Tag Archives: teamwork

To the Help

This one goes out to the help. The volunteers. The community. The common thread found among a group. Maybe it’s a passion that you didn’t realize you had, but you couldn’t stay away knowing that things needed to be done right.

I know I have said this, maybe too many times, over the last 15 years, but I believe it, it’s all about the kids. So, when we get put to the test to host a baseball tournament at Allard Park, we do so. But we do so with a flair for the perfect. I don’t mean to say we are perfect or do everything exactly right. I will say that we come pretty close on most days. Because there’s a group of us that learned from those who came before us, then we add our creativity and our passion for getting it right.

We set the stage to the best of our abilities. We produce this little show that is the presentation of the game. But there is no agenda, in the political or personal sense, just a respect for the game. And in doing so, I, we, hope that the kids have the experience of a lifetime, playing this great game in such a beautiful setting. I equate it to something like the falling of dominoes. Everyone likes to see some elaborate design set up, only to get the enjoyment of watching the ripple effect and beautiful symmetry of one slab perfectly effecting the next, and so on, as they all fall down. Well we are the group that sets up the design, and stands one domino after the next, just so the teams can come in and enjoy the show, participating as they may. Honestly, that’s how I see it.

I cannot say enough about the folks that make these games and tournaments come together. I am truly humbled by the efforts of so many, who volunteer and work above and beyond the work that is already in their everyday lives, for the kids, for the game. I have been all over this state to more fields than I can remember, and Allard Park in its’ setting, with all the work done to present the game, is as good as it gets. Bar none.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

I know that running a tournament is a lot of work. It’s tiring. There is always more to do. There are always folks to cater to. Then, we ran two tournaments in a row. Games were played on everyday between July 6th until July 19th, except our one day off, July 13th (an evening that our team practiced). 20 games in 13 days. 20 announcements of players, coaches, umpires, officials, and 20 national anthems. Every pitch, every out, every play, of every inning tracked, and recorded. Prepping the field in blistering heat, or recovering from thunderstorms and downpours. People worked at the gate, sold 50/50 tickets, and helped all over the grounds. Folks worked in the stifling hot concession stand to produce the best ballgame fare anywhere around. We restocked as we went several times. Often times, members of our volunteer crew would be at the field for 8-9 hours in a single day, when two games were played.

One thing I can say is that our kids learned a lot about running a tournament. They helped in every aspect of the production necessary to host a tournament. Even better, they saw their parents working hard to make this about the kids, and to do it right. There’s nothing wrong with the kids seeing ‘pay it forward’ right before their own eyes.

I thank Maurice Allard for his, and the Allard family’s blessing, for us to utilize the facilities and run with them. Dr. Moe was ever-present at games, all games, whether they included the home team or not. And, I would say that he was not only welcomed, but his presence was anxiously anticipated by many.

So, despite the home team being knocked out of the tournament with 3 days, and 5 potential games left to be played in the State tournament, the crew pulled it off. Yesterday, on a Tuesday afternoon, the final game was played. Somehow our volunteers found ways to Allard Park at different intervals, despite all the ‘real life stuff’ found crammed into everyday. Folks just stepped in where help was needed, often times wearing multiple hats in the various roles. The house was full. The concessions were flowing. The field looked incredible. The sky was blue, and big, puffy white clouds gently glided across the blue expanse, being pushed by crisp, dry, clean air coming down from Canada. Pretty near perfect.

Finally, for the newer volunteers, I am not kidding when I say that we (Goffstown Babe Ruth) are known for a quality venue, a quality presentation, and a quality experience for all who enter through our gates. It’s not a coincidence that Allard Park has hosted more tournament games in the last 15 years, than anywhere in the state. It’s not even close. It’s because we have wonderful people, wonderful parents and support groups, who all care about doing it right, for whatever their reason may be. It shows. Trust me, it shows. Remember I wrote about IMPACT recently, well what an impact you all had on the state of Babe Ruth Baseball in the state New Hampshire over there two weeks. Thank you all. You are truly amazing. Simply the best.

It’s Alright to be Impacted by the Game

Sometimes I stay up quite late just so I can let my mind run away from the real, and approach subjects that I would much rather touch, or certainly feel.

