GARRETT NADEAU fights for position as Erick Skelley (right) reaches in during action in Dover on Jan. 10.
Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 15, 2018DOVER — The Kingswood hockey boys got off to a great start on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Dover Ice Arena.
However, the Portsmouth-Newmarket Clipper Mules came charging back and tied the game in the final minutes to force overtime.
But senior Burke Ruel salvaged the win for the Knights and their fans, as he scored midway through the overtime period to give the Knights the 4-3 win, the team's first win since opening night.
"Our struggle all season has been trying to get 45 minutes of max effort and again we failed to do that," coach Mike Potenza stated. "I think they took their foot off the gas.
"I give them (Portsmouth-Newmarket) credit, they stuck around," the Knight coach added.
The Knights didn't control the play in the offensive zone in the opening minutes, as the puck went up and down the ice. Colby Clegg had a wraparound bid that was denied and Sam Danais found Kolbe Maganzini for a bid. Danais also had a shot stopped and then had the rebound bid denied. At the other end of the ice, keeper Joey Vetanze, who has been battling an injury and missed time prior to the game, made a couple of solid saves in the Kingswood net. Maganzini also helped out with strong defense.
Nick Potenza just missed connecting with Ruel on a bid and Ruel came back with a bid that was denied and Joe Moore also got a look in close but could not finish it off.
The Knights got the game's first power play with 7:14 to go in the first period and it didn't take long for them to convert, as just 40 seconds later, Danais charged in on a bid that went a bit wide and Logan McEvoy was able to stuff home the rebound for the 1-0 lead. Danais and Sam Barton got the assists.
Kingswood didn't back off the pressure, as Maganzini sent a shot wide of the net and Erick Skelley had a bid denied by the P-N keeper. The Knights got another power play with 5:04 to go and Ruel, Danais and Clegg all had chances that didn't get converted and the penalty was killed off.
With 2:27 to go in the period, the Knights opened the lead up a bit, as Potenza drove into the zone and fired it past the P-N keeper for the 2-0 lead.
Less than 45 seconds later, the Knights upped the lead to 3-0 as Ruel raced into the zone and fired it past the keeper for the third goal. Bailey Savage and McEvoy picked up the assists from the Knights.
Kingswood took a penalty late in the period and Vetanze had a couple of saves and Sean Harrington had a good kill as the Knights finished out the period with the 3-0 lead.
The Knights were able to kill off the remainder of the penalty early in the second period but not long after, the hosts were able to get on the board with their first goal, firing the puck from the slot to make it 3-1. The Knights took another penalty just more than a minute later and it took the hosts just 10 seconds to get on the board with their second goal of the game, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Clipper Mules continued to pressure, forcing Vetanze to make a couple of good saves, while Ruel, Maganzini and Clegg had chances at the other end of the ice. Barton also helped out with good defense and the trio of Danais, Maganzini, Clegg and Skelley finished off the period with good bids in front of the net but the period ended at 3-2 with Kingswood in the lead.
The Knights took two early penalties in the third period, giving the Clipper Mules a five-on-three power play for 1:15. Potenza and Danais had good kills and Danais had a shorthanded bid in the zone as the Knights killed off both penalties. Ruel and Potenza came back with chances for the Knights and Gavin Goodwin turned in a solid defensive play as the hosts threatened.
With six minutes to go, the Knights took a penalty and Vetanze made a couple of big saves before the hosts were able to put the puck in the net with 4:39 to go, tying the game at three. Ruel, Potenza and Cole Emerson had chances in the final minutes but regulation ended with the score tied at three.
Danais, McEvoy and Emerson started out the overtime with good looks in close and Barton had a shot denied. Skelley and Goodwin had shots go wide before Ruel was able to put home his own rebound with 4:28 to go in overtime to send the Knights home with the win.
"Our leadership stepped up and kind of rallied the troops," coach Potenza said of the team's talk before overtime. "They finally showed up in overtime.
"Every game we're trying to be a little better," the Knight coach continued. "There were some bright spots in this game.
"There's a couple of things we have to look at," Potenza added. "If we get kids on board with this, we're going to compete."
The Knight boys will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 20, for a 7 p.m. game at Pop Whalen Arena against Merrimack and will be at Keene at 6:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.