It just seemed like the puck wasn’t bouncing their way.
Despite scoring opportunities, specifically in the third period, the Monadnock boys hockey team was shut out by Lebanon on Saturday, 5-0, at Keene Ice.
It’s the second time this week that the Huskies were shut out by Lebanon, after losing 6-0 on Wednesday.
“We played a good team the last two games. They’re very good,” said Monadnock head coach Eric Sandstrum. “We had a hard time generating some offense.”
Saturday also marked senior night for the Huskies, with a pregame ceremony to commemorate the team’s four seniors: Lucas Roy, Matt Roberts, Justin Joslyn and Jeremiah Bickford.
Although in his first year as head coach, Sandstrum spent the past three years as an assistant coach on the team, so he came in with this senior class.
“It’s neat to see them mature a little bit and become young men,” Sandstrum said. “That’s the biggest thing — the most important thing — for us is to make sure they play the right way and they’re good people coming out of the program.”
Cam Olivo put together another nice start for the Huskies, stopping 19 of Lebanon’s 24 shots.
“I thought Cam played really well for us in net,” Sandstrum said. “We just got behind the 8-ball and couldn’t produce much offense.”
Sandstrum said he saw better intensity in Saturday’s game compared to Wednesday’s matchup between these two teams.
“We came out flat on Wednesday,” Sandstrum said. “Late night, 8 o’clock game, long bus trip, no locker rooms.
“But that’s no excuse,” he emphasized. “Everybody in the state has to deal with that. It’s tough.”
But Sandstrum said there’s still some necessary improvement before this team gets to where it wants to be.
“We still have to find a way to compete for 60 minutes,” Sandstrum said. “We go in spurts; five minutes here, 10 minutes there.”
Lebanon (6-1) took an early lead on Saturday, scoring about five and a half minutes into the first period.
By the first intermission, the Raiders were up 3-0, outshooting Monadnock 11-5.
Luke Gay had some scoring opportunities in the second period, but excellent goaltending for Lebanon kept Monadnock (1-5) off the board.
“Second period has been a tough period for us all year,” Sandstrum said. “We have to be better at that.”
The Huskies brought more intensity to the ice during the third period, with Gay, Justin Joslyn and Lucas Roy each creating scoring opportunities, but after more solid defense from Lebanon, and a lost stick in Roy’s case, the Huskies still had nothing to show for it.
But getting those scoring opportunities is always the first step.
“Third period was a little better,” Sandstrum said. “They were a little bit looser. We got a little bit better as the game went along.”
The loss was a reference point for the Huskies to see where they stack up with other Division 3 teams.
This is Lebanon’s first year in D3 after playing previous years at D2.
“It’s where we want to be,” Sandstrum said. “We want to compete with these guys.
“Just a tough couple of games against a good team, so we have to strive to improve and compete with teams like that,” he added.
Monadnock is next in action against Sanborn Regional on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Keene Ice.