By ANTHONY LABOR JR.
BURLINGTON – The Colchester and Woodstock boys hockey teams played to a 0-0 draw during their only regular-season meeting before facing off in the Division II championship at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
The first period promised more of the same after a scoreless opening frame with few scor3ing chances.
However, a four-minute lapse for the third-seeded Lakers proved costly, as Woodstock scored three goals in less than four minutes, and rolled on to a 3-1 victory.
“Once the first goal went it, I think it was a little difficult for our guys to check their emotion in such a big game, with so much crowd noise and everything that comes with a game like this,” said Colchester coach Andy Corran. “And everything happened so quickly and before you know it we are down three. But hats off to our guys for buckling down and making a game of things toward the end.”
Penalties hurt the Lakers throughout the game, not allowing them to generate a lot of offense. They took 15 penalty minutes, including a five-minute major to begin the third period while down 3-0, compared to Woodstock’s six minutes in the box.
The Lakers found some life after killing off the major, outshooting the Wasps 11-5 in the third period. Will Spencer eventually found the back of the net for Colchester after Cam Rolston took a shot that hit off the mask of Woodstock goalie Henry Greene (20 saves). The rebound went to Spencer, who flipped a shot over the goalie to make it 3-1 with just under three minutes to play.
The Lakers got an offensive-zone faceoff shortly after and pulled goalie Sam Fath (20 saves) for the extra skater. They held pressure in Woodstock’s zone for almost the entire final two minutes, but big saves from Greene preserved the lead as the Wasps secured their second straight Division II title.
“Henry came up so big for us down the stretch after they pulled their goalie,” said Woodstock coach Jon Chamberlin. “They were getting a lot of pressure on him and if one of those goes in you never know what is going to happen.”
Woodstock goals were scored by Andrew Gubbins, Ely Chynoweth, and Luke Piconi.
The Lakers finish 17-6-1 record and fell to 2-4 in championship games. It was their first appearance in the title game since falling to BFA-St. Albans in Division I in 2012.
“I’m so proud of the guys to overcome the three-goal deficit and the major to start the third period and everything else that was thrown at them,” said Carron. “Unfortunately, by that point it was just a little too late.”