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NH Avalanche – March Madness Champs!

The NH Avalanche 2000 team wrapped up their 2014-15 season by competing in the March Madness Tournament in Marlborough, Mass. at the New England Sports Center. After winning the Spring Classic #1 Tournament at Tri-Town Ice Arena last weekend, the Avs were confident entering play at NES.

Game one of the tournament had the Avalanche playing the team from Gardiner, Maine. The Avs, who were missing several players due to school spring sports tryouts, attending the NCAA Hockey Regional, and more, dressed just 8 players for their first game. Gardiner dressed twice the number of skaters and made it very clear from the opening face off that they were going to try to pound the Avalanche into submission. While the folks from Maine were taking runs at players all game, they miraculously were whistled for just one penalty in the game and that came very late in the third period.

The Avs scored first despite playing without much energy right from the start. Jon Last scored the initial goal on a backhand shot. Mikey Perry and Tyler Whiting made consecutive passes to set up the goal. Gardiner answered with a quick goal on a wrist shot that banked into the net off of the goal post. Clay Sanders would give the Avs a brief lead at 2-1 when his shot caromed into the net off of a Gardiner defenseman. Gardiner would tie the game at two apiece while on the power-play. The Avs had the puck in their defensive end with a chance to clear the puck to the boards, but whiffed on the clearing attempt and allowed a break away chance in close for the tying goal. The game would end in a 2-2 tie, both teams picking up a point in the standings.

In game two, a 10:20pm start, the Avalanche played the Tough Pucks from Vermont. The Avs did get two of their rostered players back for the night-cap and that did help. After passing time for some 8 hours between games, it was finally time to play hockey.

After an ugly, scoreless opening period, where both teams had trouble connecting on passes and icing seemed to be an epidemic, things came together, slowly. First, Mikey Perry took a pass, I mean clearing attempt, from his opponent and rifled a shot past the goaltender for a shorthanded goal. 20 seconds later, the Tough Pucks tied the game on the power play. Then Sebastian Beal scored for the Avs on a beautiful play set up by Caiden Paradise. 90 seconds later, the Tough Pucks answered again, tying the score at 2-2.

Still in the second period, Max Lajeunesse set up Christian Levesque for a good-looking shot on goal, and Mikey Perry slammed the rebound home, giving the Avs a 3-2 lead. Then, after drawing consecutive penalties, the Avs struck again. With a 5-on-3 advantage, Christian Levesque scored to cap a beautiful passing play from Cody Sullivan and Sebastian Beal. The Avs scored their fifth goal of the period when Caiden Paradise misfired on a slap shot and sent the puck flipping end over end in an arching motion towards the net. In one motion, Cody Sullivan settled the puck and slid a perfect pass across the crease to Tyler Whiting who stuffed the puck into the open net.

In the third period, the Tough Pucks got their third goal of the game, all from their best player, cutting the lead to 5-3. The NH Avalanche held the score there and finished game two with a 5-3 victory that ended just before midnight. The win also gave the Avalanche the opportunity to control their own destiny in game three on Saturday night.

Saturday night brought game three, which started just after 9:45pm. The Avalanche played one of the two teams entered the tournament from the Maine Jr Black Bears hockey program in Bangor, Maine. The Jr Black Bears had struggled in their first two games in the tournament. Half way through the first period, the play favored the Avalanche but the score remained 0-0.

Then, after dominating possession in the offensive zone, Cody Sullivan scored on a play set up by Tyler Whiting and Sebastian Beal. After a few more minutes of back and forth play, the Avalanche blew things wide open. Over a five-minute span to finish the first period and the beginning of the second period, the Avs scored seven goals. First, it was Beal from Sullivan and Christian Levesque to go up 2-0. Just 31 seconds later, Whiting scored from Sullivan and Beal. Less than a minute later Mikey Perry scored on assists from Jon Last and Max Lajeunesse. The Avalanche led 4-0 after the first period.

During the first 2:52 of the second period the Avs would score four more times. Clay Sanders scored on a rising slap shot from the point after being set up by Whiting and Sullivan. Then Sullivan scored from point-blank on a perfect pass from Beal. Max Lajeunesse then scored his first of three consecutive goals on a nice pass from Jon Last. Mikey Perry made a great pass to Lajeunesse for the next goal, with the passing play being started by Caiden Paradise. The Avalanche led 8-0 with more than half of the game remaining to be played. From this point on, the Avs passed up open net opportunities and rarely shot the puck, deciding to pass the puck and work on the structure of the game.

