LA/Groton Holiday Tournament: Day #1

Day #1 of the LA/Groton Holiday Tournament was a great start to the tournament with 3 of the 4 games being close.

Holderness 4 – Pomfret 3

First game was between undefeated Holderness Bulls against a deep Pomfret team that is tough to play against. The teams exchanged blows early and went into the third period tied 2-2 but the Bulls pulled away in the third to win 4-2. We kept Holderness out of the rankings despite their undefeated record because their strength of schedule wasn’t overly impresssive but this win over Pomfret proved this team is legit. They are well-coached, balanced and skate well. They may not have a super high end but they have depth and can handle higher pace games.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Dave Brandes, D, Holderness

2nd Star: Declan Chapman, F, Pomfret

3rd Star: Evan Plunkett, G, Holderness

Proctor 3 – Groton 2

Similar to the Holderness vs. Pomfret game, these two teams exchanged blows early and went into the third period with a 2-2 tie. Proctor was a bit faster and was winning races to pucks but Groton was a bit bigger and stronger and was winning the puck battles so it was a very even match up as the shots ended in an even 44-44. Both goalies were excellent but it was Proctor who got the winner halfway through the third period to close out the win.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Caden Pasqualone, G, Proctor

2nd Star: Tommy Giroux, G, Groton

3rd Star: Ty Gwatkin, F, Proctor

Dexter 6 – Thayer 1

This was the only game that wasn’t close; but the score wasn’t indicitave of the overall game. While Thayer has some talented skaters, good overall team speed and some grit; they had a tough time handling Dexter’s depth and size. Dexter may not have some of their big name prospects as they’ve had in the past (i.e. Ryan Donato, Jack Rathbone, John Farinacci, etc.) but they are deeper than prior years and have more size and strength. Their top line of Badger-Hughes-Wilson overhwelmed Thayers top unit and they were able to pull away in the middle stages of the game taking a 4-0 lead and finished 6-1. Thayer netminder Beau Lane actually played a really strong game despite the high score and kept the game compeitive at times when they were heavily outshot. It looked to us that Dexter is a better team than their record and Thayer didn’t have their best night.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Sean Keohane, D, Dexter

2nd Star: Cullin Wilson, F, Dexter

3rd Star: CJ Foley, D, Thayer

Cushing 1 – Lawrence 0

Both of these teams deserve credit for this game which was the best of the day. Lawrence doesn’t have the skill or depth that Cushing has but they played hard, tough to play against style and got outstanding goaltending from Luc Gagnon. The game was a 0-0 tie until later in the second period when Linas Dedinas came down on the rush and slid a beautiful crossing pass to Mason Kesselring at the top cirlces who blasted a rocket one-timer for a score. The teams went into the third with a 1-0 score and both teams battled hard to the end but the score remained the same. Despite Lawrence playing a great team game, keeping Cushing to the outside and taking away high percentage scoring chances; Cushing is a talented team. They have real depth, they have size, the have strength, they have speed and can beat you in vareity of ways. This team has the depth, goaltending and skating ability to be a contender down the stretch and was the best team we saw today.

Three Stars of the Day:

1st Star: Luc Gagnon, G, Lawrence

2nd Star: Mason Kesselring, F, Cushing

3rd Star: Billy Norcross, F, Cushing and Jackson Iriving, G, Cushing