Then there are times when I lengthen the day just to wrestle free from the noise, you know, to get out from under the distractions, and that which just annoys.

So, what. So I can prove that, maybe, something good happens after midnight, and I descend to the depths of thought, just to get to the core, then I sit and write. Continue reading

Grizzlies Hockey ~ A Season and the Impact

It’s that time again; a time I have yet to learn how I should better handle. It’s the end of the season. Ugh. I do not like the end of the season. Let me put it in my own words, and see if anyone else can relate. I know that I don’t always make sense, but I’ll give it a try. This might take awhile, but hey, it’s been 105 days and counting, until the banquet I suppose. There’s a lot to discuss.

Last night I found myself looking back at an email from November 29th, 2015, the night before tryouts. I read through it and revisited the thoughts, anticipations, questions, and emotions that I had that very night. Little did we know then, that just hours later, four of our players trying out would ‘lose their lunch, or breakfast, or dinner’ as it were, while skating during the first 530am ice time of the season. Many of you may have known, but I didn’t know how all of this would come together, so I will try to take you down this path in some particular order. Okay, there may not be any order.

Who knew it was so hard to move a hockey bag? I mean they can get heavy, and you usually know you’re near one long before you can see one. Oh, the smell! Seriously though, we spent the first week of the season chasing a hockey bag all over SAU 19. Kids can ride the bus, come and go from school, get to practices and such, but, oh that hockey bag, who knows its’ travels. See, the hockey bags and hockey sticks can’t ride a school bus. This requires a lot of planning, structure that wasn’t yet in place, or exquisite communication and good gas mileage. I did get to see the Holt’s beautiful property, you know, right up next to the North Pole, on one or two trips to retrieve a hockey bag. I also spent some time with Sebastian one afternoon trying to figure out just where his hockey bag had traveled once practice ended that morning, before school. I will say this though, the older kids were awesome, helpful, and willing to help the newbies, the youngsters. For that, we are all thankful.

One of the things that tears at my core when a season, that I love, comes to an end, is the finality of the chaos that had turned to a sort of rhythm of normalcy for a period of time. I immediately miss the alarm going off at 4-something-AM, and picking up a teammate or two on the way to St. A’s. I miss the teamwork it takes from the parents to help us all get through week after week of a long winter season. I miss seeing the boys all scramble from their vehicles in the dark of early morning when the rink door is opened. I miss the not-so-painful relentless onslaught of questions to do this, that, or the other thing because “everyone” on the team is going here or there. One day soon, I’ll miss even more, being the ‘ride’ to all things pertaining to a season.

I do love the energy that is found in a group of people working together towards a common goal. The team. The coaches. The parents. The board members. It’s awesome! To be a part of something bigger than yourself will never grow tired with me. Game nights turned into organized mayhem, which led to just another chance to see friends, new and old, and have a blast watching our team play. I am thankful for the folks that pull these things together. They are parents, friends, families, schoolmates, coaches, educators, and administrators. I enjoy the opportunity to help and be a part of the presentation that is our team, our sons, our future. It’s about the kids, and I love that.

Games, home and away, always a chance for the kid down the street, or the one from the next room, to do something you might have questioned he possessed the skills to do. You never know what’s going to happen next, and that is one of the beauties of sport. Walking into some far away rink, knowing that the Grizzlies were going to be skating for all to see, as we watch with the anticipation of what’s next. Looking around the rink, any rink, and seeing those familiar faces, knowing we all got each others’ back as it relates to supporting our team; there is a quiet confidence there. I hope the team feels the same.

There are highs and there lows as life would have it. Yet, the show must go on. Life lessons presenting themselves on a daily basis, and it’s all right there for us to be a part of, together, as a community. Watching the youth and the experience come together to be one, with both being better for it. The exuberance of achieving individually is fantastic, but fails in comparison to the sheer joy and sense of accomplishment when teammates celebrate you, us, with you. Oh, to be that kid again.