In the third period Max Lajeunesse scored on a breakaway opportunity that was more or less an ‘excuse me’ break in when the puck bounced over a defenders stick as Max was fore-checking and left him all alone in the offensive zone. Later in the period Caiden Paradise flipped a puck in the air from the right-wing boards toward the crease, only to see the puck catch the inside of the goaltender’s right pad and slide into the net through five-hole. The Maine Jr Black Bears did score with 3:55 to play in the contest and fans from both sides of the contest cheered their goal, and their persistence to play the game despite the results.

With the Avalanche winning game three, 10-1, they locked up the #2 seed after round robin play. This meant the Avs would play Sunday morning in one of the semi-final games. It also meant they would again play the physical team from Gardiner, Maine.

Game four, was a 10:10am start against Gardiner Youth Hockey. The head coach from Gardiner continued to show his cordial disposition by refusing to acknowledge certain coaches and members of the Avalanche team, clearly assessing his own value at much higher than the market would likely bear. So, with no love lost between these groups, the game began.

The Avalanche played a good hockey game and would go on to beat Gardiner 2-1. The Avs pounded pucks deep, hitting the end boards shift after shift for all three periods, forcing the Gardiner team to constantly defend their end. The Avs, who have struggled to score goals all year, scored first. Cam Leborgne used his tremendous skating ability (before his knees got taken out on a low hit in the second period) to create some separation for himself before ripping a wrist shot, top shelf, from Caiden Paradise to give the Avs the early lead. The opening period would end with the Avs leading 1-0.

In the second period the Avalanche would double their lead to 2-0 when Cody Sullivan led a beautiful rush up ice before Tyler Whiting scored the goal. Finally, half way through the third period, Gardiner found a way to put the puck in the net after the Avs missed half a dozen chances to clear the puck. The Avalanche would hold on, advancing to the Championship Game, with the 2-1 victory. Before moving on to game five, and finishing this commentary regarding Gardiner, because Mom always told me to say nothing if I had nothing nice to say, I say this. In two games versus Gardiner it was clear that they don’t handle the puck very well, so they take runs at hitting everything in sight. I do love the physicality of hockey and hitting is certainly welcome. Somehow though, in 72 minutes of hockey, the team from Gardiner was whistled for just 3 minor penalties, despite sending two different players to the room to be checked out for concussions and taking the knees out from under two other players. The Avalanche were whistled for 11 penalties in the two games.

In between games, as Gardiner checked the monitors to see if they were still playing (they were not), I talked with several adults around the facility. Among my conversations with folks who had witnessed several different teams playing hockey at the rinks around the massive building, it was decided that were the kids allowed to play hockey without any adults around, they’d probably play good, hard hockey and sort things out just fine. They would likely shake hands at the end of the day and just love the fact that they got to play the game all day, as it should be. And for those parents who argue this way or that way, trying to prove some asinine or childish point, remember where the kids learned to be who, and how they are.

Game five also happened to be the Championship Game of the tournament. This also meant there was another opponent for the Avalanche to play, North East Lock Monsters. The Avalanche who had played most of their hockey with just 7 or 8 skaters were gassed, but they were also playing for their second title in as many weekends.

The game was scheduled to start at 1:50pm but it started well after 2pm as the previous game on the ice sheet, also a final, had been one-sided but awards were presented on the ice afterwards. Once the puck dropped it was clear that this game would be a battle.

The NH Avalanche 2000 team scored first when Jon Last scored on a nice play from Mikey Perry and Max Lajeunesse. The Avs would add a power play goal before the end of the period, when Cody Sullivan scored with assists going to Caiden Paradise and Lajeunesse. The first period buzzer sounded, kind of (it’s a nice score board, but a weak buzzer), with the Avs leading 2-0.

