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Football round-up: LHS needs a win at Kennett to secure playoff spot

Laconia's four game win-streak came to a halt against Merrimack Valley on Friday night in a 20-17 loss. The Pride scored 20 points in the second half, including the game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds remaining. "We had opportunities to make a play late, just couldn't convert," said Laconia coach Craig Kozens. The Sachems had the ball on the Pride two yard line but settled for a field goal after penalties and a strong defensive stand held the Sachems out of the endzone.

Senior quarterback Matt Swormstedt led the offense in the losing effort with 187 yards and a touchdown through the air to go with 135 yards rushing on the evening. Running back Kyle Chiasson was on the receiving end of the TD and Matt Schultz scored the other on a two-yard dive up the middle. Chiasson also converted a 26 yard field goal.

The Sachems will have their work cut out for them to reach the DII post season. "If we win out we will be in. Any scenario other than that get dicey and need help," added Kozens. Winning out will be difficult for Laconia as the team will next head to Conway to take on DII North Conference leader Kennett. The Eagles have not lost a game this season and average 35.5 points a game while holding their opponents to 12.3 points per game.

The 5-1 Golden Eagles rolled over the Lakers on Saturday afternoon 33-7. Gilford running back Max Troiano had 153 yards on 18 carries in the rematch of last year's DIII quarter-finals. Inter-Lakes (3-3) is in the fourth and final playoff spot with a pair of games remaining. The Lakers take on Mascoma Valley (3-3) Saturday in a DII North Conference tilt. Gilford, North Conference leader, should wrap up the one seed with games against 0-6 Newfound and 1-5 Stevens.

Winnisquam bounced back for a shoot out with a 42-14 victory over Epping-Newmarket. Bears running back Christian Serrano had 128 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. the 4-2 Bears are currently in fourth place in the DII South Conference. Winnisquam will host undefeated Bow on Saturday afternoon. A win will keep the Bears in the playoff hunt in the South Conference.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 09:17

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Junior A hockey: Fighting Spirit have strong outing at league showcase, back at home tomorrow night

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. — The New Hampshire Fighting Spirit traveled to Morrisville, New York for their first of three league wide showcases this past weekend and returned with 2 wins and 1 loss. Friday afternoon saw the Spirit take on longtime rival, and host of the showcase, The Syracuse Stampede. The Spirit were able to secure a 3-1 win in their first game of three on the weekend. Brett Bittner opened the scoring for the Spirit at 14:48 of the second half. Only four minutes later Nick Pino was able to bury a rebound past the Stampede goaltender for a 2-0 lead midway through the second. With the Stampede in penalty trouble the Fighting Spirit's Josh Crane rifled home a shot from the point for the Spirit's first power play goal of the season and a 3-0 lead. Syracuse was able to sneak one past Spirit goaltender Adam Higdon closing the gap to 3-1, however they were unable to muster up additional scoring chances as the Spirit tightened up defensively and ran out the clock.

The second game of the weekend saw the Fighting Spirit take on the NSHL Runner-up, the Wilkes Barre Miners. After a back and forth affair the Fighting Spirit were able to win 4-3 in overtime. Brett Bittner opened the scoring again for the Spirit at 14:33 of the first. Travis Blinkhorn put the Spirit up 2-0 only four minutes later after a flurry of shots on the Miners goaltender. Wilkes Barre was able to close gap before the first ended by netting a power play goal at the 7:07 mark. The second saw more of the same action registered in the first as both teams had quality scoring chances. Wilkes Barre was able to tie the game with their second goal while shorthanded. With only 5 minutes remaining Wilkes Barre took the lead on a shot from the point beating Spirit goaltender Claes Endre. With only 1:22 left in the game Spirit forward Frederic Pugin took a feed from teammate Mike Callaghan in the slot and tied the game after a net front scramble. Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities in the overtime period but it was Pugin again with 0:28 seconds remaining that sealed the victory for the Spirit.

The final game had the Spirit taking on defending NSHL Playoff Champion the Jersey Shore Wildcats. After two hard fought games the Spirit got off to a slow start in the first giving up two goals before the period ended. With a strong start in the second the Spirit's Mike Callaghan brought the game to within 1 just thirteen seconds in. Exchanging chances throughout, the Wildcats netted their third of the game at the 16:36 mark of the second. With 2:37 left the Spirit cut the lead in half after Mike Heffernan fired one past Wildcats goaltender beating him low glove side. With an empty net the Spirit continued their attack but were unable to tie the game giving Jersey Shore the victory.

The Fighting Spirit are back in action at the Laconia Ice Arena this Friday night. The Spirit will face the current Eastern Conference leaders the New England Stars. A strong start to the Stars season has them in sole possession of first place. 

