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Martlets tie Choate

The Martlets hosted the visiting Boars of Choate Rosemary Hall for a late afternoon tilt at Jackson Rink. Spirited play and terrific goaltending from both teams highlighted the contest. Westminster was handicapped by missing no fewer than six players owing to injury and the flu; kudos to Owen Murphy ‘23 and Stuart Dorman ‘23, both natural defensemen pressed into service as forwards to fill out the lineup card. To the home team’s gritty credit, they twice recovered from 2-goal deficits. Westminster netminders Max Hausman ‘25 and Alex Martinez ‘26 combined for 23 saves on the afternoon, many of them terrific. Both goalies yielded a single goal to the visitors, though the coaches felt that in both cases a defensive lapse in front of Hausman and Martinez was more to blame. For their part, the home side fired 28 shots on the strong Choate goalie, but probably launched an equal if not greater number against the Boar cage. The Black and Gold played with real grit at times, working hard within the offensive and defensive systems the coaches have set before them (but, it should be noted, when we don’t the breakdown leads to some difficulties – the team will keep working on that). James Frangos ‘24 had an overall strong game, and tallied the first Martlet goal midway through the second period off of a terrific pass from Jack DeGulis ‘23 on the power play. Cameron Freeman ‘25, who also assisted on the play and had a very strong game, dug the puck out of a scrum behind the Choate net and fed DeGulis, who, after deking a Boar defender, fired a perfect cross-ice pass to Frangos, who made no mistake to even the score at 1-1 (Choate had scored first on a power play semi-breakway in the first period after a Martlet turnover left Hausman exposed). The balance of the second was back and forth, though the coaches felt Westminster had the greater number of chances. After another Martlet miscue led to a breakaway goal against Martinez about halfway through the third period, the Black and Gold really had to buckle up with about seven minutes on the clock. And that’s exactly what the team did: a good forechecking effort led to a power play, and this time it was DeGulis banging home his own rebound to even the score at 2-2. Defensemen Corbin Simons ‘25 and Jack Carter ‘23, who both played well, as did the entire defensive corps, assisted on that goal. The last several minutes were all Martlets, though Martinez was called upon to make a couple of saves. Led by Jack Adams ‘23, the entire group of Martlet forwards combined for several strong shifts, but despite the pressure and possession, the Choate keeper was equal to every Westminster opportunity. As the two teams headed into OT, Westminster had first to kill of the remainder of a penalty, which they did with aplomb. After that, the hardworking home side generated at least three solid scoring chances, but again the Choate keeper held his net. Martinez contributed in the OT as well, making one especially strong save on a two-on-one against when Westminster was caught in the offensive end. And so the game ended 2-2, a fitting end to a hard-fought contest. The good news is the two teams are set for a rematch in Wallingford in February, a good chance to see how both teams improve over the course of the season. Next up: St. Luke’s School at home on Friday, followed by the always tough Northfield Mount Hermon JVs on Saturday. Lots of hockey in the offing this week!

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