Lone goal lifts Wasps

  • Hartford High's James McReynolds is caught between Woodstock's Charles Greene (15) and Owen Coates during the Wasps' 1-0 victory Wednesday at Barwood Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High's Kyle Hamilton looks up at Woodstock's Andrew Gubbins midway through the second period Wednesday at Barwood Arena. Gubbins received a cross-checking penalty on the play, but the visiting Wasps won the Vermont Division II clash, 1-0. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Woodstock High/s Charles Greene (15) leads Hartford's Connor Tierney (24) and Nehemiah Arnold (25) in a race for a loose puck Wednesday at Barwood Arena. The visiting Wasps won the Vermont Division II game, 1-0. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High, right, and Woodstock face off during the second period of Wednesday's game at Barwood Arena. Field Willis' third-period goal won the Vermont Division II matchup for the visiting Wasps. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High's James McReynolds (15) carries the puck through center ice and towards Woodstock's Riley Shepherd (21) during Wednesday's Vermont Division II game at Barwood Arena. The visiting Wasps won, 1-0. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/12/2020 10:17:27 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Woodstock High and Hartford boys hockey teams played Wednesday for the third time this season. The Wasps prevailed, 1-0, in something of a rubber match.

Woodstock won the teams’ first meeting, 3-0, on Dec. 14 on its home ice. Two weeks later, the teams officially produced a scoreless tie in the Bouthillier tournament final, although Hartford captured the event’s crown in a shootout.

Wednesday, it was Field Willis’ third-period shot from the top of the left circle that beat Hartford goaltender Colby Boyce at the far, upper corner and stunned the home crowd. Boyce, a freshman who made 27 saves, has been a stalwart all season but Willis said he was able to use a backskating defender as a screen while moving from right to left.

“I skated diagonally across the blue line, and when I shot it, the defenseman in front of me was screening the goalie,” said Willis, also a skilled lacrosse player. “It hit the far post and went in. It really hyped the boys up.

“There’s real tension in this rivalry and somebody had to be the hero, so I put all my effort into getting a good shot off.”

Nine penalties were called, four on Hartford and two of them majors for boarding and a hit from behind.

“I don’t disagree with the major calls,” said Hartford coach Todd Bebeau. “We went in hard and didn’t follow our protocol, which is to go after puck, hands, stick and body and we just went in and took an unnecessary shot at the kid.

“Woodstock is the best team in our league and there are reasons why they’ve won back-to-back (Division II) state championships. We’ve closed the gap and we’re right where we should be, but they were better than us tonight.”

Hartford made an ill-advised choice to try to stickhandle around standout Woodstock defenseman Riley Shepherd at the Wasps blue line just before the goal. Shepherd stripped his man of the puck, found Willis and the game turned with 5:08 to play.

“Colby was outstanding tonight and kept us in the game and he’s the least of my concerns,” said Bebeau, whose team is 10-6-1. “We’re right there and we played hard. We just have to learn to make one more play than them. We haven’t scored a goal on Woodstock in more than 100 minutes of hockey going back two years.”

The Wasps (12-2-2) won their sixth consecutive game and improved to 12-0 in games in which they’ve scored this season. Woodstock posted its ninth shutout this winter, has allowed just 11 goals and is 50-4-6 the past three seasons.

“We expect to win with clean, competitive hockey every time we touch the ice,” said Wasps coach Jon Chamberlain. “One of the big challenges this year is, because we’ve won so much in the past, to find that drive to keep on going. We have all new leaders this season and they’ve done a great job.”

NOTES: Chamberlain referred to Bebeau, who’s in his 22nd season as a head coach, as a “living legend” in his postgame comments. … Henry Greene made 15 saves for Woodstock. … Wasps multi-sport standout Tom Bissaillon, who suffered a major knee injury during soccer season, said he expects to begin jogging next month. … One of Shepherd’s clearing attempts flew into the visitors’ bench and struck backup goaltender Keaton Piconi in the mask. ... Hartford is 2-4-1 when it scores one or no goals this season and 8-2 when it scores two or more. The Hurricanes are 24-32-4 the past three seasons.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.




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