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Playoff round-up: Prospect Mountain boys are champions for first time

Prospect Mountain needed penalty kicks to win their first NHIAA DIII State title 1-0 over Hopkinton Saturday afternoon. The Timberwolves and Hawks played to a 0-0 tie after 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, leaving a penalty kick shootout to decide the game. Prospect Mountain converted three of their five attempts and left the title in the hands of senior goalie Jake Towle. Having stopped two out of the four prior shots, Towle punched away the Hawks' final attempt and secured the title for the Timberwolves 3-2.
Prospect Mountain's first penalty goal was scored by Ken Gilbert. Towle stoned the first attempt by the Hawks leaving the Timberwolves up 1-0 after the first round. Prospect Mountain failed to convert their second attempt. The Hawks evened things up on their second shot. Matt Hamilton scored the second goal for Prospect on the third attempt. Towle came up big on the Hawks counter and made the save diving to his left. Alex Bennett scored the third goal and eventual game winner on a shot to the upper right corner. Towle had his first opportunity to secure the win with a save in the third round but couldn't reach the Hawks shot to his right. Timberwolves Nathan Farnham took the fifth and final shot for Prospect Mountain but his chance to be the hero hit the left post and bounced out of play. Towle then punched senior Kevin Smith's attempt away before scrambling to his feet to celebrate with his teammates.
Regulation play began slowly with both teams feeling each other out. Both teams proved why they had gone undefeated leading up to this point, only given up a combined 14 goals during the regular season. Hopkinton applied a little more offensive pressure late in the first half and to begin the second. Prospect Mountain had a few opportunities late including a golden chance right before the end of regulation when a Timberwolf midfielder let go of a shot directly in front of the Hopkinton goalie, who stepped into the ball's path to make the save and force overtime.
Prospect Mountain went a perfect 20-0 this season and defeated the team that knocked them out of the semi-finals last season.
In the first round of the Division III football tournament, also on Saturday, the Gilford Golden Eagles defeated the Lakers 28-13 to avenge last year's playoff upset. The Golden eagles scored a pair of touchdowns on special teams to get past Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough. Gilford returned the opening kickoff and a second half punt for scores. Quarterback Carter Mercer completed 12 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. Max Troiano led the ground game for the Golden Eagles with 88 yards on 11 carries.
Inter-Lakes ended the season with a 5-4 record after the loss. The Lakers were led by Andrew Brothers who had 80 yards on 15 carries and Josh Blando who completed eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Gilford will head to Newport who handed the Golden Eagles their only loss on the season 27-20 back in September. The DIII North Conference Championship will be in Newport this Saturday at 1.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:14

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Playoff round-up: a few local teams still in the mix

The fall sport season is nearing its end and a few Lakes Region teams are still in the mix. Prospect Mountain's soccer team will be in the DIII finals at Southern New Hampshire University tomorrow at 1:45. The second seeded Timberwolves will match up against the top seed Hopkinton Hawks. Both teams head into the finals without a loss on the season. The Hawks received the top seed over the 16-0 Timberwolves because of a DII win over John Stark to open the season. The win out of division bumps the Hawks into the top spot by a half of a point in the NHIAA ratings.
Prospect Mountain has had an impressive run to reach the final match. The Timberwolves outscored their opponents 70-6 in the 16 regular season games. The second seed has yet to relinquish a goal in the post season, beating Kearsarge 3-0, Belmont 1-0, and Gilford in the semi-finals 1-0 in double overtime. The Timberwolves lost in the semi-finals last season to the Hawks and look to take home a title against the team that knocked them out last season.

