HS boys hockey: Portsmouth-Newmarket falls to undefeated Keene, 4-0
DOVER — The Portsmouth-Newmarket hockey team stayed close with a high-powered Keene team for two periods, but ultimately could not find the back of the net, falling 4-0 at the Dover Ice Arena in a Division II contest on Wednesday night.
Portsmouth-Newmarket (3-3) charged out of the gates with a couple of scoring bids, but a Ben Brown goal after a pretty give-and-go with Zach Mooers put Keene (5-0-1) up 1-0 with 10:04 to play in the first period, and that goal appeared to put Portsmouth-Newmarket back on its heels a bit.
“They definitely had a couple chances early,” Keene coach Chris McIntosh said. “I was glad we weathered that storm. We’ve got some boys who can play. I’d put our top six forwards up against anyone.”
A Jerred Tattersal tally with 5:52 remaining in the first period gave Keene a 2-0 lead. Portsmouth-Newmarket continued to battle through the second period, aided in part by a pair of Keene penalties.
Portsmouth-Newmarket put four shots on goal during the first power play opportunity, but the Keene defense stiffened the second time it was a man down, and didn’t allow a single shot on goal during that power play.
“If they had scored on one of those, things could have been different,” McIntosh said. “We didn’t allow a goal, but the thing I hate about those penalties is that they knock us out of our rhythm. We can’t get the boys back into the groove, especially when we have a couple of them in the period like that. We try to preach “play hard, play fast and play strong” but we also have to play smart.”
Portsmouth-Newmarket coach Tom Ferguson was happy with the fight his team and saw a lot of good things, especially through the first two periods.
“Keene is a really good team,” Ferguson said. “Their first line is as good as anybody. I was pleased that we kept up with them effort-wise. We were a little shorthanded tonight, and we still put in a good effort.”
Tattersal’s second goal of the game came just 48 seconds into the third, and Joseph Walsh added a goal on a 4-on-4 situation.
Keene goalie Jacob Russell had 14 saves, but perhaps none was bigger than the one he made with 4:44 left in the second and Keene leading 2-0.
Portsmouth-Newmarket’s Noah Foster got the puck behind the Keene defensemen, and tried to sneak it past Russell, who stoned him on the shot.
“We’re going to live and die with Jake,” McIntosh said. “He stepped up when he had to today. Sometimes it can be hard when you aren’t seeing a lot of the puck, but he has been great for us all year. Coming into tonight he had a 91 percent save percentage, and tonight will only help that.”
As good as Russell was, Portsmouth-Newmarket goalie Jack Bussiere might have been even better, stopping 25 of the 29 shots he faced. Ferguson has been impressed with the sophomore netminder all season long; he has three regular season shutout, and another during the team’s Christmas tournament.
“Jack has been strong for us all year, and he is getting better,” Ferguson said. “The entire team is getting better, and stronger. We are pretty young too. As the kids get more used to each other we will get even stronger.”
Ferguson thinks his team can build on some of the positives that came from hanging close with a strong team for the majority of the game.
“I’m impressed that the flood gates didn’t open when they got that second goal,” he said. “We actually got better after that, and we played until the end. We kept going at them, and that’s the kind of team we want to be. We want to be sure after the game that the other team knows they were in a battle. We want them to remember us. We have been building, and we will continue to build and keep getting better.”
Source – Fosters.com