For the first time in four years, there will be a new Division 1 champion in New Hampshire as No. 1 Concord falls in overtime, 3-2 to No. 4 Bedford. Javin Manfield and Ryan O’Connor connected on a beautiful 2-on-2 play a little over two minutes into overtime when Manfield found the back of the net on a down-low, cross-ice feed from O’Connor. The overtime loss was Concord’s first playoff loss in four years and only their fifth loss overall in that time span.
Concord started the game in usual fashion, getting on the board first when Alex Pelletier snuck one past Bedford keeper, Evan Johnston. The Tide held a 1-0 lead into the second until they struck again, this time Carter Doherty found the back of the net and put Concord up 2-0. That’s when Johnston would shut the door on his way to a 35-save performance.
Bedford went on the powerplay in the second period after an interference call and were able to capitalize when Nick Hadley scored his first of his two goals. Concord couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone and Bedford’s Brendan Thornton fed a pass across the front of the goalmouth to Hadley who buried it behind Concord’s Kal Gaudreault. Hadley would strike again five minutes into the third period. Maddox Muir sent a crisp pass from the top of the left circle that found an awaiting Hadley who redirected it home to tie the game. Muir had two assists in the game.
In overtime Javin Manfield tucked in the pass from O’Connor and punched the Bulldogs ticket to the finals where they will take on No. 3 Bishop Guertin. Bedford returns to the championship for the sixth time in seven years. The Bulldogs lost to Concord last year in the championship 3-0 and were named Co-Champions with Concord in the 2020 Covid year. In 2019 Bedford won their last outright championship defeating Trinity 7-0.
– In the second Division 1 semi-final matchup, No. 3 Bishop Guertin defeated No. 7 Londonderry 5-3 but it took a late third period surge by Guertin to get the win. After being tied 2-2, BG seniors Logan Vogel and Stephen Toom scored just over30 seconds apart to double the Cardinals lead. Fellow senior Jackson Levasseur also scored in the third to secure the win.
Londonderry stunned No. 2 Windham in the quarterfinal to earn their spot in the semis and they were determined to show the world they were no fluke. Having beat Bishop Guertin in the regular season they knew it was possible.
The Lancers scored first taking a 1-0 lead when Brandon Morin found the back of the net on a shot from the right circle. Bishop Guertin would tie the game a few minutes later when Tim Kiely scored on a 2-on-1 feed from Vogel and Vogel would figure in the next goal a few minutes later. Vogel fed John Mantone who took it in and beat the Lancer goaltender, Aidan Cardosi (25 saves) to but BG up 2-1 to end the period.
Londonderry would keep fighting and they were able to knot the game a 2-2 when Matt Boyon would be able to grab a loose puck in front of the net and put it home. The second period looked like it belonged to Londonderry as they outshot Guertin 17-11 in the period.
In the third, Bishop Guertin’s experience paid off. The Cardinals were able to rely on some of their large senior class to dig deep and get them the victory. Senior John Mantone fired a shot toward the net and in traffic Vogel was able to tap it home to Guertin up 3-2. A big hit in the right corner by Guertin caused a turnover and the puck squirted out towards the slot where Toom found it and buried a shot in the top left corner giving the Cardinals a two-goal lead. Jackson Levasseur’s shot from the blue line found the back of the net to ice the game. Londonderry would add one more when Ben Padykula scored with a little over a minute left.
Bishop Guertin returns to the finals for the first time since 2016 when they lost to Bedford, who they’ll face in this years finals. The Cardinals last won the championship in 2015 when they knocked off Concord 4-1. Bedford and Bishop Guertin split their meetings this year with BG winning 2-1 and Bedford winning the other 4-2.
Bishop Guertin and Bedford will face off Saturday at 12:15 at the SNHU Arena in Manchester.