SUNAPEE — Sunapee’s Sam Kress grabbed his own rebound and slipped a shot into the net in the dying moments of the second overtime period to give the Lakers a thrilling 1-0 win over Fall Mountain in the season opener for both clubs.
Under beautiful bright skies, the opening game was as entertaining as you could want and brought a sense of normalcy just when it was needed most. “I don’t think Sunapee has ever played Fall Mountain but this game was a good one and I hope this match-up continues” said Laker head coach Jack Iacopino.
After a stretch of midfield play as both teams started to shake off some rust, the aggressive attack from the Lakers took hold and had Fall Mountain on their heals for long stretches of the game. Fall Mt’s Brandon Ring was spectacular in net for the Wildcats as pressure from Parker Reed and Matt Tschudin kept on coming while a collision with Kress 10 yards from net prevented another Laker scoring opportunity. Kress rang the far post on a low burner but the score remained blank after the first half as the Lakers were playing downhill.
While Sunapee’s Sean Moynihan was relatively quiet in net, the back line of Fall Mountain wasn’t so lucky as the Laker attack just kept on coming as Sunapee out-shot Fall Mountain 34-5 on the day. Matt Hartwell, Derek Badger, Jack Wildes and Syon Gutierrez were under pressure for most of the match but the 8 defenders that Fall Mountain head coach Justin Parrot used to flood the box seemed to frustrate the high powered Sunapee offense. “We had some good looks but we need to be a bit more patient in the offensive third of the field and look for crosses more” said Iacopino after the game.
Play began to get a bit chippy and physical over the next 20 minutes as hard collisions were plentiful and players hitting the ground had become the normal for a stretch of time. Sunapee’s Austin Tschudin, Andrew Claus as well as Fall Mountain’s Will Bellows, Aiden Belden and Derek Bader all tasted the grass as some of the fouls drew yellow cards as play was reigned in by the referees. Ring continued to shine for Fall Mountain as Sunapee peppered the cage with multiple shots with continuous pressure that yielded no results. The best chance for a Sunapee tally came off the foot of Reed as his shot whistled over the cross bar as the second half wore on but ended with all zero’s on the scoreboard as they headed into overtime.
In the first overtime it was all Sunapee as M. Tschudin ripped a sizzler that Ring knocked away on a solid scoring bid in the first 10 minutes but in the second overtime, Kress gathered his own rebound on the short side and slipped one into the back of the net for the game winner with 3 minutes remaining. “That keeper was really good and when I gathered the redound, I just shifted a bit and saw a small opening and just hit it in” said Kress after the game.
The new look Fall Mountain Wildcats stepped onto the turf in Sunapee under a new head coach and left with a heartbreaking loss but with a very upbeat coach. “I am extremely happy with our effort today, I think we were very disciplined and kept our shape all match and our defensive effort was just incredible today, I thought we did a great job as a team” said Parrott.