Girls alpine ski team takes home championship runner-up honors

BENNINGTON — Gorham High School skiers, led by Karyssa Lachance and Natalie Harmon, brought home the NHIAA Division IV Girls' Alpine Skiing Championship Runner-Up honors in a tension-filled day of racing at Crotched Mountain on Feb. 17.

After the morning giant slalom event, only 9.5 points separated the lead team, Derryfield (359), from fifth place Profile (349.5). One point behind Derryfield was Lin-Wood (358), Sunapee had 355. Gorham sat in fourth place with 353 points.

Gorham started strong with Lachance grabbing the giant slalom gold medal (67.3 seconds). Erika Wentz (Derryfield, 68.0) won the silver, and Sarah Balmpied (Profile, 68.64), the bronze. Harmon, fighting a respiratory illness, was fourth (68.64). Also scoring for Gorham were Danielle Cotnoir (19th, 72.75) and Riley Fitzmorris (32nd, 78.56). Amira Robertson, 36th (80.14), Emily York 42nd (84.45).

Lachance added a silver medal (91.94 seconds) in the slalom, but not without some drama. After a solid second run, Lachance caught up to a Littleton skier in front of her right at the finish line; no finish time was captured, necessitating a mistake-free re-run.

“Additional runs required because of a timing issue are notoriously problematic. With the fatigue factor and emotions running high, third runs often end abruptly and unfavorably. Fortunately, Karyssa really gutted it out and came up big,” said Ski Coach Sherrill Tracy.

Miranda Shilling (Derryfield) took home the slalom gold medal (89.24) while Sierra Price (Profile) collected the bronze (92.52). Just off the podium for the second time, Harmon finished fourth (93.33), with Cotnoir 20th (106.71) and Robertson 24th (117.06). Adding depth for Gorham were York (29th) and Fitzmorris (33rd).

Profile snuck ahead to win the slalom (360), with Gorham moving up to second (358), and Lin-Wood just one point behind in third (357) . Last year's runner-up, Sunapee, dropped out of contention after losing their top slalom skier (straddled gate). Giant slalom team winner, Derryfield, was unable to get more than one skier into the top ten in the slalom.

“There is such parity in our division. After the giant slalom, the door was wide open for the top five teams. All the top teams had at least two skiers capable of cracking the top ten. No room for errors. Then it was all about the rest of the team, and where those third and fourth skiers ended up. Danielle Cotnoir, Riley Fitzmorris, and Amira Robertson really came through for us,” said Tracy.

Final team scores: Lin-Wood (715), Gorham (711), Profile (709.5), Derryfield (703), Sunapee (693), Hopkinton (671.5), Littleton (588), Moultonborough (502), Lisbon (183).

“I am proud that our girls skied so well. Not only to be runner-up, but to finish within four points of a very strong Lin-Wood team. Last year's championship team was unique enough that the thought of coming that close again was never on my radar.” Tracy went on to say, “In a great show of sportsmanship and friendship, the Lin-Wood and Gorham skiers gathered together for a joint photo at the end of the awards ceremony.”

Lachance and Harmon, along with the other top ten finishers in slalom and giant slalom from each of the four NHIAA divisions, qualified for the Meet of Champions to be held Thursday, March 2, at Cannon Mountain. Top finishers at the Meet of Champions will represent Team New Hampshire at the Eastern High School Championships on March 10-12 at Attitash Mountain. Lachance will be competing for a return trip, finishing tenth in giant slalom at the EHSC last season.

“We will be sad to see our seniors, Natalie Harmon and Emily York move on. Both have been six-year members of the team,” said Tracy.

Karyssa 2017 SL statesKaryssa Lachance skiing slalom. (COURTESY PHOTO)

girls states 2017 group 1Pictured from the left, Coach Evie Daniels, Olivia Halle, Riley Fitzmorris, Emily York, Natalie Harmon, Karyssa Lachance, Amira Robertson, Danielle Cotnoir, and Coach Sherrill Tracy. (COURTESY PHOTO)

2017 seniors girlsSeniors Emily York and Natalie Harmon. (COURTESY PHOTO)

River Drivers hang on to beat Nationals 4-3

By Ethan Dorval and Jean LeBlanc

BERLIN — Forward John Celli scored two goals and added an assist, helping the River Drivers to a hard fought 4-3 victory over the Cornwall Nationals in Berlin Friday. The River Drivers improved to 19-13-1-3 while Cornwall is 11-21-3-2.

This contest started with some bad vibes that came from a previous contest the week before. Poor weather and travel conditions caused a three hour delay from a 2 p.m. start to a 5 p.m. start. Upon their arrival from Port Huron, Berlin was pushed to get on the ice immediately, which did not sit very well with the River Driver team.

