Bedford Bulldogs scorch Lebanon with 8-goal effort
The Bulldogs hockey team put in a season-high eight goals against Lebanon at home, Jan. 5. They also preserved a shutout, improving to 5-1 on the season.
“We had a lot of offense,” head coach Marty Myers said. “We didn’t spend too much time in the defensive zone, and I saw a lot of things that we worked on in practice. We talked all week about bringing the puck to the net, so I thought we did a good job doing that today.”
Three Bedford players, captains Kurt Mitchell and Chris O’Hara, as well as Neil Soucy, tallied multiple goals in the win.
Despite two early penalties that resulted in Lebanon power plays, Bedford was able to take a 3-0 lead into the second period.
“We got off to a slow start, and you know what, we worked through it,” said Myers. “Against more experienced teams, you know, that will come back and haunt us, but we worked through it, so it didn’t really hurt us this game.”
As the lead grew to 7-0 heading into the third, backup freshman goalie Alec Lindberg relieved junior Stevan Tempesta for some garbage playing time in net. Lindberg made several saves late in the game – two came on one-on-one fast breaks – to hold off any Lebanon scoring.
The large lead allowed for significant playing time among everyone on the Bedford roster.
“We get a chance to put in our other guys,” said O’Hara. “We get to expose them.”
Though Mitchell and O’Hara agreed they have much more difficult tests on their upcoming schedule, they were both encouraged by the way the team played.
“We shot the puck on net a lot better than we have been, and I think that’s a key to success,” O’Hara said. “We haven’t been shooting well, and when we do, we make things happen.”
They shot the puck more effectively, and more often. The increased frequency of shots was no coincidence, as Myers said, because he is urging the Bulldogs to fire from farther away.
“We’re finding that we’re trying to shoot from the top of the crease, right near the goalie,” he added. “Our strategy now is to get pucks on net and crash the net, play the second shot rather than just the first shot.”
The new approach could be an adjustment for Mitchell, who Myers said likes to maneuver close to the net with the puck, but could prove more normal for O’Hara.
“He’s a kid that loves to shoot the puck, and anytime he gets it, he likes to shoot,” Myers said. “That’s what he does, and he does it very well.”
The game was Bedford’s second win since the holiday break. The first came on Jan. 2 against Kingswood – a 6-3 win on the road. Before that, Bedford dropped its only regular season contest against rival Goffstown, 2-1, on Dec. 22.
Myers said the team’s next two contests – on the road at Oyster River on Jan. 9 and at home against Bow on Jan. 12 – will be two of the most difficult tests of the season so far. The Bulldogs have had close games with both team’s in previous years, but see each for the first time this winter.
“Those will be the two toughest teams that I think we’ve played so far this year, so it’s going to be interesting,” Myers said. “I’m going to see how, for the first time, how we match up against both of those teams. Oyster River and us, for some reason, we always have a great game, and last year, Bow, we played them twice and we didn’t beat them either time.”