B-G freshman Brogan Hurst readies for a shot during the Bulldogs’ 7-1 win over MAIL on Jan. 4. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
January 09, 2012LACONIA – Suffice it to say the Belmont-Gilford hockey team was fired up on Jan. 4, as the Bulldogs exacted a bit of revenge on rival Moultonboro Academy/Inter-Lakes with a 7-1 win at Laconia Ice Arena. The victory came exactly two weeks after a disappointing 5-4 loss to MAIL.
"It's always fun playing against them," B-G junior forward Jeremy D'Amour said of the Renegades. "I grew up playing with a bunch of those kids and they're good players."
With two weeks to stew over the holiday break after the loss on Dec. 21, B-G was looking forward to the chance to get back out on the ice, and the fact that the schedule-makers had MAIL as the first opponent of the new year made for an even more charged arena.
"We got that fourth, fifth and sixth periods back that we wanted right after the last game," said B-G coach Jay Londer. "I'm from Philly so I compare it to the NFC East a little bit in that games like these are for bragging rights. It doesn't matter what your record is, we've got a good rivalry in our own barn with (MAIL) and it's fun every time we can go out there and play with them."
The Bulldogs struck first in the opening period, as a Mike Lembo shot from the point was turned aside by MAIL goalkeeper Connor O'Neil. But Steven Hickey pounced on the rebound, backhanding it up high to put B-G ahead 1-0 with 12:34 left in the first.
But the Renegades responded just 1:19 later, as Tim Casey's shot missed wide, but the puck eventually found its way onto the stick of Chris Ingham, and he poked it home to even things at 1-1 with 11:15 remaining. Both teams would survive penalties and the score remained 1-1 at the first intermission.
"We skated with them in that first period," said MAIL coach Kevin Campbell. "We had some really good chances early but (B-G goalkeeper Alex) Conway made some big saves. We've got to take advantage of those opportunities, especially in a game like this."
B-G took off from there, as D'Amour scored just 2:36 into the second period to give the 'Dogs the lead for good at 2-1. Ryan Davis followed just 20 seconds later on a nice feed from Hickey and B-G took a 3-1 lead into the third period.
"(MAIL's) got a great team, a great coach…they've got limited numbers but (Campbell) gets the best out of them," said Londer. "They've got kids that can bury the puck in a hurry so the momentum can shift so fast. That's why we had to keep attacking in the third."
The third period saw the Bulldogs light the lamp four times, as Tevin Mitchell, Lembo, D'Amour (again) and Powell Wilson all found the back of the net to cap off a 7-1 victory.
"I think we lost our wind in the third and (B-G) capitalized," said Campbell. "Once we got behind, the guys got a little discouraged and there were a lot of loose pucks that we got beat on. We'll keep working on endurance but I was happy with the way we played overall."
Londer was pleased with how his team finished in certain situations, though he knows there are still plenty areas for improvement.
"We scored a lot of hard-working goals, the muck and grind kind where we went hard to the net," the coach said. "We needed this win to build some confidence going into the rest of the season so I think that's a good step for us."
Wilson's goal capped off the scoring with 25 seconds left, and it was a popular one with the B-G bench as it was the freshman fourth-liner's first varsity shift with line mates Brandon Sheppard and Nikolai Fernandez. Sheppard slid a pass to Wilson on a highlight-reel two-on-1, with Wilson beating O'Neil for the strike.
"That last goal was text book," said Londer. "And that fourth line…playing one shift and scoring on it, they deserved that."