Maddie Carlson Night, Comedy Night, Charity of Choice, Goffstown Food Network, fundraisers, volunteerism, team bonding, outings, and more. Wow! What a group! The team donated $800 to help Maddie Carlson’s family with medical bills and expenses. They donated $1000 to the Northeast Passage Sled Hockey Program and were also honored, in turn, when the NEP team named Goffstowns’ 3 seniors as honorary coaches on their bench during a tournament game out in Exeter. Members of the team also helped the Goffstown Food Network move hundreds of pounds of food from one location to another at Christmas time. What a season. One day kids will grow to be men and women, adults, and I hope they realize sooner, than later, the effect they have on so many. You never know who is watching. You never know who needed to see any of us give of ourselves, help another, support someone else, refrain in the right moment, demonstrate humility and patience in another moment, or just smile to let the world know we are having a good time. Impact. Most times we don’t get to choose who we impact, but we always get the chance to choose how we carry ourselves, thus directing how we impact. None of us are perfect, even though Ethan Smith did stop every shot he faced in games this year, we all have our moments. If you read the first sentence of this paragraph, you will know what I mean, as it relates to this team, this group. Hundreds, if not thousands, of little moments packed into a season. I wish I knew of all the acts of kindness, caring, support, and even tough love that went into everyone that was a part of this season because I would share it. It’s a great group. I know I will miss the ones moving on, yes, even though some of these folks I have just met or started to get to know. That’s how ‘team’ works.

I have shared in the honor of relaying facts, stats, messages, updates, stories, comments, and numbers regarding this team all season. If I were better prepared, maybe I would have captured more of the sentiments shared throughout the season. There have been so many comments praising this team and the group that make it all happen. Really, it’s been wonderful to read and hear. Listed below I have gone back through messages and comments I have seen all the way to early December, right through to this week.

 


Final game against Merrimack, “You should be proud of your fighting spirit. We are proud of having you represent Goffstown.”

Final game against Merrimack, “Good luck this afternoon! Give it everything you have!! ‪#‎GrizzlieNation‬

OT Tourney win, “Congrats Grizzlies on your win over Lebanon tonight!!!”

Win against Windham, “Great job tonight!”

On supporting NEP, Charity of choice, “GO GRIZZLIES! Class act team.”

Maddie Carlson Night, “Awesome,,,such a great team!!!”

One of the team bonding events, “They definitely had a blast!”

On Comedy Night, “We had a blast!”

Opening night, “Nice opener Grizzlies!!!!! Congrats keep it going, we are all watching and cheering.”

Opening night, “Awesome!!”

Opening night, “Excellent job boys!!”

Regarding Maddie, “we are all praying for her..this is the ️best hockey team in the USA!”

Regarding Maddie, “You know… I am 700+ miles away, but the joy I see with stuff like this makes me smile….. Congrats to Maddie and her team from Goffstown HS!!!”

Online presence, “Your team has the best stuff on the GHS Athletics page.”

Online presence, “Thank you for keeping us up to date on the team.”

Online presence, “We love to see the articles and all of the pictures of the boys!”

Online presence, “We started coming to games to see what all these stories were about. What a team! Go Grizzlies!”

Teaching moments, “I couldn’t agree with you more about the National Anthem. Thank you for sharing that.”

Teaching moments, “I liked that video about the anthem too…good coach & American. I hope everyone watched it with their kids.”

Support, ” I love your write ups!  Can’t miss one!!”

Support, “Thank you for all write ups. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.”

Support, “I love the articles and keeping up with the team.”

Support, “I woke up early looking for the article on the game the night before. Loved it!”

Support, “Thank you for all the great game reviews.  My parents in florida and my sister in Oregon feel like they were at the game !!!”


 

Honestly, I am humbled by the support of the write-ups, blog posts, articles, or whatever they are called. The support, kind words, and feedback from Grizzlies Nation has been overwhelming. I am truly thankful just for the opportunity to contribute along with everyone else. There are so many people, between the coaching staff, the players, the trainers, the bus drivers, the parents (of past and present players), the Friends of Goffstown Hockey, the school folks, and so on, that do so much to make a season even possible. It’s about all of them, supporting the kids. Thank you all for letting me be a part of this 2015-16 GHS Hockey season. It has truly been my pleasure.

So, another season goes in the books. Which is another thought that I had. Are there actually books that track each season? The records. The stats. The schedules. I will pursue that lead separately. Anyway.