Somewhere in the early part of the second period, two things happened at the same time. First, the Lock Monsters turned up their level of play. Second, the Avs looked tired as they stopped skating as hard and struggled to complete passes or break out of their own defensive end. After a four-minute barrage from the Lock Monsters, that hemmed in the Avs for consecutive shifts, they finally beat Gavin Cram in net and cut the lead to 2-1. Late in the second period, Sebastian Beal would take a vicious hit to his head from a player larger than any of the coaches on either bench after gloving down the puck to make a play. Before Beal was left motionless on the ice for a moment, he played the puck to his line mate, Cody Sullivan. Sullivan moved the puck to Tyler Whiting while the referee held his arm in the air. Tyler skated around the back of the net before sliding the puck into the open side to give the Avs a 3-1 lead. The second period would end with the Avs leading 3-1.

In the third period, the Avs held off the Lock Monsters and even increased their lead when Tyler Whiting made a spectacular pass to Max Lajeunesse (double-shifting in Beal’s slot after the hit in the 2nd period) who sent a laser of a shot into the top of the net as an exclamation point on the victory. Beal would return to the ice for two short shifts on defense in the last two minutes of the game, but the outcome had been decided, and the Avs were announced as Champions after their 4-1 victory.

The Tournament Recap

In the tournament’s five games, the Avs compiled a 4-0-1 record while scoring 23 goals and allowing just 8 goals overall. In these recaps of each game I did not really mention the Avs goaltender, Gavin Cram, but he is not to be forgotten. Cram made huge saves throughout the tournament for the Avs, and was very much instrumental in their run through the tournament. The Avs made plenty of mistakes in the tournament, including numerous mishaps in their own end. Most of the time though, seriously, Cram bailed them out by making saves, many of which with nary a rebound. I didn’t count the total number of saves that Gavin made in the tournament, but lets just say that he made many more than enough.

As is usually the case when a team plays together, they succeed, together. Of all the teams in the tournament I would dare say that the Avalanche got more of a contribution from more of their roster than any other team in the field. The Avs skated a total of ten players over the course of the tournament, and all ten players scored goals. Seven of the ten players actually scored four points or more in the five games, which is amazing. It usually takes a full roster to be engaged and participating in order to succeed through the wear and tear of tournament play, and the Avs showed they had what it took to get the job done, despite having the shortest bench in every game they played.

The coaching staff is not forgotten here either. Coach Harvey and Coach Sully continued to try to positively affect our kids, the players. They seemed to be having a good time, and I can say that any conversations I had with them were generally light-hearted, good-natured, and full of laughs. I think that I speak on behalf of our entire team when I say thank you to both of them for not only this tournament but for the entire season as they prioritized our kids’ development even over their own calendars and commitments. Thank you.

2014-15 Final thoughts

First, it’s all about the kids. It should be about the kids because were they not out there working hard and playing we’d have none of the excuses we have to spend time together and enjoy the kids playing a kids game. I love youth sports primarily because it features our youth, and it allows us a peek at our future. To me, youth sports often times comes the closest that competition gets to pure innocence and the pure joy that accompanies accomplishment that the participants never dreamed was possible. Thank you to the kids for working so hard to be better athletes, better teammates, and better versions of yourselves. I am thankful for the opportunity to share with all of you my observations and recording of measurements found in all sports. I appreciate your inclusion within the dynamic of team sports and also for the feedback throughout the season.

Certainly this season had its share of ups and downs. We all experienced those things and we all felt frustration at different levels and for different reasons. Some players left, some came back, some got hurt, and some just kept showing up. But I remind you again, despite our feelings to one side or another, without the kids, we could just sit home and make up stories about nothing. Through all of the losses and the one-sided lessons in how to persevere, there was progress. Players did get better. The team did improve. The team did bond. The coaches left an impact. New friends were made. People were brought together from miles apart because of the game, because of the kids. In the end, most of the original roster came together in one form or another to win back-to-back tournament championships. I know the level of competition fluctuated wildly these past two weekends, but the kids played well. They played a team game and for all of the huge deficits they faced back in September, they finished these two tournaments with 8 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie, and lots of hardware. I can honestly say that I am happy to have witnessed this groups’ improvement over the last 6 months. Progress was made.

I have to say thank you to all of the parents who made sacrifices week after week to get kids to rinks all over the place, even if the game was cancelled or an opponent didn’t show up. I know we all made trips that we didn’t want to make, maybe even at hours we didn’t even wish to be awake. But it’s about the kids, and all of our kids benefit from the sacrifices we make to get the kids to the rink. Thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in the future, most likely at a rink to be named later. Great job NH Avalanche!