BRDvsCW2Berlin River Driver Head Coach Andre Niec has the attention of his players during this media time out. Niec's ability to relate to his players has the second year River Driver's currently in second place of the Federal hockey league. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

The Cornwall Nationals started the scoring at 16:13 in the first period when Storm Adams beat River Driver goalie Matt Kaludis short-side high from just inside the hash-marks. The assist on the play was credited to Jesse Fontaine for a 1-0 lead.

The River Driver's Celli managed to even the score 1-1 at 9:58 in the first period of action, by banking the puck off the Cornwall goaltender while attempting to send a spinning pass to the slot. Celli's 13th of the season was set-up by Nick Wright and Jan Salak.

Bad blood ran rampant following the goal. Seconds later, Drivers' forward Tyler Howe squared off with Cornwall's Joe Cannon in a fight that resulted in a line brawl. The resulting penalties found the River Drivers on the wrong end of a five-on-three penalty kill with 9:18 remaining in the first period. The River Drivers killed off the penalty valiantly, preventing the Nationals from gaining any momentum for the duration of the penalty.

A Cornwall penalty with just 3:32 left in the first period saw the River Drivers get a power play opportunity of their own. River Driver defenseman Matt Fuller's blast from the blue line found the back of the net at 2:59 in the first frame for his sixth of the season and a 2-1 lead. The goal was assisted by Celli and Jan Salak.

BRDvsCW1River Driver teammates surround defenesman Matt Fuller (right) after he scores a power-play goal during first period action Friday night. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

Despite the momentum swing, the Nationals' Brook Bissonette scored a shorthanded goal to tie things 2-2. The assists on the play were given to Darick Ste Marie and J-C Houde.

Celli's 14th goal of the winter managed to break the 2-2 stalemate at 12:28 in the second period. A nice play saw winger Jan Salak beat his man one on one and slide the puck to the open Celli. The River Driver sniper beat the Nationals' goalie Francois Dupuis high to the glove slide for the one-goal lead.

BRDvsCW3John Celli (center) welcomes new players Scott Teulings No. 3 (assist) and Taylor Fletcher No. 4 to the Berlin River Drivers. Celli had two goals and an assist in helping Berlin to a 4-3 win over Cornwall. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

In the third period, rookie Dominek Synek pushed the River Driver lead to two goals at 10:26 in the third period. Synek grabbed a loose rebound from his hard working line mate, Pavel Kubina, and put it in the open net for his team leading 21st goal of the year. The assists on the play were given to Kubina and the newly signed defender Scott Teulings.

The Nationals narrowed the deficit to 4-3 at the 16:41 mark of the third period. Slyvester Bzdyl grabbed a rebound sitting at the top the River Driver crease and beat Kaludis to make it a one goal game. The play was assisted by Joel Trottier and Brook Bissonette.

That was as close as the Nationals could get. The River Drivers played solid positional hockey and did not allowing any quality scoring chances to close out with the 4-3 victory in front of the Berlin faithful.

The River Drivers are scheduled to take to the road and play a game against the St Clair Shores Saints at 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is the first meeting between to two teams. On Monday, Berlin stops in Watertown to battle the red hot Wolves in a contest for second place.

Gorham High School Ski Team takes fifth place at the NHIAA Division IV Boys State Championship

FRANCONIA — With a mix of experienced skiers and seventh-grade newcomers, the Gorham High School Ski Team put together a fifth place finish at the NHIAA Division IV Boys State Championships on the Mittersill Training Hill at Cannon Mt. on Feb. 14.

Perennial contender, Profile High School, took home top honors with defending champion, Derryfield, coming in as runner-up.

Final Team Scores: 1-Profile, 749; 2-Derryfield, 745; 3-Lin-wood, 722; 4-Sunapee, 691; 5-Gorham, 635; 6-Littleton, 631; 7-Moultonborough, 556; 8-Woodsville, 555; 9-Hopkinton, 509; 10-Newport, 480; 11-Wilton, 167
Will Austin (Sunapee) crushed the field, winning gold in both the giant slalom (76.13) and slalom (75.07) by several seconds.

“I am very pleased with how our boys rose to the challenge. The giant slalom course was a real gut-check with steepness and speed unlike anything they have encountered before,” said Ski Coach Sherrill Tracy.

The day began with a steep, fast, two-run giant slalom. Gorham seniors Sam Sjostrom (18th, 88.19) and Bronson Leclerc (19th, 88.37) led the way. Freshman Ben Harmon (23rd, 93.19) and seventh-grader Nolan York (33rd, 104.84) also scored. Bryce Gauthier was right behind in 34th (106.81); Teagan Leclerc suffered a fall.

Gorham stood in fifth place after the giant slalom, finished in sixth place in the afternoon slalom, but held on to the fifth spot over Littleton by a narrow margin at the end of the day.

