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Knight puck boys win three in a row

Kingswood bests Keene, Timberlane and Oyster River to move to .500 on the season

BRAD RILEY moves the puck around a Timberlane defenseman during action on Jan. 6 at Pop Whalen Arena. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 11, 2010
WOLFEBORO — The Kingswood hockey team opened 2010 in fine fashion.

The Knights picked up their first win on Monday, Jan. 4, then continued the week with two impressive wins to move to 3-3 on the season.

"They're starting to figure out you don't have to score 15-20 goals a game, you just have to shut the other team down," said coach Fred Antonucci.

The Knights got a little revenge on Saturday, Jan. 9, as they traveled to Durham to take on the Oyster River Bobcats at UNH's Whittemore Center.

As the two teams headed toward overtime, Antonucci was concerned that the larger, Olympic-sized ice would be a disadvantage to his squad, which has a short bench, meaning the veteran coach only rolls three lines and two sets of defensemen.

"That big ice, with only three lines, I kept telling them short shifts because we might lose our legs," Antonucci said. "I really thought overtime would be a disadvantage to us."

However, with just 1:18 remaining in the extra frame, Alex Boucher punched home the winning goal on an assist from Wyatt French and the Knights had a 2-1 victory, their second win by that score in four days.

"They played well, especially where we played them before and they pounded us," Antonucci noted.

Brad Riley got the Knights on the board first, netting his second goal in two games. Colin Piper got the assist on the power play tally in the second period.

However, Oyster River came back and finally solved Matt Boucher, putting a power play goal by the Kingswood keeper in the third period, forcing the extra frame.

Matt Boucher had 24 saves on the night and has allowed only two goals in 2010.

"(Matt) Boucher started it with the zero (against Keene Jan. 4), then one and one (Timberlane and Oyster River), just two goals in three games," said Antonucci. "But it's a team effort."

The Knights welcomed the defending Division II champions from Timberlane to the Pop Whalen Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 6, and put on a show for the hometown fans, picking up a hard-fought 2-1 win that went in the books as one of the team's best game of the season to that point.

"I think that's the best game all year, except maybe the St. Thomas game (in the Exeter tournament)," said Antonucci. "That team is no slouch."

The two teams played to a scoreless first period, with both sides having chances but neither team able to get on the board.

Matt Boucher was tested early in the contest, but he steered away all Owl shots and eventually the offense began to move the puck down the ice, with Adam Foss, Sam Hart and Riley getting chances on a Kingswood power play less than five minutes into the game.

After the power play, the Knights continued to work the offense well, with Alex Boucher just missing connections on a centering pass and defensemen Wyatt French and Andy Hamill firing shots on net that were turned away. Alex Boucher had a shot turned away and Foss put one off the post.

The Knights took their first penalty of the game with 5:47 to play in the first period and Matt Boucher made a save early in the shorthanded situation, while Foss made a scoring bid, only to be denied by the Owl goalie. Another Matt Boucher save helped kill off the power play and the Kingswood defense offered the keeper a bit of a hand, clearing away a loose puck that was tantalizingly close to an open net.

Piper had a couple of bids stoned in the final minutes of the period and the teams headed to the first intermission with no score.

Timberlane had a couple of good scoring chances early in the second period, but those chances found their way into the Knight keeper as opposed to the net.

Hamill hit the post on a shot from the blue line, but the Knight offense finally broke through with 12:24 to play in the period.

Riley brought the puck down the boards and stuffed it in the net, with an assist on a nice pass from Jake Vontz, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Foss and Hart tried to double that lead moments later, but they were both turned away at the goal line. French, Alex Boucher and Foss continued to pressure the net, but the Owl keeper held strong.

Matt Boucher continued to do his part, as he turned away a couple of great scoring bids from the Owls.

The Knights got a power play chance with 5:37 to play in the period and French had a couple of scoring bids saved before the penalty was killed off.

French and Nick Moore also contributed solid defensive plays to help out the Knight keeper. Piper and Foss had shots turned away, but with 15.1 seconds left in the period, the Knights were hit with a penalty, meaning they'd start the third with a 1-0 lead, but were a man down.

Matt Boucher made a save to help kill off the power play to start the third and got some more solid help from his defense as Timberlane tried to control the offensive flow. The Kingswood defense continually cleared the puck from the zone and kept the Owls from generating any scoring bids.

However, with 8:30 to play, Alex Lapar broke loose and put a shot on net that was turned away. However, the Knight center pounced on the rebound and put the puck off the far post and into the net for a 2-0 Kingswood lead. Foss and Mike Burns picked up the assists.

Hart and Kienan Miller had shots for Kingswood as the hosts tried to extend the lead, but it was the Owls who found the net next, as they scored off a rebound with 5:48 to play in the game to cut the lead to 2-1.

The visitors continued to pressure in the offensive zone and pulled the goalie with 1:15 on the clock in an attempt to stuff home the tying goal. However, Matt Boucher stayed strong and shut down the attempts and the Knights celebrated the 2-1 win.

"I thought they played much better than the other night (against Keene)," Antonucci said. "They had to play harder, faster and smarter, which they did.

"The whole team played well," the veteran coach continued. "And the thing I like, the mistakes are cut way back. We used to make so many mistakes that we'd hurt ourselves. Now we make one or two a period, not one or two a shift."

Antonucci's troops got their first win of the season on Monday, Jan. 4, besting Keene by a 7-0 score in a makeup game at Pop Whalen Arena.

In that contest, Foss netted two goals, including one shorthanded. Hart, CJ Sirrell, French, Piper and Alex Boucher also scored, while Lapar, Burns, Foss and Alex Boucher each had an assist and French had two helpers.

The Knights will be in action on Saturday, Jan. 16, when they head to Dover for a 6:30 p.m. game.

Klumb Environmenta;
Varney Smith
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