More than champions honored at Speedway 51 Banquet


GORHAM — The curtain closed on the 2017 racing season at Groveton, New Hampshire’s, Speedway 51 powered by the Autosaver Group Saturday night, as close to 300 drivers, crew members, families and friends, as well as track sponsors, officials and employees gathered at the Town & Country Resort  for the season-ending awards banquet.

Championship trophies were awarded to the following: North Country Ford Late Models, Corey Mason. Perras Ace Hardware Tiger Sportsman, Brendan Moodie. Caron Fabrication Street Stocks, Bunker Hodgdon. White Mountains Community College Cyclones, Chris Ouellette and Twisted Tea Angels, Vanessa Brown-Savage. North Country Family Restaurant Go-Kart Series champs were also recognized, as well as the A.B. Excavating Daredevil Youth Racers.

Specialty awards were as follows:

A.B. Excavating Daredevils: Hard Charger Award — Jesse Dunham. Most Improved Driver — Hunter King. Sportsmanship — Kyle Labounty.

Twisted Tea Angels: Hard Charger Award — Shawna Whitcomb. Most Improved Driver — Alexus Call. Sportsmanship — Vanessa Savage-Brown.

White Mountains Community College Cyclones — Hard Charger Award — Todd Derrington Most Improved Driver — Matt Mason Sportsmanship — Garrett Labounty

Caron Fabrication Street Stocks: Hard Charger Award — Brett Rowell. Most Improved Driver — Allan Birch Sportsmanship — Kasey Beattie.

Perras Ace Hardware Tiger Sportsman: Hard Charger Award — Ryan Boutin. Most Improved Driver — Bill Stebbins Jr. Sportsmanship — Derrick Calkin.

North Country Ford Late Models: Hard Charger Award — Brendan Moodie. Most Improved Driver — Kevin Boutin. Sportsmanship — Chip Grenier.

Bill Stebbins Sr., Freddie Mills, Mike Mills, Randy Potter and Ralph Stygles were inducted into the Speedway 51 Hall of Fame by current Hall of Famers Pete Marshall and Butch Mitchell.

Dick Therrien won the coveted Bobby Shores Memorial Award presented by Butch Mitchell. Shore’s was a legend in the racing world, known for his knowledge and dedication to racing, all the while working from a wheel chair. Appreciation Awards were presented by Pete and Nancy Marshall to Jack Call and Min Kennett. The Speedway 51 Award also went to Dick Therrien presented by Joey Laquerre and Pam Dunkling.

The 2017 Speedway 51 Driver of the Year award went to Perras Ace Hardware Tiger Sportsman driver Brendan Moodie. Moodie scored 11 victories in his championship season.

Plans are being made for 2018 at Speedway 51 powered by the Autosaver Group. For more information visit the track go to Speedway 51 is located at 78 Craggy Road in Groveton.


Gilford's Orton eliminates Mountaineers 55-35

Senior forward, Stevie Orton scored a game high 27 points, helping the Gilford Eagles to a convincing 55-35 victory over Berlin, in the opening round of the NHIAA division III girls' basketball playoffs in Berlin Thursday. The (12-7) Eagles advance to the quarterfinals to play top seeded (19-0) Newfound, who was a 56-33 winner over Stevens. The loss ended the season for the 12-7 Mountaineers.

BGBBvsGHS1Berlin's Samantha McCann No. 23 and Gilford's Stevie Orton, No. 25 battle for the jump ball to begin the game. Orton had a game high 27 points to lead Gilford to a 55-35 win in the opening round of the playoffs over Berlin. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

Both teams played very well over the first three minutes of the game with the score dead locked at 4-4. Over the final five minutes of the quarter, the visitors went on a 12-2 run to lead 16-6 after one quarter. Gilford's Olivia Harris and Lauren Dean had five points each, shooting from the outside, while Orton had a couple hoops on the interior to pace the offense. The Mounties got single hoops from three different players.

Gilford looked to blow the game wide open in the second quarter. The Mountaineers struggled offensively, not converting their outside shots. Late in the quarter, Berlin senior Emily Theriault caught fire from long range, knocking down three, three pointers. At the break, Gilford was in control 29-17. Orton was having her way in the paint adding four more hoops to her growing total. Theriault kept the Mounties hopes on life support netting nine of Berlin's 11 points in the second session.

Gilford's Orton put the throttle down in the third quarter, helping the Eagles out point the Mountaineers 13-4 to take a commanding lead 42-21 with just eight minutes to play. Orton had five hoops in the quarter and her exclamation mark came as she buried a three-pointer at the buzzer for the 21 point lead. Senior Myra Arsenault and freshman Kaylee Peare had the two hoops for the home team.

