Boston High School: Zach Bridson

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
3:32
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Plain and simple: You can't have a true conversation about New Hampshire's rich history of hockey unless the discussion includes Berlin High.

New HampshireThe small-school Mountaineers, representing a tight-knit town at the base of the White Mountains, have long competed at the highest level of NHIAA hockey.

“Our community is a hockey community. They love us and support us,” said second-year Berlin coach Mike Poulin, the face of a program that has made 27 championship appearances since 1947 and nine times finished No. 1.

But this season, there was buzz about Berlin for a different reason: the program was making its final go-round in Division I.

The Mountaineers next season will skate in Division III. Poulin cited the program's consistent decline in participation as the reason for such a precipitous drop. Tough economic times in a town long known for its lumber and paper mills hasn't helped.

Berlin's 2011-12 team featured just 20 skaters, including a mere four seniors. Ten skaters played almost every minute of the varsity team's 18 regular-season games.

“It's a numbers thing,” said Poulin, a 1993 Berlin graduate. “Our youth hockey, we have to continue to build. We're only pulling (athletes) from the Berlin area. It's not like we have a co-op school.

“We have a school of (517) students,” he added. “We're pulling kids out of the hallway to play JV, or kids cut from basketball to play JV. It's difficult to turn around and put them in a Division I game.”

Which makes this story, though sobering, remarkable, too.

Poulin's team – led by co-captains Ethan Dorval and Jeremy Rivard – very nearly qualified for the Division I tournament. Berlin's bid to punch the 10th-and-final tourney ticket came down to the regular-season finale Feb. 25 at Salem.

Know this: Berlin won only three of its first 10 contests. Yet it entered Salem's Icenter with a 7-10-0 record.

The Mountaineers extended their late-season win streak to four games Feb. 22. In their final Division I home game at Notre Dame Arena – Senior Night for the co-captains, goaltender Steve Martin and forward Curtis Riendeau – they celebrated a 5-4 decision against playoff-bound Londonderry High.

“Those kids worked super hard in that game. They were down, 2-0, and they battled. They struggled through their year, but they were right in it until the end,” said Londonderry coach Peter Bedford, whose Lancers secured the No. 8 seed, won their first-round game and advanced to the quarterfinals. “That's an attribute everybody should recognize.”

Tournament qualification required Berlin beat Salem for the second time in seven days. The Mountaineers won a 7-6 affair Feb. 18 against the Blue Devils.

Berlin's bubble, however, burst with a 6-0 setback.

Should the six juniors and seven sophomores on this year's roster return next winter, the Mountaineers figure to be very competitive in Division III.

Poulin said he hopes to someday see the Mountaineers again skating in Division I.

He isn't alone.

“I wish them nothing but the best,” Bedford said.

TIMBERLANE TRIUMPHS – AGAIN

Twenty-six-year coach Barry Chooljian said he spent this season guiding his youngest team in some time. Youth, though, didn't hurt the state's premier wrestling program a lick.

Timberlane Regional locked up its ninth straight Meet of Champions crown Feb. 25 at Londonderry. The Plaistow program celebrated its 18th state championship, and 17th title in the past 20 years.

That's a run that dates to 1993.

Ten Owls were place-winners, and nine of them advanced to the championship match in their respective weight classes.

Those efforts fueled the team's 280-point performance. Second-place Manchester Central High earned 134 points.

Four Owls celebrated individual championships. Juniors Adam Corey (120 pounds), Josh Burnham (132) and Harry Denoncourt (182) survived their brackets.

But senior Zach Bridson, a Division I scholarship recruit for Tennessee-Chattanooga, was the big winner. He captured the crown at 113 pounds. The three-time MoC king was also named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler.

“Coming out of the Division I championships (Feb. 18), we did really well, but we're so young the question was if we could repeat (the effort),” Chooljian told the New Hampshire Sunday News. “Then we took nine out of 10 matches in the semis and we knew we had it.

“That's hard enough to do in a local tournament,” he added, “let alone the state one.”

So, only one question remains. Can the Owls win their 10th New England championship, and fifth in a row?

They'll have their chance March 2 and 3 at the Providence (R.I.) Career and Technical Center.

