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Griffins scrap with Berlin

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal-Conant’s Mikey Perry pins Berlin-Gorham’s John Arguin against the boards. Staff photo by Ben ConanT

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant Griffins boys' hockey team hosted Berlin-Gorham on Thursday night. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

There aren’t many hockey teams in Division III that can hang with defending champions Berlin-Gorham. Last week, the ConVal-Conant boys proved they belonged, as they played the Mountaineers much tougher than the 5-1 final would indicate. 

“I think the boys really came together today,” said head coach Mark Leger after the game. “Being in the game in the third period is something we haven't experienced against Berlin in a long time. I'm very excited.”

The Griffins seemed to surprise Berlin-Gorham with their tenacity, scrapping, needling and goading the Mountaineers into some mental mistakes (and racking up 18 penalty minutes along the way).

“My whole mission today was just to frustrate [Berlin] ... and I think they were,” Leger said. “On the ice you could see them arguing, you could see that we were slowly getting under their skin. And the fact that we weren't winning 5-1 at the end of the first was different for them.”

In fact, it appeared that ConVal-Conant had drawn first blood, when less than a minute into the game, a Griffin shot rocketed from the wing and through a crowd, ringing off a post and into the back of the net for what looked like a Matt Kolk goal. But, it hit a high stick on its travels and did not count.  

After an early Mountaineers goal by Cam Cochran – one of his two on the night – the Griffins answered back, completing a play from the faceoff which they’d been practicing, much to the delight of the bench. Ben Garfinkle took a shot right from the win; the puck rebounded off the goalie and skittered around until Cam Tracy punched it in. 

“We've been trying to stress to shoot low and get rebounds,” Leger said. “We're not going to get the pretty goals, we're going to get the ones that are your effort goals, your garbage goals.”

The game was tight until the very end of the third, when both teams amassed the majority of their penalty minutes and Berlin-Gorham scored a pair on the power play. 

Playing what may be the division’s best team close, without starting center Luca Haufler (who’s out for up to a month after suffering a shoulder injury against Kearsarge the night before) is a promising sign for ConVal-Conant. 

“We're going to surprise a lot more teams,” Leger said. “If the boys play like they did today against some of these other teams, they should fare pretty well.”

The Griffins had put up a fight the night before, too, as they lost to Kearsarge-Plymouth 6-3. In that one, ConVal-Conant got goals from Kolk, assisted by Aiden Kirby and Cam Tracy; Kyle Eaves, from Kolk and Tracy; and Tracy, from Trevor Johnson.

ConVal-Conant (1-2) hosts Monadnock (1-1) on Jan. 4 at 7:45 p.m. They’ll also host the annual alumni game on Sunday. For more information about that game, contact Leger at marklegerdesign@gmail.com.