B-G’s Daryll Cahill gets to a loose puck in his own zone during the Bulldogs’ 6-4 win over Hollis-Brookline at Laconia Ice Arena on Dec. 12. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 17, 2012LACONIA – Just one shift into the game, Will Mahoney was in a world of pain.
But when things mattered most, Mahoney was the one stinging his opponents.
The Belmont-Gilford defenseman scored the game-winning goal with 12:55 left in the third period after suffering a shoulder injury just seconds into the contest on Dec. 12. The Bulldogs added an empty-netter to open their 2012 season with a 6-4 victory over Hollis-Brookline in Division III hockey action at Laconia Ice Arena.
"That kid's an animal," said B-G senior Jeremy D'Amour of Mahoney. "I heard he got hurt in the first period but he just kept fighting through it. He's a huge part of our team so for him to get the game-winning goal after that happened was ridiculous. I was happy for him."
It was a wild opening night for the Bulldogs, as the squad fought through an abundance of penalties, especially early on.
Hollis-Brookline had three power play opportunities in the first 5:38 alone, including a 5-on-3 that saw the Cavaliers score the game's first goal with 9:15 remaining. Cam Ricard got the opening strike for the visitors, as he redirected a shot from the blue line for a 1-0 advantage.
"We've got to be more disciplined, it's as simple as that," said B-G head coach Jay Londer of the early penalty issues. "We have some guys that come out a little too wild in the beginning of the game so we need to control our energy a bit."
The early-going had the look and feel of B-G's season opener last year, when the Bulldogs committed 10 penalties and had two players ejected in a 7-4 loss to John Stark.
"Coach has been telling us we need to keep our penalties down," explained D'Amour. "We play our best hockey 5-on-5."
This time around however, B-G settled in and responded right away. D'Amour tied the game off an assist from Caleb Drouin with a rifle from the point through traffic with 6:38 left in the first. He scored his second of the night just 2:38 later, as his shot from just inside the blue line found the back of the net for a power play goal that made it 2-1 B-G.
"It's a challenge having to overcome that many early penalties but we just have to rise up and keep skating," D'Amour said.
Drouin scored for the Bulldogs with 2:32 left in the first period when he deflected in a shot from D'Amour after a great crossing pass from Daryll Cahill, but the Cavaliers scored twice the rest of the opening stanza and the teams went to the dressing room tied at 3-3.
H-B took a 4-3 lead just 48 seconds into the second period when Kyle Stephens beat B-G goalkeeper Calvin Davis.
But Tom Kuntz tallied the equalizer for the 'Dogs with 2:20 remaining in the period thanks to assists from Christian Karagianis and Dylan Treamer, and the teams entering the third frame tied yet again at 4-4.
"It was a pretty crazy game," admitted D'Amour, "back and forth for pretty much the whole night."
With the B-G defense tightening in the third, it was Mahoney who got the game-winner with 12:55 left. The junior blasted a one-timer into the back of the net from distance, putting the hosts ahead 5-4 in the process.
D'Amour added an empty-netter to finish off his hat trick with just 35 seconds to play, with the assist going to Kuntz.
To start the year with a 'W' is obviously great," said D'Amour. "It's a confidence boost for us but we need to work on cutting down the penalties."
In addition to the play of Mahoney, Londer also lauded the performance of Brandon Heimlich, who had a strong game up front for B-G.