In an attempt to close this out, I go back to the word, impact. Impact is defined this way; the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another, or, the effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another. Maybe it’s just me, but this season, right from tryouts through now, has impacted me. Maybe even forcibly come in contact with any of us. Certainly there has been ‘effect’, and most definitely influence on another. Personally, I think the impact has been positive. I do believe the team, the sum of its’ parts, is better today than they were when the roster was announced on December 2nd. I do believe the players are better players, up and down the roster, than they were when we started. I think the coaching staff had an impact, a positive one at that, right out of the gate. I heard it in the voices of the returning families, I saw it in the smiles on the players faces. I felt it being around the rink and witnessing the countless gestures of kindness and support. The kids broke out of the secrecy and security found in any good locker room environment, crossing the threshold back into the reality of life away from that sacred sanctuary found at the rink, often times greeted with brownies, cookies, or some other baked goods. There was impact, and it was everywhere.

Did Maddie Carlson night have an impact on anyone? Oh, I know it did. Did Maddie Carlson herself, have an impact? Absolutely. Did we all, the entire GHS Hockey community, have an impact on Maddie and her family? I am quite certain we did. Seeing and hearing Maddie’s mom having a blast at the comedy show was worth the price of admission alone. (Segue way) How about the Comedy Night Fundraiser? What an overwhelming impact it had on the camaraderie found in the Goffstown Hockey community. I look forward to building on that. The more the merrier, I always say. Did the team and the support group around them have an impact on the Northeast Passage Program? I certainly hope so. Did they have an impact on us? I believe they did. Their tagline is “living beyond disability”. We could all learn from those three words. In fact, we could interject our own word in the blank, “living beyond ____”, and be better for it. How about Senior Night? Impact. The program carries on, but each year somebody’s high school career comes to an end, and while it’s sad, it’s really just another beginning. But, there is without question, impact felt throughout the organization.

Then there’s the time on the ice. There’s the beauty of the boldness in the perceived immortality of youth. Did Stephen Provencher have an impact on those who watched him work and go boldly where he never had gone before? Yes. How about Ethan Smith, and his commitment to being the backup goaltender to Holty? Impact? Yes. Did 6’5″ Dylan Hyers come forcibly into contact with another? Oh yes, and it was awesome. There’s Brett Lassonde, and the comments I heard all year about his abilities and tenacity for his size. Well guess what, he’ll keep growing, and he was fantastic regardless of size. Yes, please know that there’s been an impact on more than you know. Mike Fortin, defense, offense, extra attacker, #12 did it all. Impact = tremendous. Noah Charron, did he have an impact? Yes he did. The sophomore led the team in goals and points. What about Tyler Riendeau and his impact? He seems like a field (ice) general, giving direction and feedback constantly. Like it or not, improve your game to match his, and oh yes, there’s an impact. Who remembers being impacted by the theft committed by Max Lajeunesse leading to his game-winning snipe against eventual DII Champs, Windham? Oh, that impact was felt throughout the State of NH hockey circles. Then there was the Griffin Cook, Ben Roy, and Alex McCarthy line. I called them my abacus line, as they wore numbers 5,6, and 7. They teamed up for a beautiful goal early in the season and the senior meshed with the youth, leading by his hustling example, each of them battling to make hockey plays, each having their own impact. These youngsters can play, and their impact will continue to be felt. There’s Colin Burke who started the season as a long, lanky, 14-year-old kid. He was pressed into service against players 4-5 years older than him, but he battled, showed his skills, and worked on improving. Impact? Yes, and I can’t wait to see what he has to offer this program in the coming seasons. There was Sebastian Beal who played his way into consistent ice time, and definitely had an impact on the ice, especially killing penalties. Impact, oh ya. You ask about Jake Noonan and his impact? Sure he impacted others. He got a chance to play along some much more experienced defensemen, which was a tremendous classroom experience right there on the ice everyday. I also hear that alongside his efforts to improve on the ice, he had some pretty good one-liner comments at practices that brought some humor from an unexpected source. Nick Nault had an impact, not only on the number of sticks (his and opponents’) he snapped with his slapshot, but with his skills on the ice. He impacted how other teams defended the Grizzlies power play and offensive rushes up ice. Oh, how many, would be goal scorers, did Colin Holt impact this season? Too many. I think the whole of Grizzlies Nation felt the Holty impact in the overtime victory over Lebanon in the first round, among many examples this season. Speaking of which, could we ever forget the impact of Sam Greenwood on the Raiders from Lebanon in that first round win? Watch the video (GTV on YouTube) of the 1:03 of overtime play. Greenwood made his impact felt in just about every way possible, and he did all season.