NH Avalanche 2000 @ Seacoast – Game 26

Sunday, the NH Avalanche 2000 team played its’ last scheduled road game of their Bantam Major season at The Rinks at Exeter. They squared off against a familiar foe, the Seacoast Spartans. Familiarity may have been the theme of the day in actuality, but maybe not in the way one may think. While the opponent was one that the Avs 2000 team has seen numerous times this season, it had been four weeks since the last time this Avs team had been on the ice together. Four weeks, ironically, since they had seen this Spartan team in fact.

Regardless of who knew whom, the Avs jumped out to an early lead in the game. Max Lajeunesse scored in the first 100 seconds on a feed from Clay Sanders and the Avs were off and running. Later in the period, Mikey Perry tallied a goal on a scrum out in front of the net, and after one period the Avs led 2-1.

The second period saw the Spartans storm back with a pair of goals, one on the power play, and take a 3-2 lead into the final period. In the third period Sydney Herrington scored a power play goal for the Avs on a beautiful hockey play, to tie the game at 3-3. Wait. What? I’m sorry, the goal was wiped out by one of the many stellar examples of officiating in this game. Apparently, I found out during my post game interviews, that the referee had called the goal no good, after not blowing the play dead for a goalpost that was an inch off of the peg, caused by the defensive team, because he was thinking about blowing his whistle, and that process normally takes him two seconds, and in those two seconds, Sydney scored the goal?!?!?!?! Okay, so back to a 3-2 deficit for the Avs until they earned a 5-on-3 advantage after, FINALLY, drawing some penalty calls from the officiating crew. Unfortunately, as it would turn out, the Spartans scored the only goal (that counted) of the third period while down two players, and held on for a 4-2 win. The Avs probably deserved better. They played well at times while certainly not clicking as well together as they had at other points in the season. They still battled and certainly appeared to draw several more penalties than were called while they were whistled for the first six penalties of the contest.

The Avs finish their season play with a home game on Sunday, March 1st at 4:20pm versus the Advantage Ice. See you all then. Enjoy the remainder of school vacation week.

NH Avalanche 00 – Fear Factor

There’s a saying that goes something like this: “There’s nothing to see here”. This may be one of those places, nothing to see here. I will let you decide though.

The great thing about rumors is that anyone can start one. So, that’s what I am doing, in good fun, I am starting a rumor. Rumor has it that opponents are fearful of coming to the Ice Den Arena to play this NH Avalanche 00 team. The team has continued to practice. They are playing hockey in any shape or form that they can find. They are working to improve their games and to get ready for the next levels of their hockey careers. And based on recent history, with no games since January 25th, they are waiting for an opponent to play.

Back at the start of the season, when this Avs team was losing games by some pretty big margins, it seemed that teams were lining up to play the NH Avalanche 2000 team. Things have changed. Better play, a few ties, some more wins, the change of seasons, continued practice (mostly consistent) and now nobody is lining up.

Lets take a quick look at some numbers here. Games played by month (based on the game sheets collected)

September: 5 games played. Outscored 39-6 in those games.

October: 4 games played. Earned two ties and scored 13 goals.

November: 10 games played. First two wins of the season. Turkey Tourney.

December: 2 games played. High school seasons start.

January: 4 games played. Another win and a tie.

February: 0 games played so far. Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Including the first weekend in September when games started, there have been 24 full weekends this season, right through this past weekend. The NH Avalanche team has played 25 games.

I know that high school seasons started tryouts back in early December and subsequently there have been fewer and fewer games and/or teams to play against, or so it has appeared as such. Yet, I have seen other 2000 teams still playing 2,3, and 4 games a weekend throughout this time frame, up to, and including this past weekend. I know that some have said things like…”This has been a trying year for many on the team. The Avalanche Organization has done everything we can to make the best of this season, going above and beyond, however some things that were out of our control led to some issues…” NH Avalanche Hockey

I am not behind the scenes. I have no inside knowledge of efforts made, efforts not made, agendas (personal or otherwise), or how strong the organization is, or isn’t. I do know that any organization is only as strong as its weakest link, or its limiting step. The reality played out over the last 24 weekends would tell me that there is and has been a very limiting step in this organization, or at least how it relates to this team. Again, I am just a parent on the outside looking in. It seems to me that the coaching staff and kids on this team have been undermined. Every time the ice is offered, kids and coaches show up, even though some kids can’t make it because they’re already on the ice somewhere else. I will have to look back at the information provided to us coming into this season, but honestly I don’t like looking back except to learn from history or to remember those things worth remembering, and this would not be one of those things.

