Freshman Bobby Brodeur makes a save for the Belmont/Gilford hockey team.
Bob Martin. (click for larger version)
January 24, 2018LACONIA — Coach Dave Saball knew it wasn't going to be smooth sailing to start this season, but things are starting to come together for the Belmont/Gilford hockey team, as the squad is starting to click together.
Last week the Bulldogs had the difficult task of facing perennial powerhouse Kennett, but also hosted a struggling Laconia/Winnisquam team. Belmont/Gilford came away with a 6-0 loss to Kennett on Jan. 18 and bounced back with a 9-3 win over the Wolfpack on Jan. 20.
Saball said the Kennett game was a tough one, with the defending Division 3 champion bringing back a fantastic team this season.
"They have three very strong lines," Saball said. "We played them tight most of the way through, but they were just that strong of a team. They won last year, they didn't lose anyone, picked up some guys and are well coached. They are a good team."
It was a 2-0 game after one period but Saball said he was happy to see his team skating fairly well with the team. He said the second period was a killer for the Bulldogs, as the team allowed four goals and put the game out of reach.
The game against Laconia/Winnisquam was a blowout, but it didn't start off that way. Laconia/Winnisquam took a 1-0 lead with Cole Reid scoring his first of three goals for the Wolfpack. The Bulldogs then tied the game with 5:02 left in the first period with a goal by Miles Defosses, assisted by Harrison Parent. This was the first of four goals on the day for Defosses.
Parent then scored 10 seconds later to make it a 2-1 game. It was assisted by his brother Hayden Parent.
Laconia/Winnisquam showed some fight and tied up the game 2-2 in the second period with another goal by Reid, unassisted. The tie didn't last long, however. Defosses scored again with 10:12 left in the second period with an assist by Harrison Parent. This started a scoring onslaught by the Bulldogs.
With 9:54 left in the second period Zack Gilbert scored, with assists by Cam Jarvi and Joey Blake. With 7:05 left in the period, Harrison Parent scored his second goal of the day with an assist by Hayden Parent to make it 5-2.
The third period started off with a quick goal by Defosses, assisted by Hayden Parent to make it 6-2. The Wolfpack didn't lay down and quit, however. Reid scored his third goal to complete the hat trick with 12:37 left in the period to make it 6-3. This would be all the Wolfpack could manage against freshman goalie Bobby Brodeur.
With 12:04 left in the game J.T. Alfieri scored with assists by Blake and Jarvi. Defosses scored his final goal of the day with 8:25 left, assisted by Troy Gallagher and Harrison Parent. With 1:26 left in the game Broedy Gagnon scored with an assist by Harrison Parent.
Saball was very happy with the way his team bounced back from the tough loss against Kennett. He said this type of play is necessary for the team to make a push in the second half of the season. He also took the time to commend the Laconia/Winnisquam team, which Saball said has come a long way since last year.
"They actually fought us pretty tough," said Saball. "They came in and played us hard and got a lead on us, but I think we kind of wore them down. But they never quit and they gave it all they had."
Saball said the team is coming along, but he said this is a process that could take some time. He said the players are starting to find their roles, with many playing new positions this season. He said it was great to see Defosses come away with a big four goal game, and the Parent brothers continued to shine.
"It doesn't happen overnight," said Saball. "But overall I think defensively we are playing a lot better than we were and offensively we are playing better. There is room for improvement on both but we are making progress. We are a different team this year. The older kids are used to rolling over teams and that just won't happen this year."
Saball said the team has had a few games with poor starts, but he likes that his team puts up a good fight to get back into games. Overcoming adversity like this helps in the long run, he said.
Saball also took the time to congratulate Brodeur for her first win as a varsity goalie.
"She is a young freshman who plays a solid game," said Brodeur. "She has worked hard and earned a game in net, and she played really well."
Belmont/Gilford traveled to Berlin/Gorham on Jan. 22 and on Jan. 27 the team hosts Hollis Brookline/Derryfield for a 1:40 p.m. matchup.