SHRINE ROSTER RELEASED

New Hampshire's roster for the 59th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl was released Feb. 21. The Granite State seeks to extend its series-record win streak against Vermont to 12 games when the teams meet Aug. 4 at Dartmouth College.

All-Stars from the 603 area code include:

Bedford: Jordan Garron, LB; Nate Harrington, DT

Bishop Guertin: Nate Chartrand, SE

Dover: Eric Miller, DT

Epping-Newmarket: Dustin Jarosz, CB

Exeter: Adam Morin, OG; Brad Tiernan, OT

Franklin: Brian Pickowicz, DE

Hanover: Dan Gorman, SE

Hollis/Brookline: Colin Pellerin, S

Inter-Lakes: Conor Donovan, LB

Laconia: Raige Hollis, OG

Lebanon: Alexander Morrill, OG

Manchester Central: Junior Brown, SE; Jared Chandler, Slot

Manchester Memorial: Cody Dalton, DB

Merrimack: Jackson King, Slot; Sam Prive, OT

Milford: Jordan Gaudette, OG

Nashua South: Jon Bieren, OC

Pinkerton: Kevin Davies, TB; Emmitt Smith, Slot

Plymouth: Nick Reisert, DE

Salem: Jerickson Fedrick, TB

Sanborn: Dylan Spence, DB

Souhegan: Tim Beliveau, SE; Chris Chininis, Slot; Rob McCormick, QB

Spaulding: Dillon Couture, DE

Stevens: Cam Blewitt, CB

St. Thomas Aquinas: Tom Cifrino, LB

Timberlane: Evan Bidgood, QB

Trinity: Josh Hughes, LB; Mike Leonard, LB

Winnacunnet: Matt Myers, DT

Marc Thaler is a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He co-hosts the “N.H. High School Sports Show” on Manchester's WGIR-AM 610 and the Seacoast's 96.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. Read his “New Hampshire GameDay” blog and follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
3:54
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This had to be Merrimack High's mantra for the holiday tournament season: Why settle for just one title?

New HampshireIn the days after Christmas, the Tomahawks rolled to championships in arguably New Hampshire's top tournaments for boys' basketball and hockey.

The school's Division I hoop team, on the strength of a last-second 3-pointer from star guard Dimitri Floras, won the 48th annual Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament at Manchester Memorial High. The Division II hockey club, thanks to a fourth-round shootout goal from forward Chris Fortin, copped the Bauer Classic crown at Manchester's JFK Coliseum.

Talk about a wild week.

The hockey team's four-day run to the crown was the more surprising story. The reigning state runners-up, the Tomahawks were considered a mystery when the season started shortly before the holiday break. They graduated one of the state's top snipers (Erik Glendye) and said goodbye to their coach (Dan Legro).

They're a mystery no more.

After starting 3-0 in league play, the Tomahawks won four games at JFK. They beat three Division I teams, including defending champion Trinity High of Manchester, 3-1; reigning runner-up and perennial power Hanover High, 4-3 (shootout); and then-No. 1-ranked Memorial, 2-1 (shootout), in the final.

Goaltender Brett Glendye -- who made 45 title-game saves -- was named tournament MVP. Teammate and forward David Downie also earned a spot on the all-tourney team.

"I looked at (the holiday tourney) as a 'prove it' opportunity for the kids," Merrimack coach Kurt Mithoefer said. "Thus far, the kids have proven the naysayers wrong in terms of offensive ability and being a mystery team."

On the hardwood, the Tomahawks ended the feel-good story of the QCIBT.

Floras hit the big bucket that lifted Merrimack a 57-54 win over upstart Manchester West High. The 6-foot 2-inch junior guard -- named the tourney MVP -- drained a lead-changing 3-pointer from the left corner with 7 seconds to play. He finished the contest with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds.

"I missed a lot of easy ones tonight and felt like I let my team down. But I got the one that mattered most, I guess," Floras told the New Hampshire Union Leader after the Dec. 28 title-game win.

Merrimack's path to the title round included wins over Seacoast squads Dover High, 59-51, and Exeter High, 58-39.

