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Potenza's pair lifts Back Bay to title

Squirt squad wins Seacoast Hockey League championship

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

THE BACK BAY squirt team celebrates its maroon division championship Sunday in Dover. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 17, 2014
DOVER — After winning the first two games of the Seacoast Hockey League tournament on the opening weekend, the Back Bay Squirt team playing in the maroon division got an automatic bid into the division finals.

Back Bay defeated Dover 5-3 in the first game on March 8 and then beat Oyster River 8-6 in a shootout on March 9 to earn the trip to the finals.

The finals took place in Dover on Sunday, March 16, and Back Bay was again matched up with Dover in what would turn out to be another thriller on the ice.

The two teams battled through a scoreless first period, with Back Bay keeper Asa Guldbrandsen holding down the fort for the full 12 minutes.

The Back Bay offense finally got on the board in the second period, though it only took 25 seconds of that frame in order to get on the board.

Nick Potenza fired home a shot with an assist from Riley Smith early in the period to get Back Bay the game's first goal and the first lead of the game.

TJ O'Keefe, Potenza, Jack Thompson and Bailey Savage all had good looks in the offensive zone for Back Bay and Shaw Swinerton just missed connecting on a rebound of Savage's shot as the Back Bay kids charged into the offensive zone looking to up the lead.

Tessa Demain and Thompson got in close on a rebound of a Potenza scoring bid, but they weren't able to get the puck in the net. Will Danais also had a scoring bid but couldn't connect.

O'Keefe made a nice defensive play for Back Bay and Dover sent another scoring chance through the crease. Potenza had a bid stopped and with 2:08 to go, Back Bay took a penalty.

Swinerton and Cody Emerson did a nice job locking down the defense on the penalty kill and Guldbrandsen made a nice save to help kill off the penalty and close out the period with Back Bay clinging to the 1-0 lead.

Guldbrandsen was tested right out of the gate in the third period and he came up with a big save and Savage helped out with strong defense as well.

However, just less than two minutes into the period, Dover was able to tie the game at one.

Dover continued to pressure, forcing Back Bay into a defensive game and Emerson responded with solid play in the defensive zone.

Back Bay got a power play chance with seven minutes to play, but it was Dover getting the early chances, as they had a few shorthanded bids. Guldbrandsen turned a couple away and Savage was also solid on defense.

Potenza had a couple shots go wide of the net and Dover did the same and as the clock ticked under a minute, it looked like overtime was in the cards for the two squads.

However, Potenza was able to take the puck down the boards and into the offensive zone. Thompson got a good look at the net, but his shot was saved. However, Potenza was there for the rebound and poked it home for the 2-1 lead with 58 seconds to go.

Back Bay then did a nice job clearing out the zone as Dover pressured for the tying goal and finished off the day celebrating with the championship plaque.

The Back Bay roster includes Will Danais, Tessa Demain, Cody Emerson, Asa Guldbrandsen, TJ O'Keefe, Nick Potenza, Bailey Savage, Riley Smith, Shaw Swinterton and Jack Thompson. The team is coached by Mike Danais, Greg Bowen, Tim O'Keefe and Charles Smith Jr.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com

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