B-G senior forward Andrew D'Amour is one of the top returning players for the Bulldogs this season. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 15, 2014LACONIA – It's been a long offseason for the Belmont-Gilford hockey team.
After staging a furious comeback to win their Division III quarterfinal in overtime, the Bulldogs ran into a Souhegan team in the semifinals that put it all together. The Sabers thumped B-G, 7-1, knocking the squad out of the playoffs and ending their season with a 16-4 record.
"The way we went out, no one was happy with the way that happened," said B-G head coach Jay Londer. "A couple of bad bounces early, then we took some bad penalties. We ran into a highly-skilled Souhegan team and they were definitely on that night. They took it to us."
Fast-forward a year and despite losing several key contributors, the Bulldogs have loads of talent to take into the season, which was scheduled to open on Dec. 17 against rival Laconia-Winnisquam.
Londer will likely send out a top line of senior Andrew D'Amour, junior Caleb Drouin and freshman Miles DeFosses. D'Amour and Drouin enter the season as two of the top forwards in Division III, and DeFosses should slide right in to provide a young spark.
"D'Amour and Drouin, those are definitely two of the top players in our league," Londer explained. "Those two guys play great together and I'd put their line up against any in the league. D'Amour played split juniors this year so he's ready to show what he can do and make a statement. Drouin is going to be really tough to handle. He's a big, tough, physical presence with a great shot."
Junior Dylan Treamer will center the B-G second line, with Christian Karagianis on his left and freshman Hunter Dupuis on the right. Treamer had a breakout sophomore season and should fill the scoresheet this winter, while Karagianis worked hard in the offseason in preparation for a big year.
"Treamer looks really good with Karagianis, who has put in a lot of time in the offseason working on his hands," Londer said. "(Karagianis is) going to be a key player. Add in Dupuis and I feel good about that line."
The Bulldogs' third line will be anchored by senior Jamie Gill in the middle, with Ethan Becker on the right and freshman Harrison Parent on the left. Gill and Becker have been steady figures for B-G entering this season while Parent gives the 'Dogs another young talent to mix into the lineup.
The defense will look to replace the production of a pair of departed starters, as Will Mahoney graduated and Daryll Cahill moved on to play for the Junior Bruins. Leading that blue line charge is senior Brogan Hurst, who was a Division III First-Team All-State pick as a junior last year.
"He played split juniors like D'Amour so he's another guy coming in looking to make a statement," said Londer of Hurst.
Hurst will likely team with sophomore James Buckley at the top of the defensive pairings, while seniors Nikolai Fernandez and Powell Wilson are penciled in right behind them. Freshman Owen Ramsey shows promise as the team's fifth defenseman, while sophomore Chaz Hacking is someone Londer said will improve throughout the course of the season.
The goalkeeper situation will also see change, as Calvin Davis graduated after two years as the starter. Sophomore Bailey Defosie takes over between the pipes after seeing some action last year in spot duty, and Londer said he likes what his new keeper brings to the table.
"He's a gamer," lauded Londer. "He just gets it done. He has that confidence now that comes with being the number one and he just stops the puck."
Freshman Cody Hodgins will back up Defosie in the goal.
B-G was slated to scrimmage Kingswood and Dover before the season began, adding a trip to Kennett for its jamboree last weekend. Londer said he expects the usual suspects like Souhegan, John Stark and Kennett atop the Division III standings this winter.
"It's going to be a toss up once again," he said.