Although a number of Dover players and supporters point to Spauldingas their #1 rival, Oyster River certainly qualifies as 1a. The cross-town rival Green Wave came to the Whittemore Center Arena on the campus of the University of New Hampshire on Thursday night, as Dover and Oyster River met for the second time in eight days (and third overall). Dover took the first meeting of the season between the two back at the Concord Holiday Tournament, followed by Oyster River blanking the Green Wave 1-0 last Wednesday at Dover Arena (read about it here). Bobcat co-captain and Hockey Barn Player of the Month for December Sean Leahytold me, "It's a great rivalry. It's always good coming into these games (because) you know both teams and their fans are going to be into it."
Here is a recap of Oyster River's 4-0 win as told through pictures (and some captions)...
Oyster River warms up goalie Dylan Strogen. Strogen was again outstanding for the Bobcats, stopping all 20 shots he faced in his second straight shut out of Dover.
Dover warms up junior netminder Chad Garland. He has been solid for the Green Wave, but the defense in front of him has faltered in their current three game losing skid.
Both teams line up on their respective blue lines for the playing of the national anthem.
The Bobcats huddled around Strogen.
The Green Wave huddled around Garland.
Garland was tested early and often on this night.
Oyster River's student section was out in full force.
...As were the Dover students, who roared with each big hit laid out by a Green Wave player.
...Like this one dished out by Dover junior defenseman Gordon Roberts.
Dover did a good job helping out Garland in the first, as both teams failed to score in the opening period.
Oyster River defenseman Jamie Wilkinson opened the scoring with a power play strike at 2:37 of the second period. Wilkinson was left alone streaking backdoor, and Connor Clark found him with a perfect pass which Wilkinson one-timed past Garland. Here, Wilkinson celebrates with Clark and Leahy.
And the Oyster River bench was fired up.
Strogen steers a shot into the corner. "He has been our savior all year, stopping everything," said Goddard.
Leahy carries the puck through the neutral zone. The Bobcats senior forward takes advantage of the Whittemore Center's olympic-sized ice to showcase his superb skating ability. "He's been playing great all year even though other teams are targeting him," said Oyster River coach Griffin Richard. "He's quite a two-way player."
Leahy just missed on this opportunity, but was credited with Oyster River's second goal of the second period. His cross-ice pass appeared to hit a skate in front of the net and ricochet past Garland. It was Leahy's 20th goal of the season and it gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead after 2.
Leahy and Steven Rohde have a chat with Dover's Liam Murphy and Dell Isola while waiting for the third period to begin.
Dover's Dylan Stohrer carries the puck into the attacking zone for the Green Wave.
Leahy was slow to get up after taking a big hit early in the third. "I'm alright. Teams are always coming after me," Leahy said after the game.
Wilkinson (3), Rohde (5) and the rest of the Oyster River defensemen were excellent, clearing pucks away from Strogen's crease all night.
The Bobcats put the finishing touches on this one, as junior defenseman Sam Higgs scored into Dover's empty net for his first career goal. Congratulations Sam!
Junior forward Jack Garnhart added another last minute goal for the Bobcats, who went on to the 4-0 win.
Oyster River captured the regular season series over Dover, but count me as one onlooker who is hoping for a rematch in the playoffs. Both teams are back in action on Saturday. Dover hosts #2 Bow while Oyster River takes on #9 Spaulding at the Whittemore Center Arena.