Yes, there has been an impact up and down this team, and it has been tremendous. Like I said, you never know who is watching, and just who you might be impacting at any given time. I hope this trip through the season in 3,000 words or less, has helped bring attention to this fact. In the end, you, Goffstown Grizzlies Hockey, have impacted us all, and you make us proud. Go Grizzlies!

NH Avalanche – Spring Classic #1 Tournament Champions

Ahhh yes it’s spring! The signs of spring are everywhere. Well, at least there has been much chirping and plenty of chatter. It’s spring, there is a renewed sense of the seasons, new growth, and maybe it’s time for some head shots. I may stretch so far as to say there has been an ample sampling of class-less behavior, which could be misconstrued as a spring break of sorts. But this isn’t about spring so much as it’s about the progression of a team, the NH Avalanche 2000 team.IMG_8622

Game one vs. greenwich blues (5-2 win)

Game Winning Goal – Shawn Tewksbury

So, after not playing many games down the stretch as players played hockey for their various high school programs, the Avs entered play in the Spring Classic #1 Tournament. The tournament’s home rink is that of the neighboring Tri-Town Ice Arena. The locals, the Avalanche, entered play having won only a handful of games all season. They opened play in the tournament against the Greenwich Blues from Connecticut. Before this game was done there were some 13 and 14 yr old players talking some smack, lining up the slightly obnoxious hit, and waving fingers at one another.

IMG_8624The opening game was a little bit slow in developing and both teams slugged out a first period that ended in a 1-1 tie. By the end of the second period, it was clear which team had the upper hand. First, Shawn Tewksbury rejoined the Avs for this tournament and he made his presence felt right away. Tewksbury scored the first goal for the Avalanche after being set up on passes from Jon Last and Tyler Whiting. In the second period, the Avs built a 4-1 lead, getting three goals in the period, all of which were scored by Shawn Tewksbury. Whiting also picked up another assist in the middle stanza. In the 3rd period both teams scored once apiece, and the Avs won 5-2. The fifth goal was scored by Tyler Whiting, unassisted.

Although the score was decisive at 5-2, the Avalanche will likely tell you, to a man, that they didn’t play well as a team. IMG_8632What they did do was to limit the team from Greenwich from too many scoring chances. They also took advantage of the one spot that the Blues didn’t defend well, the middle of the ice, the slot. So, even when the Avalanche had their troubles getting through the neutral zone, or connecting on passes coming up the ice, they did make their shots from the slot count. Although aesthetics are often pleasing, results matter more, and the Avalanche won game one by getting results regardless of how it looked.IMG_8662

Game two vs. east haven yellow jackets (9-0 win)

Game Winning Goal – Tyler Whiting

Showing up for game two of the tournament Saturday morning there was a sense of excitement for the Avalanche team and their fans. After the opening game had been played at the Tri-Town Ice Arena, this game was played at Manchester’s West Side Arena. Coming off of a win always helps the team psyche going into the next contest. The mornings’ opponent was another team from Connecticut, the East Haven Yellow Jackets. Several of the Avs players, if not all of them, already knew that the East Haven squad had lost their first game in the tournament 6-0. Being expected to win, and winning, don’t always add up to the result that many think it would expect.

IMG_8666To the action we go. In the two minutes following the opening face-off, it appeared that the Avalanche held their game two fate in their own hands as they held the puck in the opponent’s end for two entire shifts. Before long, Tyler Whiting scored on an assist from Mikey Perry. One minute later, Shawn Tewksbury struck again and the Avs were off and running, leading 2-0. Then some things happened that I wasn’t expecting necessarily, nor should it have been seen. The teens on both squads decided they could take liberties with one another in a form of immature policing of themselves that can only look more out-of-place when adults take it to lower depths yet. Over the next five minutes of game time, the teams combined to take 7 penalties equaling more than a single periods-worth of penalty minutes. IMG_8668Max Lajeunesse would score on the power play on a feed from Sebastian Beal before the period ended, and the Avs held a 3-0 lead.

