Boys Hockey Ties Coe Brown-Somersworth in Tense Home Opener

DURHAM – In a tense and exciting game, the first meeting between the Oyster River Bobcats and the Coe Brown-Somersworth Bearcats of the 2019-2020 NHIAA hockey season season ended in a 3-3 tie at the end of overtime. 

“Going in we knew to expect a good game, and we couldn’t overlook these guys like we had in past years,” said Oyster River center John Kell (‘21). “We knew they were going to give us a fight and we knew that we’d have to play some of our best hockey out there to win the game,” he continued. 

The Bobcats knew they would have to take advantage of every opportunity against a strong but sloppy Coe Brown-Somersworth team. “We knew they were not a disciplined team and would struggle to stay out of the [penalty] box if we stayed composed,” said Kell. 

The Bearcats started off strong, and opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a goal from assistant captain Daniel Strum. But only a few minutes later, Oyster River’s Sean Moriarty (‘20) equalized with a long range shot to close out the first period. 

With 10:14 left in the second period, the ejection of the Bearcats’ William Sawyer lead to a 10 minute power play for Oyster River. Sawyer was given two five minute penalties; one for hitting, and the other for cross-checking.

Coe Brown-Somersworth’s William Sawyer being restrained by the referees before his ejection in the second period.

With 5:40 to go in the second period, and the Bearcats still playing down a man after Sawyer’s ejection, Jack Poitras (‘22), scored off an assist by Oyster River alternate captain Alden Swiesz (‘21), 

“People were starting chants and chirping the other team which really gave momentum to our players,” said fan Austin Throop (‘20).

A penalty by the Bearcats’ alternate captain Daniel Strum with just over two minutes to go until the end of the second period gave Oyster River a five on three power play. 

Oyster River controlled the puck for most of the second period, but was unable to find the back of the net after Poitras’ goal. 

The Bearcats tied the game up at the start of the third period, with a goal from Jon Pelletier. Only two minutes later, Alexander Plaisted scored to give the Bearcats a 3-2 lead.      

Andy Carlson (‘22), brought the game level one final time with five minutes left in regulation, assisted by Swiesz and Moriarty.  Oyster River controlled the game until the end of the third period, but, as before, were unable to score. 

The Oyster River fan section celebrating Carlson’s goal towards the end of the third period.

As the game entered overtime, Oyster River fans were confident, but the tide quickly shifted as the Bearcats began to control the puck, and came close to scoring the winning goal multiple times in overtime, being denied by the goalpost twice.

With under a minute to go, Oyster River was gifted another power play, as Aidan Perra conceded a penalty to give the Bobcats a 5 on 4 advantage for the remaining 43 seconds of overtime. 

But, nothing came together for either side, with the game ending in a 3-3 tie. 

“I don’t think we expected Somersworth to take as many penalties as they did,” said Oyster River head coach Peter Harwood. “Ahead of time if you had told me that we would have had that many power plays, I think we would have really liked our chances.”

In the end though, Harwood said it came down to the Bobcat’s inability of taking advantage of the power play that led to the tie. “Only scoring one goal on a 10 minute power play is really what kept us from winning this game.”

But, Kell said that in the end, it was like a victory. “The guys were putting everything they had on the ice throughout the game.”

The Bobcats will take on Kingswood at home Monday, January 6th, at 6:00 pm.