In a battle of New Hampshire Division 2 powers, Davin Granaham unleashed the game of his life.
The senior forward, who entered the game with one goal on the season, scored twice to help Windham deal St. Thomas its first loss of the season 3-1 on Wednesday night in front of a small but raucous Jaguar fan section at the Salem Icenter.
“I had no feeling this was going to happen,” said Granaham with a smile. “I’m not a goal-scorer at all. So this is very unexpected. But I had a few opportunities and put them away. It was a great night.”
St. Thomas (8-1-0 in Division 2) entered the contest as the only team unbeaten in the division. Windham (7-1-0 in Division 2) is now one of three teams in the division with one loss. Goffstown (7-1-0) is the other.
“I thought the team played really well,” said Jaguar goalie Max Daly. “This was the biggest game of the year for us. If we won they would have one loss like us. The guys kept the puck in their end for most of the game and didn’t give up too many chances. This was a big win.”
And no one played a bigger role than Granaham, the self-described grinder whose only goal heading into the snowy night was a tally against Salem in the Tuscan Kitchen Blue Devil Classic.
“I try to make aggressive plays and open the ice for (Eagle-Tribune All-Star Nolan Cunningham),” he said. “I don’t score much. So I definitely wasn’t expecting this.”
The winger opened the scoring in the first, finishing off a rebound from high-scoring Cunningham. But his best score was yet to come.
Defenseman Robert DiCicco fired a pass up ice to Granaham, who skated past a pair of defenders before flipping the puck over the St. Thomas goalie’s glove hand midway through the second. That gave the Jaguars a 2-1 lead.
“The first one was off a shot and felt really good,” said Granaham. “And the second one kind of solidified the game. That was off a breakaway and was so exciting.”
For good measure, he added a monster hit along the boards in the final minutes. And his coach was thrilled to talk about his forward’s performance.
“It’s unexpected, but he has worked hard and it paid off for him,” said Jags coach Shawn Dunn. “He’s definitely a grinder who drives the net, goes into the corners and sets up Nolan and Michael Blaschuk. So it’s nice to see him get to bury a couple today in a big win.”
While Granaham was providing the offense, Daly was his dominant self in goal.
The senior turned in 30 saves, holding a Saints squad that averaged 5.75 goals a game to just the one tally. It was the seventh game this season Daly has limited an opponent to one goal or fewer.
Daly made a few big saves to stop a flurry in the second. He flashed his left pad to kick away one shot, then went into a near split to prevent another scoring opportunity.
Big his biggest test came in the final minutes. First, he made a terrific stop with 2:53 left in regulation, using his left pad to stop a shot as St. Thomas rushed the net on a breakaway.
Then, after St. Thomas pulled its goalie with a minute left and a Windham penalty made it 6-on-4, Daly came up with a few key stops to lock up the win.
“I just had to keep my eyes on the puck and make sure I knew were it was so I could make the saves,” Daly said of the final flurry. “It was a terrific feeling when the buzzer sounded.”
The Jaguars now hope the win is a sign of things to come for the rest of the season.
“We wanted it so bad and the game meant so much,” said Granaham. “We had a slip-up against Dover, but this gives us a boost of confidence and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Windham 3, St. Thomas 1
St. Thomas (8-1-0 Div. 2): 1 0 0 — 1
Windham (10-2-0, 7-1-0 Div. 2): 1 1 1 — 3
Goals: W — Davin Granaham 2, Nolan Cunningham; ST — Matt MacLean
Assists: W — Cunningham, Robert DiCicco
Saves: W — Max Daly 30; Chris Eno 23