Nashua North fends off Souhegan
NASHUA – Yes, the games in the ninth annual Conway Arena Hockey Tournament don’t count in the standings.
But don’t tell Nashua High School North players like freshman Joe Paige and goaltenders Jake Genest and Sean Chipman that they don’t mean anything.
Paige scored on a breakaway, fed perfectly by his junior brother Tim, at 2:31 of sudden death overtime on Friday as the Titans won their opening tourney game, 5-4, over a very tough Souhegan squad that rallied from 4-1 down in the third period.
In Friday’s other games, Alvirne topped Nashua South 6-4 for its first win of the season and Bishop Brady survived a 33-15 shot differential to beat Coventry, R.I., 2-1.
As for Chipman, he played his first game ever in goal and made 16 saves, but when things got tight late, Titans coach Dan Legro inserted the senior Genest, who made three clutch saves at the end of regulation and one more in overtime. North is now 4-0, and you can tell they want to keep that goose egg in the right hand column.
“We got the job done,” said Legro, whose team can reach the finals if it beats Bishop Brady on Saturday. “We seem to want to win right now.”
If there was any downside on North’s part, it was that they gave up a decent lead late. North led 2-1 going into the final period on a first-period power play goal by Liam Connors and a goal early in the second by Jake Latham.
Paige and Latham scored 22 seconds apart early in the third and it looked like North would cruise.
But Souhegan, which had only managed a late second period unassisted goal by Alex Medic, came alive. Mike Hayden scored the first of his two goals, unassisted, at 4:35. Joe Nutting cut it to 4-3 with a power play goal at 11:45. Hayden, in a 4-on-4 situation tied it 48 seconds later with a slap shot from the point. That’s when Genest was inserted.
“Once it was tied up, we just felt we’d put our regular goalie in,” Legro said.
There wasn’t too much lingering disappointment on the part of the high-flying Sabers (2-1 overall), who scored 11 goals in their last regular season game a week ago. Saber netminder Connor McCall stopped 20 shots, while Jon Searles had two assists for North.
“The kids came to play,” Sabers coach Dan Belliveau said. “They wanted to prove we could play with a good hockey club. But the main point was to get a lot of kids out there and have some fun with it. … The kids to their credit played hard, and our power play was working really well.”
Alvirne 6, South 4
Alvirne, which got two goals and an assist from Trevor Perron, has a chance to make the finals if it beats Souhegan on Saturday. The Broncos jumped on South 3-0 in the first period on goals by Cam Blake, Perron, and Brad Brock before South tied it with scores by Brandon Rand (7:50 of the first), Alkim Dato and Jacob Galgay (both unassisted, 3:32 and 6:09 of the second respectively).
But, at 3-3, the Broncos (1-2 overall) scored three unanswered to finish the period (Mike Silva at 6:56, Devin Ferguson on the power play at 8:59 and Perron at 13:08) to take control at 6-3 after two. South (0-2-1), missing a few forwards due to injury and illness, got an unassisted goal from Arya Saliany in the third but it wasn’t enough.
Bronco goalie Cam Richall made 18 saves, while Alexander Lake and Alissa Bennett combined for 19 saves for South.
“Once we got that fourth goal, we turned a different gear on,” Broncos coach Brian Gould said. “Mentally, for them to pick back up again was good to see.”
“We wanted everyone to see the ice,” South coach Eric Momnie said. “We started out real slow. Christmas hangover, I guess.”
Bishop Brady 2, Coventry (R.I.) 1
Brady (1-2 overall), down 1-0 in the first period, tied it up at 4:45 of the period on a goal by Brandon Starkweather and got the game-winner at 8:29 of the second on a goal by Parker Guimond, assisted by Rich Rosato and Starkweather.
Coventry’s goal was by Jacob Anderson, assisted by Robert Beaudoin. Brady goalie Chandler Peterson made 32 saves, while Coventry goalie Vicent Zanella had 13.
Nashua South opens things up vs. Conventry at 1 p.m., followed by Nashua North vs. Bishop Brady at 3:10 and Souhegan vs. Alvirne at 5:20. The teams with the two best overall records at the end of Saturday will face off in the finals Monday at 12:40 p.m.
Tiebreakers for records (there could be four 1-1 teams) go from head to head, goal differential, least goals allowed, and finally, if those other three don’t work, least penalty minutes.