Bronson Leclerc was top in slalom for Gorham, placing 17th (98.24) with seventh-grade brother, Teagan, 25th (109.45). York again contributed in 26th (110.69) 27th and Harmon, 27th (111.91). Bryce Gauthier was 35th (128.24). Sjostrom was disqualified after missing a gate.

“We will really miss our seniors, Bronson Leclerc and Sam Sjostrom. They have provided great leadership this year on an otherwise young team,” said Tracy.

Bronson and SamSam Sjostrom Bronson Leclerc

Fifth straight win on Senior Night for Gorham girls, 48-16

By Jean LeBlanc

GORHAM — Karly Cordwell and senior Felicia Voisine led a balanced scoring-attack, helping the Gorham High girls' basketball team to a convincing 48-16 victory over the Lin-Wood Lumberjacks on Senior Night in Gorham on Friday. The win was the fifth straight for Gorham that has seen it rise from a 5-8 record and out of the playoffs to currently 10-8 and seeded as high as ninth in the Division IV standings in just two weeks. Lin-Wood fell to 4-14 on the season.

GGBBvsLinwoodGorham High School honored its senior manager, four players, and their family members after defeating Lin-Wood 48-16 in their final regular season home game Friday. The Huskies will be on the road for the opening round of the playoffs. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Gorham used a tough defense that allowed just two Lumberjack field goals all game long. Lin-Wood shot 11-21 from the foul line and were led by Maddie MacDonald's seven points.

Gorham got their entire squad in as early as the second quarter. Cordwell scored a lot early finishing with 13 points. Voisine had nine points on four hoops and fellow seniors Lauren Gralenski and Jana Oelofse had six points each. Gorham had 22 field goals from the floor. However, a 1-9 showing from the foul line needs some attention immediately.

Earlier in the week, Gorham had a pair of road games. The Huskies rolled past Profile, 53-2,8 and then survived the snowy trip to Canaan/Pittsburg, 41-25.

At Profile, the Huskies had 20 field goals from the floor, but again struggled shooting less than 50 percent from the foul line 13-30. Voisine led the team with 10 points; Lilly Couture added nine; and Oelofse and Cordwell each had eight points in the win.

At Canaan, Vt., the Gorham defense limited the Yellowjackets to just eight first-half points. For the game, the home team had just 10 field goals from the floor and shot 5-15 from the charity stripe. Kayla Dewitt led the way for the Yellowjackets with seven markers. For the visitors, they hit on 19 shots from the floor and shot 3-9 from the foul line. Cordwell had 14 points on seven hoops.

Gorham will open its playoff run on the road on Tuesday either at Newmarket or Nute at 7 p.m.

Gorham   10 16 10 17   53
Profile      05 08 11 04   28
Huskies (53) — Lauren Gralenski 0-7-7, Alexis Kruskie 1-0-2, Felicia Voisine 5-0-10, Karly Cordwell 4-0-8, Jana Oelofse 3-2-8, Caitlyn Malia 3-0-6, Lillian Couture 3-3-9, Maddie Rivard 0-1-1, Abbie Bernier, Sydney Leclerc 1-0-2.
Patriots (28) —  Ingram 3-0-7, Boyer 0-2-2, Plante 1-0-2, Duval 1-0-2, Rayburn 3-0-6, Kenison 0-3-3, Thomas 2-0-4, Young 0-2-2, Cohen.
Gorham   08 06 18 09   41
CA/Pitt    05 03 09 08   25
Huskies (41) — Lauren Gralenski 2-2-6, Alexis Kruskie 3-0-6, Felicia Voisine, Karly Cordwell 7-0-14, Jana Oelofse, Caitlyn Malia 2-0-4, Lillian Couture 1-1-3, Maddie Rivard 1-0-2, Abbie Bernier 3-0-6, Sydney Leclerc, Hannah MacDonald.
Yellowjackets (25) — Cartu 0-1-1, C. Dewitt 0-1-1, K. Dewitt 2-3-7, Hughes 1-0-2, Grondin 2-0-4, Herr 2-0-4, Harris 3-0-6.
Gorham   12 13 06 17   48
Linwood   04 02 05 05   16
Huskies (48) — Hannah MacDonald, Caitlyn Malia, Felicia Voisine 4-0-9, Delaney Holmes 1-0-2, Karly Cordwell 6-1-13, Abbie Bernier 1-0-2, Alexis Kruskie 2-0-4, Lillian Couture 3-0-6, Sydney Leclerc, Maddie Rivard, Jana Oelofse 3-0-6, Lauren Gralenski 3-0-6.

Lumberjacks (16) — B. Chase 1-4-6, Pickering, M. Chase, Rich 0-3-3, Burman, Pick, Drouin, MacDonald 1-4-7.