Belmont-Gilford goalkeeper Calvin Davis snags one of his 31 saves in the Bulldogs' 4-2 win over Souhegan at Laconia Ice Arena on Saturday. Third-seeded B-G will open the postseason this Saturday against Kennett. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
March 02, 2014LACONIA – Technically, nothing was at stake when the Belmont-Gilford hockey team entertained top-ranked Souhegan in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon.
Trying telling that to the Bulldogs.
B-G scored all four of its goals in the second period, making the most of just 11 shots on net to earn an impressive 4-2 victory over the Sabers on Senior Day at Laconia Ice Arena.
"We've got five guys down with some key injuries so we were looking to learn something today," began B-G head coach Jay Londer. "We were looking to get some younger guys in there, that was our goal. We're trying to find out who we can rely on in the playoffs and we found some kids who showed character."
Despite the result, both teams had already clinched postseason positions. The Bulldogs (15-3) were slotted as the third seed in Division III regardless of the result, and they'll open the postseason this Saturday (March 8) when sixth-seeded Kennett (8-10) comes to town for the quarterfinals. It's a rematch of last year's quarterfinal in the same building, a game that Kennett won, 5-2. Faceoff is slated for 3:45 p.m. at Laconia Ice Arena, and the winner will move on to the Final Four.
While the Bulldogs swept both regular season meetings from the Eagles, Londer cautioned that anything can happen in the postseason.
"We still haven't won a home playoff game since I've been here," said Londer, whose team lost at home to Kennett (2013) and Pelham-Windham (2011) in its only two home playoff tilts. "I'm friends with (Kennett coach) Mike Lane and we talk quite a bit. I'm sure we won't be talking quite as much this week though."
Souhegan led 1-0 after one period, and the Sabers held a commanding lead in shots on net. But the 'Dogs cashed in on their scoring chances in the second period. Freshman Ethan Becker got things going, as he tied the game with 7:06 left in the second after poking home a loose puck on the doorstep with the assist credited to Christian Karagianis.
"We've been preaching all year, get to the net," explained Londer. "Becker was worked hard around the net and got rewarded for it."
B-G wasted little time taking a 2-1 lead, as just 15 seconds later Daryll Cahill beat Souhegan goalkeeper Connor McCall five-hole on the power play.
The Bulldogs increased the advantage to 3-1 with 2:51 left before intermission, as Cahill tipped in a perfect pass from Andrew D'Amour for the team's third goal in a 4:15 span.
While the Sabers cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal just 28 seconds later, the Bulldogs scored a back-breaker with just 16 seconds left before intermission. Will Mahoney sent a feed from behind the net to D'Amour in front, and he ripped a shot that snuck past McCall for a 4-2 advantage and another power play tally.
B-G senior goalkeeper Calvin Davis made that lead stand the rest of the way, and he finished with 31 saves (19 in the third period) as the Bulldogs kept their composure while the Sabers spent key stretches with men in the penalty box.
"We preach discipline all the time and we were able to stay disciplined today," said Londer. "I think there's no question that (Souhegan is) the best team in our division. They have a great power play. I don't think they were at their best today but they certainly didn't come here to lose."
Londer pointed to the play of freshman James Buckley on defense as another promising for the Bulldogs heading into Saturday's quarterfinal tilt. The coach is also excited about the return of defensemen Brogan Hurst and Nikolai Fernandez, who are expected to be ready to go on Saturday.