On Saturday the 16th, the Oyster River Boys Hockey Team took the ice for the first time this season, securing a 6-1 victory against Winnacunnet High School.
After working hard all offseason, the Bobcats had their season opener last Saturday at the Rinks at Exeter. Many Oyster River students had their first opportunity to play for the varsity team. Co-captain Alden Swiesz (‘21), led the team with three goals, earning himself a hat trick. Another thing that made this game notable is that first-team all-state goalie, Claden Daubney (‘22), made 17 saves, only allowing one goal in the final minutes of the game.
The two first goals of the game came within the first three minutes. The first was a second-chance shot from Jack Caldicott (‘22), who shot the puck off a rebound. Twenty two seconds later, Andy Carlson (‘22) hit Swiesz with a beautiful pass in front of the net to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead with twelve minutes still remaining in the first period.
With only 37 seconds remaining in the first period, Oyster River junior, Joey Fogg (‘22), scored the first goal of his varsity career on a wrap-around goal that he snuck into the back of the net. “I was just trying to get the puck in the back of the net whether it was an assist or a goal,” said Fogg.
Swiesz’s 2nd of his three goals that night came in the final few minutes of the second period. After the captain scored his second goal, a hat trick was in mind. “Once I scored the second one it’s hard not to think about it, but I was more focused on playing good defense and keeping it simple so that we could get the win,” said Swiesz.
In the third period, he completed the hat trick. Swiesz couldn’t have done it without the help of his teammates. “I credit the first and third goal to my linemate Andy, because he found me with some great passes.”
Carlson ended the game with three assists and one goal. His goal came off a tipped shot from Sophomore Cutis Leitz (‘23) in the third period. “Going into the game, I was sort of just hoping to help create offensive opportunities for the team by either scoring or passing. But since I’m on a line with Michael and Alden, who in my mind have two of the best shots on the team, it’s really easy to get into a pass first mindset,” said Carlson.
In his first game as a Bobcat, Szymanski had two assists. “I think that naturally I’m a playmaker… Whether that was passing the puck or shooting the puck, I went into the game with the mindset of making the right decision to help get the win,” said Szymanski. The newcomer should bring a lot of skill and experience to the team with his background playing for elite club teams such as the Seacoast Spartans and the Islanders hockey club.
The boys Assistant coach, Coach Ellis was happy with the new players at defense. “I was pleased with our defense from the goal out. Half of our defense core had never played a varsity game so l liked the way Rinko, Leitz and Giordani played.”
Swiesz commented on the team’s depth this year. “I thought a lot of the younger guys stepped up and looked really good and we showed that we have a ton of depth this season. Our breakout for sure needs improvement, as we turned the puck over way too much in our own zone. Other than that I thought in the offensive zone, we worked the puck really well.”
Swiesz isn’t the only player who was impressed with the team. Carlson said, “as far as confidence goes it’s always good to have a strong performance when the team is clicking on all cylinders but by no means are we satisfied. We have already looked at what we could’ve done better and started working on it in practice for upcoming games.”
Despite the big win, coach Ellis understands the games will get harder. “As we move forward the games will get faster so everyone needs to be prepared in this short season. Players can’t take any shifts off,” said coach Ellis.
The Bobcats next game is scheduled to be Wednesday, January 27th, at 7:30 p.m. against Dover at the Rochester Arena.