The most recent tilt in the Cardigan Hockey “Green” Group’s “Saturday Game” series took place in Turner Arena on February 6th. In the third iteration of the highly competitive slate of Saturday contests, the intense matchup featured lead changes and close play that (much like the week prior) remained tight until the closing stages of the game.
Just two minutes into the first frame, White got on the board thanks to the finish of (A) Danny Valenti ’21. Valenti’s tally began in the defensive zone, with Tucker Harris ’23 making a breakout pass to Gabe Raphael ’21 as Green defenders had aggressively traveled low in the offensive zone. This left Raphael with a 2-on-1 through both the neutral and offensive zones. Raphael slipped a silky little dish to Danny Valenti just as the attackers passed the depths of the top of the circles. Valenti received the feed and quickly tugged the puck across his body to the backhand before shoveling it past the goaltender to give White an early 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Green evened up the score with their first of the game on the tail end of a low-to-high cycle play and a strong offensive zone shift. Following a faceoff win, the puck traveled back to (C) Conley Bohan ’21 at the left point. Bohan sent the puck down the wall to the tape of (A) Tedy O’Keefe ’21, who had rolled out of the corner and up the left wall. O’Keefe moved the puck quickly to (C) Jack Roberts ’21, who had beaten his man to the high slot to become an option. Without stickhandling, Roberts ripped a low snapshot through a screen that found twine.
Just 60 seconds later, White regained the lead with a goal that looked nearly identical to the one they had just surrendered. Sechang Mah ’22 received the puck at the right point before sending it low to Sam Pfefferle ’21 below the goal line. “Salt n’” Pfefferle quickly found an uncovered Tanner McFaul ’21 near the bottom of the right circle. McFaul faked a shot, then pulled the puck to his backhand before floating the biscuit off the far-side post and into the net to make it 2-1, White.
In the closing seconds of the first period, White struck again to put themselves up by two. This time, the marker developed out of a scramble in front and a rebound that found its way to Gabe Raphael ’21. Tucker Harris ’23 sent a puck across the offensive zone, towards captain (C) Owen Tatro ’21, who hammered the puck netward. While goalie Ethan Roy ’22 made a great first save, the rebound made its way to Raphael in the slot. Raphael one-touched it home with just four seconds left in the period to grow the White lead just prior to the buzzer.
The first ten minutes of the second period passed relatively interrupted. Put an end to the period’s deadlock with a beautiful passing play on a zone entry that left (A) Tedy O’Keefe ’21 with a great look at the net on the backdoor. Jack Diemar ’21 drove the middle lane with the puck on a 3-on-2 before kicking it out wide to Brendan Agnew ’21 in the left circle. Agnew one-touched a nifty slip pass that found O’Keefe’s tape just above the far side of the crease. O’Keefe left little doubt on the finish, chucking it over the glove of the goaltender to bring Green within one.
Three minutes later, White—like the empire—struck back. Tanner McFaul ’21 found the puck on his stick on the right wall in his own zone. As a Green defender pinched down the wall, McFaul threw a soft indirect pass off the wall that Sam Pfefferle ’21 skated into at full speed. With the puck loaded off his inside hip coming down the right wall on a 2-on-1, Pfefferle pulled the trigger just inside the right faceoff dot. The puck found its home just beneath the crossbar, and just inside the post, briefly snuggling into the net’s padding to stay warm during the cold, February morning. With the bingo, White was up 4-2.
Five minutes into the game’s final frame, Green put their rally caps on and began their hike on the comeback trail. Logan Neal ’21 wheeled the puck through the neutral zone down along the right wall, and hit Brendan Agnew ’21 coming across the middle with a tape-to-taper. Agnew skated behind the defenders, and slipped the puck to Tedy O’Keefe behind the goal line. O’Keefe threw it at the net, and bounced it off the backside of the goalie. Pandemonium ensued, as the referee signaled a call for a goal, while members of the White team adamantly demanded that the call be retracted. Despite the protests, which might ultimately have been legitimate and justified, the call stood and Green had cut the deficit in half.
With six minutes left, Green knotted the score at 4. A dominant offensive zone shift saw Indiana Grossbard ’23 find the puck on the left half-wall. Grossbard moved the puck below the goal line to Landon Paul ’22, making his way up the wall on his forehand. Paul found Brendan Powers ’21 in the soft area between coverage, and Powers unloaded a wrister that sailed over the glove of the goaltender to tie the score with a handful of minutes remaining.
The Green offensive continued without a hiccup. Jack Roberts ’21 gathered the puck in front of his own net and sent a pass to Brendan Agnew ’21 in the neutral zone. Agnew was quickly joined by defenseman Jack Diemar ’21 as the two entered the zone in an even-numbers situation. Agnew moved wide before dropping the puck in Diemar’s wheelhouse. Diemar stepped into a clap-bomb that pounded the blocker of the goaltender (Treva Murphy ’21) before bouncing wide back to Agnew. From just above the goal line, Agnew release a sizzler that flirted with the crossbar before hitting the strings and giving Green a lead with just over three minutes remaining.
90 seconds later, Landon Paul ’21 potted a gino of his own on an unassisted effort at the end of a shift. While his linemates were caught in a change, Paul remained on the ice to apply forechecking pressure in the neutral zone. Paul found the puck on his stick just outside the blue line after a fortunate bounce, and carried it towards the net. Locked and loaded, Paul laid into a snapshot that ended up in the same spot as Agnew’s tally not long before. Green was up two with as many minutes to play.
The game’s final tally came from a Lucas Van Mullen ’22 snipe as he traveled across the high slot. Van Mullen gathered the puck as a recipient of a Mark Anstiss ’21 pass after Anstiss had covered the left point with Van Mullen shifting down low. The goal put the game out of reach with 100 seconds remaining.
Despite the game’s final minutes being highlighted by a Green onslaught, the entire tilt was as close and competitive as any have been all season. With more preparation and fine-tuning of skills and systems, Cardigan’s “Saturday Games” will continue to improve and provide the players with a highly skilled and competitive matchup every week.
Next week’s “Saturday Game” will take place on February 13th, at 11:00 am in Turner Arena. The game will be available to watch on NFHS.com.
Goals: Jack Roberts (C) ’21, (A) Tedy O’Keefe ’21 (2), Brendan Powers ’21, Brendan Agnew ’21, Landon Paul ’22, Lucas Van Mullen ’22
Assists: Brendan Agnew ’21 (2), Jack Diemar ’21 (2),Tedy O’Keefe (C) ’21, Conley Bohan (C) ’21, Logan Neal ’21, Indiana Grossbard ’23, Landon Paul ’22, Jack Roberts (C) ’21, Mark Anstiss ’21
Goals: Danny Valenti (C) ’21, Tanner McFaul ’21, Gabe Raphael ’21, Sam Pfefferle ’21
Assists: Tucker Harris ’23 (2), Gabe Raphael ’21, Sechang Mah ’22, Sam Pfefferle ’21, Owen Tatro (C) ’21, Tanner McFaul ’21