I realize the kids are not Mites, Squirts, or PeeWees anymore. When the games and practices felt more like a family affair and were as much about the kids as they were the parents (in our minds anyways) especially during tournaments. (Speaking of which, how is the Avs 2000 tournament forecast looking?) Even so, this is still a game; a great game; a wonderful game. It’s hockey. It’s the most family oriented sport of them all in my opinion. Yes, I keep referring to family because in my opinion families spend time together, they do things together, they are ‘all in’ more then they are all out. This has been disjointed at best. Over the first 48 days of 2015, the Avs have played just four times, with no games in the last 23 days. I know there are other teams. I know there are schedules. I know there is weather. I also know that where there is a will, there is a way. Where’s the passion? When did it stop being about the kids? “Above and beyond” to me is far more proactive than reactive. It’s far more open minded than close minded. It’s more about ‘what can we do?’ versus ‘this is what we can’t do’. I suppose I have to trust that everyone has been “making the best of this season”, but I do know that best is defined as follows: of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

On a positive note, there is a game scheduled this Sunday out in Exeter. Hopefully that holds up, although the last time the Avs played there, it certainly was memorable. Oh, and, I hear there’s free money being offered up to Avalanche families who have not yet spent money going forward. In my calculations, that is equal to exactly zero cents on the dollar.

Enjoy the rest of the week. I look forward to more hockey. I love the game. I love the season. And more than that, I love the kids that play the game. It’s a game, a kids game, and didn’t we all grow up making our ‘best’ efforts just to be playing a kids game one more time; every time?


NH Avalanche 2000 vs. Seacoast @ Exeter

Well, it was Sunday, the final day of the NHL All-Star Weekend. All-Star weekend took place in Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile back here in NH, the NH Avalanche team, or some form of the team, played the Seacoast Spartans out in Exeter. They say that familiarity breeds contempt and maybe that’s true here in this past game. At least from one side. I don’t know, I just saw what I saw.

Okay, I know most of the players on the Avs 2000 team probably watched the All-Star Draft, or at least the Skills Competition. Maybe they also spent hours on the ice of backyard rinks or frozen ponds leading up to Sunday’s game. Perhaps they had played too much hockey in this outdoor hockey season. Or, maybe some contempt, some disrespect had crept into their minds. I have no idea, maybe all of these things had a part in Sunday’s results. Maybe none of them did. I just know that there’s always something to be learned whether it be about a team, or one’s self, class is always open.

Let’s start here; Final Score: Seacoast 7: NH Avalanche 0.

Now, the Avs did play the first 12:08 of the game with no goaltender, and six skaters. Really. Despite several players taking turns to make saves from shots fired anywhere on their defensive side of the red line. They allowed three goals during that time so they definitely were in a hole by the time the goaltender arrived in the crease. After killing off a penalty the Avs did allow another goal with less than a minute to play in the opening period and found themselves trailing 4-0.

Another player showed up during the second period for the Avs, but by that time, the score had already exploded to 6-0 in favor of the home team. The second period would end with the Avs trailing 7-0.

In the final period the Avs played better, but could not score even while holding the Spartans off of the scoreboard. This was one of those days where tape to tape passes were finding the tape on the opponents sticks’. Or there were passes made that tipped, bounced, deflected, rolled, or otherwise just didn’t connect with teammates. Zigs were accompanied by simultaneous zags. Continuity existed only in memory. It was one of those days that makes you wonder why such days happen. Then after formulating that thought we figure it’s probably best to just move on, move forward, and know that every morning is a new day, a new chance, and just might be the day that everything falls into place. Isn’t that the beauty of sport and the humans that compete?

NH Avalanche 2000 vs. Seacoast – Ice Den 1-18-15

Sunday, during a freezing rain that seemed to be far worse on the north side of Route 101, the NH Avalanche 2000 team played host to the Seacoast Spartans. Several roads were in fact closed, and accidents did re-route traffic in a number of places, but hockey goes on.

