North, Alvirne get final word in Conway hockey tourney

NASHUA – The Nashua High School South ice hockey team won’t be able to defend its Conway Arena Tournament title.

But the Panthers’ rivals from Nashua North may be able to get a Conway title of their own.

South was eliminated from title contention after a 4-1 loss on Saturday at the hands of Coventry, R.I., as the Panthers are 0-2 in the event. But the Titans, paced by Jake Latham’s five-point effort, stormed to a 6-0 win over Bishop Brady, landing them in Monday’s 12:40 championship game against Alvirne.

The Broncos reached the finals in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 5-3 deficit to beat Souhegan 6-5 at 4:29 of sudden death overtime on Devin Herling’s goal.

“It is a tournament we want to succeed in,” North coach Dan Legro said, his team 5-0 overall. “I feel we’re sticking together as a team. Good sign right now.”

Jake Latham had another strong day for the Titans with a two goals and three assists, opening the scoring with a goal just 2:34 into the game. The Titans outshot Brady 23-9 on the day, goalie Jake Genest earning the shutout. The teams totaled 11 penalties.

North led 2-0 after one as Jon Wilson added a goal on a pretty Latham feed. The Titans broke the game open with three goals in the second – Wilson, Dan Leblanc (power play) and Jon Searles, who had two goals and an assist in the game.

Latham added another goal at 5:51 in the third,

“Today we moved the puck around, down low a little bit,” Legro said. “Our first line had a couple of good one-two passes, and that’s what I expect from them, that’s what I want to see.”

Alvirne 6, Souhegan 5

Herling grabbed a loose puck and beat Sabers goalie Connor McCall after goals by Christian Gamst and Trevor Perron in the third period tied things at 5. Perron’s goal, his second of the game, came at 11:11 of the period. Alvirne goalie Cam Richall had 24 saves, eight in the third and OT.

“Herling’s been steady for three years now,” Broncos coach Brian Gould said. “He’s not a big goal scorer, but we’ll take it.”

“They brought their energy level up in the last period vs. ours,” Sabers coach Dan Belliveau said of the Broncos, now 2-2 overall, as is Souhegan. The Sabers have lost two OT games in the tourney.

Nutting scored two goals in the first as the Sabers led 2-1 after one, and then put in two more in the second as Souhegan led 5-3 after two. Alvirne, down 4-1 at one point, cut the deficit to 4-3 on goals by Trevor Perron (power play) and Pat DeVito, before Nutting made it 5-3 late in the period.

Coventry 4, Nashua South 1

The 0-3-1 Panthers, riddled with injuries and illness, were disappointed. Coventry’s Zach Woods scored two goals with an assist, and the Oakers (2-5 overall) scored two third period goals (Woods, Kurt Marquis) to break open at 2-1 game.

South’s Michael Kobe beat Oakers goalie Ryan Clifford (11 saves on a breakaway at 2:52 of the second period to cut a 2-0 Coventry lead in half, but that was as close as the Panthers would come. A.J. Bender stopped 23 Coventry shots.

“It’s disappointing, I wanted a chance to defend our title,” South coach Eric Momnie said. “But we’re so sick, broken.

“I just told the guys we’re going to try to get through the tournament unharmed and geared up for the regular season once we got back into it.”

South will play Souhegan in a 10:30 a.m. consolation game for fifth place on Monday, while Coventry faces Brady at 2:50 p.m. for third place.