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New Hampshire D2 Final Top 10: First NHIAA title worth the wait for #1 Keene

New Hampshire D2 Top 10

RankTeamPR*WLT
1Keene11711
2St. Thomas Aquinas41740
3Dover51451
4Kingswood71281
5Windham21730
6Goffstown31450
7Lebanon/Stevens61180
8Oyster River81191
9Merrimack97111
10Portsmouth/Newmarket106130

This time the State Championship did not elude No. 1 Keene as it did a year ago when the Blackbirds reached the title game only to lose their only game of the season. This time they experienced the exhilaration of winning on the biggest stage, edging St. Thomas Aquinas in OT, 3-2, for the program’s first State crown.

In the past two seasons, Keene is a remarkable 35-2-1 with the losses coming back-to-back in last year’s title loss to Bow and this year’s season opener against STA. First-year head coach Chris McIntosh, a former Keene player and assistant coach, earned D2 Coach of the Year accolades but graduates eight from this team, including All-State second team picks Tim Greenwood (F), Owen Haas (D) and Myles Ditkoff (G).

No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas also enjoyed a stellar campaign under its first-year coach Wayne Sheehan. But for a bounce here and there, it easily could have been the Saints celebrating the first State title in program history at SNHU Arena. While All-State first team selection JoJo Grella is among a small group of graduating seniors, as many as 15 players could return.

No. 3 Dover put Keene in a two-goal hole in the semifinals but the Green Wave eventually dropped a 3-2 decision. While five players graduate, including All-State pick Garrett Swan (F), up to 14 could be back for coach Mike Young.

No. 4 Kingswood emerged as the surprise of the post-season with its quarterfinal upset of Windham. It was an experienced group as coach Mike Potenza relied on a veteran group of eight seniors.

No. 5 Windham had hoped its final year in D2 would be something special. Instead the Jaguars came up empty in advance of their move up a level. All-State goalie Max Daly is one of six graduating seniors coach Shawn Dunn must replace.

 

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle joined the HNIB team in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. An award-winning veteran editor/writer of 35 years experience in the print and digital mediums, he has conceptualized, edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and their websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple NEPA and NEAP awards during his tenure as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and is a 2017 inductee into the Newburyport High School Wall of Fame. The Newburyport, MA native resides with his family in Epping, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40.
Kevin Doyle
- 5 days ago