With temperatures peaking in the low teens, Holderness and New Hampton braved the elements and put on a very evenly matched contest where the Bulls eked out a nail-biting 2-1 victory. With almost penalty free hockey, the Huskies and the Bulls put together some exciting end-to-end play dominated by strong goaltending by both teams. Holderness would score first with four minutes left in the first stanza. Jacob Ochab and Heath Fellows would set up Alec Saklad who notched his first goal of the season. Just seconds later, though, New Hampton responded with a goal of their own to knot the score at 1 going into the intermission.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score (especially for NHS on the powerplay), but timely defense prevailed and the teams went into the second intermission still tied at 1-1. Special recognition goes to the Holderness defensive units of Matt Butchma, Matt Pollini, Jerry Wang, Patrick Mohan and Jacob Ochab. Though they struggled with the breakout at times, they ultimately got the job done and provided good coverage for goalie Sergio Yap in the net.
In the third period, Patrick Mohan moved to forward and Charlie Crumbo took his position at defense. This switch provided good momentum at both ends of the ice, and the Bulls started to show some life. With eight minutes left on the clock, Tuomas Himberg stripped a NHS player of the puck in their defensive zone and then walked in alone on the goalie. A pretty top-shelf-roof-shot found the back of the net, and the Bulls took the lead. The last minutes of the game seemed long, but smart play and good energy prevailed as Holderness fended off the extra skater for New Hampton and put the 2-1 victory in the books.
With three games in four days and some chilly temperatures, the grit of the Bulls was tested. High praise for the focus, energy and sportsmanship that the team showed as they ended the stretch with two wins and one loss. Goalie Sergio Yap was outstanding in all three games, and the experience gained by all from top competition was extremely valuable.
The Bulls get back at it next week with away games at Cardigan on Wednesday and at Vermont Academy on Friday.