It’s that time of year again hockey fans. The GNASH league just started back up, with their 2017-2018 Regular Season opening night on October 16th. Among the teams that were in action on opening night were Nolensville/Ravenwood2 and Franklin-Hume-Fogg, who faced off at Centennial Sportsplex. Franklin-Hume Fogg’s breakout passing proved to be too much to handle in this contest, as they finished out the game with a final score of 4-2, over Nolensville/Ravenwood2.
Excitement and energy filled the arena as both teams took the ice eager to get started. As the puck dropped to start the first period, the intensity began to rise, and the teams quickly got settled in. Franklin-Hume Fogg began the period with lots of puck possession in the offensive zone, putting pressure on Nolensville/Ravenwood2. Murphy Smith took a backhand shot, but was stopped by Nolensville’s net minder, Anthony Alvarez. After the block, the Nolensville defense recovered the puck, but had some difficulty clearing out of their defensive end. They finally they cleared their zone and got the puck down in the other end. Play went back and forth as both teams showed hustle on turnovers. Franklin-Hume Fogg looked particularly fast on their breakout opportunities, as they moved swiftly through the neutral zone and got shots on net on the rush. Their speedy play was soon broken up as Murphy Smith was called for tripping with 7:18 left in the first.
Nolensville’s Ethan Dunn showed patience while trying to find an open shot on net, but Franklin’s defense on the penalty kill was up to the task, not allowing many shots on net. Eventually the gridlock was broken however, as Franklin’s fast transition work paid off. Samuel Howell broke through the neutral zone with speed and glided on his forehand side to bury the puck past Alvarez, unassisted, at 4:34. After giving up the first goal of the game, Nolensville/Ravenwood amped up their physical game, as Aiden Plourde delivered two checks in a row while in the defensive zone. Franklin’s Samuel Howell then decided to return the favor with a check of his own, deep in his own end, putting a stop to the rush. Play continued and soon Franklin was back on their transition game, as Howell broke through with speed once more. This time he went to his backhand to take the shot, and buried the puck in the net again, as Franklin went up 2-0 with 2:43 remaining in the 1st.
Not willing to give up, Nolensville/Ravenwood fought back with an odd man rush, but got denied by the goalie. They soon regrouped as time was winding down. With a give-and-go pass in their own end, they broke out and fired a shot off the crossbar. The puck clanged against the iron and bounced right in front of the crease. Andrew Dunn found the rebound and buried it past Steven Wilhelm, the Franklin net minder, as they finally got an answer goal with 1:22 left. Play continued until time ran off the clock.
The puck dropped to begin the start of the 2nd Period, and Franklin’s Murphy Smith got a great shot on his forehand side, but was turned away by Alvarez. Nolensville started the period off better than the last, as they applied more pressure in the offensive zone. Dillon Knight got a shot on net for them, and Dillon Elam showed a net-front presence as he tried to get a redirect or screen on Wilhelm. They continued their pressure and eventually broke through to even the score at 2-2, thanks to Nolensville’s Dillon Knight at 11:37. Assists on the goal went to Andrew Dunn and Dillon Elam. Play continued as Nolensville’s Ryan Taylor’s stick lift on defense stopped Franklin’s attack.
Ethan Dunn showed patience again on the rush as he looked for an open shot, but again there was none to be found. Halfway through the period, Jackson Hill got a great breakout shot on net, but was turned away by Wilhelm. The loose puck after the block led to a breakout pass for Franklin yet again, and Evan Brown buried the shot, to give them a 3-2 lead with 6:55 remaining. He was assisted by Carlton Sandrell and Evan Rains. Play continued and Franklin tallied another goal shortly thereafter via John Stone, thanks to help from Jackson Charles and Murphy Smith. Play then continued back and forth until the whistle was blown on the second period.
The third period began with Nolensville on the power play, but they were unable to connect. They got a whistle of their own at 12:34 for too many men, and would soon take a hooking call after that, as frustration began to set in. They showed good resolve on the penalty kill by blocking shots and not allowing a goal. Play continued as both teams showed good determination on defense, neither team allowed another goal. The whistle finally blew, and teams skated across the ice for the final handshakes of the night, with Franklin-Hume Fogg celebrating a 4-2 victory.
Editor’s note: If we have incorrectly misspelled a player’s name, please let us know in the comments section below. Covering high school hockey is new and resources are limited, so we want to get it right!