action:article | category:SPORTS21 | adString:SPORTS21 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » High School Sports

March 09. 2013 4:06PM

NHIAA Div. III boys' hockey: John Stark/Hopkinton upsets Berlin in OT for title


Berlin's Connor Jewett is airborn as he attacks John Stark goaltender Connor McDonald in the first period of the NHIAA Division III hockey finals at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester Saturday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - As it turned out, the Berlin High School hockey team couldn't deal with the pressure.

John Stark/Hopkinton's forecheck had been a problem for opponents all season, and it set up the game-winning goal in Saturday's Division III championship game.

Senior tri-captain Simon Hunter intercepted an attempted clearing pass a couple strides inside the Berlin blue line and found himself with a clear path to the net. Hunter skated between the circles and put a high shot past Berlin goalie Shane Mailhot with 3:30 remaining in OT to give second-seeded John Stark/Hopkinton a 3-2 victory.

"That was a gift," said Hunter, a Henniker resident who attends John Stark in Weare. "I never would have thought I'd get the game-winning goal in overtime to win a championship my senior year."

Peter Sawitsky and Simon Becka also scored for John Stark/Hopkinton, which ended its season with a 19-1-1 record. Berlin beat John Stark/Hopkinton 8-2 during the regular season, but John Stark/Hopkinton was missing three defensemen for that game, and goaltender Connor McDonald suffered a concussion in the first period.

"Plus we had to travel to Berlin," John Stark/Hopkinton coach Denis Kolehmainen said. "We had it all going against us that day."

Brandon Poulin and Connor Jewett scored for top-seeded Berlin, which dropped from Division I to Division III after the 2012 season. The Mountaineers finished 20-1-0.

"I'm at a loss for words at this point," Berlin coach Michael Poulin said. "If we make the simple play to get out of the zone, we're free. We forced things.

"We had a target on our back from Game 1 to Game 21, and I think the kids handled it well. It came down to depth, and they were a little deeper than we were."

Sawitsky scored the only first-period goal when he beat Mailhot with a backhanded shot from near the left post during a power play at 3:53.

Berlin pulled even on Poulin's shot from the slot at 6:59 of the second period, but John Stark/Hopkinton regained the lead when Becka backhanded a rebound past Mailhot at 8:48 of the second. Jewett's goal came with 4:04 left in the second and made it a 2-2 game. He curled around a John Stark/Hopkinton defenseman and scored from low in the left faceoff circle. It was his 61st goal of the season.

The title came two years after John Stark and Hopkinton formed a cooperative team. It also came in Kolehmainen's first season as the team's head coach.

"What we've done all season is forecheck - make the other team make mistakes," Kolemainen said. "That's what happened, and that was the difference."

Division III Championship

John Stark/Hopkinton 3, Berlin 2

AT VERIZON WIRELESS ARENA

John Stark/Hopkinton 1-1-0-1-3
Berlin (20-1-0) 0-2-0-0-2

First period: JS-H - Peter Sawitsky (Kyle Kolehmainen) ppg 3:53.

Second period: B - Brandon Poulin (Zach Blanchette, Trevor Labrecque) 6:59; JS-H - Simon Becka (Jacob Blanchette) 8:48; B - Connor Jewett (Justin Vien, Mike Lemoine) 10:56.

Third period: No scoring.

Overtime: JS-H - Simon Hunter (unassisted) 11:30.

Saves: JS-H Connor McDonald (30). B - Shane Mailhot (22).


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

New OT rule in AHL generating buzz

Slam thunk! Sarah Silverman nearly hit by basketball at Knicks game... but luckily John McEnroe is there to shield her

Spurs' Matt Bonner will wear new Adidas Crazy 8 shoes for Christmas game

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!