New England Pond Hockey Classic serves up ice dream Sunday in Meredith
MEREDITH — The game was tight right until the end. Joe's Chicks, a group of Lakes Region-area amateur women hockey players, were giving The Eagles, a Boston-area hockey team, all they could handle.
This was, according to those watching, pond hockey at its best.
It was Sunday, finals day for the fifth annual New England Pond Hockey Classic, and all the best teams in the tournament were having at each other.
The ice was rough — at least compared to indoor rinks — and snowflakes were flying. Teams in each category — the Open Division, the 30-plus Division, the 40-plus Division, the Legends, Just for Fun Under 35 and Just for Fun Over 35 — were showing their best hockey, or trying to.
Joe's Chicks and The Eagles were tied, 3-3, with three minutes left. Then Nicole Currier of Gilmanton stole the puck from a couple of Eagles and shoved it in one of the two nets at the opponents' goal. Seconds later, an Eagles player scored, making it 4-4.
Then Jillian Nickerson, a teacher from Gilford High School, stole the puck and put the Chicks up, 5-4. Two quick unanswered goals followed, as did the winning horn. The Eagles had won, 6-5.
"Ah, well," Currier said, "it was a lot of work; it's too bad we lost, but we'll be back next year."
Just before the final goals, Nickerson said, "it got a little rough out there," as a few members of both teams had a short battle in front of one goal that ended up with one player sitting on the ice.
"That's the way the game is," Nickerson said. "No problem, it gets a little rough."
The Chicks' opponent, as it turned out, were former members of a recent Boston College Women's Hockey team. They came last year for the women's division tournament and won then, too.
"We'll be back next year," said Deb Spillaine of Franklin, Mass., of The Eagles.
Joe's Chicks, who are sponsored by Joe Santamaria Construction of Alexandria, said they will be back next year, too.
"Maybe win next year," Currier said.
The winners in the Open Division were Paddy's from Cambridge, Mass.; in the 30-plus Division, the winners were the Frozen Hacks of Franklin, Mass.; in the 40-plus Division Rhode Island Rangers of Providence, R.I.; winners of the Legends Division were Essex 73s from Nashua; winners in the Just for Fun Under 35 were Broots Magoots of Manchester; winners of the Just for Fun Over 35 were Pylons from Chelmsford, Mass.; and The Eagles of Boston won the Women's Division game.