Coach Peter Bedford’s Londonderry High School hockey squad closed out its 2012- 13 regular season with a blistering, six-game winning streak that included two victories last week. The Lancers wound up with a 13-4-1 Division I record, with consecutive wins five and six coming over the rival Pinkerton Academy Astros and in overtime – the Bishop Guertin Cardinals of Nashua to end the regular season.
Londonderry snared its third win of the season over Pinkerton in the meeting between the rivals at The Ice Den in Hooksett on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The Lancers busted a 2-2 tie with a pair of unanswered goals in the last 6:42 of the game to collect a 4-2 victory. LHS goalie Joe McGrath had 46 saves to help the Londonderry cause tremendously, and although the game was tied twice, the Lancers never trailed. The visiting LHS crew netted the only goal of the first period when, 5:35 in, John Dunn was set up by Eric Coburn for a nice wrist shot from the left faceoff circle in the Pinkerton zone.
Both squads had 13 shots on net in the period, but that was the only blast that found its way into a net. Pinkerton then potted the only goal of the second stanza when, with 4:35 showing on the clock, Jake Veilleux scored after being set up by Ryan Monte and Max Campbell. The academy crew enjoyed four power plays during that period, and ended up putting 17 shots on LHS goalie McGrath. But PA only potted the one tally and had one goal nullified after the officials judged that the Londonderry goal had been knocked off its moorings before the puck went in.
The Lancers regained the lead at 2-1 just 1:24 into the third period when Mike Donlan rapped home the rebound of a Curtis Harper shot. Dunn also collected an assist. But the Astros knotted the score back up at 2-2 just two minutes later when Connor Brady netted a power play goal on a turnaround shot in the slot in front of the LHS cage. Devin Moore and Nick Salema had the assists.
But Londonderry collected the victory with a tally by Coburn with 6:42 to go when the big winger gathered a loose puck at the left post of the Pinkerton cage and slid a shot home. That marker was followed by an open-net goal by Ryan Griffin with just 11.7 seconds remaining, with Dunn claiming another assist.
There had been a bit of controversy between the two LHS goals when Pinkerton had a marker disallowed with 1:52 to go when the officials lost sight of the puck in Lancer goalie McGrath’s pads before the Astros put the disc home. “Pinkerton really came to play today, and I think this was the closest of the three games we played against them this season,” said LHS assistant coach Paul Vanasse.
Then this past Saturday, Feb. 23, the Lancers closed out the regular season with a 2-1, overtime nipping of BG at the Skate 3 Arena in Tyngsboro, Mass. Ryan Griffin notched the first LHS tally, and John Gomes bagged the winner in overtime. McGrath only needed to make 17 stops this time around.
The third seeded Lancers now face a quarterfinal round contest against the sixth ranked Salem High Blue Devils at the Salem Icenter this coming Saturday at 8 p.m. That’s the home sheet of ice for both teams, and the Blue Devils bested Londonderry in both regular season meetings between the squads. LHS has won six games in a row, Salem has only won one of its last six games.