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Golden Eagles have chance for revenge in North Conference championship tomorrow

The Gilford High School Golden Eagles football team will head to Newport tomorrow to take on the Tigers in the North Conference championship. The winner of Saturday's game will earn the right to play for the DIII state title.

Gilford visited Newport in week three of the regular season and suffered the team's only loss of the season, falling by the score of 27-20. "We lost momentum in the first game after a touchdown was called back for a blocking in the back penalty," said coach Shawn Garrett. "The afternoon was very hot and humid and we had trouble staying fresh." Newport jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Gilford found the endzone in the second quarter. The Golden Eagles drew within seven, 27-20, with three minutes remaining but could not complete the comeback. "That game was the low point of our season," continued Garrett. Gilford turned the ball over seven times compared to Newport's two turnovers.
Gilford's Carter Mercer threw for 213 yards on 14 completions with three touchdowns and four interceptions in the first game. Max Troiano rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries and Kyle Gaudet had seven receptions for 159 yards and two TDs back in September.
After the loss in week three the Golden Eagles have beat their opponents by at least 26 points to finish the regular season 7-1. Gilford got past Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough 28-13 in the first round of the playoffs last week. Newport beat Mascoma 34-14 in the first round.
"We expect them to be better than the team we first faced," added Garrett. "We have added some new dimensions to the offense and we will hold nothing back in what I call the second season." The Golden Eagles will have to keep the offense rolling to get past the Tigers who have not given up more than 21 points on the season and average 36 points per game. "Our key to the offense is the offensive line. This is the first season the group has played together. Most haven't played a full season prior to this year," Garrett said. "Newport is the best team we have faced this season. They are well coached and do not make mistakes," finished Garrett. "We have watched a ton of film and will be ready"
The Conference Championship is in Newport tomorrow at 1 p.m. The action will be streamed live on the NFHS Network, found at www.nfhsnetwork.com/associations/nhiaa.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:05

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Junior hockey: New England Wolves extend win streak with 5-2 win over Walpole Express

LACONIA — The MJHL New England Wolves, a new Junior Hockey team playing out of the Laconia Ice Arena, extended their win streak another weekend, with a decisive 5-2 victory over the Walpole Express at Rodman Arena in Walpole, Mass. on Saturday night. Entering the game the Express sported a stellar 10 win and only 3 loss record on the season.
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead midway through the 2nd period, the Wolves were led by Captain Dillon Smith who recorded the first ever Hat Trick in MJHL Wolves history. "Dillon has led by example all season, and recognized the challenge we faced. He let his actions do the talking on Saturday night." Coach Andrew Trimble quoted.
Outstanding defensive efforts by the whole Wolves defensive core of Hunter Craig, Brogan Hurst, Shawn Sullivan, Blake Babineau and in particular Wolfeboro natives Owen Richard and Josh Grasso, kept Walpole Forward Logan Stark off the score sheet. Stark entered the game as one of the MJHL's leading point producers.
Opening the scoring for the second week in a row was Dillon Smith, on a goal assisted by Hunter Craig. Trading scoring chances, the Wolves capitalized on a power play early in the 2nd period on a beautiful Josh Grasso end to end rush. Smith would strike again to make it 3-0, before things would get interesting.
Two successive Walpole goals and penalty trouble by both squads were the story till 90 seconds were left in regulation, when Kevin Morello scored off a neutral zone faceoff when Walpole removed their netminder in favor of an extra attacker. Smith completed his hat trick seconds later.
The MJHL New England Wolves return to action next weekend on the road as they take on the Northern Cyclones on Saturday night in Hudson, NH.
Congratulations to Lunenberg, Ma's Phillip Schultz, who was awarded Honorable Mention Player of the Week by the MJHL last week. Additionally, coach Trimble would like to thank Lakes Region Youth Hockey for their continued support and the opportunity they provided to the Wolves Players to participate with "Try Hockey for Free Day".
For more information, visit- www.americanhockeyinstitute.com or www.scoringconcepts.com .

Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:35

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Junior hockey: Fighting Spirit extend their lead in the East

The Fighting Spirit went 2-1 over the weekend at their second of three league wide showcases. Held at the Conway Arena in Nashua, NH the Fighting Spirit took on Western Conference opponents the Syracuse Stampede, Wilkes Barre Miners, and the league leading Jersey Shore Wildcats.

Friday afternoon saw the Spirit play host to the Syracuse Stampede. After a scoreless first period Fighting Spirit Captain Alex Peddle got the scoring started by putting home a loose puck in front of the net on the power play. Mike Heffernan would add two more goals in the game to secure the 3-0 victory over the Stampede. Goalie Adam Higdon was perfect in net stopping all 25 shots he faced.

Saturday's contest pitted the Fighting Spirit against the Wilkes Barre Miners and saw the Spirit come away with a 4-3 victory. The Fighting Spirit found themselves in a hole as they were down 2-0 to the Miners. Once again Alex Peddle started the scoring for the Spirit as he took a feed from teammate Mike Heffernan and masterfully deked his way to the net before beating Miners goalie to bring the score within one. Captain Mike Callaghan knotted the score at 2 merely 6 minutes later as he slid the puck underneath the scrambling Miners goaltender. Wilkes Barre would add one more tally before the second period was over taking the lead 3-2. The Fighting Spirit played an inspired third period and were rewarded when forward Nick Pino fought his way to the Miners net and let a backhand shot go that beat the net minder far side and in. It was only 3 minutes later that forward Brett Bittner scored the game winner as he took a pass from the corner and one timed it home. Goalie Claes Endre was solid in net for the Spirit as he stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced including multiple big saves late as the Miners pushed to tie the score.

Sunday morning put the two top teams in the NA3EHL on the rink against one another as the Fighting Spirit took on the Jersey Shore Wildcats. In what proved to be a back and forth affair it was the Wildcats that would squeak out the victory and remain perfect on the season. Both teams had their opportunities on the power play but were unable to solve one another's defense as the Wildcats went 0 for 6 on the PP while the Spirit were 0 for 8. With 1:21 left in the game the Wildcats took the lead on a great individual effort and long range shot the surprised Spirit goalie Claes Endre. The Spirit were able to add an extra attacker as they pulled their goalie in the final minute but were unable to tie the score. Endre stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced while the Jersey Shore net minder was perfect stopping all 24 shots the Spirit took.

The Fighting Spirit are back in action this weekend as they take on the East Coast Minutemen Sunday November 16th at the Laconia Ice Arena. Pregame begins at 1:45pm with puck drop at 2pm. The Spirit will also host the Minutemen at the Laconia Ice Arena on Wednesday November 19th with pregame kicking off at 6:15. For up to date information on the Spirit and their schedule visit their website at www.fightingspirithockey.com

Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 10:33

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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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