The Greece Athena/Odyssey Thunder Varsity Hockey Team opened their season on Saturday against Churchville Chili and after coming up short seven times prior and only ever once tying the Thunder, it was the Saints who finally went marching home with a victory this time. Not just any victory, but one that folks in both camps will remember for years to come. Thunder seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they stood and watched Tyler MacMillan (#6 for Churchville) walk out of the corner unmolested and roof a backhander to complete his hat-trick with one second remaining in overtime. Despite dominating play for the majority of the contest and outshooting the Saints 43-19, Thunder just could not get it done. They must rededicate themselves to team defense or it will be a long season. I offer them this:
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, grittiness or skill. It will make or break a company...a culture...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes." (UNH Hockey, c/o Pat Wade)
Alrighty then, let's assume losing to Churchville for the first time in program history is the 10% and the rest of the season represents how the Thundermen react to it. Any predictions on how the 90% will turn out? Will they wallow in pity and let one player from the opposition determine their destiny again, or will they come back with a renewed resolve, to never let this happen again? My money would be on the latter, but the district tends to frown on people wagering on HS sports.
After years of mispronouncing Josh Salter by calling him "Slater", among other bungles, the Section V announcer clearly outdid himself for this game, coming out with "Dial-In" Niewiemski, who happens to be the Junior Netminder for Churchville who ate 41 of the 43 biscuits he was served. It was not all bad though, at least they updated the warm-up soundtrack with a little Kesha, Eminem and of course Thunderstruck, well that just goes without sayin! Just in from the AMAs, our very own Amanda Sherry did the anthem honors. Her voice is like a fine wine, it just keeps getting better with time. And in case there was any doubt about how to conduct oneself at a Section V contest, we were reminded that there were no horns, drums, cowbells, or etcetera allowed in the stands. Now I was a band geek back in the day, a percussionist to be more precise, but I do not recall ever hearing about the "etcetera" section. OK, that was pretty lame, I admit. Time to move on.
First period was scoreless and featured just a couple of things: (1) Grims stepped up on #16 at neutral and then finished him off on the half-wall later on in his shift and (2) there was a fashionably late arrival by LS and JR at the 12:50 mark, yeah thunDerrr! KC strolled in at the 11:30 mark in the second, but the Keoughs were there right from the get go. Nice to see the alumni support peops!
MacMillan got his first for Churchville off a 2 on 1 break assisted by Sam Cammilleri and Shawn Easton just as the Thunder PP expired five mins into the second stanza. Grims delivered another nice hit to knock his check off the puck in our end in the interim, and then a few minutes later he converted on a nifty half-wall to half-wall saucer from AC, blasting it by Niewiemski 2-hole for the PPG. Three and a half later MacMillan netted his second goal of the game, assisted by Zach Fodge and Ryan Cosgrove, to regain the lead for the Saints.
Third frame was mired in penalties going both ways but neither team could get a special teams goal. It was not until 1:40 remained on the clock that Justin Simonelli would take matters into his own hands walking out from behind the Saints goal and directing a backhander at the net that would ultimately work its way up over and in for the equalizer. Anthony Crawford picked up his second assist of the evening on the goal. As they say, we are goooooooooooin to overtime, but who knew it would end just one second away from a 2-2 tie.
Stop down to the shore tonite to see how Thunder reacts to last weekend's disappointing loss, as they square off with their Storm rival for a 6:30pm tilt. Aight?