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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

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Well now, things just became very interesting based on this week’s results as the top three clubs played musical chairs.

No. 1 Keene (4-0-1) takes over the top spot. After squeezing past Goffstown, 5-4, the Blackbirds handled Kingswood, 4-1. The Blackbirds boast one of, if not the top, forward duos in the league in Jerred Tattersall and Joe Walsh. Keene heads to Portsmouth/Newmarket Wednesday and takes on surging Merrimack Saturday.

No. 2 Goffstown (7-2-0) rebounded from its first D2 loss at the hands of Keene to dump Dover, 5-3, and thump Somersworth/Coe-Brown, 7-4. The Grizzlies are off until Saturday’s trip to Alvirne/Milford then face a 14-day scheduling black hole during which they don’t play from Jan. 19 until Feb. 1.

No. 3 Dover (5-1-0) shut out Winnacunnet, 5-0, before that loss to Goffstown. The Green Wave is off until Saturday’s visit by Spaulding. Two days later “The Battle of Dover” will be renewed when they square off with St. Thomas Aquinas.

No. 4 Merrimack (3-1-0) is making up for lost time. The Tomahawks had not played a league game since opening night (Dec. 18) before Monday’s 6-5 win against Winnacunnet. They capped a three-win week by toppling Somersworth/Coe-Brown, 2-1, and Lebanon-Stevens/Mount Royal, 6-1. They host Alvirne/Milford Wednesday and head to Keene Saturday.

No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas (3-1-0) exacted a bit of revenge with a 3-0 shutout of Oyster River, which routed STA, 8-1, in December. The Saints are at Somersworth/Coe-Brown Wednesday in advance of that Jan. 20 tussle with Dover.

No. 6 Oyster River (3-2-1) sandwiched wins against Kingswood and Spaulding around that loss to STA. The Bobcats are home against Winnacunnet Wednesday in their lone action this week,

No. 7 Somersworth/Coe-Brown (2-3-1) took a double dip with the losses to Merrimack and Goffstown and aims to bounce back against STA on Wednesday.

No. 8 Kingswood (1-3-0) mustered up just a single goal in losses to Oyster River and Keene. The Knights are home to Spaulding Wednesday and head to Lebanon-Stevens/Mount Royal Saturday.

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The Blackbirds rolled past a formidable division opponent, Somersworth-Coe Brown on Saturday night at Keene Ice. They were led by Junior goalie and hard hat recipient Jacob Russell and Senion forward Joseph Walsh. Jacob Russell was strong in net with a 22 save shutout while Joseph Walsh led the way up front with 4 goals. Next up for KHS is the Goffstown Grizzlies on Wednesday night!

Source – KHS Blackbirds Hockey

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Joseph Walsh leads the way with four goals and an assist.

KEENE — Injuries have plagued Keene to begin the season. Most notably the losses of two top-scoring forwards, Brian Langevin, a senior, and Zach Mooers, a junior, have forced Blackbirds coach Chris McIntosh to reconstruct his lines.

On Saturday, it was assumed that Keene would be facing perhaps its stiffest challenge of the early season, squaring off against NHIAA Division II counterpart Somersworth-Coe-Brown inside Keene Ice. It was anything but. Behind four goals from senior forward Joseph Walsh, the Blackbirds made it look easy, demolishing the Bearcats 8-0.

Keene improves to 2-0-1. Somersworth drops to 2-1-1.

“We are doing some things in practice this year that are different compared to years past,” said McIntosh. “We have been focusing on a lot of skill stuff and putting our kids in smaller spaces so that we can try to create opportunities off of that. That’s what they did today.”

As Keene continues its farewell to Division II tour — the Blackbirds move up to Division I next season — there is a hope of leaving the division on a positive note with a deep postseason run. Two years removed from a state championship, the Blackbirds undoubtedly will continue to lean on each other to remain strong inside a difficult division.

“I think knowing some guys are out just makes us play harder,” Walsh said. “We all know that we all need to step up and some of the younger kids on this team have started to step up. We know that we can easily roll three lines without any problems.”

That certainly was evident against the Bearcats. Keene, early and often, played up-tempo and owned the offensive crease. Scoring four times in the opening period, the Blackbirds chased starting goaltender Kevin Baker (4 saves) midway into the frame. Two goals from Walsh (one shorthanded) and a tally each by Ethan Russell and Jarred Tattersall staked Keene out to a comfortable advantage after 15 minutes. A senior, Tattersall also contributed three assists in the frame. His score, with less than a minute remaining, came against Somersworth backup goalie Nic Pruett.

“The kids worked the puck down low and were all over the net,” McIntosh said. “That is what we do in practice so it is nice to see it translate into an actual game scenario. Lately we’ve been doing everything but score so I was happy to see them come out and play the way they did tonight.”

With Pruett between the pipes, things didn’t get much better for the Bearcats. A sophomore, Pruett kept his head on a swivel for the remainder of the contest as Keene continued to strike from all angles.

Walsh’s offensive presence migrated over to the middle frame as he buried two early goals, including a power-play marker, to extend the Blackbirds lead to 6-0. Walsh is just 14 points shy of eclipsing 100 points for his career. His father, Steve, who coaches Monadnock Regional, was a 100-point scorer during his playing days at Keene. Later in the period, Keene kept the pressure on as Ben Brown and Peter Kamphuis each slipped shots by Pruett to skate into the second intermission well in-command, leading by eight.

With running time taking over the third, the Blackbirds took their foot off of the gas pedal and focused on keeping Somersworth off the scoreboard. Just like everything else, Keene accomplished that feat.

“A win like this shows that we can beat anyone in the league,” said Walsh, who also added an assist for a five-point night. “I feel this is our year. We want to end strong in Division II before we move up next year.”

Source – New Hampshire Union Leader

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The Keene High School Blackbirds season kicks off today with their annual alumni game. Over 50 alumni will be playing for 4 different teams in a tournament format that kicks off at 3:00 PM! Join us at Keene Ice for a great event and start to the new season!