"We know we are in for a tough game Friday night against the New England Stars, historically they compete very hard against us so we need to be ready to play a full 60 minutes", said associate head coach Ben Tefft. "They are a team that likes to clog the middle of the ice to take away scoring opportunities and work to block every shot thrown at their net. They are a very opportunistic team and will capitalize on our mistakes therefore we need to carry the pace and intensity in all 3 zones of the ice to be able to find success this weekend".

The Spirit will compete in a home and home series against the Stars this weekend with the action kicking off Friday night in Laconia while Saturday's game will be on the road at New England. Game time for Friday night is set for 6 p.m. and is sponsored by the Saratoga Olive Oil Company. There will be door prizes and giveaways throughout the evening. Tickets are on sale at the door $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, students, and children.

For more information on the Spirit and their schedule visit their website at www.fightingspirithockey.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 07:33

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u12 Lakes Region Girls win Capitol Cup tournament

The Lakes Region United U12 Girls team participated in the annual Seacoast United Capitol Cup Columbus Day Tournament this weekend at NHTI in Concord and came home with the championship. The team was coached by Keith Duggan of Belmont and Shawn Jarvi of Gilford and consists of players from Belmont, Gilford, Alton, Canterbury, Gilmanton, and Laconia.

In the first round of play on Saturday morning, LRU faced the Seacoast United Select team and came out strong from the first whistle, winning 3 to 0. The second game was a tough one against the Exeter Hawks. Tied at the half 1 -1, LRU created many great scoring opportunities but could not capitalize. Exeter broke the tie and scored with a near post shot from the right side that deflected off the goalie's hands in the last minute of play.

In the semi-final match early Sunday morning, LRU faced the Seacoast United Storm. LRU controlled the game from the very beginning, winning 3 to 0 and earning a spot in the tournament finals. In the final match Sunday afternoon, LRU played another strong team from Exeter, but set the tone early on with a quick goal in the first minutes of play. With solid defense and an active offense, the team scored three more goals for the convincing 4 to 0 win.

According to Coach Duggan, "The girls played great and improved in every match culminating with a total shut down defense and some great passing and finishes." Coach Jarvi commended the teams' play as well, "They earned their championship with awesome play on the field."

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 07:23

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U14 Lakes Region boys’ soccer team wins Capital Cup

CONCORD — On Columbus Day Weekend The U-14 Boys Lakes Region United team won the Capitol Cup "Monadnock Division" 2014 Championship. This Lakes Region United team plays in the Massachusetts Maple Premiere League and consists of players from Belmont, Gilford, Sanbornton, Laconia and Concord.

LRU won their first game Saturday morning beating Kearsage United 6-0 with 6 different players scoring goals and very strong defense, ball control and midfield play. They next played Far Post, a Premiere team ranked 4th in Vermont Sat afternoon. LRU won a very tightly contested game 2-1 getting goals from Nolan Ritchie and Nate Lamprey. On a very cold, very frosty Sunday morning Lakes Region United played Seacoast United Select. LRU played their best game of the weekend beating a very strong team 3-0. Nate Lamprey recorded a hattrick and again LRU's defense and midfield play was dominating. This set up a rematch with the Vermont Far Post team, this time in the "Round Robin" finals. LRU scored first on a fantastic long run by outside mid / striker Caleb Duggan who carried the ball from past mid field, beat the outside defender and ripped a beautiful shot to beat the Far Post goalie, the score remained 1-0 at the half. LRU went up 2-0 early in the 2nd half on a beautiful set up by Nate Lamprey, who dug the ball out of the corner, beat 2 defenders, poked a shot that was saved by the Far Post Goalie, LRU ripped a second shot that was blocked by a Far Post defender which was followed up with a Griffin Embree goal that somehow went through 4 Far Post defenders to find the back of the net. The rest of the half was very even with Far Post finally scoring with under 10 minutes to go to cut the LRU lead to 2-1. LRU responded very quickly to regain the 2 goal lead. Caleb Duggan set the goal up by beating the outside defender, sending a perfect pass to Griffin Embree who ripped a shot that was saved by the Far Post Goalie and Nate Sottak was there to put the rebound in and secure the 3-1 victory.

LRU allowed just 2 goals during the 4 game tourney. The dominant defense was led by goalie Nicholas Ritchie, sweeper Will Wood, outside backs Nolan Ritchie and Caleb Burke and stopper Cole Champoux. LRU's strong ball control was led by center mid Colby Brown, center mid / stopper Ben Charleston and center mid Colton Workman. LRU had very good striker play from Giffin Embree, Alex Giammarino and Nate Sottak who all distributed the ball well and put lots of pressure on the opposing team's defenses. LRU got exceptional play from outside mid Nate Lamprey and outside mid / striker Caleb Duggan, who both constantly beat defenders and made play after play the entire tournament. Last but certainly not least, LRU had fantastic play from the only girl who played in this very tough boys division, outside mid Zoe Zimmermann.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 07:14

Hits: 282

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