Power Play, Penalty Killing Key in Wilmington’s Win Over Chelmsford
HAVERHILL -- Special teams was the difference in Saturday night’s championship game of the Palm Division at the Haverhill Christmas Tournament, as Wilmington defeated Chelmsford, 4-1, at the Valley Forum.
Wilmington scored two power play goals while killing off four opportunities by Chelmsford.
“We clicked twice on the power play and we did a good job of killing off (the four),” said Wildcats head coach Steve Scanlon. “Unfortunately, we have gotten good at penalty kill. We are averaging 12 minutes per game in penalties. That’s just under a period of hockey. It’s ridiculous and sad to say that we are getting pretty good at it.”
Chelmsford took a quick 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game as George Haywood put a quick wrist shot past Anthony Cuozzo (27 saves) on a dish from Jake Harrison.
Wilmington tied the game up late in the first as Joe Hill scored off a deflection on a pass from Jared Venezia.
Wilmington (4-2-0) then went up 2-1 early in the second on it’s first power play goal as Venezia scored on a backhander to the top corner with assists going to Hill, and tournament MVP Ryan Barrett.
Chelmsford (3-1-1) then went on three power plays over the next six-plus minutes and managed just a combined five shots on net.
“Not scoring on the power plays was a big momentum shift, as they were scoring on their chances, giving them that momentum,” said Chelmsford head coach Kevin Leonard. “It was definitely the difference for sure.”
Just 3:13 into the third, Wilmington scored its second power play goal on a one-time slap shot from the right circle by Conlin Duffy, with assists going to Matt Pendenza and Barrett.
Barrett scored the fourth goal on an end-to-end rush, beating Drew Blodgett (20 saves) through the five-hole.
“The effort was good tonight,” said Scanlon. “We settled down and stayed out of the box in the third and were able to play our game. This is a real good win over a real good team. It’s been at least five or six years since we won this tournament.”