High School Hockey: Seniors lead the way for Central
MANCHESTER — No one could have written a better script for Manchester Central on Senior Night.
“All three of our seniors scored and it doesn’t get better than that,” said Central coach Brian Stone after his team registered a 6-2 Division I boys’ ice hockey win against rival Manchester Memorial Wednesday at JFK Coliseum.
The win allowed Central (6-9) to solidify its eighth-place standing with three games to play. Nine teams qualify for the state tournament this season.
Playing their final game against the Crusaders, senior forward Bowen Bilodeau (two goals, assist), senior defenseman Jack Compos (goal, two assists) and senior defenseman Cam Warner (goal) each dented the score sheet. Warner switched to forward in the final minute to get his score in the final minute of play.
“Memorial is our rival, so it was a big deal for us,” said Bilodeau, speaking for the seniors. “It’s the last time we’ll ever play Memorial, which is always the most fun game of our season. We’ll definitely miss playing them.”
Central established the early momentum with two first-period goals. Compos scored the first one on a high shot, far side with 4:48 left. Bilodeau and George Gatzoulis assisted on the goal. Memorial’s failure to clear the puck out of its zone late in the period led to Bilodeau’s first goal with 17.8 seconds left.
Compos gained the assist after Bilodeau scored in traffic.
Bilodeau tallied his second goal, assisted by Sam Hebert, midway through the second period, giving the Little Green a solid 3-0 edge. But unexpectedly because Central was dominating play, the complexion of the game changed when Memorial scored twice 52 seconds apart. Sophomore Ryan Cardow scooped a loose puck along the boards and skated down the left wing before beating Central goalie Keenan Alnahas (28 saves) with a low shot far post.
The goal ignited the Crusaders, who cashed in again when a rebound off Eric Langley’s shot was rammed home by Jared Chandonnet with 9.3 seconds left.
“We had some momentum going into the third period, but they took it back by scoring three times in the third period,” said Memorial coach Mark Putney. “Central is playing for a playoff spot and they came out with a little more energy in that third period.”
Sam Hebert tallied 4:34 into the third stanza and Garrison Gagnon’s goal two minutes later restored order for Central.
Brendan Courtney, Wil Hebert, Cadin Booth and Compos each had an assist in the period. Memorial goalie Lauren Calnan faced 16 shots in the third period and finished with 33 saves.
“We played sloppy on the blue line late in the second period that allowed Memorial to get back into the game,” said Bilodeau. “We addressed that before the third period started, needing to get more shots on net, which we did. If we didn’t win this game, we knew we might now have a chance to get in (the tournament). Now we feel we have a shot with three games left.”
Central resumes play Monday hosting Trinity at 4:30 p.m. at JFK Coliseum before closing out against Pinkerton and Bedford. Memorial (1-14) will have its Senior Night Saturday at 4:30 p.m. against Hanover at the JFK.