Groton defeats Littleton 4-3 in opener.
The Littleton High School Varsity Hockey team has begun its 2002-2003 season. There are many changes to the Tigers this year, including a new coaching staff, headed up by Howie Schneider, and assisted by coaches Jack McCatherin, Al Aponas, Karl Austermann and team manager Mark Mizzoni. The team is comprised of students from Littleton High School (Littleton) and Bromfield High School (Harvard).
With the vacancy formed from the departure of 6 seniors from last years team, the coaching staff has put together a competitive squad and has done so with a focus on developing the team for now and the future. The team boasts 2 Seniors (A.J. Aponas and A.J. Rauker), 8 Juniors (Myles Blain, Matt Coole, Pat Feehan, Joe Graham, Peter Harvey, Joe Huber, Mike Kanniard, and Terrance Sullivan), 3 Sophomores (Andrew Aponas, Eric Cash, and Jameson Martin), and 8 Freshman (Chris Austermann, Mike Dargin, Jamie Newcombe, Danny Roop, Tom Page, Jason Schneider, Bryan Takvorian and Tom Taylor).
The team began its season last Saturday night with a game against host Groton-Dunstable to a capacity crowd at the Groton School rink. The game was highlighted by a hat-trick from Freshman center Jason Schneider and a strong goaltending performance by Junior goaltender Terrance Sullivan. LHS lost 4-3, within the last two minutes of the game in a tight contest but came away with a lot of promise for this young season.
Both teams came out tentative in the early goings, with two minutes gone before the first shot on net. G-D struck first with a goal after 5 minutes into the contest on a shot that beat netminder Sullivan on his top glove side. G-D seemed to have the edge in scoring opportunities in the early going but Littleton's defense held them off. LHS seemed to be sparked late in the first period after a breakaway-saving sweep check by defenseman Dan Roop off of a streaking G-D forward, and began to control play.
Schneider got the first of his goals shortly thereafter on a nifty move starting from the left side in the G-D end, and sweeping to the middle laying a soft touch goal that beat the sprawling G-D goalie to his stick side. The period ended with the score tied at 1-1.
LHS carried the momentum into the 2nd period and pulled ahead in the early going with another goal by Schneider, this time starting at center ice and racing past the defenders before finishing off his shot that found the back of the net. Midway through the period G-D regained the momentum and scored on a shorthanded bid off of a shot that took a strange bounce off of the boards behind the net and came out front where a G-D forward put it home. With the game now tied at 2 it was up to Sullivan to shut things down and he did so until early in the 3rd when G-D scored on a power play to temporarily regain the lead. LHS fought hard and came back with 5:45 left to play to tie it at 3-3 on Schneider's third goal. The rest of the game was very tight, until with 1:45 left, G-D showed some strong puck movement in the LHS end and scored the game-winner on a strong low shot from the blue line, screening Sullivan for the final 4-3 tally.
The Tigers are playing exciting hockey and all are urged to come out and cheer them on. The first home game will be held at the Groton school this coming Saturday, 12/21, vs. Murdock, at 6pm.
By Rich Takvorian