In the second period the Avs must have put 20+ shots on net, maybe more, and they even scored three more goals. First though, the brain-trust that was, or is, the East Haven coaching staff showed their brilliance and complete lack of understanding of any of the definitions of sportsmanship or even respect for; well, anything. The team from East Haven took five consecutive penalties, some of which may have been better penalized in the criminal justice system. The coaching staff did their part to quell the chaos by yelling more, yelling louder, slamming doors, and gesturing in the most respectful manner imaginable to the officiating crew. Good plan. Nothing better than a bunch of level-headed adults behaving in a calm and cool manner when realizing they are in over their heads and that their players/kids are, ummm, just showing their age and following their leaders. Goodness graciousness, that was one ugly period of humanity. IMG_8714After having several consecutive hours on the power play, or so it seemed, the Avs netted three goals in 150 seconds to lead 6-0. Cody Sullivan scored on a great pass from Lajeunesse. Then Shawn Tewksbury scored twice, once from Jon Last, and once from himself on a steal, a rush, and a goal.

The third period started with the Avalanche holding a 6-0 lead. The East Haven squad took a couple more senseless penalties and didn’t get called on several more simply because of the score and the fact that nobody was bleeding or missing any limbs. Before those things happened though, the Avs scored three more times building their lead to 9-0. Lajeunesse scored on a feed from Sullivan after the two forwards exchanged numerous passes to each other coming up the ice. Then Cade Facey scored, unassisted. Shawn Tewksbury scored his fourth goal of the game, for the second game in a row, assisted by Tyler Whiting.IMG_8898

I realize I have been tough on the group from East Haven here, but I am also tough on my kids when they act childish, unruly, and furthermore push the boundaries of decency even though they know better. One player for the Yellow Jackets that I would like to lift up, is goaltender and Captain, Danny Godlewski. I have no idea what kind of kid this young man is, but he made so many saves in this game that nobody could keep track. Yes, he let in 9 goals, and his team was trounced in hockey terms, but this kid saved dozens more would be goals, was diving side to side, and doing everything in his power to keep the puck out of the net. My guess is that had his teammates played with the same level of effort to compete in the game of hockey, they’d at least be able to look in the mirror and face themselves with a clear conscience.

IMG_8916game three vs. hockey west island (8-0 win)

Game Winning Goal – Christian Levesque

It was back to Tri-Town Ice Arena for the third and final game of the round-robin games in the tournament. The opponent for the final game was Hockey West Island from the outskirts of Montreal, PQ, Canada.

It was evident quite early that the visitors from Quebec were well out of their league as it related to the hockey caliber in this tournament. That’s not a knock on them but rather a product of the tier of hockey they play back in Quebec. IMG_8920For the most part though, the group showed well for themselves in regard to sportsmanship and how to teach youngsters what is acceptable and what is not. Toward the end of the game, a pair of West Island players took runs at Avs players, making direct contact to the players helmets/heads. The guilty parties were each ejected from the game and nobody was hurt. After the game, the coach from West Island brought one of the offending players into the Avs locker-room to share the remorse he felt and to apologize for the action.

IMG_8928The Avs 2000 team jumped out to an early lead, scoring 6 times in the opening period. From what I could tell, they spent the rest of the game making extra passes, cycling the puck, playing their off-positions, and making sure not to hit anyone. By virtue of their third win in three tournament games, the Avs earned the top spot in the standings and an opportunity to play in the championship game for their division.

Okay, so let’s get to the action from their third game. In a two-minute span early in the opening period, the Avs scored three times, on goals from Christian Levesque, and a pair of goals from Mikey Perry.IMG_9005 Cody Sullivan, Cade Facey, and Clay Sanders recorded assists, respectively. Later in the first period, Shawn Tewksbury scored twice, his 9th and 10th goals of the tournament, and Tyler Whiting added a goal. Assists went to Cam Leborgne and Mikey Perry. The Avs led 6-0 after one period and the strategy shifted to sportsmanship and getting out of game three without embarrassment or injury. The Avs scored single goals in the second and third periods, finishing with an 8-0 win. In the second period, Whiting scored again on a helper from Sebastian Beal. In the third period the Avs scored one last time after completing a series of several passes before Cam Leborgne and Cody Sullivan made consecutive passes to Beal, who rifled a shot in to the back of the net.IMG_8935

