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MAIL hockey looks to take next step

Despite low numbers, the Renegades return a talented core

Junior forward Simon Campbell will look to lead the MAIL hockey team this winter. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 12, 2011
LACONIA — It was quite an interesting season a year ago for the Moultonboro/Inter-Lakes hockey team, as the Renegades opened their season 1-8-1 before an impressive 5-3 record over their final eight games saw them move up the standings in Division III with a final 6-11-1 record. With another year of experience and some talented players returning, the hope is that MAIL can take that next step and challenge for a postseason berth this time around.

"I think last year the kids realized they can be in every game so now it's up to them," said MAIL coach Kevin Campbell. "If they can stay focused and hungry then we've got a good chance to be in the top five. That's my goal."

One thing the Renegades are going to have to contend with is a relatively small roster, as MAIL will dress just 15 players this season. That number is much lower compared with some of the other powers in the area like Belmont-Gilford, which skates three solid lines and several defensive pairings.

"We can skate with every team in the league, but the kids need to keep their stamina up because we aren't going to be as deep as some of these other teams," Campbell said.

Campbell does have the ability to put an explosive first line on the ice, as juniors Simon Campbell, Tim Casey and Brian Wakefield should be a force all season offensively. Campbell led the team in scoring last season with 30 points, while Casey was right behind with 27. The duo has been playing together since they were six years old.

"If that first line can keep their wind, we should have a pretty strong team," said Campbell. "Those two play really well together and they've been doing it for a long time so I think they'll just continue to grow."

Seniors Max Donahue and Conor Donovan should both contribute on the second line. Donahue has experience and saw quite a bit of time last winter, while Donovan, an all-state football player this fall, has never played hockey before but should be able to add some toughness to the lineup. Classmate Chris Ingham also returns up front from last year's squad.

"We got some pads for Conor and everything situated so he's good to go," said Campbell. "At our jamboree last weekend he played and looked pretty good so I'm looking forward to seeing him out there."

A pair of talented seniors paces the defensive unit, as Sander Danielovich and Duncan Richards are both back and will be counted on to carry the blue line duties along with junior Chris Brown.

"They played a lot of defense for me last year," said Campbell of the group. "And Sander probably grew about six inches from last year, he looks like Zdeno Chara out there."

Sophomore goalkeeper Connor O'Neil returns and will handle the job between the pipes. O'Neil split time last year as a freshman, though he took ownership of the job late in the season when the Renegades made their move up the standings. The sophomore recorded the team's only shutout last year in a 3-0 win over Souhegan.

"We're expecting a lot out of him," said Campbell of O'Neil. "He's more mature this year. He played a lot of games last year and he's looked good in our jamboree and practices so far so I think he's ready for a solid year."

MAIL was scheduled to open its regular season schedule Dec. 14 with an away game at Pembroke, before opening the home slate Saturday against Hollis/Brookline at Laconia Ice Arena (4 p.m.).

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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