At one point this winter, it looked as though the Londonderry High School ice hockey team’s post-season hopes were withering on the vine.
But after dropping five consecutive decisions between Jan. 16 and Feb. 3 and falling under the .500 mark, the LHS crew began to play quite a bit closer to the way coach Dan Legro thought it could. And as a result of that, the Lancers won six of their last seven Division I games and finished up at a solid 10-8, ranking seventh in the tough league.
That finish set Legro’s Lancers up in a first-round tournament match-up with a 10th-seeded Hanover High Marauders’ team that had its struggles down the stretch of the regular season, dropping four of its final six games and ending up under .500 at 8-9-1.
That contest was slated for this Wednesday evening, March 9, at 8:20 p.m. at the Salem Icenter, after Londonderry Times press time.
The Marauders – who are led into battle by veteran coach Dick Dodds – entered their final regular season game against the weak Nashua South Purple Panthers late last week, having gone 1-4 in their previous five games and being outscored by a big 20-6 margin. They closed out the regular season with a 5-0 shutout of South.
The Lancers also ended their regular campaign on a high note, more than a week before Hanover did, with a shutout. They blanked Salem by a 2-0 tally. They entered the tournament rested but wondering if rust might be a factor.
When the Lancers and Marauders met up during the 2015-16 regular season on Jan. 16, home-standing Hanover started Londonderry’s losing skid by besting its guest by a 3-2 tally.
“Hanover will bring a good game. I hope we bring better,” said Legro in anticipation of the tourney match. “They have a few big guys, and they work hard.”
And in Dodds, the Marauders have a veteran mentor who has been around for decades and who has seen about everything that a coach can from behind a bench.
Caption: Senior Jax Theriault and the LHS hockey team aim to end their season with a long tourney run. Photo by Chris Paul