Hanover Boys' Hockey Skates to 1-1 Tie in Season Opener
Hanover’s Gavin Ratliff, right, collides with St. Thomas defenseman Niall Foster while looking to score during last night’s 1-1 overtime tie at Campion Rink. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover goaltender James Montgomery sets up to make a save on an incoming St. Thomas shot. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover captain Mike Yukica is tripped up by St. Thomas defenseman Niall Foster during the final minutes of overtime in last night’s 1-1 tie at Campion Rink. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »
West Lebanon — With the combined effects of graduation and transfers, the Hanover boys hockey team entered last night’s season opener against St. Thomas Aquinas having lost seven players who accounted for more than 75 percent of its goals and assists from a year ago.
Luckily for the Marauders, they’ve still got goaltender James Montgomery.
The senior goalie made made 27 saves, sprawling all over the crease to make stops as Hanover and the Saints skated to a 1-1 tie at Campion Rink.
Montgomery allowed T.J. Boulanger’s tying goal with 12 minutes, 19 seconds remaining, but turned away numerous St. Thomas flurries — both at the end of regulation and in overtime. The Saints (0-0-1) led the Marauders (0-0-1) 28-19 in shots, including a 4-1 advantage in the eight-minute extra session.
“He’s gotten even better than last year, and I think tonight was a good barometer for that,” said Hanover coach Dick Dodds of Montgomery. “St. Thomas has a lot of weapons, and he did a real good job. He had good team defense in front of him, but he also faced a couple of point-blank shots that he took care of.”
Both teams had trouble finding any offensive energy in the first period, unable to penetrate much beyond the neutral zone in transition.
The two teams began to pick up the pace late in the period as the Saints began playing the body more sharply. Hanover then matched the Saints in getting more physical as the game finally opened up with a few scoring chances late in the first.
Boulanger found junior Glenn Wiswell on an odd-man rush during a Hanover line change, the latter stuffing it into the side of the cage trying to beat Montgomery’s short side.
The Marauders responded with a slapper from the point by senior defender Nick Bowen, turned away with a thudding chest save from Saints sophomore goalie Zane Angelopoulos (18 saves) with 7:53 to play.
Hanover mustered just one shot during a subsequent power play as the hits kept coming from St. Thomas.
The Saints had a pair of chances it the final two minutes, a blast from the top of the faceoff circle from Joe Richard requiring a Montgomery kick save with 1:10 remaining and a charging bid from Wiswell denied by a pad stop with 22 seconds left.
“We dominated the game at stretches, but just couldn’t bury the puck,” said third-year St. Thomas coach Andrew Leach. “We had some odd-man rushes, and our guys certainly had chances, but their goalie played a great game.”
With Bowen sent to the box for a cross check in the first minute of the second period, the Saints garnered three shots on the man-advantage and the first six shots of the period. Montgomery thwarted a one-on-one bid from Saints senior Jon Douglass with a sliding pad save during the sequence.
Hanover went ahead 1-0 on its first shot of the stanza. Following an offside whistle against St. Thomas, the Marauders won the neutral zone faceoff before sophomore Kordell Lindsay sent the puck up ice for Jordy Levin.
Levin’s pass across the slot from the left side found senior Joe Cravero in perfect stride for a sweeping one-timer over the shoulder of Angelopoulos.
“I was in the right place at the right time on that one, and was fortunately able to finish,” said Cravero. “It was a great pass from Jordy.”
Both teams played aggressively in the third period, Hanover nearly adding an insurance goal twice on close-range bids from Worthy Gardner and Nate Choukas, both snatched via glove save from Angelopoulos.
The Saints eventually regained momentum and netted the equalizer when Boulanger gathered a right-to-left pass from Wiswell and plunked it in short side past Montgomery with 12:19 to play.
Both teams had chances in the final minutes, with Cravero vying from the high slot with under four to play and St. Thomas nearly grabbing the winner on a 2-on-1 rush in the final minute.
With Montgomery out of the crease, the Saints had a favorable angle before Cravero dove across the crease to try to block the shot. By the time St. Thomas released the shot, the net had been dislodged for a whistle.
After Montgomery nabbed a rocket offering from St. Thomas sophomore Garrett Pietz early in the OT, Hanover’s Tom Peters had a chance on a crowded stuff-in attempt before Shawn Cavallaro’s bid went just wide on a pass from Sam Carey.
“I think there were a lot of positives to take from this game,” said Hanover coach Dick Dodds. “I think we played with a lot of energy every shift. I was impressed with our defense, because St. Thomas has some crafty, creative shooters and we were able to hold them in check.”
Hanover’s leading scorer from last year’s 10-9-3 campaign, Peter Bensen (26 goals, 16 assists — 26 points) transferred to Phillips Andover Acamemy to spend his senior season playing for the Big Blue. The Marauders also lost Ryan Wolter (Deerfield Academy transfer) and brother Christian Wolter (8-20—28) as well as Ryan Brigham (3-14—17), Connor Gordon (5-14—19) to graduation.
The Marauders are optimistic as they move into the adjustment period with new leadership.
“We know we don’t have any stars on this team, and we’re OK with that,” Cravero said. “We’re going to have to outwork teams to win and we have guys who can do that.”
Ice Chips: Hanover was 0-for-2 with three shots on the power play; St. Thomas was 0-for-1 with three shots. The teams had offsetting, matching penalties twice. ... Bensen scored 66 points in three seasons for the Marauders, one fewer than Christian Wolter (23-44—67) over the same number of seasons. ... Montgomery had his facemask dislodged while absorbing a hard shot from Wiswell with 2:25 left in regulation. ... Cavallaro is Hanover’s top returning scorer (5-3—8 in 2011-12). ... The Marauders, who play five of their first six at home, host Manchester Central on Saturday.
Jared Pendak can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3306.