Championship Game

GAME four VS. twin valley flyers (7-0 WIN)

Game Winning Goal – Cody Sullivan

IMG_8965The final score of the championship game tells part of the story in this game, but not all of it. Yes, the Avs 2000 team was the better team. Yes, they played a better game than Twin Valley. But, for more than half of the game, 19:06 to be exact, the Avs were only able to distance themselves from their opponent by a single goal. It was apparent early that the Avs came to play, but so did Twin Valley. Twin Valley has shown in recent years that they are used to winning in NH Tier IV hockey. They were 16-1 in the Granite State League, outscoring their opponents by a whopping 87-14 margin. The NH Avalanche 2000 team peppered the goaltender and end boards with at least a couple of dozen shots in the opening period, and held the offensive advantage, but still, led just 1-0. Cody Sullivan scored on a nice little backhand shot set up by Mikey Perry, but that was it for the first 19:06.IMG_8943

With 4:54 left to play in the second period, Shawn Tewksbury scored on the power play, assisted by Max Lajeunesse. Just 36 seconds later, also on the power play, Tewksbury struck again with the assist going to Colin Leighton. Twin Valley killed off a third consecutive penalty, keeping the deficit at 3-0. Then in the last 0:14 of the period, the Avs put the nails in the proverbial coffin when Jon Last scored on a nice play set up by Leighton and Tyler Whiting. Then, just 11 seconds later, on a beautiful pass play, Sebastian Beal hit Cody Sullivan with a pass, who then fed Lajeunesse, who scored. Just like that, it was 5-0 after two periods.

IMG_8992Twin Valley kept hustling, they kept trying to play physical, but the pace and passing that Avs brought to the rink today was too much for them to answer for. In the third period, the Avs scored their 3rd power play goal in 4 attempts when Tyler Whiting and Shawn Tewksbury all but scored themselves, before Jon Last pounded a shot into the net from about two feet away. Moments later the line of Cody Sullivan, Max Lajeunesse, and Sebastian Beal, completed their second consecutive dominant shift when Lajeunesse scored on a backhand shot under the crossbar after being set up by Sullivan and Beal.  The final score was 7-0 in favor of the Avalanche. The win gave the Avs a perfect, 4-0 record in the tournament, while outscoring their opponents 29-2 in the four games. Shawn Tewksbury earned the MVP of the tournament honors, which included him scoring 12 goals in the four games.

The NH Avalanche team was coached by Bruce Harvey and Dan Sullivan.IMG_8996

This was a total team contribution, and it took all of them to play at the level showed this weekend. Goaltender, Gavin Cram only allowed two goals in four games, and even though his team played excellent defense in front of him, he made the saves he needed to when asked, and he won all four games between the pipes. Cody Sullivan, Tyler Whiting, Cade Facey, Jon Last, Sebastian Beal, Cam Leborgne, Colin Leighton, Max Lajeunesse, Caiden Paradise, Clay Sanders, Christian Levesque, Mikey Perry, and Shawn Tewksbury made up the roster for the NH Avalanche team. Everyone on the roster played a role, and played together to bring the big trophy home. (All Photos by T. Perry – Thank you)

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Spring Classic #1 Champs! (photo by 1inawesomewonder)

Spring Classic Champs

Spring Classic Champs! (photo by T. Perry)

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Thanks #25 (Sports)

I am thankful for sports. I have spent thousands of hours playing, practicing, teaching, watching, and dreaming in sports. Through sports I learned disciplines. I learned teamwork. I learned respect. I learned how to get along with others. I learned what it meant to be a part of something bigger than myself. I learned how to compete. I learned how to win and lose graciously. I learned motivation and preparation. I learned that nobody else is going to do it for me, and that I’m entitled to nothing. I learned that my skills were proportionately related to the work I put into practicing. I learned humility. I have learned a lot of things through sports. I have experienced many highs, lows, triumphs, and defeats, through sports. I have traveled to many, many places through sports. I have met so many tremendous people through sports. Even now, as I play less and less, sports are a big part of my life, of my kids lives, and I’m thankful.