The Wachusett Mountaineers boys hockey team continued their winning ways against Shrewsbury Colonials in the first round of tournament play.
The Mountaineers were lead by Senior forward Jeremy Bennie, who tallied a milestone 100 point for the team just about a minute into the first before adding another goal later in the contest. Wachusett also dramatically outshot the Colonials 48 to 11, which proved to be the key to the 9-3 victory.
Bennie was happy for his achievement but was much more concerned with the outcome of the game.
“Points and assists are great but they don’t really matter,” said Bennie adding, “The playoff games, the wins and losses, that’s what you remember.”
Despite their past meetings, (the Mountaineers won both matchups 8-4 and 9-3 respectively), Wachusett head coach Matt Lane knew his squad was going to be in for a tough matchup.
“They have talented young players and in the playoffs nobody is going to roll over and die for you, we knew we were in for a tough battle,” said Lane
Despite the score and the discrepancy in shots on goal, the game was close for a good amount of time. Wachusett went into the first intermission with a one goal lead and saw Shrewsbury tie the score just 19 seconds into the second period on a goal by forward David Belbin making the score 2 a piece. The Colonials were also fortunate to get strong goal play by freshman goalie Chris Shelby who made 39 saves on the night, keeping the game within reach and earning some praise by opposing head coach Lane.
“We kept out shooting them tonight but I tip my cap to their freshman goalie, he played very well for them just as he has done all year,” Lane said.
The Mountaineers responded to the quick second period goal by Shrewsbury with one of their own just several minutes later on an unassisted goal by Senior co-captain Dan Wisniewski. Keeping with the back and forth nature of the game, the Colonials notted the score back at 3 on Belbin’s second goal of the game.
Unfortunately for the Colonials, Wachusett responded again by opening up the flood gates scoring three more goals in the period and then adding three more in the third period as well. What was more impressive is that all goals were by different players proving how balanced and potent the Mountaineers lineup can be.
Wachusett dominated the latter part of the second and that intensity boiled over into the third period giving the Colonials a handful of chances on which they could not capitalize.
The Mountaineers move on to face third seed Marlborough in the next round of the playoffs. The game will be at the New England Sports Complex in Marlboro next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Wachusett hopes to advance to take on the winner of the Hudson versus Auburn game for the Central Division 3 tournament crown. Wachusett faced Marlborough three times in the regular season, winning two out of three of the previous contests.