Div. III Boys' Hockey Final: Freshman's goals turn tide for General HawksBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
March 11. 2018 12:37AM
MANCHESTER - Although he just completed his freshman season, we may have already witnessed the highlight of Nolan Sauer's high school hockey career.
Sauer, a forward, scored twice Saturday to lead the John Stark/Hopkinton hockey team to a 6-2 triumph over Kennett in the Division III championship game at SNHU Arena.
Sauer's first goal broke a 2-2 tie with 2:35 left in the second period. Then he gave the second-seeded General Hawks (16-3-2) a 4-2 lead by scoring 2:51 into the third.
"I had a hat trick against Kearsarge/Plymouth a couple games back, but yeah, this is my biggest game so far," Sauer said. "That first one was good to take the lead and the second was great because it really helped us secure the win."
Junior forward Noah Chapman, freshman forward Tyler Scordo, freshman forward Benny Madden and junior defenseman Joe Sawitsky provided the other goals for John Stark/Hopkinton, which received a 25-save performance from junior goaltender Jameson Bourque. Madden's goal made it a 5-2 game with 5:15 to play, and Sawitsky scored short-handed into an empty net with 1:38 left. Chapman also picked up two assists.
Sauer had 14 goals and 13 assists during 18 regular-season games.
"He came up big," John Stark/Hopkinton coach Denis Kolehmainen said. "He wasn't playing well in the first and the first half of the second period. I got on him a little bit on how he was playing and he responded great."
Top-seeded Kennett (19-2-0 ) received goals from senior defenseman Mackenzie Murphy and sophomore forward Miles Woodbury. Woodbury scored at 4:11 of the second period, 23 seconds after John Stark/Hopkinton had taken a 2-1 lead. Woodbury also assisted on Murphy's goal.
Kennett goalie John Biggio made 18 saves in the loss.
"We were always playing catch-up today," Kennett coach Mike Lane said. "We never could play with a lead, which is what we've done all season. Could have been a different game maybe in the second if we got that 3-2 lead. They gained that lead and then in the third I think we ran out of gas. We just didn't have anything in the third. That third goal was the biggest goal of the game . it was the game-winner."
Kennett beat John Stark/Hopkinton twice during the regular season, 3-0 and 3-2 in overtime. The Eagles scored two empty-net goals in their 3-0 victory. Kennett also beat John Stark/Hopkinton 4-1 in Kennett's holiday tournament.
It was John Stark/Hopkinton's first state title since 2013, when the General Hawks beat Berlin for the Division III championship.
"I explained to them how all the little things that we do actually get you to the championship," Kolehmainen said. "It's sort of like all the snowflakes that make up that snowman. We did every little thing right in that third period. We brought the puck to the net. We shot it. We did a great job. You can't ask any more from our kids."