But in the high-stakes round, it took a charging violation to clinch the win. Jeff Giannelli, a 6-foot-7 tower, held his ground as West's Jocarl Bureau drove the lane for a potential game-winning layup. The pivotal play came with 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

The QCIBT runner-up a year earlier, Merrimack reached the championship game for the ninth time in the last 12 years. This year's title was the program's fourth in that span, and first since a three-peat from 2000-02.

"We played good. But my hats off to West," Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge told the statewide newspaper. "They made it come down to one shot."

(Read full post)

Tags:

Football, Basketball, New Hampshire, New England Roundup, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, Hanover (N.H.), South Kingstown, Manchester West, Manchester Central, Exeter (N.H.), Concord (N.H.), Nolan Cornell, Jerickson Fedrick, Lebanon, Londonderry, Emmitt Smith, Jesse Trottier, Bay View Academy, Kevin Davies, Steve Riker, Manchester Trinity, Barry Chooljian, Zach Bridson, Amra Elezovic, Allie Hartford, Dan Legro, Erik Glendye, Chris Fortin, David Downie, Andrew Lauderdale, Brendan Murphy, Milford (N.H.), Dimitri Floras, Merrimack (N.H.), Dover (N.H.), Windham (N.H.), Chris Anderson, Alexander Morrill, Jimmy Carver, Josh Hughes, Mike Leonard, Aaron Martin, Timberlane Regional, Armond McRae, Dillon Couture, Colin Pellerin, Billy Lane, Anthony Kurylak, Cole Brooker, Scott Priestly, Brad Tiernan, Conor Carrier, Zach Mailloux, Nick Reisert, David Rogers, Tanner Quinney, Dustin Jarosz, Tyler Briand, Riley Leavitt, Travis Smalley, Tyler Zabkar, Kurt Mithoefer, Jeff Giannelli, Jocari Bureau, Tim Goodridge, Rob Markusic, Sam Boivee, Peace Kabari, Mt. Anthony Union, John Houston, Chris Maglaras, Eric Miller, Adam Morin, Jake Pleadwell, Tim Stackhouse, Connor Donovan, Michael Lautenschlager, Dustin Stewart, Raige Hollis, Billy Mahoney, Tyler Veilleux, Brett Liporto, Justin Lozowski, Dan Stacey, Ryan Morris, Dylan Spence, Mike Estes, Tom Cifrino, Evan Bidgood, Efrain Rolon, Matt Myers, Nate Harrington, Nate Chartrand, Ryan Belleville, Dan Gorman, Parker Hausen, Oakley Singer, Will Ansah, Junior Brown, Jared Chandler, Stephen Grzywacz, Sean Collins, Cody Dalton, Jackson King, Sam Prive, Andrew Bellantoni, Jordan Gaudette, Nick Dragon, Austin Bauer, John Bieren, Derek Paradis, Shannon Tucker, Logan Merritt, Tim Beliveau, Chris Chinnis

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:19
PM ET
The immediate goal for Pinkerton Academy's Astros is straightforward: Finish atop the regular-season standings this winter in Division I boys' hockey.

Sounds cliché, right?

New HampshireTurns out this very dangerous squad from Derry – the preseason pick to finish as rink royalty – has yet to earn a No. 1 playoff seed under nine-year coach Casey Kesselring.

“We've never finished first,” Kesselring confirmed before adding that his 2008-09 title team emerged from the bracket as the No. 4 seed.

Kesselring's club a year ago earned the No. 2 seed. But the Astros were a quarterfinals casualty, stunned at home by arch-rival Londonderry, 3-2.

Considering the talent returning on Pinkerton's roster, expectations are extremely high.

First-line wingers Zach Sanford and J.D. Dudek fuel Pinkerton's high-octane attack. Sanford, a junior, and Dudek, a sophomore, led the team in points a year ago.

Further illustrating the talent this team possesses: Freshman Devin Moore centers the top line.

There's no drop-off with the second line. Junior center Dominic Corsetto skates with classmate Connor Brady and sophomore Brendan Philippon.

Kesselring believes the trio would be the top line for most clubs in the state.

Clearly, Pinkerton's strength is potting pucks. Offensive output should provide insurance for the team's junior goaltenders. Nate Mitchell and Matt Marchman are first-year varsity stoppers.

Of course, the coach isn't the least bit worried about the lack of varsity experience his goalies possess. Nor is he concerned about the preseason bull's-eye painted on Pinkerton.

