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Looking back at B-G's semifinal run

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

B-Gs Jeremy DAmour became the first player in program history to reach 100 points when he scored against Kearsarge earlier this season at Laconia Ice Arena. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
March 26, 2012
LACONIA — It was quite the season for the Belmont-Gilford hockey team, as the Bulldogs got hot at the right time, advancing all the way to the Division III semifinals. The way things started at the beginning of the season, reaching the Final Four was even more impressive. B-G opened with a crushing loss on the road at John Stark, and dropped a 5-4 game to Moultonboro/Inter-Lakes just before the holiday break to enter 2012 with a 1-2 record.

Something happened once the 'Dogs settled in however, and the team rallied around each other to put together an impressive run. B-G ended the year 9-5 after the 1-2 start, but even more importantly, four of its five losses came by just a single goal to the top teams in Division III. That gave coach Jay Londer's team confidence they could play with anybody come playoff time, and when B-G was seeded sixth in the postseason, they got a chance to avenge one of those losses to third-seeded Pelham-Windham. Behind four goals from stud forward Jeremy D'Amour, including the game-winner in OT, the Bulldogs earned a memorable 7-6 victory to advance to the semis and a date with Alvirne.

B-G again came from behind again the Broncos, forcing overtime for a second consecutive game after trailing 2-0. But a shot from the blue line found its way into the B-G net less than two minutes into the extra frame, and the squad saw its season come to a tough ending.

It was the second semifinal appearance in three years for the program, with both semifinal squads winning a road quarterfinal game to get to Concord's Everett Arena. In last year's home quarterfinal against Pelham-Windham, B-G dropped a disappointing contest to see its season end prematurely. The team wasn't about to let that happen again this year.

While there was much to discuss regarding the 2011-2012 B-G hockey season, here are some of the highlights from an 11-8 season that saw the squad finish one game from a state championship appearance for the first time in its history.

D'Amour tops 100 points

It was fitting that the junior Belmont forward was the first player in B-G program history to reach the 100-point club, as he scored in bunches all season long for the Bulldogs.

D'Amour recorded five points against Kearsarge on Feb. 15 in a 9-2 win at Laconia Ice Arena to accomplish the feat, with point number 100 coming on a goal. He would follow that up with four goals and an assist in the quarterfinal win against Pelham-Windham and two more goals in the semifinal for a whopping six goals in two postseason games.

Next year as a senior, D'Amour will look to add to his total and hopefully set a point record that will stand for a long time.

Winning streak saved the season

Struggling early in the season with a 2-3 record, B-G needed something in a hurry to turn its season around. How about a five-game winning streak?

B-G picked up wins over Pembroke-Campbell, Manchester West, Somersworth, Laconia and Souhegan to suddenly stand at 7-3 and near the top of the D-III standings.

Kennett loss taught a lesson

In front of a huge crowd at Laconia Ice Arena on Feb. 1, B-G had its sights set on knocking off unbeaten and eventual state champion Kennett. The Bulldogs got off to a great start, leading after the first period, but the visitors showed why they would go on to win it all with a huge third period to pull away for an 11-6 victory.

After the game, Londer talked about how his team can see where the top of the mountain is with Kennett, and they need to start playing better if they want to match up with the best of the best.

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