Exeter, NH-Exeter Academy lead wire to wire to take home the battle of long term rivals. Senior Ryan Welch earned the win for Lion Rampants stopping 22-25 shots. With the long weekend, and very few students on campus, Exeter still looked ramped up as they took control of the game right away and finished strong.
The first period was penalty filled and Exeter had the majority of power play time. Andover never really got any traction in the Exeter end. Exeter was able to score the first goal 11:31 in when Danny Colon hit Michael Young with a pretty backdoor pass on a 5v3 power play. Jack Simon picked up a secondary assist. Exeter had the momentum and a one goal lead headed into the locker room.
PEA struck just 1:25 into the period as Reese Ramirez won a puck race, flying by the PAA defenders and burying the breakaway. Luke Mix grabbed an assist and it was 2-0; Lion Rampants. It was a sign of things to come as five more goals would be scored. Danny Colon scored just under three minutes later as he came in off the right wing and deked to his backhand for the score. Assists went to Young and Tom Chmielewski. It was now 3-0 Exeter and looked like a runaway. That’s when Andover senior Dapa Conneely knocked an Exeter player down with force in the neutral zone, took the puck and went to the net with every intent of taking everyone with him. Dapa achieved his goal and Colin Marks was left with a rebound that he buried to get the Big Blue going. They responded quickly as Andover added another about a minute later as William Hughes deflected a shot home from Marks and Conneely. Just when Andover needed a bounce, Exeter got one as a misplayed puck behind the PAA net gave Kurt Gurkan an open net. It was not 4-2 PEA. Hughes would strike again, however, from Marks and Conneely and it was 4-3 after two periods.
The third belonged to Exeter as Tommy Gannon ripped one into the top of the net 4:14 into the final frame. Later, PEA Baseball star Chmielewski put a rebound home with 5:03 left to seal the win. Assists went to Mix and Yang. Exeter had 10 different players register a point and seven chipped in with two points.
First: Michael Young (Exeter)
Second: Jack Simon (Exeter)
Third: Danny Colon (Exeter)
TTPA: Dapa Conneely (Andover)
NZ Notes: We were disappointed with the lack of student support is one of the oldest rivalry games. However, may students were home and the weather was not good. Perhaps not playing the game on a long weekend makes more sense. For Andover; Conneely was tough but not a consistent threat with the puck, effort player who can fill a role at a small school; Charlie Spence is a solid junior defenseman, played power play; liked his lateral mobility and sense; Hughes picked up two goals quietly. The 2004 is stronger and tougher than most of the other players and goes to greasy areas. Heavy shot, high ceiling; Ray Galasso showed flashes. the senior DMan made one touch passes in transition and can snap long passes on the tape. For Exeter; Mix has adjusted nicely as a PG from Winchester. His game is subtle, mistake free. Soft touches and nice passes. Jack Simon looked like the best player on the ice at times. He is silky, smart and can pass or carry his way up ice. Excellent on the power play. High-end NESCAC player. Ramirez was fast and tough. The Pitt native outworked everyone for his goal and was tough to play against. We really liked his game tonight. Stays on the puck and has a strong core to go with his speed. Colon scored a slick goal. he has good vision and is quick on his skates with equally fast hands. Kurt Gurkan impressed. High ceiling and rated highly in our recent Top 250 2004s. Michael Young might be Exeter’s best player overall right now. The August 2002 was all over the puck, played the point on the power play and is creative at top speed (which is fast.) Decent size and a junior worth watching. Junior Sylas Oberting played a physical game on the blue line. He punished Andover forwards and stopped the line rush at his blue line. He is a good skater with balance and speed.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images