CONWAY — The Eagles are migrating in the right direction.
Each year as the calendar begins to turn towards March, Coach Michael Lane hopes his Kennett High hockey team is playing its best hockey and gearing up for hopefully a long playoff run. The Eagles appear to be clicking on all cylinders as they won their four straight contest, beating Belmont-Gilford 4-0 at the Ham Arena on Saturday night. The hometown flock has allowed just three goals in its last three games while lighting the lamp 15 times on offense.
Kennett stands at 6-2-1 heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Eagles are slated to play a home-and-home series with Laconia-Winnisquam-Inter-Lakes (3-4), beginning on Wednesday with a game at the Ham at 6:30 p.m., followed by the finale in Laconia on Saturday at 4:45 p.m.
“We’ve still got some things that we need to clean up but overall I was happy with the way we played against Belmont-Gilford (4-7), which a good hockey team.”
Kennett earned bragging rights against the Bulldogs with a home-and-home series sweep. KHS beat B-G 5-1 in at the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia on Wednesday.
The Eagles changed things up a little for the Bulldogs with sophomore Sam Seavey moving from defense to forward and freshman Robbie Murphy moving from the wing to defense.
“We’re trying to take a look at some different combinations,” Lane explained. “We want to see what will be best for us in the playoffs. With an open tournament format, it gives you the luxury of trying some things that you might not be able to in a normal season. Having that sort of versatility is a big plus, and both Sam and Robbie did what we wanted them to. We liked what we saw.”
Another thing the coaching staff liked what it saw was the play of senior netminder Bryson Wrobleski, who turned away all 23 shots he faced in the shutout performance. The All-State goalie looked razor-sharp.
“You can see that Bryson is starting to get into a rhythm with being able to play two or three times a week,” Lane said. “He’s getting better and better.”
He added: “Bryson has had such a great career for us. To be able to see things coming together so well in his senior season, I’m really happy for him.”
Wrobleski was bestowed an honor by his coaches and teammates earlier this month when he was named team captain. Fellow seniors Colby Hall and Brady Shaw received the “A” as alternate captains on the squad.
“Not very often do you see a goalie be the captain, but Bryson has earned it,” said Lane. He’s a leader both on and off the ice. He and Colby and Bady have done a phenomenal job, especially with all we’ve been through with COVID-19. They are all very deserving.”
Kennett took the lead for good with 10:38 to play in the first period. Sophomore Wade Volo did some nifty stick work behind the Bulldogs goalie and then sent a pass out front that senior Matt Cormier backhanded home past goalie Colin McGreevy to make it 1-0.
Just 18 seconds later, McGreevy got a helping hand from one of his two best friends — the posts — when Murphy fired a quick shot that caromed off the left goal post.
KHS maintained the one-goal advantage into the second period when the Eagles struck for two more goals. At 9:40, Colby Olivier, who was all over the ice, beat a B-G defender down the left side and feathered a pass to Volo, who put the biscuit into the basket from eight-feet out, making it 2-0.
Less than a minute later, Volo was unlucky when his shot beat McGreevy but clanked off the right post.
B-G had its best chance of the period when Geena Cookingham and Jackson Collins went in on a two-on-one break. Cookingham fed Collins in stride, but Wrobleski made a picture-perfect save with his stick.
With 32 ticks left on the clock in the second frame, Hall scored the first of his two goals on the night. Volo flew down the right-wing, sent a pass across ice and Hall one-timed a laser into the roof of the net.
Hall closed out the scoring with 14:04 to play when he redirected a Shaw slapshot over McGreevy’s shoulder into the net.
“Colby has those quick baseball hands around the net,” Lane said, praising the senior sniper.
B-G forwards Owen Gerren and Aidan McKenzie had solid scoring chances with five minutes to play on the power-play but Wrobleski stopped both and never gave up a rebound.
“When he’s making saves like that, using his size, positioning and catching pucks in his belly, he’s on his game,” Lane said.
Lane said Laconia-Winnisquam-Inter-Lakes has played its opponents tough this season, having faced Berlin-Gorham three times this winter (losing 5-3, 4-0 and 2-0).
“We expect another tough opponent,” Lane said. “There are no off nights in Division III this winter. “Our goal is to continue to improve as a hockey team.”