Wolfpack coach praises effort in loss to Somersworth-Coe-Brown

ROCHESTER — The Laconia-Winnisquam Wolfpack took an early lead against Somersworth-Coe-Brown, one of the stronger programs in Division III on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and played hard throughout to contest despite coming out on the losing side of a 9-3 decision.

Coach Kent Finemore said his team played with heart and improved positioning on both sides of the puck. The score was tied at three after one period as Devin Miles opened the scoring for the Wolfpack with assists from Connor Johnson and Noah Wirth. After falling behind behind by two, the Pack stormed back with an unassisted breakaway goal by captain Josh Shevlin and another by Johnson with assists from Shevlin and Wirth. Laconia-Winnisquam got strong contributions across the board from all of the players, in particular freshman goaltender Derek Derynioski as he posted 37 saves in his best effort of the season, and also from defensemen Ryan Fields and Jayson Shevlin.

Said Finemore, "We're proud of the players in this one, they hung together and played with determination. There was a lot of special teams play in this game and overall our positioning was consistent. Good effort by the players in this one."

Laconia swimmers among the 470 competing at UNH

The Laconia high school swim team swam this past weekend at a meet at UNH, competing in a field of 28 high schools. More than 470 swimmers all swam for best times. Eric Phelps took 12th in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:05.04, putting him in the top 10 percent. Swimming the 50-yard freestyle, Phelps took 17th with 25.26, a best time out of 110 swimmers. Tim Maczko swam his best times of the season, taking two seconds off his 50-yard freestyle to grab a time of 27.89. Maczko also took two seconds off his 100-yard freestyle for his best time of 1:05.38. Patrick Deegan came on strong with both of his events, swimming to a time of 36.96 in the 50-yard freestyle and a 1:26.21 in the 100-yard freestyle. Senior Kaitlyn Mowery achieved best times in both her events. She swam the 100-yard freestyle in a 1:19.99, dropping three seconds for a personal best. She then swam the 100-yard backstroke in 1:31.51, dropping seven seconds for a best time. Freshman swimmer Alison Maczko swam best times in her two events as well. She dropped two seconds in the 50-freestyle to achieve a best time of 36.85, as well as a 1:24.23 in the 100-yard freestyle, dropping three seconds for her best time. The team will swim in their last scheduled meet of the season on Jan. 31 in Goffstown. This will be the last chance to achieve the times necessary to attend the state championship meet in February.

Belmont-Gilford readies for rivalry game with Berlin-Gorham

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Belmont Gilford will need to bring a full team effort to beat Berlin on Wednesday at Merrill Fay Arena, assistant coach Jason Parent said. (Courtesy photo)


LACONIA — A rivalry on the ice will heat up Merrill Fay Arena Wednesday afternoon when the high school hockey teams of Belmont Gilford and Berlin Gorham seek an edge in state tournament seeding.
Both teams are once again in the top four in the Division III standings.
Berlin Gorham (7-1) suffered its sole loss of the season earlier this month, a 6-1 decision at the hands of Kennett High at Ham Arena on Jan. 11.
Berlin Gorham beat Belmont Gilford 6-2 in Berlin on Dec. 14, delivering Belmont Gilford's sole loss of the season. (Belmont Gilford is 6-1-1 due to a 3-3 tie with Somersworth-Coe Brown in Laconia on Jan. 11.)
In 2016, Berlin Gorham won the Division III state championship title.

Berlin High School hockey coach Mike Poulin said in the finals in the last two years, the two teams battled to overtime decisions.

"We know that they can be an explosive team, and they can take advantage of any mistakes we can make," Poulin said.
"They are a formidable adversary, and it will take a full team effort to come out on top," reported Belmont Gilford assistant coach Jason Parent.

The Berlin Gorham hockey team is a familiar rival who always brings a top game.
"This has been an ongoing rivalry for the last few years," Parent said.

"The last couple of seasons have turned out that way," agreed Poulin. "Since we came to Division III, we've always had great matchups with Belmont Gilford."
In the past two seasons, when the teams have faced each other in the finals, the scores have been close.
When Belmont Gilford won two years ago, "we were down a goal with about 45 seconds left in the game, and we scored with 40 seconds left in the game and we won in overtime," Parent recalled.
Last year, Belmont Gilford was down by a goal, and in a "massive flurry at the net, some say we scored, some say we didn't score," but no replay was available, and Belmont Gilford ended up losing 2-1 in OT, he said.

Berlin Gorham lost 14 seniors from last year, so the team is "still trying to find its identity," Poulin said.

"We're not looking past any game," he added, noting respect for Belmont Gilford.

The 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 game at Merrill Fay Arena raises the stakes "because both teams only have one loss," Parent said, and seeding into the state tournament may hinge on the outcome. The top two seeds in Division III will receive a bye in the first round, and the four remaining seeds will play each other.
"It could be the difference between being the one or two seed and third and fourth," Parent said.

Poulin agreed, "If we ever come to a tie-breaker, I'm sure it will come head to head. They're always important, and it's important to win on the road as well."

