MAIL junior Chris Brown had two big goals as the Renegades knocked off B-G, 5-4, at Laconia Ice Arena on Dec. 21. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 26, 2011LACONIA – The Moultonboro Academy/Inter-Lakes hockey team got that marquee win its been looking for over the last couple years on Dec. 21, as the Renegades got a goal from junior Chris Brown with 5:19 left in the third period to earn a hard-fought 5-4 win over Belmont-Gilford in Division III action at Laconia Ice Arena.
"(Belmont-Gilford) is a team that all the boys know each other from coming through the youth systems together," said MAIL head coach Kevin Campbell. "So a win like this is going to build a ton of morale for us and hopefully we can continue that the rest of the season."
With the teams tied 4-4 and the stakes growing with each passing second in the third period, B-G (1-2) took a penalty with just under six minutes to play. MAIL (2-1) had possession on the delayed call however, and worked the puck into the Bulldogs zone, allowing goalkeeper Connor O'Neil to get off the ice for an extra skater. The Renegades worked the puck around, eventually finding Brown on the left side, and he buried a slapshot from just inside the blue line for the eventual game-winner with 5:19 left and the 5-4 advantage.
"(Brown's) slapshots have been getting stronger and stronger and he did a good job keeping that one down and low," said Campbell of the game-winner.
It was a game full of momentum shifts, as B-G got on the board first when Jeremy D'Amour buried a wrist shot from just outside the circle with 6:38 left in the first period for the 1-0 lead.
That lead looked like it had a chance to grow, as the Bulldogs had a 5-on-3 power play with 4:55 left in the opening frame. But a tough penalty kill from MAIL allowed the team to escape without yielding a goal.
Just over a minute after the penalties expired, the Renegades tied things up, as a scramble in front of B-G goalie Alex Conway saw MAIL junior Tim Casey slide a short pass across the crease to Simon Campbell, and he buried it into the open net to even the score at 1-1 with 1:44 left.
While things appeared to be headed into intermission all tied up, a last-second blast from inside the blue line by Brown was tipped in front by Renegades forward Chris Ingham, beating Conway with just 4.8 seconds left in the period to give MAIL a 2-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
"It's a backbreaker whenever they score with only a couple seconds left," said B-G head coach Jay Londer. "That's when momentum starts to shift and we can't let that happen."
MAIL killed off another 5-on-3 early in the second period, paving the way for another strike late in the frame. Brown unleashed another bomb from the point, and his slapper found the back of the net for a 3-1 Renegades lead with 4:57 to play.
"We've got to capitalize on those 5-on-3's," Londer stated. "We haven't had set lines really so far because of a variety of factors so guys are playing with different guys and we weren't able to get in a rhythm."
Just two minutes later, Casey cleaned up a rebound in front of Conway, as he lifted the puck over the fallen goalkeeper to extend the lead to 4-1 with 2:32 remaining.
With all the momentum seemingly on the side of the Renegades, it was B-G that responded in the final minutes of the second period, as Tom Kuntz scored with 1:44 to play and D'Amour followed just 40 seconds later to make it 4-3 MAIL heading into the third period.
With his team allowing B-G back into the game after holding the commanding 4-1 lead, Campbell didn't say much to his squad in the locker room between periods.
"I just told the guys that this is your game to lose in the third," the coach explained. "That was pretty much it, just hoping they would come out and win the game."
But it was B-G that continued its momentum into the third, as D'Amour scored his third goal of the night with 12:13 remaining. The junior's low wrist shot beat O'Neil and tied the game at 4-4.
"That kid's been a stud since his freshman year and he's really been doing it all for us so far this year," said Londer of D'Amour.
The rest of the period saw B-G pepper the MAIL net with plenty of chances, though O'Neil was up for the task. The sophomore made 39 saves on the net, quieting down the momentum and giving the Renegades a chance to pull off the win. That's what happened late, as Brown's blast sent the MAIL fans home happy with the victory.
"When you're throwing everything at them, at their net, then they come down and score that last goal…that's tough but it's part of the game," said Londer, whose team lost to MAIL for the first time in his three years coaching at B-G.
After a two-week holiday break for both teams, the squads will meet again on Jan. 4 for a rematch once again at Laconia Ice Arena. It's safe to say there will be plenty at stake the second time around.
"Usually you don't get a chance for that fourth period, but now we get a fourth, fifth and sixth period right away when we come back so we're looking forward to that," said Londer. "I'm not too worried about where we're at right now. We've got a good break and we'll refocus and hopefully be ready to go."
Campbell praised the work of his second line, as Brian Wakefield, Max Donahue and Connor Donovan had their best game of the young season, especially early on. The penalty killing trio of Simon Campbell, Casey and Sander Danielovich was also on point, as the unit did a solid job keeping B-G off the board in the pair of 5-on-3 situations.
Faceoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. when the teams meet again on Jan. 4.