Tourney upsets always lurking

Time to try to help you through these sudden frigid temperatures with a few tids and bits:

Tonight the Bishop Guertin High School girls basketball team begins its quest to successfully defend its Division I state title.

It’s great that the Cardinals’ first tourney game will be against city rival Nashua North. The Titans played two-and-a-half great quarters against Guertin just 10 nights ago before the Cards turned it on en route to a 58-34 win. A rematch is fitting.

As North coach Christina Collins said the other night, “Anyone’s beatable.”

Is this Guertin team? Bedford did it earlier in the year, but this Cardinal team may be one of the deepest girls teams we’ve seen around here in some time. Guertin’s second-leading scorer is a freshman, Erin Carney, and and they play 10 players frequently, sometimes more. And we’re not just talking about when the games are out of hand.

Bedford, favorites to face BG in the finals yet again, beat the Cards back in December, but the school of thought is that’s when they were still getting their combinations and roles set.

We’ll see, that’s why they play the games, and Collins’ words should always be kept in mind. You can bet the area’s other top team, Alvirne, sees those words in two ways, as both a favorite in Saturday’s home quarterfinal against Dover and a potential semifinal underdog with BG if both get there.

And don’t count out Merrimack at Pinkerton. Will there be any upsets? Stay tuned.

Congrats to the Nashua Silver Knights for winning the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award last month. The team issued a classy statement of thanks on its website, thanking the city, owner Drew Weber, the coaching staff, players, etc., but most importantly the fans.

“The enthusiasm you show each and every game is appreciated more than you know,” the team said.

It’s just another example of how great a year 2016 was for the franchise, a year when it could have been hit with a lot of obstacles. And with the arrival of a new scoreboard and some other stadium improvements, 2017 is starting out pretty well, too.

— In a lot of ways, you can’t blame coach Kelli Braley and the Souhegan High School girls hockey team for being a little, shall we say annoyed, at not qualifying for the girls high school hockey tournament while Keene did. The Blackbirds got in basically by playing four fewer games, finsihing 5-9, with less points (24-20) but a better rating (1.42 to 1.33), all while losing 8-1 to the Sabers in the final week. Souhegan finished 6-12 so when you divide their 24 points (four for a win) by 18 games they come out with a lower rating.

That’s one side of the argument. The other is the fact the Sabers lost two key games in a busy five-game final week, the first being a crucial home game to a very beatable Lebanon-Stevens team,4-1, and the other being a 5-1 loss in the final game at Berlin-Gorham. Either one of those would have gotten them in, but the killer was that Monday loss. In other words,it was in their hands.

That being said, the NHIAA should make it more uniform, say 16 games be the minimum. Guertin played just 16 (9-7) and ConVal-Conant was the other with 14 (1-13).

-One thing that fell under the radar this winter was the success of some Nashua Police Athletic League (PAL) boxers in the annual Central New England Golden Gloves Championships at the Lowell Auditorium.

Joseph Valdes, who hails from West Roxbury, Mass.but fights for the Nashua PAL squad won the 123-pound Novice title. Reaching the finals also were Hollis fighter Christian Moura and Nashua’s Mike Fontanez. Reaching the semis last month were Nashua’s Matt Fontanez and Xifaris.

Great to have local boxers do well; we’d love to see boxing make a big comeback in general as a sport.

— Well, the Boston Bruins are proving a lot of the Claude Julien supporters, including yours truly, wrong. The record is now 7-2 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, and it’s clear it’s not just the usual new coach syndrome, as their more wide open style is suiting their younger players much better.

Lots of time left, but suddenly the Bruins are clearly looking like a team no one would want to play if they make the playoffs, but beware of the open style come April. Those teams often get eliminated early.

— The Southern New Hampshire University Field hHuse is certainly a busy place these days with all the high school tournaments, but its biggest event may be Sunday when the Penmen get to use their home floor against local rival Saint Anselm in the 1 p.m. Northeast-10 men’s basketball conference final. Locally, it’ll be one of the final looks at Amherst’s Devin Gilligan, the NE-10 Player of the Year. Should be a good take.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, tking@nashuatelegraph.com., or @Telegraph_TomK.