After all was said and done, the score ended in a tie at 2-2. The home team led for most of this game, and, truthfully, I think they also had the majority of chances to score as well. Both teams did take turns making nice pass plays resulting in goals being scored and even more chances that didn’t end up in the back of the net.

Early in the first period, Max Lajeunesse gave the Avs a 1-0 lead on feeds from linemates, Sebastian Beal and Cody Sullivan. Max would have numerous scoring chances in this one, but no other shots of his would tickle the twine in this game.

In the second period, Seacoast briefly tied the game, scoring on a tough angle shot. Just a couple of minutes later Tyler Whiting would score a power play goal from between the circles on a pass from Sydney Herrington to give the Avs a 2-1 lead. Both Avalanche goaltenders, Gavin Cram, and Spencer Burgess made lead-saving saves throughout the contest. The period would end with the Avs holding the lead.

The third period saw the home team get several chances on lengthy puck possessions without being able to get that insurance goal or two. Then half-way through the final period, Seacoast put together a nice rush and perfect pass play to get the tying goal. The game would end in a 2-2 tie, thanks in part to a stone cold brilliant save by Burgess right outside of his crease.

The Avs played well. They generated a boat load of chances but just couldn’t dent the twine more than twice. They were down a few players and maybe the chemistry suffered a little from that but they still played well. The Avs return to action on Sunday, January 25th at Exeter vs. this same Seacoast team.


NH Avalanche 2000 – The last month

Since the last write-up I posted regarding the 2000 NH Avalanche Bantam Major Elite quite a few things have happened. Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone. High School hockey seasons have started. Kyle Greer has joined the roster and his offensive skills have been noticed. Today I will try to recap a few things here and get set for the remainder of the season.

The last game I reported here on this site was a one-sided loss to Assabet Valley played on December 7th. High School teams had just been selected and players making their school teams were still trying to figure out a few things. Among other things, these players and their families had to figure out the balance between school, sleep, homework, early morning rides versus work schedules, the new needs for school colored equipment, the school’s schedule for ice time, how many days per week, etc. That was last year, literally.

On December 14th the Avs hosted the Boch Blazers for a late afternoon game. The Avs, missing many of their players, played hard, and were competitive despite losing 4-0. The Avs could not click quite enough to generate sustained offensive pressure or to cash in on the chances they did have. The effort was solid despite having a short bench and taking 7 penalties in the game.

On December 21st, the Avs showed up at the Ice Den in Hooksett, NH for a home game that was never played, as the visiting Patriots from Assabet Valley did not show up. The Avs took advantage of the ice time by playing a 3-on-3, full sheet of ice, 45 minute game against themselves. The Avs did win that night.

Fast forward through the Holidays, a New Year started, dozens of high school practices, figuring out the schedules, who was playing where, and how much, and finally when can players make it to Bantam games, or not.

The Avs started 2015 with a road game in East Boston, Mass. on a Sunday morning. The overnight led to Sunday morning and all were greeted with a few inches of wet snow, some sleet, freezing rain, and rain, depending on what zip code you may have been in.

Jonathon Last looks to move the puck. (Photo by Terri P)

Jonathon Last looks to move the puck. (Photo by Terri P)

The players made it to Porrazzo Rink and battled the Advantage Ice on the ice sheet. The Avs played well throughout the game. Actually, they even carried the play for segments of the game. Even so, the Avs fell behind in the middle period, allowing a pair of power play goals to the home team. After two periods the Avs trailed on the scoreboard, 4-1. The lone goal had been scored by newcomer Kyle Greer, assisted by Cody Sullivan and Clay Sanders. In the third period, the Avs scored twice, but the comeback came up short as they lost 5-3. Third period goals were scored by Max Lajeunesse and Cody Sullivan. The first goal was scored by Max on an assist from Sebastian Beal.

Avs score a goal against Advantage Ice. (Photo by Terri P)

Avs score a goal against Advantage Ice. (Photo by Terri P)

Then, Sullivan’s goal was set up by Caiden Paradise and Kyle Greer. The Avs may have lost the game, but the effort was good, the officiating was questionable which reflected on the score sheet, as the home team was whistled for just one penalty after the first seven penalties had been called on the visitors. The game also marked the first time that ‘the team’ had really played together since the Turkey Tournament at Thanksgiving.

