MIKE BERNIER takes a face-off in action against Dover on Jan. 11. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)
January 16, 2012WOLFEBORO — If hockey games were played on paper, the outcome of the Wednesday, Jan. 11, game between Kingswood and Dover would've been decided long before the players took the ice at the Pop Whalen Arena.
However, the two teams did take the ice and the Kingswood boys came away with the huge upset, scoring three goals in the final period to record a 3-1 win.
"Will beats skill," assistant coach Kurt DeVylder said, echoing a statement recovering coach Fred Antonucci was famous for saying.
"That was a hard fought game," said assistant coach Steve Hale. "But these kids never give up."
After a scoreless first period, it was obvious that the Knights were not going to lie down and let the Green Wave wash over them, as goalie Shawn Goggin more than held his own and kept the Knights tied after one.
It appeared that the visitors had the upper hand less than three minutes into the first period, as the puck went in the net, but the referees ruled that the net was off its moorings and the goal was waved off.
Kingswood used that break as a good chance to generate a little offense, as Brad Riley, Alex Boucher, and CJ Sirrell did a nice job pressuring in the offensive zone. Josh Grasso joined in on the offense, as Boucher and Riley continued the pressure for the Knights.
The Green Wave got a great bid after a Kingswood turnover in the defensive zone, but Goggin came up with a huge save.
However, moments later, another Kingswood turnover proved more costly, as the visitors took the puck in and drilled it past the Knight keeper for a 1-0 lead with 8:42 to play in the second period.
Dover continued to pressure, forcing Goggin to make a series of great saves to keep the Knights close, but the Knights also took a penalty with 5:35 to go in the period.
The Green Wave controlled for much of the power play chance, but Grasso did have a shorthanded bid denied by the Dover keeper before the penalty was killed.
Kingswood had some more pressure following the penalty kill, as Chris Pollini, Lucas Bonenfant and Boucher had chances in front of the net but couldn't convert.
The Knights got a power play chance for the final two minutes of the period but couldn't really generate tons of chances, though Riley and Matt Mitchell did have chances.
Goggin made a number of great saves to close out the period with Dover holding a 1-0 lead.
The Knights got a power play early in the second period but couldn't convert, though Boucher had a chance go right through the crease before the power play was killed off. Dover came through with a couple more chances, though Goggin was there to make the saves.
The Knights drew a Dover penalty less than five minutes into the period and on the delayed penalty, as Goggin skated to the bench for the extra attacker, Boucher took a pass from Riley and buried it behind the Dover keeper, tying the game at one with 10:14 to go in the contest.
The Knights got another power play just more than a minute later and again made the extra attacker count, as Boucher again took a pass from Riley and found the back of the net, giving Kingswood a 2-1 lead with three ticks less than eight minutes to go in the contest.
The Knights took a penalty less than a minute later, but Goggin kept the Knights in the lead with a couple of saves.
It appeared that the Green Wave had tied the game at two with four minutes on the clock, but for the second time in as many periods, the goal was waved off because the net was off its moorings and the score remained 2-1 in favor of the Knights.
Goggin got some good defensive help from Pollini as the time clicked off the clock and the Green Wave pressed for the tying goal.
However, it was the Knights who got the next tally, as Grasso took the puck all the way down the ice and buried it top shelf with 1:41 to go to give Kingswood a little breathing room.
Dover pulled its goalie with 1:30 to go in the game, but couldn't convert with the extra attacker and the Knights skated off with the 3-1 upset.
Goggin finished with 27 saves on the night.
For the Knights, it marked the first time they were able to put a full 45 minutes of hockey together, a goal Hale was happy to see them accomplish.
"We managed to put it together for a whole game," Hale said. "That was one of our goals and it worked."
Hale was again pleased that his team was able to fight back after getting down a goal early.
"We're going to be in position that when we're down we're going to have to be able to dig out," Hale said. "It was a team effort for sure."
Hale hoped that the big win would send the team on the right track heading forward to the remainder of the season.
"Now we know we can do it, we can keep it up for three periods," Hale said. "Now that they've shown us they can do it, our expectations are going up.
"But I don't think they will let up," Hale said of his squad.
The Knights were unable to stay in the win column on Saturday, as they dropped a 3-1 decision to Winnacunnet.
Kingswood will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Merrimack High School at 4 p.m. On Monday, Jan. 23, the Knights head to Oyster River for a 6 p.m. game and on Wednesday, Jan. 25, they return home to host Spaulding at 7 p.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126