“It doesn't bother me. It gives the school recognition. It gives the kids recognition,” Kesselring said. “But they don't hand out rings in the preseason.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
5:53
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MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Manchester High School West's Valentine's Day victory made basketball coach Nick Moutsioulis wish his wallet could support a team trip to the Magic Kingdom.

"If I could pay for every one of the girls to go, I'd do it in a heartbeat," said Moutsioulis, his reference to Disney World and the visit made by the Super Bowl MVP after winning the biggest of games.

New HampshireYou see, West entered its Feb. 14 girls' hoop contest lugging a 77-game losing streak that dated to the 2007-08 season opener. But after three consecutive winless campaigns, and another 14 straight losses this winter, the Blue Knights stopped the frustration-filled skid with a 38-33 Division II road win at Pelham High.

"I'm still processing it. I don't even know how to react to a win," said 5-foot 8-inch forward Emily Colon, one of three seniors on West's varsity team that features just eight active players.

West's low participation in athletics isn't limited to girls' hoop. The loss of Bedford student-athletes to the opening of Bedford High in 2007 has affected most sports programs at the school.

The exodus that eventually shrunk West's population from 2,000-plus students to roughly 1,100, took place over several years. But West's ability to compete in most sports quickly declined.

Colon and classmate Brooke Brown were freshman call-ups to the varsity in 2007-08, West's first winless campaign. Routinely losing was a foreign feeling to these stars of the streak-snapping win; as ninth-graders they led their freshman team to a 12-4 record.

"We tried not to think about the negative," said Brown, a 5-foot-11 center, noting the team became the punchline to jokes that spread throughout the school.

Over time, however, staying positive proved tough. One winless season grew into two, which reached three last winter.

But worse than the lopsided losses -- and jokes generated by them -- was the sinking feeling caused by looking into the stands during home games.

(Read full post)

Tags:

Basketball, New Hampshire, New England Roundup, Plymouth Regional (N.H.), Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Hanover (N.H.), Salem (N.H.), Nashua North, Bedford (N.H.), Jeff LaCoste, Trinity (N.H.), Concord (N.H.), Steve Cuipa, Bishop Guertin (N.H.), Max Jacques, Eric Muite, Steve Cronan, Pinkerton (N.H.), Cody Patch, Ryan Moran, Luke Somers, Mike Mazzola, Chris Childs, Doug Gregory, Newport (N.H.), David Madol, Barry Chooljian, Zach Bridson, Matt Morris, Nate Lawrence, Ben Tammany, St. Thomas Aquinas (N.H.), David Owens, Mike Kelly, Milford (N.H.), Dimitri Floras, Matt Sullivan, Manchester West (N.H.), Nick Moutsioulis, Pelham (N.H.), Emily Colon, Brooke Brown, Sarah Soucy, Lebanon (N.H.), Windsor (Vt.), Kimball Union (N.H.), Taylor Russell, Keene (N.H.), Zach Hunnewell, Joel Pacheco, Joe DiPalma, C.J. Woods, Matt Ammann, Tyler Baulier, Merrimack (N.H.), Nick Corbett, Dover (N.H.), Winnacunnet (N.H.), Kyle Wilson, John Forte, Max Goudreau, Nick Hession, Souhegan (N.H.), Brian Liamos, Hollis/Brookline (N.H.), Sam McClain, Brendan McKenna, Kyle Behan, Laconia (N.H.), Sam Carney, Jeff Gratiano, John Doran Logsdon, Jonathan Roth, Thomas Baxter, Kearsarge (N.H.), Zachary Knight, Stevens (N.H.), Robert Ramirez, Brendan Demo, Gilford (N.H.), Jacob Ford, Franklin (N.H.), Josh Stout, David Boisvert, Todd Bircher, Al Miclovic, Brandon Lahaye, Gary Mayo, David Pfeifer, Oyster River (N.H.), Alex Jones, Joe Lane, Ellie Thompson, Jahmar Gathright, Andre Williams, Molly McCabe, Monadnock Regional (N.H.), Gubby Naronha, Cathly Leibowitz, Timberlane Regional (N.H.), Jake Kappler, Andrew Tanner, Shane Tremblay, Londonderry (N.H.), Dan Roger, Tanner Burke, Dominic Farrar, Tyler Elworth, Manchester Memorial (N.H.), Dave Garcia, Goffstown (N.H.), Zach Schofield, Mike Sarette, Peter Shea, Mal Shea, Caleb Cejka, Zach MacPherson, Casey Quinn, Ryan Cohen, Mike Ponchak, Mike Sullivan, Jeremy Nault, Randy Cleary, Tyler Dustin, Dakota Simula, John Stark Regional (N.H.), Josh Medeiros, Warren Greenhalgh, Carleton Kleinschrodt, White Mountains Regional (N.H.), Windham (N.H.), Tyler Siverhus, Gage Fenton, Bow (N.H.), Pete LaRiviere, John Lefebvre, Jeff Cole, Ryan Manasian, Jonathan Scheidegger, Sanborn Regional (N.H.), Eddie O'Malley, Newfound Regional (N.H.), Dan Mak, Campbell (N.H.), Olivia Bogaczyk, Courtney Thompson, Alex Halle, Abby Clark, Spaulding (N.H.), Liz Rowan, Cody Bond, Colton Castonguay, Madison Goldstein, Josh Paige, Chris Moquin, James Montgomery, Josh Morgan, Mascenic Regional (N.H.), Pittsburg (N.H.), Colebrook (N.H.)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 1, 2011
1/01/11
2:27
PM ET
You can't ring in the New Year without a countdown.

