Thursday, December 12, 2013
HALLOWELL — The Maine Moose junior hockey team brought in several players whose hometowns span a good chunk of the globe, from Canada, to Russia and Ireland.
IT’S MINE: Maine Wild’s Ignat Molchanov (10) and Maine Moose’s Matt Woodbury tangle over a loose puck behind the Wild’s net Saturday at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault in Hallowell.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
However, at the season opener Saturday night at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault, it was a local player who helped the Moose grab an entertaining 2-1 victory over the expansion Maine Wild.
Matt Woodbury, a 2011 Lawrence High School graduate and Fairfield native, scored a goal and assisted on the other to power the Moose (1-0-0).
“I think it was an entertaining game,” Maine Moose coach Jeff Guay said. “Both teams came ready to play. We were very happy with what we saw.”
Goalie Jarrett Ross, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, stopped 33 shots and Josh Burger scored the other goal for the Moose.
Both goals came in the first period and with the Moose on the power play.
“We battled,” Woodbury said. “We came out looking to skate hard and play the body.”
Alfonso Diaz scored the lone goal for the Wild (0-1-0), who compete with the Moose in the Northern States Junior Hockey League.
“This is the first time we’ve played anyone but ourselves,” Wild coach Mike Tenney said. “We started out slow but then played better. For this being our very first game as an organization, we played pretty good. It looks like we’ll have a little rivalry with these guys, too.”
The game featured two on-ice scrums that led to the ejection of several players.
With 7 minutes, 5 seconds left in the third period, Moose forward Matthew Fitzpatrick and Wild forward David Wilcox tackled each other to ice and were tossed from the game.
Then, at the final buzzer, another scrum broke out as several players had to be separated by the referees.
“These things happen,” Guay said. “There were some big boys out there. We’re only an hour away from each other so we figured there would be a rivalry brewing.”
“With the two teams as close as we are, it was inevitable we’d form a rivalry,” he said. “I didn’t think it would start tonight.”
The Moose jumped ahead 1-0 when Woodbury scored a power-play goal with 13:55 left in the first period.
Woodbury, a defenseman, took the puck off the draw and fired a low shot on net that found its way through a crowd and past Wild goalie Benoit Niciot.
“I got a pass from Colt (Steele) and went to the net with it,” Woodbury said. “I don’t know if it hit the post and went in or what. It felt good, though.”
The Moose padded their lead when Burger took a pass from Woodbury, raced down the boards and beat Niciot with a low shot to the far side with 4:21 left in the period.
The Wild cut the deficit in half about three minutes later, but Ross denied them the rest of the way.
“The defense did a good job in front of me,” Ross said. “We did a good job in the shooting lanes and not making too many mistakes. I was happy with our performance.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640