Maine Hockey Journal

Cheverus handed first loss of the season at the hands of York

Portland, ME – One goal was good enough for York, handing Cheverus their first loss of the season on Saturday night by a 1-0 at the Portland Ice Arena.

York forward Craig Decato pushed a goal past Cheverus goaltender Max Boucher three minutes into the contest for the only goal of the game as he had crashed the net. Fellow forwards Anthony Figlioli and Shane Hughes were credited with the assists.

“I thought they had a little bit of difficulty handling our line of Figlioli, Decato and Hughes, and they seemed to struggle a little bit with our low cycle,” York coach Michael Vessey said. “We moved the third man high after we got the lead figuring we would attack the puck coming at the net and it would give us a little bit of help on the back check.”

Although York scored before the flow of the game had even been established, the story of the game was their stingy defense, holding the Stags to only 16 shots on goal.

York goaltender Alex Ahrikenchikh played well, but it was the defenses ability to not allow any good shots from Cheverus as well as the whole team’s ability to transition from offense and into its back check.

“We try to utilize what we have, which is a little bit of team speed,” Vessey said of his team’s defensive strategies. “Defensively what we’re trying to do is beat people to the puck, close that time and distance, and take that away from them because we’re not going to out-physical them.”

While the Stags offense sputtered, its net minder Boucher kept his team in the game for as long as he could.

The Wildcats missed an opening to widen the lead at the beginning of the third period.

Hughes had just sacrificed his body to block a shot, the puck ricocheted hard off his body to Figlioli, who found himself alone after a Cheverus defender had tripped, but Figlioli shot just wide of the net.

The Stags best chance came at a climatic point in the game.

With less than four minutes remaining, Cheverus forward Tom Sullivan took a faceoff from his own zone and somehow found himself alone on a breakaway, skating down the left side and missed the net to the right, failing to capitalize on the team’s best chance of the night.

York’s resilience showed during the final minute of the game. With Cheverus in much need of pulling its goalie the Wildcats essentially trapped the Stags in its own zone, unwilling to let them establish possession of any kind.

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