New Hampshire D2 Tournament Preview: All eyes are on Spaulding

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards 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 a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association Division Two Boys Hockey Tournament swings into action with a pair of first-round games Wednesday night. A full quarterfinal schedule follows on Saturday.

A look at the 10-team field:

Zander Allen Spaulding
Zander Allen
Spaulding

No. 1 Spaulding (18-0-0)

There is no more potent first line in the state than the Red Raiders’ trio of Zander Allen (17-33-50), Justin Jewell (27-18-45) and Kyle Carignan (17-26-23), who collectively have taken their games to the next level this winter while accounting for nearly two-thirds of the team’s 98 goals. Nick Bennett (6-5-11) and Drew Healey (7-4-11) add to the potent mix.

But there’s a whole lot more to coach Paul George’s club than sheer firepower. There’s that trio of defensemen – two-way threat Alex Turgeon (9-9-18), Kam Kondrup (15 points) and Ashton Langis (13 points). Primary goalie Brayden McGary (1.30 gaa, .907, 4 SO) played 13 games and Ben Toussaint (1.02, 3 SO) provided stellar relief. Spaulding allowed three goals or more three times all year.

Matt Brewster Merrimack
Matt Brewster
Merrimack

No. 2 Merrimack (13-4-0)

The Tomahawks rattled off nine straight wins (six league) to open the season then rebounded from a three-game slide to close with six in a row.

Six players scored six or more goals, led by senior Assistant Captain Shane Foye (21-7-28) and sophomore John Tiano (11 goals). Junior forwards Ryan Downie, Kyle Feeney and Aaron Tupper and sophomore Owen O’Brien are key contributors. Senior captain Jason Fortin (6-10-16) leads the defense in front of outstanding senior keeper and Assistant Captain Matt Brewster (1.24, .946, 4 SO).

“If we stay defensively sound, stick to our fore-check, and stay motivated to show up to the rink each day this week and this weekend, then I suspect we will be a difficult team to compete against,” said first-year coach Matt Davis.

[one_third]
Robert Markusic Dover
Robert Markusic
Dover
[/one_third] [one_third]
Luc Ravenelle Dover
Luc Ravenelle
Dover
[/one_third] [one_third_last]
Cam Crowley Dover
Cam Crowley
Dover
[/one_third_last]

No. 3 Dover (14-4-0)

Dover’s 5-0 season-ending win against Windham elicited this from Windham coach Jerry Manchester: “Dover simply outworked us and looks to be playing excellent team hockey at the right time of the season.”

The Green Wave closed on a 7-1-0 tear, anchored by standout senior goalie Luc Ravenelle (1.63, .934, 3 SO). Senior Robert Markusic (4-17-21) is a staple in the back, joined by seniors Brad Bishop and Tim Burke and Italian exchange student Francesco Pozzi.

Dover’s offense matches Spaulding with senior Cam Crowley (28-14-42), sophomore Greg Stohrer (17-16-33) and junior Kieran Lombard (13-19-32). Senior Mitchell Welch, soph Steven Constas and freshman Eric Degregorio add depth.

No. 4 Windham (13-5-0)

After dropping three in a row, and five of eight to end the season, the Jaguars hope to regain the swagger that saw them race out to a 10-0-0 start.

Seniors Pat Higgins (11-11-22) and John Monahan (10-10-22), freshman Nolan Cunningham (10-10-20), junior Chad Desautels (9-8-17) and sophomore Tim Anderson (9-5-14) drive a balanced attack. Senior Vinny Forgione and juniors Mike Tardif, Jack Crowley and Teddy Piandes form the defense for goalie Christian Bassi.

“Spaulding looks tough to beat with their experience and powerful first unit, but looking over the win/loss results, the line ‘any given Sunday’ seems perfect for this group of playoff teams in Division Two,” said Manchester.

No. 5 Bow (11-7-0)

Never discount the Falcons, always one of the better-coached teams in the division. Despite a faltering finish that saw them drop 3-of-4, the Falcons did have winning streaks of three and four games during the course of the year. Veteran goalie Robbie Margeson will be key to the chances for coach Tim Walsh’s squad.

Ryan Damren Lebanon
Ryan Damren
Lebanon

No. 6 Lebanon (10-6-2)

The Raiders were 2-6-1 at one point, their season all but over after running the gauntlet of the division’s heavyweights. Then came that 8-0-1 closing surge.

“Our goal from the start of the season was to be playing our best hockey heading into the playoffs so we are very happy with the way we finished our season. Our players understand that it’s going to take even more hard work and determination if they want a chance at advancing in the playoffs,” said coach Gary Smith.

Forwards Nate Gariepey (8-16-24) and Ryan Damren (13-9-22) lead a balanced attack that includes defenseman Tanner Simms (16 points) and forwards Nate Damren (8-7-15) and Cal Garland (nine goals). Lead goalie Chad Fazio (2.26 .917) has been steady.

No. 7 Kingswood (10-6-2)

The Knights performed well under first-year coach Mike Potenza and their mid-February win against Windham certainly garnered a lot of attention. Seven players have scored in double figures, led by Josh Grasso (16-8-24), Andy Contrada (13-7-20), Owen Richard (18 points) and Owen Gonya (12-4-16). Tom Dougherty, Alex McKenna and Alex Siegers all logged time in goal and each posted multiple wins.

Jason Langevin Keene
Jason Langevin
Keene

No. 8 Keene (10-8-0)

The Blackbirds overcame a late four-game losing streak to win their final three contests. It is a young team, driven by sophomores Hunter Gallant (12-17-29), Nathaniel Darwin (8-19-27) and Jason Langevin (12-15-27) and freshman Owen Haas (16 points). Senior captain Collin Stroshine leads the defense and captain Peter Brown (1.69, .924, 2 SO) has been strong in net.

“Coach (Kyle) Macie and I are confident in our team and its ability to play with anyone in the state right now. Although we solidified our spot in the tournament late in the year, we are a team that no one will want to play. Our goal is a state championship,” said assistant coach Chris McIntosh.

No. 9 Goffstown (9-8-1)

The Grizzlies got off to a 5-1-1 start but struggled thereafter, not that there weren’t moments down the stretch, such as wins against Bow (2-1) and Dover (4-3). Ian Gately (18-12-30) is the go-to guy on offense, supplemented by Connor Easton, Noah Charron and Nick Nault. Goalie Colin Holt provides a solid last line of defense.

No. 10 Winnacunnet (9-9-0)

Winless in their first five games under first-year coach Chris Myers, the Warriors played a solid brand of hockey during the final two months. Forwards Casey Glynn (12-15-27), James Nash (12-10-22) and Brian Auffant (8-6-14) lead the offense while Larry Fournier and Jack Rademacher are key defensemen in front of goalie Morgan McGirl.

“I was satisfied with our regular season; we overcame a slow start (0-5) and were able to reach the playoffs. We can be a tough team to play against when we are at our best and I expect us to compete throughout the playoffs,” said Myers.

The Schedule

FIRST ROUND

Wednesday, March 4

No. 9 Goffstown at No. 8 Keene, 6 p.m.

No. 10 Winnacunnet at No. 7 Kingswood, 7 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS

Saturday, March 7

Keene/Goffstown winner at No. 1 Spaulding, 4 p.m.

No. 5 Bow at No. 4 Windham, 7:40 p.m.

Kingswood/Winnacunnet winner at No. 2 Merrimack, 2 p.m.

No. 6 Lebanon at No. 3 Dover, 4 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

Wednesday, March 11

at Rinks at Exeter, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday, March 14

at Verizon Wireless Arena, 2:30 p.m.

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