GOFFSTOWN — Fresh off a statement win over previously undefeated Dover less than 24 hours earlier, Goffstown kept its motor running on high during Saturday’s matinee affair against NHIAA Division II foe Somersworth/Coe-Brown.
Even though the motor sat in idle for much of the first two periods, the Grizzlies were able to shift into overdrive during the third, scoring four times to snare a 7-4 victory inside Thomas F. Sullivan Arena.
Three goals by senior Colby Gamache and two from junior Grady Chretien sparked Goffstown, as the Grizzlies improved to 7-2. Somersworth fell to 2-3-1.
Twice the Grizzlies managed to claw back two-goal deficits, putting their perseverance on display. Down a goal after 30 minutes, Goffstown’s offense exploded over the final frame. Gamache’s second tally, coming at 3:24 just after the Bearcats, returned to even strength, tied matters at 4 apiece.
After that, the Grizzlies took complete control as Somersworth broke down defensively.
Gamache tallied his third marker at 7:28 to give the Grizzlies the lead for good. Then, just 37 seconds later, Chretien netted his second tally with a hard wrist shot from the low slot. With less than two minutes to go, Drew O’Brien netted his first career goal following a tip-in to put this one out of reach.
“Somersworth is a good team and are well-coached and they just kept on coming,” said Goffstown coach Ben Slocum. “We sort of maintained and held on for a little bit. Late in the second we took a little momentum shift and we took that into the third period.”
In spite of carrying just four seniors, the Grizzlies have performed at a high level this season behind a bumper crop of young players. They have 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, along with seven juniors. That being said, the outlook over the next couple of seasons appears to be bright. But for the moment, Goffstown is only concerned about this year’s campaign. The Grizzlies certainly have the arsenal to reach the postseason tournament and could inflict some serious damage should they get in.
“Everyone seems to be building off of each other’s momentum right now,” Slocum said.
For Somersworth, it left you somewhat perplexed which team would show up: the one that played evenly with Oyster River earlier in the year, or the one that was mauled by Keene last weekend. Through the eyes of coach Shane Maurice, positive steps were made against the Grizzlies.
“Today, this was the team that I expected to see,” said Maurice. “There are still some bad habits and they are still pretty tentative at times. I do expect us to be scoring more. I thought we had upper-hand speed-wise, which allowed us to have a better game. In the third we had a bit of a breakdown. We took a five-minute penalty and just couldn’t get anything going after that.”
Things did not start out well for Somersworth as just two minutes into the opening period Jackson Burke took a behind-the-net feed from Theodore Milianes and plucked it past Kevin Baker (20 saves) for a 1-0 lead.
But the rest of the frame belonged to the Bearcats. A 2-on-1 breakaway with Gage Gagne and Cam Frank resulted in a score from Frank at 9:37. Just 3:10 later, with Ryan Nester creeping into the crease, the senior took a nice cross-ice pass from Frank and one-timed a shot by Jake Webber to send Somersworth into the first break ahead 2-1.
The Bearcats continued to flex their muscle to start the middle frame. Just 25 seconds in, a Goffstown turnover in the defensive zone set up sophomore Aaron Bono’s first score to make it a two score game and chase Webber. James Amorelli, who finished with 13 saves, took over in goal. A short time later, Gamache, on the power play, fired a top-shelf goal, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
However, Bono struck again at 9:13 after cutting in between a pair of Goffstown defenders and ripping a shot from the high slot for a 4-2 advantage. But with just 16 seconds left in the period, Chretien, who netted four goals in the triumph over Dover on Friday night, converted from inside the right circle to send the Grizzlies into the second intermission trailing by a goal. Gamache said Chretien’s score gave his club a huge confidence boost heading into the second intermission.
“I think we went into the locker room knowing we now had the momentum going into the third period,” he said. “We just needed to show them that we are a competitive team and weren’t about to let them walk out of here with a win. Everybody worked together for the whole 45 minutes. That was one of our better third periods of the year and we just need to build off of it.”