Boys’ Varsity Hockey (BVH) came close to securing their first victory of the season last Wednesday night, ultimately falling 5–3 at home to a talented Groton team.
“We’re just trying to get better every game,” Head Coach Chris Nagy said. “This has been a rebuild year, so we’re just trying to be competitive.”
The team showed persistence throughout the tight game. Although the Knights spent most of the first period defending their goal, Nick Wang ’20 had a breakaway from the Groton offense when he sped down the rink with the puck and scored the first goal of the game with 8:23 left to play in the period.
“I thought Nick Wang was the best player on the ice tonight,” Coach Nagy said after the game. “He’s been heads above everybody we’ve played.”
Another player of note, goalie and Captain John Day ’19, battled an offensive onslaught by Groton during the first 15 minutes of the first period. After two back-to-back blocks from John, Groton scored, pushing the puck into the net with 2:21 left. Nearly a minute later, Groton lofted the puck into the goal once more to take a 2–1 lead.
Matt Corrieri ’19 said the team felt energized during the intermission between the first and second period.
“We were excited because we had three good players that we didn’t use during the first period, so they were going to have strong legs for the second,” he said.
When the teams regrouped on the ice, the Knights and their fans—a crowd that had grown to 40 people lining the rink and the balconies above—were looking to regain a lead. Despite a penalty on Dana Yesson ’21 at the end of the first period that meant BVH began the second period down a man, the Knights’ defense successfully stymied the power play by Groton.
Halfway through the second period, the Knights used that energy and adrenaline to tie the game. Dana dug out the puck from a scramble and shot it to CJ Beals ’22, who passed it smoothly to Shane Taddia ’23 just in front of the goal. Groton’s goalie had no time to react as Shane fired the puck past him and into the net.
Groton responded with another goal to take back the lead, but John shut out the visitors for the rest of the period, keeping the score 3–2 with Groton on top when the second period ended. Coach Nagy said that by his estimate, John was forced to defend the goal from over 50 shots throughout the game.
As the third period began, both teams were hungry to win the close match. Groton scored quickly on a long-range shot that managed to evade John, increasing the opponents’ lead to 4–2. But after Shane drew a penalty on a Groton player, the Knights had a power play advantage and used that opportunity to again tighten the game. CJ fired a shot from the right slot that deflected off the Groton goalie, and in the ruckus of players scrambling for the puck in front of the net, Shane pounced on the puck and sent it into the air, where it flew clean over the shoulders of the Groton goalie to bring the score to 4–3 with Groton barely hanging on.
Although fairly subdued throughout the period, the crowd became noisy and animated after a Groton player knocked John down with 3:00 left to play and slammed him into the net. The school’s coaches—supported by numerous fathers—yelled for a penalty, but the referee didn’t call one.
Coach Nagy pulled John from the goal with 1:30 remaining in the game and put on an extra offensive player in hopes of tying the match. But the Groton team held off the Knights and managed to score again into the empty net, securing the final score at 5–3.
Despite the loss, Jack Rorick ’22 said he felt proud of the team’s performance.
“Coach said that [the first period] was the best period we played all year,” he said.
John said the Knights can learn from the outcome of the game.
“We know that in order to stay in these close games, we have to outwork every team we play, in every shift of the game,” he said, “and that’s exactly what we look to do throughout the remainder of our season.”
When this paper went to print, BVH held a record of 0-20-1. The team squared off against Noble & Greenough yesterday at the Nichols Athletic Center and will host Phillips Academy Andover tomorrow at home.