GORHAM – The Noble Knights were 5-5 going into their game against Bonny Eagle Saturday evening. It should, perhaps, have been an easy win for the 5-1 Scots, but Noble was playing for more than simply a better record. Collin Evans, a student at Noble and a friend to many of the school’s hockey players, had committed suicide only a day earlier. With Collin’s name or initials scrawled on the tape of their stick blades, the Knights fought the Scots hard, coming up with a 7-4 victory.

“We knew it was going to be a tough contest,” Noble head coach Keith St. Cyr said after the game. “We knew their record coming in. But it was also a special night for us. The Noble High School family lost a junior last night. Half my team were really good friends with him. We came in with heavy hearts, tonight. I want to say that hopefully gave them a little extra motivation.”

The first period was close. The two teams traded blows. Bonny Eagle sophomore Shayne Plummer tallied the first goal just over six minutes in, on an assist from junior Josh Bagley. Noble answered swiftly, however, with freshman Noah Pease putting the puck in Bonny Eagle’s net just 36 seconds later. Two and a half minutes after that, sophomore left wing Dean Pratt scored again for Noble, putting them up 2-1. But with less than three minutes left, Bagley and Bonny Eagle junior Paul Emmons worked the puck to Plummer, who got his second and tied the game. It stayed tied for the remainder of the period.

Six minutes into the second, Pease fed the puck to senior Mik Ricker. Ricker scored, giving the Knights a 3-2 lead. Forty seconds later, the Scots parried, with Bagley scoring on an assist from senior Travis Rogers. The remainder of the period belonged to Noble, who scored twice more before the buzzer. Pratt tallied both, the first on an assist from junior Chullainn Kelly, and the second on an assist from junior Ryer Smith.

“We need to get back to working. Move the puck,” Bonny Eagle head coach Mark Whitman reported telling his boys in the locker room between periods. “If they’re going to hit you, puck movement’s going to beat them all the time. Get odd-man rushes, and finish.”

The final period opened with a Noble two-minute boarding minor for freshman Tyler Whitten. Shortly thereafter, Kelly incurred two minutes, as well, for tripping. But the Knights killed both penalties successfully. It wasn’t until halfway through the period that the score changed, Bonny Eagle pulling within one on another goal by Bagley. Noble answered immediately, though, with Kelly earning his team a point to make up for his penalty. The Knights would light up the scoreboard one final time before the close of the game.

“We just didn’t play well,” Whitman said after the game. “You let No. 4, their big defenseman, go end-to-end twice, just walk in and not put a body on him, you’re not going to be successful. We weren’t ready to play. They couldn’t adjust to the physicality of the game. We just got beat.”

Asked about his squad’s prospects for the rest of the season, Whitman expressed frustration laced with positivity.

“I don’t how you can channel the mentality to get these kids ready for an aggressive game,” he said. “That’s probably one of the first games that these kids have been checked, and physically abused, from start to finish. They’re a good, disciplined skating club that … just couldn’t handle [the aggressive play].”

Aggression may have manifested in Noble’s play, but it could not have been the only emotion driving the team. After the final buzzer, before lining up to shake hands with the Scots, the Knights grouped tightly, hugging.

Bonny Eagle drops to 5-2, but get another chance to improve their standing on Monday, Jan. 21 in Auburn versus Edward Little. Noble’s next bout is an at-home rematch with the Scots in three days’ time.

Scots sophomore Kyle Whitman drives Knights captain Connor Pease to the boards Saturday night.
Bonny Eagle senior Connor Shields and Noble junior Connor Pease fight toward a loose puck in front of an open Noble net. Staff photos by Adam Birt
Knights captain Connor Pease backhands the puck away from his goal.
Noble freshman Noah Pease and Bonny Eagle sophomore Shayne Plummer dig in at the boards behind Noble’s net.
The Noble Knights celebrate an emotional victory while, in the background, the Bonny Eagle Scots wait to shake hands.
The Bonny Eagle Scots and the Noble Knights face off Saturday night.
Noble junior Connor Pease protects his goalkeeper versus Bonny Eagle.


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