New HampshireIn the spirit of the time-honored Dec. 31 tradition – counting down the final 10 ticks of the calendar year – here are the top items this reporter contributed to ESPNBoston.com High Schools since its launch in August 2010:

10. The 6-0-3 sets record. New Hampshire extended its win streak in the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl to a series-record 10 games.

The Granite State's recent high school graduates topped Vermont in the 57th all-star football game, played at Windsor (Vt.) High's MacLeay-Royce Field, in early August, 34-20. The previous record for longest win streak was a nine-gamer set by New Hampshire from 1989-97.

New Hampshire's 14-point win makes it sound like the game was somewhat competitive. Guess again.

Despite committing seven turnovers, including four in the first quarter, and amassing 165 yards on 18 penalties, New Hampshire never trailed. The 2010 team did, however, twice lead by 20 points and ultimately improved the state's all-time record in the series to 42-13-2.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
1:30
PM ET
Concord High caught a few teams by surprise during its postseason run to the Division I boys' hockey championship a year ago.

New Hampshire"We certainly got hot in the tournament," said Concord coach Duncan Walsh, recalling his team's run to the title as the No. 4 seed. "I don't think anyone thought Concord was going to win it."

The Crimson Tide's rink rivals won't be fooled this time around. The Tide is the preseason team to beat.

"You've got to start with Concord. They've got a lot of guys back," said Pinkerton Academy of Derry coach Casey Kesselring, whose Astros, as defending champs last season, were ousted in a wide open semifinal round that also featured Nashua's Bishop Guertin and Exeter. "They lost a key piece in (Division I Player of the Year) Kevin Marceau. But they have the Lacasse brothers back."

Pat Lacasse is Concord's top returning playmaker. Nick Lacasse leads a veteran defensive group. The twin brothers are among 16 of 20 returning players from the program's first title team since 1999.

"Goals are going to come harder than last year," Walsh said. "Last year, we had a dominant first line. There weren’t many games they didn’t get two or three goals. I don’t think we’ll get four or five goals (per game), but we might get two or three."

Concord's first line projects to be Pat Lacasse, the lone returning first-liner from last season, and Chris Acres and Pat Cannon. It's on the other end of the ice where the Tide has fewer question marks.

Nick Lacasse, Taylor Lebell and Dustin Walsh earned the bulk of ice time along the blue line during the 2009-10 campaign. Goaltender Brendan Garrett is also back from the surprise squad that ousted top-seeded BG, 4-3, in the semifinals and blanked No. 3 seed Exeter, 1-0, in the final.

"In my opinion, it's Concord, Hanover, Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin. Those are the usual suspects," Exeter coach Jim Tufts said. "But Concord is the defending champ. Their starting goalie is back, and those twins are really good."

(Read full post)

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