Wolfpack's depleted defensive line can't hold on for win

LACONIA —  The Laconia Winnisquam Wolfpack held a two goal lead with under six minutes remaining, but could not hold on, losing to John Stark-Hopkinton 8-6. The Wolfpack, playing at the Laconia Ice Arena on Saturday, led 6-4 when the General's Jake Blanchette (3 goals, 2 assists) scored the first of four unanswered goals on a rebound that he flipped over the stick of Wolfpack goalie Brayden Harriman. "It's tough to be up by two and then lose at the end, but that happens," Wolfpack coach TJ Galligan said. "We need to get our injuries taken care of. If we had more guys on the bench it might have been a different outcome." Lac-Winn started the game with four defenseman and lost Junior Ryan Smith midway into the second, leaving the Wolfpack with three defenseman in the third period.

The Generals opened up the scoring just 28 seconds into the game on a two on one breakaway when Blanchette fed forward Tim Sawitsky who wristed a shot above the shoulder of Harriman (37 saves). The Wolfpacks' special teams responded when Josh Shevlin blasted a shot from the top of the circle. The Generals netminder deflected the shot into the air, but could not compose himself enough to reach back and grab the loose puck which bounced behind him and into the net. Laconia netted two more from Jack Decormier and Dakota Tyno (2 goals) before the end of the first.

The second period saw only four minutes of five on five hockey. The Wolfpack ended up on the short end of two five on three penalty kills. Each team would allow only one special teams goal. "We could not capitalize on the five minute major," said Galligan. "instead we put ourselves in a hole going down four on three twice during that time."

Tyno's second goal of the game gave the Wolfpack the 6-4 advantage with 5:52 remaining, which is when the short bench started to take its toll. The Generals spent the majority of the remaining five minutes swarming the Wolfpack net. The fatigued defense had trouble clearing the zone. JS-Hopkinton tied the game at the three minute mark and took the lead a minute later. The Generals added an empty net goal to close out the scoring.

Laconia will host NHIAA Division III foe Berlin (3-1) tomorrow night at 6:50.