Ice hockey: ConVal-Conant boys, girls firing on all cylinders

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal-Conant girls' ice hockey team hosted Souhegan on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/17/2022 9:51:09 AM
Modified: 1/17/2022 9:50:05 AM

The ConVal-Conant Griffins are playing their best hockey of the year right now, as both the boys’ and girls’ teams got big wins last week.

The Griffin girls played one of the most complete games in program history Saturday afternoon, beating visiting Souhegan 5-3 at Keene Ice in a back-and-forth battle that saw breakout performances from several young players and clutch moments from the experienced upperclassmen.

“This feels really good,” said head coach Chris Spingola, whose team had never even scored a single goal against Souhegan up until Saturday; the Griffins lost to the Sabers 8-0 two years ago and then 4-0 as part of ConVal-Conant’s winless season last winter. “We’ve fought with a lot of good Souhegan teams, and we’ve been on the wrong end of a couple lopsided game, but the last couple years, we played them close. Good, hard, physical game from both teams. It was neat to watch. It was an old-time hockey game — they were respectful, but they were tough.”

ConVal freshman forward Aubrey Niemela came out firing and had a statement game, scoring the first Griffin goal shorthanded, nabbing a second at even strength and adding a power play goal in the third for the hat trick. Niemela’s first-period score was the first shorthanded goal in program history, Spingola said.

A second-period score from senior center Tessa Spingola evened things at two goals each, but Souhegan took back the lead on captain Alice Serbin’s second score of the game with 4:50 remaining in the third, despite an impressive series of saves from freshman goalkeeper Francesca Ketola, who went to the ice and sprawled on her back to stop the puck multiple times before Serbin finished the job. 

But before momentum could take hold for Souhegan or dejection strike the Griffins, ConVal-Conant junior forward Addie Lustenberger received the puck from Tessa Spingola, streaked up the left side and buried it behind Saber keeper Hanalia Dykstra for the lead. 

“I was really stressed out when it got tied,” Lustenberger said. “I just needed to do it. It felt so good – I was on top of the world.”

ConVal-Conant held tight for the rest of the game, thanks in large part to second-line center Sabrina Leahigh, who was the Griffins’ go-to penalty killer and played extensive minutes. Ketola made 18 saves on 20 shots for her first career win. Lustenberger had an assist on Niemela’s final tally to go with her game-winning goal. 

“It was neat to see them implement a game plan,” coach Spingola said. “We wanted to keep the puck deep in the zone. We wanted to forecheck as hard as we could and cause turnovers deep in their zone. And we did that tonight – very, very well. And it wasn't just one of 'em – every single person bought into it and they did exactly what we needed them to do in order to come out with a win.”’

The Griffins (1-5) are at St. Thomas Tuesday and at Souhegan Saturday. 

Griffin boys win a pair

After a slow start, the ConVal-Conant boys came alive last week, pouring on the offense against Monadnock-Fall Mountain Thursday and then winning in overtime at Laconia Saturday. 

Senior defenseman Elias Niemela managed to one-up younger sister Aubrey, racking up a hat trick plus one with a four-goal game and an assist in the Griffins’ 7-3 win Thursday. Kiernan King scored two goals of his own  and Dom Lacroix added another. Logan Favart, Leo Lacroix and Owen Yeaw had assists. 

On Saturday, the Griffin boys traveled up to Laconia and came home with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory. 

The Griffins took a second-period lead on an Aiden King goal from Kiernan King and Logan Favart, but Laconia scored twice in the third and was up 2-1 with just 2:45 remaining in the game. ConVal-Conant tied the game on a Kiernan King goal from Dom Lacroix and Aiden King and then won it in overtime, where Favart scored the game-winner with 1:45 left off assists from both King boys. 

Senior Braden Crisp picked up both wins in goal for the Griffins. 

ConVal-Conant (2-2) hosts Hollis-Brookline Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.


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