In most recent action, Belmont Gilford beat Laconia-Winnisquam 11-1 on Jan. 21.

Parent credited the team's "tenacity" and refusal to give up. For Belmont Gilford, captains James Buckley, Hunter Dupuis and Harrison Parent will need to show leadership, Parent said.
"We're going to need big games from those three guys, and our underclassmen are going to need to perform for us to get this victory," he said.
Berlin, Parent said, can be expected to "play very, very hard."
"They're a hard working team, they're a hockey town, and I expect them to come out and give us a good game," he said.

After budget cuts, LHS swim, alpine ski teams hold their own

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The Laconia High School swim team competes at a meet hosted by Bow High on Jan. 13. (Courtesy photo)


LACONIA — Swimmers and skiers from Laconia High School are overcoming financial constraints due to budget cuts to score at area meets.
Laconia High School swim team competed Friday, Jan. 13, against host team Bow High School and seven other area high school teams, and members placed. That's without a local swimming pool available to the Sachems.
Both the swim team and the alpine ski team are funded outside of the budget, confirmed Craig Kozens, athletic director/dean of students at Laconia High School.
At the Bow meet, the swim team placed four members in the top 10 of their events, according to results from parent Lisa Phelps.
"Tim Maczko swam to eighth place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:07.96," Phelps reported. "He also swam the 50-yard freestyle and hit the wall grabbing 11th place with a time of 30.12. Eric Phelps swam the 500-yard freestyle in 5:40.84 for the first-place win. He also grabbed fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke with a 1:02.67, both best times for this freshman swimmer. Senior Kaitlyn Mowery powered through the water to grab 13th place in the 100-yard freestyle with an impressive time of 1:23.80, and she then took home 13th place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:47.72. Freshman Alison Maczko continues to show great ability with a 19th place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 38.88. She then hit the wall, grabbing 18th place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:27.28. Abigail Bailey swam a great race of the 100-yard butterfly, putting up a time of 1:59.93, taking home eighth place. She was back in the pool swimming the 100-yard freestyle to take 19th place with a 1:49.10."
The swimmers were back in competition last weekend at a "mega-swim meet," the Bobcat Invitational, at University of New Hampshire (host team is Oyster River High School). Results were pending on that meet.
Phelps said the Laconia High swim team includes six members from Laconia and a group from Winnisquam.
"The school used to help out, because they gave the coach a stipend. The swim team members have always had to pay a little bit of money, and that paid for the pool," Phelps said.
Then, budget cuts took a hefty toll. "We've made it work," Phelps said.
Phelps credited Greg Hough, volunteer coach.
"He's a great coach. I think he's really helped the team. He's tried to get them all to do the different strokes."
Phelps also gave a nod to Kozens, saying after the high school swim team was cut, she met with him to ask if parents could continue the team if it was self-funded.
"A couple of us parents got together to think of how we could keep the team swimming. I got prices for pool rental fees and was able to find a coach who is volunteering his time. We had the kids put out a sign-up list to figure out the amount of interest. We didn't fund raise. We split the pool rental fees between all the swimmers," Phelps recalled. "The team T-shirt was donated by the Mowery family, who has a senior daughter swimming. Fortunately for us, coach Kozens has been great. He allowed us to keep the team under the NHIAA by paying the entry fee. I think it has worked out. The kids are swimming, competing and having a great season."
Hough said the swim team practices at a four-lane saltwater pool at the Gunstock Inn and Resort in Gilford. ("They've been gracious and wonderful and nice," he said.)
"A couple of the parents actually called Gunstock Inn to find out what was needed to revive the team. I brought it to the athletic director, and he had a discretionary budget, so he was able to get us into the meets," Hough recalled. "The next thing I know we were on."
Nine swimmers are able to use two lanes for practices. "It's been 100 percent group effort," Hough said. Although Hough said he doesn't get paid, parents cover the considerable costs of pool time and gear.
"It's very expensive for the kids, so the meet fees would have been another burden," he said, also extending appreciation to Kozens.
Athletic cuts are a part of school life, Hough acknowledged, but he said, "Your varsity sports, I just figured those would be safe no matter what they were."
Lower-participation sports such as swimming fill a niche, he said.
"Not every kid can or is inclined to take a hit or run around a track or chuck a ball through a hoop," Hough said.
"We're trying to keep it alive hoping that someone will pay attention and put some money into this thing," he said.
Laconia High ski team also relies on creative fundraising.
For the first time this year, Kevin Charleston trains the Laconia High skiers along with his Belmont High team, where he has coached for 14 years.
Charleston said, "It has been an advantage for both of these teams to train together," noting that alpine skiing is a "collegial sport."
Laconia has a "super rich history" when it comes to alpine or downhill skiing, Charleston said.
"We are competing for a plaque. We are competing for a state title," he said.
At 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Laconia High and Belmont High alpine ski teams will compete at Gunstock for a Gilford High School-hosted event.