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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Gasuik, Donhauser Lead Charge For Nichols

The expression of “throw the first punch” is used quite frequently in athletics. It’s a term that means make that first statement early, and set the tone. But sometimes victory doesn’t go to the team that throws the first punch, but rather, who can throw the most punches before delivering that knockout blow.

Nichols delivered that knock out punch. Matt Gasuik (two goals, two assists) had four points and Cole Donhauser (goal, two assists) had three as Nichols School scored a decisive 9-3 win over Appleby College in their Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association game that was played at Dann Memorial Rink on Wednesday.

The win improves Nichols record to 8-3-2 as they now have 18 points for third place in CISAA. It also keeps them hot on the trail of second place Upper Canada College (19 points) who they will face at home in next Wednesday’s regular season finale. While the final score suggests that the Vikings cruised to the win, Appleby actually presented a solid challenge in the first two periods, as Nichols led 5-3 after two.

Most importantly the Vikings resilience was tested as each time Appleby scored Nichols answered back almost immediately with a goal of their own.

“That’s a big part of the game and we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that all year. Responding to those types of situations,” said Nichols coach Jamie Printz. “We talk about taking that momentum away when teams get one and making sure the next shift is a good one.” First period goals by Andrew Fromen and Jack Millar (two assists) gave Nichols the 2-0 lead until Dylan Abbamont got Appleby on the board with 2:13 to go in the period. Gasuik struck early in the second with the first of his two goals at the 3:38 mark to put his team up 3-1.

Appleby cut the score to 3-2, but two quick goals by Steven Senese and Lucas Herrmann put Nichols up 5-2. Abbamont got his second goal at the 13:30 mark of the second.

The Vikings threw the knock out punch just three minutes into the third when Gasuik and Donhauser set up Connor Zak for his 10th goal of the season. Zak’s goal set the tone for a dominating third period where Nichols scored four times and out shot Appleby 17-0. “After the second period when it was 5-to-3 we knew we really hard to bear down,” said Cole Donhauser, who scored his 29th of the season.

“Because if you let teams that aren’t as strong as you stay in it for long, you never know. They could bury a few and next thing you know we’re either gonna be tied or losing to them. We had to bear down in the third period and that’s what we did.”

In all, Nichols out shot Appleby 55-11 with 24 of those shots coming in the first period. Pleased to have created so many chances Printz and his team addressed the fact that if they had capitalized on a few more of those chances in the first they could have put Appleby away much sooner.

“Yep that’s exactly what we talked about in all of our breaks and at the end,” said Printz. “It wasn’t that we weren’t playing well, but we weren’t getting things done. Come playoff time we might not have 24 opportunities to score those goals.” Gasuik agreed with his coach’s take on the importance of cashing in on those early chances.

“I think in the first period I think we knew we could play better and we weren’t really too content with our play,” he said. “We knew we could elevate our play to a higher level and I think that’s what we did the next two periods.” The biggest plus on the day was the balanced offense as 12 players hit the scoresheet. Knowing that they don’t have to rely on just one player or one line is a major plus as they prepare for playoffs.

“I think all of our lines are clicking right now and everything is coming together at the right time of the year,” said Gasuik. “Every line, I think we all just know where each other is which is a really good thing. Everything just seems to be clicking right now.” Freshman Patrick Brady capped off the Nichols scoring as his team’s ninth goal of the night was the very first of his Nichols career. Jack Millar and Chris Morrison (two assists) picked up the helpers on Brady’s goal.

Bryan Bylsma and Jeffrey Kopek had two assists apiece for Nichols which is now 16-11-5 overall.

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