Next, Sunday the 11th witnessed the Avs first home game of 2015. The Avs welcomed a familiar foe in the Assabet Valley Patriots. Five weeks ago, this same Patriot roster beat the Avs 10-1 down at their barn. Sunday, the 11th, today, it was a different story. I mean, a completely different story. Less than two minutes into the game, the visitors scored first, and the Avs found themselves trailing before all lines had even played a shift. Over the next 43:46, however, the Patriots would not score again. The Avs answered the Assabet Valley goal with a goal of their own less than three-and-a-half minutes later. Mike Perry scored the goal on a nice redirection from in front of the net. He tipped a well placed shot along the ice from Sydney Herrington, up, and over the goaltender’s shoulder, and in to the back of the net. Herrington’s shot had been set up by a pass from Sebastian Beal at the point. The period would end with the score tied 1-1 and the effort from both clubs about the same as well.

In the second period the Avs seemed to play their way into even more chemistry between their lines as they were all together again for the second weekend in a row. Sydney Herrington gave the Avs a 2-1 lead as she raced across the slot and ripped a wrist shot into the back of the net. The goal came off of a nice feed from Max Lajeunesse who had been sprung up the left wing boards by a nice outlet pass from his own defensive end by Caiden Paradise. After two periods the Avs maintained a 2-1 advantage and were getting the better of the chances.

The third period saw Kyle Greer score a goal on perfectly placed shot just inside the post, and under the crossbar. Greer took a well timed pass from Lajeunesse and made no mistake. Cody Sullivan had started the play with a nice feed to get Max flying up the right wing before delivering the pass to Greer. Herrington had another great chance for the Avs from the slot but the goaltender got a piece of the shot and the puck rose high enough to glance off of the crossbar and over the net. The Avs would finish out the effort with teamwork apparent at both ends of the ice, and hold on to a 3-1 win. Spencer Burgess and Gavin Cram were both solid in net and each made key saves in the victory. Clay Sanders, Christian Levesque, Tyler Whiting, and Jonathon Last all contributed to the victory, getting chances to score or creating the chances, while shutting down the opponent.

The NH Avalanche 2000 team will be back on the ice for their next game on Sunday morning, January 18th at 10:45am versus the Seacoast Spartans. The game will be played at Thomas F. Sullivan Arena on the campus of Saint Anselm College. See you then. Thank you for stopping by.



NH Avalanche 2000 @ Assabet Valley Patriots – Valley Sports Arena

Last night the NH Avalanche 2000 team traveled to Concord, Mass. to play the Assabet Valley Patriots at the Valley Sports Arena. The was the first game the Avalanche had played since high school tryouts had been decided earlier in the week. The Avs had a few kids missing so they called up some players, three to be exact, from the Bantam Minor Elite team. The players called up for this game were, Maxwell Dorrington, Mason Drouin, and Eric Favreau.

The night was most definitely not one for the memoirs as far as the Avs were concerned. The final score ended up being 10-1, with the Avs getting a late third period goal, but it was a little too late to make such a comeback.

Things we may have learned, or even reaffirmed from Sunday night’s game, in no particular order.

  • Dorrington, Drouin, and Favreau can all skate. They played hard, hustled, and tested the waters against a much larger, more experienced team.
  • #26 on Assabet Valley wasn’t on their roster, but he alone was bigger than some of the hybrid vehicles I see on the roads these days, and he could play.
  • Against teams like the Patriots, any game the Avalanche play, short of solid, sound, and structured will likely result in scores similar to last night.
  • Goaltending must be sharp to save the teams’ bacon on mistakes made out in front of the crease. Some times it’s not fair, but chances still remain to save the day.
  • Turnovers happen, and minimizing them are a must against Assabet Valley. If a turnover, or mistake does happen, and they will, heady hustle should be the response in order to offset the error.
  • When this Avalanche team moves the puck well, they can get chances to score against anyone.
  • The Avs can be effective on the forecheck when they are willing to put some skin in the game and not just skate ‘fly-bys’ or go through the motions. See the goal scored by Sebastian Beal , set up by Eric Favreau. The two players picked off the puck on the forecheck and put it in the net.
  • It’s always better when the scoreboard operates the way it’s supposed to.

Any how, it’s on to the next game, and that is the beauty of a new day. Anything can happen.