Winning builds confidence and that is exactly what the Spaulding High School Hockey team hopes is the case after notching their first win of the tournament and the season when they defeated Cheverus High out of Portland, Me 4-2 at MHG Arena in Saco, Me Monday afternoon.
The game was the first for both teams as part of the 9th annual Maine High School Invitational Hockey Tournament held throughout 5 different venues in eastern
1st period saw Spaulding come out with tremendous energy with what might have been that something- to-prove attitude one has when playing in another state. Whatever the motivation they clearly dominated play, with Cheverus finding little room when having possession of the puck. Spaulding was able to kill off two Cheverus power play opportunities allowing only a single shot.
Spaulding did however have a moment or trepidation when a mere 10 seconds into the game Spauldings senior and assistant captain, Tyler Poisson skated off during play after being checked into the opposite side boards. Apparently having the wind knocked out was all and he quickly came back into his slot in the line up.
With the hard work finally paying off, Spaulding struck first when with 5:58 left in the first Zach Ellis wristed one in on a rebound with assists coming from both Logan Lachapelle and Zach Poisson.
The second period saw a different game. Either perfect adjustments in the first period intermission from Cheverus or a lack of intensity from Spaulding or maybe a bit of both. But the result was Cheverus taking control of the game and at 12:20 of the second, Junior Defenseman Josh Courtois slap shot found the back of the net to notch the score at one and more importantly raising Cheverus confidence level. Harrison Ridge and John Cella assisted on the goal.
The next five minutes seemed to display a bit of a change in momentum once again with Spaulding quickly realizing in order to find their way into the win column the intensity level had to be maintained through the remainder of the game. It was also around this time that Spaulding Senior goalie, Derek Spencer came up with some key saves with the best one coming on a point blank opportunity from Cheverus captain Matt Cartmell.
In order for Spaulding to have success in 2010 the scoring will have to come from multiple sources and with 7:11 left this is exactly what happened when Sophomore defenseman Cam Pepin knocked home a slap shot with help from both Cory Ferullo and Justin Foote. Pepin worked hard in the off season to earn a spot on this years team and the effort seems to have paid off.
Cheverus was coming off four wins in a row and had designs on winning a fifth. With just :54 seconds left in the second, Ridge tallied another point when he scored off Spaulding goalie Devon Parshley who came in for Spencer halfway through the period. Kyle Sangillo and Cartmell helped Ridge with the goal. Parshley did however make several fine saves during his time in goal
Time for adjustments at intermission. Question was who would make the right ones.
Third period Spaulding went back to what they did to be successful in the first period with constant pressure on the Cheverus offense in the neutral zone and it worked. With Cheverus down a skater Spauldings power play came alive with Senior Defenseman Braden Schulte finding Tyler Poisson for a goal and a 3-2 lead.
This seemed to be all the Red Raiders needed for confidence as they continued the pressure on Cheverus and at the same time found themselves with consistent odd man rushes until finally with 3:18 left Junior forward Cody Stevens, with a nice move around a Cheverus defenseman found the back of the net to end the scoring at 4-2. Steven Joyal would assist Stevens with the goal.
Spaulding is back in action on Tuesday, December 29th at Biddeford Arena to take on
Although the win doesnt count in the NH standings. for Spaulding there is little doubt this will help a young team find the recipe for success and find the confidence that winning builds.