×

Timely Townley Return

  • After scoring his second of three goals, Woodstock High School's Steven Townley, center, (10) celebrates with his team during a game between Woodstock and Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-0. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High School's Korrigan Allen (3) gets checked by Woodstock High School's Ely Chynoweth during a game between Woodstock and Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-0. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High School's Patrick McGlone (9) moves the puck past Woodstock High School's Owen Coates (24) during a game between Woodstock and Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-0. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford and Woodstock boys hockey teams shake hands after a game between Woodstock and Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-0. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, December 10, 2017

White River Junction — Steven Townley wanted to spend his final year of varsity hockey representing his hometown with his friends. Woodstock High’s boys hockey team couldn’t be happier he decided to do so.

Townley, who transferred to the Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts as a junior after a stellar sophomore season with the Wasps, returned in force on Saturday, scoring three goals and assisting on another in Woodstock’s season-opening 4-0 win over Hartford at Wendell A. Barwood Arena. He played in all situations on a Woodstock squad made up almost entirely of freshmen and contributed on the scoring sheet like he never left.

“It was great being out here. I haven’t worn Woodstock green in over a year,” said the Woodstock senior, who made the decision to transfer back in the spring. “I love the town. I’m glad to be playing for it again.”

Hartford sophomore goaltender Ross McFate made 17 saves in his first start, taking the place of veteran Hurricane goaltender Richie Morrill, who graduated in the spring. Jordy Allard and Ben Roulliard, top scorers from last year, also graduated, and first-line center Tyler Hamilton is still sidelined with a high ankle sprain suffered during football season for at least the next couple of weeks, leaving Hartford without its usual offensive contributors.

The result, said Hartford head coach Todd Bebeau, was a squad that had trouble getting out of its own end and, at times, seemed out of sync.

“There are four things I’m going to take from this game,” Bebeau said. “Woodstock is a better team than us right now. Two, we’re not going to go undefeated. Three, we have 95 percent of our games left to play, and fourth, we’re going to get better. … Right now, we’re just lacking basic skills. Puck management, the ability to pass and receive. These are base line skills that we need to get better. That’s my job, to come back to work on Monday and reinforce those skill components.”

Townley wasted no time setting up the opening goal, using his speed to streak down the left wing and send a crossing pass to linemate Cullen McCarthy just 17 seconds into the contest. He added to the assist three minutes later, making a highlight-reel move between three Hartford defenders for his first Woodstock varsity goal since Feb. 24, 2016.

“It was good to get off to a really good start,” said Woodstock head coach Jon Chamberlain. “I think we let up a little after that, so it was good we got those two quick ones.

“The best thing is (Townley) brings leadership,” he added. “He’s a great off-ice kid, and he’s an amazing hockey player.”

Townley’s second and third goals came as the Canes struggled to create chances. He added a power play goal with 32.2 seconds remaining in the second period, shooting from the left circle just inside the far right post. Townley completed the hat trick on a shot just underneath the crossbar with 6:30 remaining in the third.

Woodstock sophomore goaltender Henry Greene finished the game with 14 saves for a shutout in his first varsity start.

“I thought the boys played really well,” Townley said. “First period, we came out flying. We were ready for them. Second period, we let off a little bit. Third period, we got the job done and came away with a shutout.”

As a sophomore, Townley led the Wasps with 24 goals and 19 assists in 20 games on a team that finished the regular season 17-1-1 for the top seed in VPA Division II. The lanky center scored Woodstock’s only goal in a 2-1 upset loss to Burr & Burton in the first round of the tournament.

Since then, Townley said he’s learned plenty battling for playing time at the prep level. Chamberlain insisted the sniper returned to Woodstock the same as when he left, but perhaps with a little different perspective. Either way, Townley said he’s excited to be back, playing on a line with longtime friend and teammate McCarthy for a team he believes has a good chance to win a championship.

“I’ve been playing on a first-line role for the last couple of years,” Townley said. “When I got (to Williston Northampton), I had to battle for it. I had to battle for playing time. It just made me work harder. I think I’m a harder-working player now.

“I wanted to finish my senior year with all my friends. I’ve been living here for 14 years, and I thought we could win a state championship.”

Notes: McCarthy, Woodstock’s captain, got sick midway through the game and did not play in the third period. … Hamilton, Hartford’s captain, was on the bench in sweatpants during the game. Bebeau said the senior resumed skating this week and that the team is cautiously optimistic he can return in the next few weeks. … Barwood Arena’s Zamboni ice resurfacing machine was working fine in between periods on Saturday. It had broken down last week, canceling some of last weekend’s on-ice activities. … Woodstock (1-0) next travels to North Country on Wednesday. Hartford (0-1) travels to North Country on Saturday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.