The Eagles refused to let Berlin get any closer that 17 points in the final quarter. Orton continued her stellar play, finding the open player when Berlin attempted to double team her. Kaitlyn VanBennekum was the recipient of the Orton feeds in the paint as she tallied five points to lead Gilford in the final quarter. Arsenault made her last quarter her best for the Mounties. The senior captain had nine points in the session before the final horn ended the Mounties' season.

For the game, Gilford had 23 field goals from the floor and shot 5-7 from the foul line. Orton was by far the best player on the floor, knocking down 27 markers. Berlin had just fourteen field goals from the floor and was 2-2 from the free throw line. Theriault 12 and Arsenault 11 points led the Berlin offense.

Gilford  16 13 13 13   55

Berlin   06 11 04 14   35

Sabers compete in Lumpa Brett Hockey Tournament


CONWAY — Local hockey fans got a preview of the upcoming high school season with the eighth annual Lumpa Brett Tournament at Ham Arena in Conway Nov. 17-19.  Named in honor of the late local sports enthusiast and supporter, William “Lumpa” Brett, the tournament featured adult teams in past years, but Ham Ice Arena Manager Dave Woodbury changed the format this year to give high school players an opportunity to tune up for the upcoming season. 

The three team field this year included the Berlin Sabers, made up of many of this years Berlin High School Mountaineers and the Granite State Wild, which are comprised of skaters from several seacoast area teams, including Mountaineer opponent Somersworth/Coe Brown.    The host team was the North Conway Nordiques, whose roster was filled with many members of the Kennett High School team.

 Game No. 1 of the tournament featured the two north country rivals, the Sabers and Nordiques in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd on the night of Nov. 17.  The last time many of these players faced each other was at the Division III State Championship in Manchester last March, but this game was much closer.  The Nordiques struck first on a goal by Colby Hall set up by Michael Seavey and Reilly Murphy. 

Berlin’s Sawyer Sanchagrin evened the score halfway through the third period on a power-play goal assisted by Dom Paradis, then, with the Nordiques on the power-play late in the game, Caleb McPherson scored the game-winner with 42 seconds left to play with Miles Woodbury and Mackenzie Murphy picking up assists, to edge Berlin, 2-1. 

The opening game on Saturday morning, Nov. 18, featured North Conway against Granite State with the Wild striking first and holding on to defeat the Nordiques 3-2.   The afternoon game between the Sabers and Wild was perhaps the most entertaining of the weekend.  With only eight skaters available and dressed for the game, Berlin fell behind quickly and it looked like the Wild were going to skate away with a blowout win, but following the break halfway through the second period, the Sabers had other ideas.  Berlin center Cam Cochran, who had been agitating Wild opponents throughout the afternoon, scored three breakaway goals within three minutes to close the gap to 4-3.  The teams traded goals throughout the third period with the pesky Cochran adding two more.  With two minutes left and the Wild leading 8-6, the Sabers pulled goalie Trent Labrecque in favor of a sixth attacker, but Granite State took full advantage of the empty net, scoring twice en route to a 10-6 win.

 Saturday’s results set up a semifinal matchup on Sunday morning, Nov. 19 between the Sabers and Nordiques.  With a short bench, the Sabers were showing signs of fatigue and the Nordiques took advantage by scoring two goals within the first minute before cruising to a 10-1 win.  Sanchagrin had the lone goal for Berlin, assisted by Cochran and Damon Ruel.  Despite the lopsided end to the tournament for Berlin, the team did earn a great deal of respect. 

“The Sabers were the hardest working team here this weekend,” commented Dave Woodbury, who also served as the tournament director. "With only eight skaters in the lineup for two games and nine for the other, they gave 100 percent on every shift, but the numbers were against them and the Nordiques and Wild, each with three full lines, eventually wore them down.”

In the championship game on Sunday afternoon, the Nordiques avenged the earlier loss to the Wild, skating away with a 4-1 win and the tournament championship.


North Country dart results 10/30

National Tons: Jun Jun 2,201; Kevin Allain 1,893: Dan Croteau 1,603; Rob Pettis 1,441; and Eric Houle 1,346.

American Tons: Tony Belmonte 745; Will Croteau 721; Rich Allen 441; Zuri Chambers 422; and Daphne Roy 408.

National highs

High on — Kevin, 130.

High off — Jun, 144 

180s R-9 — Sharon G., Eric H. and Les G. 

American highs

High on — Gayle T. 134.

High off — Rich A. 95.

180s R-9 — Will C. and Chad D.

Matches — D. Guys 8, J.dogs; Pounder 12, BBC 3; Wangs 10, A. North 5; Misfits 11, Bombers 4; and Legion 8,  X-Men 7.