The Gilford volleyball team played last night in a semi-final match against second-seeded Milford at Pinkerton Academy. Results were too late for this section's deadline. If successful, the Golden Eagles will content for the Division II championship on Saturday. Gilford ended the regular season with a record of 15-3 and the third seed in the tournament. The Golden Eagles head in to tonight's match after defeating tournament opponents John Stark (14th seed) and Portsmouth (6th) each in straight sets.
On the gridiron Gilford and Inter-Lakes will go head to head in a rematch of last year's DIII Lakes Conference championship in which Inter-Lakes stunned Gilford at home 27-14. Gilford had trouble holding on to the ball, turning it over six times in contest.
Gilford hosted the Lakers in the regular season and avenged the playoff loss 33-7. The Golden Eagles (7-1) are the second seed in the North behind a Newport team that handed Gilford its only blemish on the year 27-20. Gilford has outscored their opponent by an average of 28 to 12 during the regular season.
Inter-Lakes, the third seed in the North, went 5-3 on the season. All five wins came against opponents who did not qualify for the post season. Four out of the five teams had a losing record and the other ended the season at 4-4. The Lakers have a tall task to get past the Golden Eagles on the road.
The DIII quarter-final matchup will be in Gilford at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 08:13

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Junior hockey: New England Wolves continue to climb the standings

The MJHL New England Wolves, a new Junior Hockey team playing out of the Laconia Ice Arena, continued their win streak Saturday night with a decisive 6-3 victory over the Connecticut Nighthawks in Simsbury, Conn. The win, combined with a NH JR Monarchs loss, had the hometown Wolves continue their climb up the Metropolitan Junior Hockey standings.
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead early, the Wolves were backstopped by Milford, New Jersey native Zachery Skop, who turned away 24 shots in the victory. Skop, a 1996 birth year goaltender who played last season in Bozeman, Montana, has garnered attention by scouts and coaches throughout the early part of the season, winning League 3rd star of the week 2 weeks ago.
Opening the scoring on the Power Play was Captain Dillon Smith, on a goal assisted by Will Francis and Hunter Craig. Francis, who has been one of the team's most active community volunteers, scored 7 minutes later off an assist credited to Kevin Morello. The line of Fred Kratz, Andrew D'Amour, and Phillip Schultz, whom coach Andrew Trimble called, "one of our hardest working groups", responded with the next two goals, both credited to Schultz. Rounding out the scoring was Russian import Mikhail Astakhov and finally Morello chipped in a goal of his own.
Once again, the Wolves did not give up a goal on their league- best penalty kill, which has killed off over 92 percent of all opposing power plays this season.
The MJHL New England Wolves return to action next weekend on the road as they take on the Walpole Express on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday, November 2 game has been rescheduled to November 19th as they return to the Laconia Ice Arena to play the Northern Cyclones at 3:45 p.m.
Congratulations to Walpole, New Hampshire's Dom Senerchia was awarded Honorable Mention Player of the Week by the MJHL last week. Additionally, the team would like to thank life coach Emily Clement for her continued work with the team this season. "She has helped instill in these young men the inspiration to think big, and showed them to processes to unlock their potential," said coach Andrew Trimble
For more information, visit- www.americanhockeyinstitute.com or www.scoringconcepts.com.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 09:57

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Junior hockey: Fighting Spirit still unbeaten in Laconia

The New Hampshire Fighting Spirit have successfully defended their home arena with a weekend sweep of the Cape Cod Islanders. With both teams jockeying for the top spot in the East it was the Fighting Spirit who prevailed.

Saturday night saw the Spirit get off to a red hot start as they were able to score 3 goals in the first ten minutes of the period. Cape Cod would eventually score in the second period bringing the score to 3-1 and that's where it would stay. Goaltender Claes Endre was solid in net as he turned away 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Josh Bowman of the Spirit earned the first star of the game with a goal and an assist while Endre was named second star for his performance in net.

Sunday's contest proved to be a much tighter affair as the Spirit were able to score late in the third and claim the 2-1 victory. Andrew Gass got the Spirit on the board first with his first tally of the season as he buried a pass from teammate Nick Pino on the power play. Adam Higdon was great in net as he turned away 35 of the 36 shots he faced during the game. The Islanders were able to tie the score with 8 minutes to play as they were able to net one on the power play. The Spirit responded quickly and regained the lead as forward Mike Heffernan potted the game winner after firing home a rebound. Netting the game winner solidified Heffernan's spot as the game's first star while Higdon's performance in net earned him the second star nomination.

The Fighting Spirit take to the road this weekend participating in the second of three league wide showcases. This weekend's event will take place in Nashua, N.H. and will pit the Fighting Spirit against the Syracuse Stampede, Wilkes Barre Miners, and the current league leaders the Jersey Shore Wildcats.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 09:54

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