Belmont-Gilford had been having a great season through January 21, when the team traveled to Portsmouth for a 7-0 victory that improved the Bulldogs' record to eight wins, two losses. The next three games were against two of the division's strongest, though. Belmont-Gilford lost to Souhegan by one goal on January 26, then came close to stealing a game at Berlin on Wednesday of last week. So, with the chance to host Berlin on Saturday, Londer and his team were hoping to make a statement by spoiling the Mountaineers' perfect record.
For 35 minutes, it was looking like Belmont-Gilford would have that chance, staying either tied or within a goal of the visitors for most of the game. With 9:29 remaining in the third, defenseman Brogan Hurst fired a shot from near the blue line that made its way past the Berlin keeper to tie the score, 2-2.
Londer said his team had come into the game with the strategy of neutralizing Connor Jewett, Berlin's leading scorer and whom Londer considers the division's best player. Jewett was kept quiet for most of the game, which Belmont-Gilford had accomplished by constantly keeping a defender on him. With 7:28 remaining in the third period, though, Jewett broke free from his captor and ended the tie. Belmont-Gilford then had an opportunity to answer when Berlin's Justin Vien was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking, but it was Jewett who would score during the power play, stealing the puck and scoring on a breakaway with 6:16 left.
Belmont-Gilford was given yet another opportunity when Berlin was called for tripping, with 6:09 remaining, giving the Bulldogs a two-man advantage. Again, though, it was a Berlin player – this time Trevor Leborgne – who forced a turnover and broke toward the net for a goal, widening the margin to three goals. From there, things "got out of hand," said Londer. Berlin scored a total of six goals in the final seven and a half minutes, including a third score by Jewett. The final score was eight goals for Berlin and two for Belmont-Gilford.
The first goal for the Bulldogs was scored by forward Andrew D'Amour, assisted by defenseman Will Mahoney, which tied the game at 1 goal each during the first period. Belmont-Gilford came out strong for the second period, keeping the puck in Berlin's zone and finding several quality shots, including a couple of breakaway opportunities by Jeremy D'Amour. "If he gets in the clear, ninety-nine percent of the time it's in the back of the net," Londer said about his speedy forward. Jeremy was frustrated on Saturday night by the Berlin keeper's glove, and by the end of the third period his frustration was mounting. With 40 seconds left in the game, Jeremy laid a check on Chris Fortin that left the Berlin player on his back, spread-eagle and unconscious for several tense moments. Fortin was ultimately able to skate off the ice, with assistance. Jeremy was called for a major penalty, excluding him from participation in Belmont-Gilford's upcoming game against Con-Val on Saturday.
Looking back on the game, Londer is able to take encouragement from his team's most lop-sided loss of the season. For most of the game, his players were able to make Jewett a non-factor. "Our goal was to limit what he did." And, as long as Belmont-Gilford was able to keep Jewett away from the net, the Bulldogs were a match for the Mountaineers.
Another lesson for Belmont-Gilford, Londer added, was the significance of momentum. The Bulldogs seemed to be in a strong position, out-shooting the Mountaineers in the second period and looking at a power-play advantage in the third. Certain events can act as a hinge, though, swinging favors in the other direction. Such was the case with the Mountaineer's goal, scored when Berlin had two players in the penalty box. "The momentum shifted, they were on fire, and we hung our heads down and stopped playing."
Ironically, the Bulldogs now find themselves cheering for Berlin, at least for the remainder of the season. Belmont-Gilford is finding itself in a fight for the third seed in the playoffs. Other contendors for that spot include Kennett, Moultonborough-Inter-Lakes and Souhegan, all of whom play Berlin before the start of the playoffs. Londer has a week of practice to prepare for Con-Val, a team that has only one win this year. If Belmont-Gilford finishes in the top four Division III teams, the Bulldogs will host a playoff game.
With less than a month left in the regular season, it appears that the Division III title is Berlin's to lose. Therefore, if Belmont-Gilford can find its stride again in the playoffs, they'll likely find themselves opposing Berlin again.
"We're just trying to get back on track," Londer said, likening regular-season games to pop quizzes, revealing areas where the team needs to make improvements to prepare for a run at the divisional title. "We're chipping away, it's a quiz. We're going to study and work hard and be ready to go come Saturday... We're getting ready for the final in March, get the 'W' when it counts."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 01:08
According to Head Coach Dave Gingrich, "For all the swimmers attending this meet it was a fun day of swimming that was well rewarded." Over the next few weeks, The Wavemakers will host their first home meet of the season on Feb. 2nd at Laconia Athletic and Swim Club, and then will gear up for the New England Regional Meet back in White River Junction. This season the Wavemakers are fortunate enough to more than three-fourths of the team qualifying for events at the Regionals.
For more information on the Lakes Region Wavemakers and the 4 week WAVE swim clinic planned for April, visit www.lakesregionwavemakers.com.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 01:12
Earning points for the LHS girls' team was Susan Ross, who finished in 27th place, and Erin Cashman, who finished 30th among the field of 40 skiers.
Sean Cashman, who finished in 11th place out of 36 skiers, was the fastest among LHS boys. Trevor Weeks (17), Griffen Nyhan (25) and Cody Yale (26) also earned points for Laconia. Matt Westcott also skied, earning a 31st place finish.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 01:09
The team is coming off the bowling match against the faculty of LHS last Thursday. Out of the 20 standard games bowled the team beat the faculty in 12. In the Baker format the top five students and faculty faced off in best two out of three games. The faculty won the first games 132 to 109. The students won the next two games 110 to 96 and 129 to 105. Other students against faculty won their Baker match in two straight games. 107 to 84 and 112 to 101. The LHS bowling team wants to thank the teachers that came to support the team. Laconia will be back down in Merrimack Ten Pin on Saturday to face Merrimack and Souhegan. Laconia then wraps up the regular season on February 9 at Maple Lanes in Claremont.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 01:08
- Lac-Winnisquam hockey earns 2nd win of season
- Ice racing season opens in Moultonborough
- GHS girls' basketball tops Inter-Lakes
- Belmont-Gilford hockey team eager for Saturday's re-match v. Berlin
- Gilford girls' basketball earns win over Farmington
- Laconia-Winnisquam hockey team suffers 13-1 loss to Berlin