Matt MacDougall (Brookline, MA) solidifies a 3–0 victory for the Shamrocks over the Jersey Shore Whalers, scoring with just two minutes remaining.
It has been a strong few weeks for the Shamrocks both prior to and following Thanksgiving break. Before break, the Shamrocks played two games at home against the South Shore Kings and the Springfield Pics.
Game 1 against South Shore saw its fair share of challenges. The team had multiple opportunities on the man advantage but failed to score, an issue that has plagued the team for some time. The support from our Pope John student section has been growing every game. Attendance for the Saturday night tilt saw north of 30 students sporting their green jerseys for the #GreenOut. Despite the great crowd, the team fell to South Shore 3—0. Luckily, the team had an opportunity for redemption just 12 hours later against the Springfield Pics.
Game 2 of the weekend started off much stronger for the home team. Nathan Loisel got the start in net for the Shamrocks and looked to send the Shamrocks off to Thanksgiving break on a high note. With the score tied 0—0 heading into the third period, it certainly felt like the Shamrocks had no plans to leave any gas in the tank before the long week off. Adam McNabney finally broke the seal on a snap shot on a 1 v 3 from just a few feet inside the blue-line (assisted by Wyatt De Lise). With just over a minute to play, the Pics pulled their goaltender while on the power play. Despite being on the 6 v 4 advantage, they would be unable to tie the game. Robby Hickman collected the puck off a rebound just a few feet outside Loisel's crease. Hickman fired the shot 200 feet down the river into the empty net to seal the deal and a 2—0 victory.
Following Thanksgiving break, the team got set to face off against the Islanders Hockey Club of the USPHL. Ethan Racz and Nathan Loisel split the game in net. Racz got the start on a cold Thursday evening game in the North End of Boston. The game was slightly delayed due to ice maintenance, which coincided with the Shamrocks' slightly delayed start. The Islanders came out strong sustaining pressure on the Shamrocks. The Islanders took a 2—0 lead into the second period, however the Shamrocks began to find their stride when Raphael Litwin found Wyatt De Lise on the blue line. De Lise fired a quick snap shot on net that was picked up by Matt Williams for the second opportunity goal. The team now trailed 2—1.
Loisel took over for the second half of the game where the Shamrocks now trailed 3—1. The Shamrocks never quit which was evident in their efforts. Jason Schwartz shut down an Islanders rush and picked up the loose puck. A cross ice feed found Raphael Litwin who entered the offensive zone on a 3 v 2. Litwin's snap shot beat the Islanders goaltender through the 5-hole to bring the Shamrocks within just one goal heading into the third. The two would connect again, this time including Matty Williams in their exchange. Schwartz held a puck in the offensive zone finding Williams in the slot. Williams made a slick move and dished to Litwin who made an aggressive wrap around move beating the Islanders' goalie for the second time. The score was now tied 3—3.
Regulation would end 3—3, but the evening wasn't quite over. The teams headed into a 3 v 3 overtime for 5 minutes. The Shamrocks had multiple opportunities including a break away and a 2 v 1, but they were unable to convert. It would take a shootout to settle this one which seemed unjust to both teams, however it was a school night so a decision had to be made. Puzzo would go first for the Shamrocks but was robbed on the glove side by the Islanders goalie. Loisel also denied the first shooter. Matt Williams went next but was stopped in almost identical form as before. De Lise was the final shooter for the Shamrocks who had to score to keep the team alive. The Islanders goalie however denied all three shooters giving them the 4—3 SO victory. A great battle for both sides.
This past weekend on Saturday the Shamrocks traveled to New Jersey for two games against the Jersey Shore Whalers of the USPHL. The day started dark and early as the team loaded up the bus at 4:45 AM. The first game began at noon. The Shamrocks went down early by a score of 3—0. Struggling to stay out of the penalty box, the Shamrocks did not give themselves much opportunity for success. It was not until the third period that the Shamrocks seemed to find their legs. Eric Hambling got team on the board when he corralled a pass from Robby Hickman and Jacob Greenholz. Hambling fired a quick shot from the slot to beat the Whalers goaltender. With just five minutes in the game Hickman got on the score sheet again when he intercepted a Whalers pass at the red line. Hickman, on a shorthanded bid entered the offensive zone beating two Whalers defenders and picking the top corner of the net. 3—2 Whalers with just four minuted remaining. It seemed as though it was only a matter of time before the Shamrocks tied the game, however an inopportune turnover resulted in a 3 v 1 for the Whalers which ended up in the back of the net. The Whalers would add one more before the end of regulation for a final score of 5—2. Rematch set for 5:00 PM.
After a quick lunch and a little self reflection on what went wrong in Game 1 of the day, the Shamrocks got set to right their wrongs. Androlewicz got the start in net for Game 2. The Shamrocks came out with a fire lit under their skates out-working and out-skating their opponent for the first 17 minutes of the game. They would go into the locker room for an ice cut after 1 tied 0—0, but feeling much better about their efforts. Matty Williams would give the team in green their first lead of the day when he picked up a rebound shot from Robby Hickman and Raphael Litwin. 1—0 Shamrocks. The two teams headed into their sixth period of the day separated by just 1 goal. Jackson Puzzo, who had been snake bitten by the Whalers goaltender all afternoon finally snuck one by as he hammered home a second opportunity set up by Jack Meteyer and Jacob Greenholz. The team lead 2—0 with just a few minutes remaining. Despite controlling the game all afternoon, the team looked for a little reassurance that they would ‘Ship Up to Boston' with a win. Matty MacDougall (Brookline, MA) went on to take out a State-Farm-Insurance-Policy for the Shamrocks when he intercepted a Whalers pass on the O-Zone blue line, and let go a wicked snap shot beating the Whalers goaltender over the short side shoulder. The team got their much needed redemption with a final score of 3—0. Androlewicz stopped all 35 shots while the Shamrocks outshot the home team by a 45-35 margin.
If we have learned anything about this Shamrocks group, it is that they are a resilient bunch. They may have a habit of seeking out unwarranted adversity, but they certainly have countered this habit with an ability to learn, adapt and grow from our mistakes —qualities that are very difficult to master. The Shamrocks get set for a very important week of practice as they head into their final regular season ECEL event with a schedule set with playoff implications.
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