hart with just more than four minutes gone in the first period to give the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead.
Matt Fitzpatrick and Hart both had bids to help keep the offensive charge alive, but Rochester came roaring back with some great chances of their own. Williams was strong, as he turned away a number of quick chances right in a row, including a couple in close. Keith Therrien got the puck going the other way for the Wolfpack with a good scoring bid, but Rochester kept threatening and with 36 seconds on the clock, the offensive control paid off for Rochester, as they went on a power play.
They rang a shot off the post in the final 30 seconds but the period ended with the Wolfpack up by a 1-0 score.
The lead didn't last long into the second period, as Rochester scored just 35 seconds in to tie the game at one.
Rochester threatened for more, getting a couple good bids, only to see Williams make the saves. Fitzpatrick helped out with a good clear from in front of the net.
The Wolfpack got back in the offensive zone and Hart, Fitzpatrick, Melanson and Aaron Kolb attacked the net with ferocity, only to be turned away by some solid net play from the Rochester keeper.
With just under three minutes to go in the period, Therrien stuffed home a shot to give the Wolfpack the lead again, though Rochester quickly came back down the floor and put about five chances on Williams in the final few minutes. However, the Wolfpack goalie, who at 40, said he has goalie masks older than all the other players on his team, was stellar, turning everything away and the period ended with the Wolfpack up by a 2-1 score.
The local squad opened up the lead a bit less than five minutes into the third period, as they got some great pressure and Foss was able to control a rebound out in front, and with the goalie down, drill the puck home for a 3-1 lead.
Rochester started getting a bit desperate, as they attacked the Wolfpack net with more vigor, looking to get back in the game. However, Williams kept his cool amidst the pressure and held off the attack.
Fitzpatrick and Aaron Kolb had scoring bids as well, but they were turned away at the other end.
With three minutes to go in the period, Fitzpatrick drilled the nail in the coffin with a fourth goal, giving the Wolfpack a 4-1 lead.
The Rochester team was still capable of scoring in spurts, but managed just one goal in the final three minutes, giving the Wolfpack the 4-2 win.
The Wolfpack squad was coached by Chris Hart, who is hoping to be able to get a roller hockey league up and running in Wolfeboro once the Pop Whalen Arena sprinkler system has been installed and the rink can be used on a year-round basis.
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