GORHAM – Two early Hampden goals knocked Windham/Westbrook back on their heels on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 7, and the team never recovered. Their lone strike, by Derek Corbett, came midway through the second period. By that time, however, they were facing a deep deficit. In the end, the Broncos emerged victorious 8-1.
“We didn’t do a whole lot good, unfortunately,” said W/W head coach Greg Leclair. “They came out of the gates and got two quick goals on us, and that really kind of took the wind out of our sails. We never recovered from it.”
Hampden tallied those two rapid-fire points within minutes of the opening faceoff, the first shorthanded at 12:55 on a junk wrister from the outside-left by Marcus Dunn. W/W goalie Sean White actually blocked the shot, but it took an odd bounce up over his leg pad and he couldn’t catch it again before it trickled across the line behind him.
The Broncos notched their second of the day two minutes later, Cooper Leland pulling the trigger on another wrister from the vicinity of the left W/W faceoff dot. This puck, with a little more mustard on it, managed to zip through a screen and past White for 2-0.
“Tonight came down to the little things,” Leclair said. “We’d make a good play, but miss a pass; we’d pick off a pass, and miss the net with a shot. We probably missed the net more tonight than we got pucks on net, and you’re not going to score goals that way.”
“Then we kind of ran into some discipline problems in terms of our positioning on the ice,” Leclair said, “and, credit to them, they made us pay. When they had chances to score, they put the puck in the back of the net. They out-battled us in front of the net, scored a couple goals right at the crease. That’s all it takes. In a close game, that’s all it takes; in a game where the score’s getting away from you, that’s just piling it on.”
W/W’s fortunes looked like they might turn around when Bronco Sam Economy pulled two minutes for interference midway through the period. The W/W powerplay unit didn’t score, but they did look respectably sharp for the majority of their time man-up.
Unfortunately, their spark never caught. W/W fended Hampden off until literally the last second of the period – when Leland fed Marc Thibodeau through the slot and Thibodeau one-timed a buzzer-beater past White – but found themselves simply overmatched as the remainder of the contest unfolded.
“We’ve never played them before,” Leclair said of the Broncos. “We knew they had a couple kids who’ve been filling up the stats sheet this year, and they continued to do that tonight. They’ve got a good little team that does some really nice things. They move the puck well; they enter the zone well; and when they get a chance to capitalize, their shots are on-net. Tonight, they were in the net.”
The Broncos tallied their fourth of the game at 9:44 of the second. A minute later, W/W’s Matt Kelley earned himself two minutes for contact to the head, but nine seconds after that Corbett struck, crashing the Hampden net and shoveling the puck past keeper Cole Benner in close quarters.
“We were shorthanded at the time, and the puck had dumped down, and Derek put pressure on them,” Leclair said. “It created a turnover and he was able to make a nice move on goaltender and tuck it home. It’s little things like that: pressure causing a turnover, creating an opportunity. We didn’t do enough of that tonight.”
From there, the Broncos pulled away, Jacob Weston scoring once more for the team in the second and Dunn, Thibodeau and Rece Poulin all contributing points in the third. 8-1 the final.
“There were some nice moments,” Leclair said of his boys’ efforts, “but no one really played a start-to-finish great game. The closest we came to that was Derek, and he had our lone goal. Credit to him; the kind never stops working.”
The loss drops W/W, currently eighth in A North, to 2-5 on the season; the team has a pair of 3-2 wins over No. 9 Lawrence/Skowhegan (0-5) to their name at present. They face off with fifth-ranked Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse (3-4) on Saturday the 14th.
Cam Morrison zips through the neutral zone vs. Hampden on Saturday.
Windham/Westbrook Captain Tony Morrison curls through the neutral zone, head up, looking for a route to skate or a pass to make.
Windham/Westbrook’s Tanner Smith harangues a Hampden opponent in Saturday’s matchup.
Windham/Westbrooker Tommy Lekousi pushes forward, looking to break out vs. Hampden.
Chandler Chenard tracks the action vs. Hampden on Saturday afternoon.
Logan Heckman carries the puck through the corner, looking to break out of his team’s zone and kick off an attack.
Derek Corbett scored Windham/Westbrook’s lone goal in their loss to Hampden on Saturday.