The 2006 squad traveled to rustic Hooksett, NH, this Presidents’ Day weekend, beating out the field and returning home with the NH Monarch trophy after going 5-0-1 over three days. Strong team play and outstanding goaltending led the way for the Little Caps, ending with a shutout in the championship game and allowing only 4 goals in 4 games of round robin play.
The tournament was as much a momentum building end-of-season experience as an international cultural experience for the players, playing against mostly Canadian teams. During the first game, against the Faucons Polyvalents Saint-Francois, the Little Caps quickly realized that the best way to communicate with their French speaking counterparts was to keep scoring, dominating the Faucons 12-1, with Joseph Luber, Hayden Newman, and Samuel Malm each scoring 2 goals and almost everyone else on the team scoring goals and assists.
Later that night, after spotting the CMSA Marquis a 1-0 lead, the Little Caps stormed back with 4 straight unanswered goals, finishing the first day of the tournament with a perfect 2-0. Cameron Westlake led the pack with 2 goals and an assist, and Hayden Newman, Caden Clarke, and Bryan Rice all put points on the scoreboard.
Day 2 of the tournament started late and slow for the Little Caps against the Graal College Claretain. Despite controlling play for the vast majority of the game, the Little Caps could not put the puck to the back of the net more than but once, ending the game tied 1-1 and breaking its winning streak. Hayden Newman scored the tying goal, keeping his scoring streak for the tournament. Disappointed but not discouraged, the Little Caps played hard later that day against the EDZA South Seadogs and ended the game with a “W” and a shutout, claiming the second seed in the playoff bracket. Hayden Newman, now with his 4-game scoring streak for the tournament, joined Owen Roberts for the Little Caps 2-0 win.
Monday morning saw the Little Caps facing the Maine Wild in a competitive and exciting semi-finals at the especially cold Ice Den. After both teams felt each other out for a good part of the first period, Zachary Skowronek made a nice play to spring Brendan Henneberry’s shot to Hayden Newman’s tip for a goal. However, the Wild answered less than one minute later, foreshadowing the nail-biting game to come. Despite a hat trick for Newman, (joined by Owen Roberts and Zachary Skowronek, each with a goal) the Wild answered, tying the game with 2 minutes left in the third period. As tension build for the 4 v 4 OT, both teams found themselves defending short-handed over the course of the 5 minute OT that ended with no victor. As the teams took to the ice for the 3 v 3 second OT, no one, player and spectators alike, felt the especially cold Ice Den. 30 seconds into the second OT, a wining face-off sent the puck flying to Skowronek, who made a perfect pass across Wild’s net to Talin Sidhu, who buried the shot, giving the Little Caps a hard-fought, well-deserved victory. The “W” was made especially more meaningful when the Little Caps were cheered on by Tommy Krisztinicz a former Little Cap who happened to be there with his Walpole Express (EHL) teammates.
After a short turnaround, the Little Caps took the ice again for the tournament title against the undefeated Milbrook Knights. After a scoreless first period, the Little Caps turned up its offensive volume with Hamilton Nordwind’s sniper shot to Talin Sidhu’s tip to put a goal on the scoreboard. The scoring continued with Noi Jonasson’ s back-to-back goals to which Milboork Knights had no answer. Lockdown defense for the last few minutes and steady goaltending by Colin Rynkowski sealed the win in a shutout as everyone poured onto the ice to celebrate.
Coach Connor Cunningham was pleased with the result. "It was a great team effort by everyone all weekend, and it led to a very fun and satisfying tournament win. I'm extremely proud of this group. With the AYHL playoffs approaching, I hope this was a great tone-setter for the challenge ahead."