Goffstown Bulldogs celebrate championship banner, take it to Windham-Pelham
Bedford's Steve Tempesta stretches out to make one of several saves on the afternoon. The reigning champion Bulldogs were motivated from unfurling their banner and beat Division II-newcomer Windham-Pelham, 4-0. (Dan Moberger Photo)
GOFFSTOWN - The Bedford Bulldogs hockey team held its season opener at Saint Anselm’s Sullivan Arena on Saturday, Dec. 15, against Windham-Pelham.
Players and fans from both sides watched as Bedford’s championship banner from last year was unfurled during a pregame ceremony.
The Bedford players took the inspiration from watching last year’s success roll out in front of them and turned it into a 4-0 victory.
“Today was the first time, including myself, that we’d seen that banner, so it was pretty special,” head coach Marty Myers said. “That kind of symbolized last year, for sure. I don’t want to rely on last year for what we want to do this year, (but) it was a great day for the hockey team to see it.”
The victory took Bedford to 2-0 on the young season and dropped Windham-Pelham to 0-1-1.
Chris Ohara, Chris Viola, Kurt Mitchel and Ben Philbrook found the back of the net for the Bulldogs.
This year is Windham-Pelham’s first in Division II after moving up from Division III, and Bedford’s Myers said his squad was impressed with how they looked following the transition.
“Windham-Pelham is a very good team,” he said. “They certainly surprised us. They’re deep, as a first-year team moving up to Division II.”
O’Hara got Bedford on the board during the game’s first shift, but for the next period and a half, the score remained the same. Windham-Pelham had several chances of their own, but as they did in their first contest, a 1-1 tie to Keene, the players had trouble converting opportunities.
“We’ve only scored one goal in two games,” Windham-Pelham head coach Daniel Molinari said. “Other than that, I’m happy with the way this team is playing. I think they’re bringing good intensity, they’re playing well as a unit, we just have to get the puck in the net.”
Bedford’s defense rebounded from the team’s first game, where it allowed three goals to Somersworth Coe-Brown. Junior goalie Steve Tempesta and freshman Alec Lindberg, who came in to finish the shutout at the end of the game, anchored the back line.
Standout defensemen who protected those goalies were Pat Gagliardi, Cullen Willey and Mike Dee.
Willey is one of the team captains, along with Mitchel and Ohara. The three lead a group of seniors, who Myers said will need to play well for the team to repeat last year’s success.
“They’re just fun to watch,” Myers said. “They move the puck well. They’re very skilled, talented players.”
For Windham-Pelham, Molinari said his best player of the day was goalie Mike Donovan, but the team’s offense needs to step up and start scoring goals if they hope to improve as the season moves forward.
“Mike Donovan did a good job in net,” said Molinari. “He made some saves for us and kept us in there.”
Windham-Pelham’s next contest is Saturday, Dec. 22, against Alvirne at home. Alvirne dropped its first two games, both on the road, against Oyster River, 5-1, and Bow, 6-1.
Bedford returns to the Sullivan Arena ice on Saturday as well to play rival Goffstown. The Bulldogs then compete in the Manchester Christmas Tournament before returning to regular season action against Kingswood Regional on Jan. 2.
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