The Dover Stars Squirt 1 team came into the GSL Tier II tournament as first place finishers in the regular season. Not to be overlooked, finishing first in Tier II was a hard fought effort in a tier that had the top six teams separated by only 6 points and the goals differentials of tier were between 2 and 14. In other words, this would be the hardest played tournament in the state this year.
The Stars started the weekend against the NH Avalanche; the Stars had many chances, but early tournament nerves got the best of them as they finished with a tie 1-1. Tucker Smith broke the ice when he scored the lone goal on a late shift rush in the second. Jaylyn Jewell played a particularly strong game on Defense, with many blue line stands to keep the pressure on the Avalanche.
In the other division, Berlin tied NHE 2-2.
On Saturday morning, the Stars most recent rival, Hanover, won a hard fought game over the Avalanche 1-0. NHE tied the Monarchs 2-2. Talk about a close tournament!
By coming in first in the regular season, the Stars had a favorable tournament schedule with only one game on the second day of the tournament. But, giving the results so far in the rest of the tournament, the Stars knew that they had to win to move on. The Stars were focused. Playing Hanover in the late game, the Stars rallied from 1 goal down to beat the Wild 3-1. Goals were spread across the team with Andrew Bertolini, Will MacLean and Jameson Goodridge rippling the net and Wyatt Allaire, Goodridge and Mikey Somerset registering helpers. Consistently setting up successful breakouts, smart defense came by way of the Alex Anderson and Brendan Tersolo duo. In goal, Christopher Eno had some of his most critical saves of the tournament late in the third leading the Stars to the Sunday games.
In the only anomaly of the tournament, the wheels came off for Berlin as they lost to the Monarchs 8-1.
Crossover morning saw the first seeded Stars take on NHE, a team they had split with in the regular season. NHE came out tough, scoring the first goal with 8:29 to go in the first period. Undeterred, the Stars took back the momentum with a goal just 15 seconds later with a goal by Goodridge assisted by MacLean! On Bertolini’s first of two goals, the Stars took the lead and did not relinquish it. Although NHE kept coming back close, the Stars maintained the lead and won 6-4. Tremendous defensive play was put on by Marshal Ford, who on three occasions made game changing plays to divert the Eagles shots and breakaway attempts. Goodridge and Bertolini would each add another goal and MacLean would score the eventual game winner at 8:52 of the third. Assists came by Allaire, Maclean, and Smith.
In the other crossover, the Monarchs took Hanover to overtime and scored the eventual game winner in the Third overtime.
In the Final, for the third time in the tournament, the opposition took the first lead, and this time, it was only 36 seconds into the start of the game. Undeterred and knowing their team would never give up, the Stars battled back to tie it up later it the first when Bertolini’s relentless efforts to put home the “ugly goals” paid off. The second period saw the lead go to the Stars with Maclean’s rocket wrist shot that went “bar down” into the back of the net. The Monarchs tied it up later in the second after a tough scramble in front of the net. Tied 2-2 after 2. The Stars defensive core had another spotlight on Sunday as Liam Cannon, played a strong, smart and dependable game, all the while fighting flu like symptoms, “I’m ok coach”. Throughout the tournament, Connor Lapierre thwarted many Monarchs scoring attempts by stripping their players of the puck and quickly transitioning the play for the Stars. In a close fought third period, with each team running on adrenaline, the action went back and forth with the Monarchs taking most of the momentum. Their efforts resulted in a goal with 4 minutes left that gave the Monarchs the lead 3-2. The Stars, who always maintained an even keel during the tournament; never too high, and never too low; pressed on. With all the confidence in the world, Goodridge took the game on his shoulders and tied it up with just under two minutes to go.
Entering overtime, tied 3-3. The players are tired, nervous and excited about a sudden death overtime, but never wavering in their determination to take the Championship. The Coach reminded them that together they do great things; they went out and did it. After withstanding heavy Monarch pressure early in the first overtime with Eno shutting the cover to the cookie jar; the Stars had an offensive zone faceoff on the right side of the ice. Working the faceoff plan that Allaire had called; Goodridge won the faceoff back to Allaire who was coming from the right wing behind the center for a quick shot using the center as a screen. The shot was blocked and Lapierre pinching in from defense brought the puck through the slot and over to Will Maclean who roofed the game winner!
Earlier in the year, the team set out 4 goals for the team:
Win a tournament – done – Coca-Cola Classic on November 27, 2011
Beat the Boston Stars – done – 7-6 on December 11, 2011
Finish top 3 in the IJ – done
Win the NH GSL Tournament – DONE – on February 26, 2012
Next up, Regional’s, IJ, and Canada Part Deux!