NHIAA Hockey: Concord finishes strongBy ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
February 21. 2018 10:38PM
CONCORD — In a battle for first place in the Division I standings, the Concord High School boys’ hockey team won the most important period en route to a 4-2 triumph over Hanover Wednesday night at Everett Arena.
Concord (15-2) scored twice in the opening 3:33 of the third period and squashed Hanover’s late power-play opportunity with a short-handed empty-net goal to secure the win.
The Crimson Tide, who have won five straight, entered Wednesday’s contest fresh off a 6-0 triumph at Hanover (14-3) on Tuesday.
Concord senior Colin Kastle skated up ice and scored on a low, backhanded shot from the doorstep 3:10 into the final frame to break a 1-1 tie. Matt Hauschild doubled the Crimson Tide’s advantage 23 seconds later when he went top shelf on Hanover senior goaltender Harris LaRock, knocking the latter’s water bottle off the top of the net.
“It was a huge confidence-booster, especially after winning (by) so much yesterday,” Kastle said of Concord’s two early third-period goals. “And then in a close game now, we were obviously a little nervous but we pulled through and those two goals, it was just a huge confidence-booster.”
The Marauders cut Concord’s lead to 3-2 with 3:52 remaining when David Lehmann scored from the slot off an assist from Braxton McNulty.
Hanover had a six-on-four advantage with 1:25 remaining after pulling LaRock for an extra skater following a Concord penalty. Kastle ended the Marauders’ hopes of tying the game with his empty-netter with 39.6 seconds left.
“I thought that was our best period all night — the third period,” Concord coach Dunc Walsh said. “We came out and got those goals and felt pretty good but then we took a penalty. We were able to kill it but (there were) a lot of scary moments there at the end six-on-four.”
The score was deadlocked at 1-1 entering the second intermission after second-period goals from Concord senior Drew Livingston and Hanover sophomore Owen Stadheim.
Livingston opened the game’s scoring 1:38 into the middle stanza with his wrist shot from the left circle that tucked just inside the crossbar of the Concord net.
Stadheim knotted the game with a power-play goal that came with 3:42 remaining in the second period. The forward collected his own rebound and bested Concord senior goaltender Spencer Burgess (13 saves) on his second attempt.
“I was impressed that we competed tonight and I think we got better,” Hanover coach Dick Dodds said. “Going down the road, I think it’ll help us. Even though we didn’t win, it’s a game that we developed and regrouped as well.”
Concord had a few chances to open the game’s scoring in the first 15 minutes but could not put the puck past LaRock (17 saves). The Crimson Tide possessed the puck in the offensive zone for at least two of the opening four minutes but came away with just one shot on goal for their effort. Concord freshman Kyle McKinnon stole the puck and his shot from close range bounced off the right post at the 5:59 mark of the first frame.
While Walsh would like Concord to take one of the top seeds into the division postseason, he is more focused on how his team looks on the ice than its playoff position.
“We want to finish as high as we can but we just want to be playing well going into the tournament, which I think we are,” Walsh said.