CONWAY — The Kennett High ice hockey team made it a senior night to remember on Saturday with a 7-0 victory over visiting Laconia-Winnisquam-Inter-Lakes at the Ham Ice Arena. The win also secured a playoff berth for the Eagles.
“It was nice to come right out and take care of business,” Michael Lane, Eagles head coach, said.
Before Saturday’s game, the Eagles recognized seniors Dakota Field, Dom Jones, Trevor LaRusso, Reilly Murphy, Connor Tofflemoyer and Miles Woodbury for their commitment and dedication to the program over the past four years.
“I can’t say enough good things about this bunch,” said Lane.
He added: “This group has done a really nice job of providing senior leadership,” Lane said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them in the playoffs and watching them create havoc. We’re a dangerous team if we can get back to full strength and with the way Bryson (Wrobleski) has been playing (in goal).”
Saturday marked the first time in more than eight weeks the Eagles dressed the entire team. Junior Colby Hall, who suffered a new injury in the Christmas tournament, returned to the lineup last Wednesday and is quickly getting back up to game speed. Murphy, who fractured his leg on Jan. 5 against Alvirne, returned to the ice Saturday.
“Reilly was able to get out on the ice for a face-off and played about 20 seconds,” Lane said. “It certainly meant a lot for me for him to get on the ice on our senior night. He’s meant so much to our program over the last four years. He’s doing everything he can to try to get back for the playoffs. I’ve also got to tip my cap to Colby Locke (the team’s athletic trainer). He’s been our unsung hero this season.”
Kennett improved to 7-9-1 in Division III with the win.
KHS currently holds the sixth and final playoff spot, trailing Berlin-Gorham, 12-1-2; Belmont-Gilford, 13-3; John Stark-Hopkinson, 12-4; Hollis-Brookline-Derryfield, 12-4; and Kearsarge-Plymouth, 8-6-1.
The top two teams receive a first-round bye, while the remaining four teams will meet in the quarterfinals at the higher seed on March 7 at 4 p.m.
Based on the current standings, Berlin-Gorham and Belmont-Gilford would get a bye as the top two seeds while No. 3 John Stark-Hopkinson would host Kennett and No. 4 Hollis-Brookline-Derryfield would host No. 5 Kearsarge-Plymouth.
“A lot can happen over the next four days,” Lane said. “There’s a possibility we could be playing three different teams. We won’t know who until after Saturday night (the end of the regular season).”
The winners will advance to the Frozen Four at Plymouth State University on March 11 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.
The finals are scheduled for March 14 at 12:15 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University Arena (formerly the Verizon Arena) in Manchester.
The Eagles looked every bit impressive on Saturday against LWI (4-8).
Kennett jumped out to a quick first-period lead and never looked back. Woodbury lit the lamp four times with four goals on the night while linemate LaRusso also scored, and junior Brady Shaw and Matt Cormier also put biscuits in the basket in the win.
Wrobleski recorded the shutout in net.
Earlier in the week, Wednesday, Kennett played Division II rival Kingswood (7-9, eighth in DII) tough at the Ham with the visiting Knights winning a thrilling 4-3 overtime contest.
Kingswood won the first meeting between the Carroll County neighbors 4-0 in Wolfeboro on Jan. 22. That game was scoreless through the opening period but Kingswood scored twice in the second period and midway through the third before adding an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.
The skaters from Wolfeboro jumped on top Wednesday with Logan McEvoy scoring the lone goal of the first period.
McEvoy added his second of the night in the second period, while John Trapela put Kennett on the scoreboard.
Trailing 2-1, Trapela knotted the contest with his second tally, and the Eagles took their first lead of the evening minutes later when Woodbury scored.
The Knights rallied late to tie the game and force overtime when Colby Clegg scored.
Kingswood got the game-winner off the stick of Nick Potenza just 34 ticks into the extra session.
Kennett is scheduled to wrap up the regular season on the road against ConVal-Conant (4-7-1, currently seventh in Division III) on Saturday at noon at the Jason Ritchie Ice Arena in Winchendon, Mass.