MERIDEN, N.H. — The Kimball Union Academy Wildcats defeated the upstart Holderness School Bulls, 4-2, in a physical contest at Akerstrom Arena on Wednesday, needing a late empty-net goal to keep the visiting team at bay.
It was the third game between the two teams since Feb. 12, and Holderness made an early push. After jumping ahead 1-0, the Bulls were unable to hold the lead and played from behind for much of the game. Alan Thompson’s club had an outstanding season, going 20-3-3, consistently playing hard, but staying disciplined and not taking a lot of penalties. In the end, Tim Whitehead and his coaching staff leveraged their team’s experience, depth and balance to work through some early nerves and uncharacteristic mistakes to bring out a strong defensive effort when it mattered most.
The win propels KUA to the NEPSAC Stuart/Corkery Elite 8 Tournament semifinals on Saturday, where they will host the surging Salisbury Knights in a rematch of the Flood-Marr consolation game in December. That one went down to the wire with the Wildcats scoring a goal in the final 20 seconds of regulation to secure third place in the storied holiday tournament. With both clubs boasting top talent, balance and coaching, it’s setting up to be a memorable game.
In the meantime, let's look at the KUA-Holderness contest and see what we learned.