B-G’s Andrew D’Amour tries to grab possession of the puck during his team’s 5-0 win over Moultonborough/Inter-Lakes at Laconia Ice Arena on Jan. 12. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 14, 2013LACONIA – The parking lot told the story before the game.
Spots were nearly impossible to come by prior to the Belmont-Gilford and Moultonborough/Inter-Lakes hockey game at Laconia Ice Arena on Jan. 12, and the stands were jam packed with fans for both teams. With a lot riding on the first of two annual meetings between the local teams, anticipation was high for a Saturday night faceoff.
B-G proved to be most ready for the limelight however, as the Bulldogs won the battle of LIA, 5-0, in a Division III contest.
"This was the battle for our home rink," said B-G coach Jay Londer, whose team shares the building with MAIL. "Moultonborough has the best team they've had in awhile. They've got guys that can fill the net. So if you asked me would we shut their two scorers (Tim Casey and Simon Campbell) down, I would've said absolutely not."
While the Renegades (4-3) entered the game on a roll, having won four in a row including a victory over defending state champion Kennett, they couldn't get much going offensively against B-G (6-2). Bulldogs goalkeeper Calvin Davis made 25 saves on the night, as MAIL struggled to keep possession in the offensive zone.
"I'm not disappointed. (B-G) just played better tonight in my mind," said MAIL coach Kevin Campbell. "They back checked us the whole game and knocked the puck off our sticks many times. But the guys are already shaking it off. We know how they beat us and we know what we need to work on."
The Bulldogs led 2-0 after one period on goals from Brogan Hurst and Max Desmarais, but the Renegades began to find their rhythm a bit in the second period. Cody Burns nearly cut into the deficit with 3:40 left in the frame, but his shot off a feed from Casey missed just wide.
MAIL keeper Connor O'Neil kept his side within striking distance thanks to a breakaway save on B-G's Brandon Heimlich just minutes later, and the Renegades saw Chris Brown put a slapshot on net that also nearly cut the lead in half.
But the Bulldogs were able to score the backbreaker with 1:32 left before intermission. Defenseman Will Mahoney put a low shot through traffic from the point, and it managed to get through O'Neil's legs for a momentum-shifting goal that gave B-G a commanding 3-0 lead.
"We bared down in the second and third periods and were able to make the lead stand up," said Londer.
The 'Dogs put the finishing touches on the win in the third period, as senior sniper Jeremy D'Amour buried a beautiful goal from the right side and freshman Dylan Treamer tallied on a feed from D'Amour in the waning minutes for the 5-0 final.
"We had our chances but hats off to (B-G), it was a good win for them," said Campbell.
B-G did a solid job defending Casey, MAIL's leading scorer who entered the game with 99 career points. The Bulldogs made sure the senior forward would have to wait at least one more game to reach the 100-point plateau.
"They were on Timmy all game, had two guys on him a lot of the time," Campbell said. "It's tough to play a team that knows him very well. They know what our guys are capable of."
Londer admitted his team is fully aware of the offensive prowess of Casey and Simon Campbell.
"The kids on these two teams all know each other," the B-G coach said. "We know Timmy and Simon are the guys to stop. Our guys look around and try to find them when they're on the ice."
O'Neil made 38 saves in a busy outing in the MAIL crease, as B-G held a 43-25 advantage in shots.
The atmosphere impressed both teams, as the student bodies from four different schools (Belmont, Gilford, Moultonborough Academy, Inter-Lakes) showed up early to pack the stands at LIA.
"It's an 8:15 start on a Saturday night," began Londer. "Everyone's here. We knew that would happen and it was nice for the kids to get that kind of support. It's great we got the win and it's a bonus that we were able to keep (MAIL) off the board."
The teams meet one more time during the regular season, with a Feb. 20 meeting at LIA scheduled for 4:40 p.m.