Berlin's defense silences Tornadoes 52-24

By Jean LeBlanc

BERLIN — The Berlin boys' basketball team went on an 18-3 second quarter run to easily top Franklin on the road, 52-24, last Friday.

"We came out ready to play against Franklin," said Coach Dave Morrissette. "It was a great team effort overall. Our defensive effort was strong, holding their two top scorers to a total of six points. We shared defensive responsibilities on their point guard Jayden Torres. Josh McBride, Sinciere Davis, Michael Moore, Evan Arsenault and others frustrated him, holding him to four points. Their other top scorer was held in check as well. Seth Balderrama and Evan shard duties, holding Matt Hennessey to two points on the game. Cory Nelson had a strong game, scoring 13 of their 24 points."

Berlin got off to a 16-6 first quarter lead by attacking the basket and getting some good looks inside. The Mounties continued their strong play in the second quarter going on an 18-3 run to lead 34-9 at the break.
 
"They defended us in the first quarter in a man to man defense," said Morrissette. "We successfully moved the ball and attacked the basket. They moved to a 2-3 zone for the remainder of the game after the first three minutes if the first quarter. In the end our defensive effort proved to be the difference in the game, holding Franklin to 24 points. Seth Balderrama and Evan Arsenault were our top scorers, and it was a great team effort. Senior Josh McBride continues to play with more poise and confidence. Sinciere Davis and Michael Moore had strong games as well. Sinciere is an active defender with terrific instincts. We are looking to build off of this game as we play at home this week against Newfound the Gilford."
 
For the game, Franklin shot 11-37 from the floor (29 percent) and was 1-20 (5 percent) from behind the arc. Franklin went to the foul line just four times and converted one shot (25 percent). Corey Nelson was the only Tornado in double figures.
 
The Mounties were 17-40 from the floor (42 percent) going 3-14 (21 percent) from the three point line. Berlin was 15-24 (62 percent) from the free throw line. Balderrama had a game-high 17 points, and Arsenault added 14 to lead Berlin in scoring. Arsenault had five assists to lead Berlin statistically in that department.
 
Berlin (4-2) is scheduled to travel to Gilford (4-2) on Friday, with game time at 6:30 p.m.
 
BHS   16 18 08 10   52
FHS   06 03 08 07   24

River Drivers take back second place, edge Titans 2-1

By Ethan Dorval and Jean LeBlanc

BERLIN — The Berlin River Drivers and the Danbury Titans met up in Berlin's Notre Dame Arena for a matinee game on Sunday. Center Jan Salak scored the eventual game-winning goal at 10:45 of the second period, lifting Berlin past arch-rival Danbury 2-1 in a Federal League Hockey game. The River Drivers improved to 12-9-1-3 on the year and surpassed 11-10-3-1 Danbury, moving into second place overall.

Berlin overcame the Titans, in a highly-contested game that saw both teams fight for victory, both physically and in terms of the speed game. The River Driver's Salak wreaked havoc in front of the opposing net at 2:48 in the first period creating a deflection goal, resulting in the River Drivers lead 1-0. Josh Pietrantonio was credited with his fourth goal of the season with Salak and fan-favorite Nick Wright getting the helping markers.

The River Drivers saw a definite territorial advantage in the first frame of action. Despite this advantage the Titans tied the game at 4:49 in the first period. Titan John Scully, who failed to report to the River Drivers at the beginning of the season, managed to knot the game for the Titans when his shot deflected off a defender's leg to tie things 1-1. The assists on the Scully lamp-lighter went to Nilolai Okhlobystin and Tyler Noseworthy.

BRDvsDanbury1Berlin's Josh Pietrantonio (No. 46) and Yuto Osawa (No. 23), celebrate with River Driver goal scorer Jan Salak during second period action. The goal gave Berlin a 2-1 lead and became the eventual game-winner over the Danbury Titans. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

The rest of the game was an up and down the ice affair, showcasing the speed of the Titans in transition while the River Drivers maintained most of the territorial possession. The Drivers gained the lead for good at 9:15 of the second period. Hulking power forward Salak got his second of the winter off of a scramble in front of the Titan net. The assists on the play went to Juto Osawa, who displayed exceptional board play, and Pietrantonio. Osawa was one of the Drivers better forwards, consistently winning battles along the boards and creating opportunities through his possession play.

BRDvsDanbury2Berlin's Nick Wright and Danbury's Sean Maktaak renewed their old friendship in the third period. Wright had a fight and an assist in Berlin's 2-1 victory over Danbury. (JEAN LEBLANC PHOTO)

In the third period, the visitors picked up their play and intensity trying to get the equalizer. New Berlin goaltender,Cory Simons was looking for his second straight win in as many nights. Simons saved his best for the third period and robed Scully in tight at the 13:54 mark of the third period.

Danbury outshot Berlin 13-7 in the final 20 minutes of play, but it was to no avail.

The relentless effort of River Driver's forecheckers constantly pressing the opposition that helped in dictating the victory. The visitors pulled their keeper for the extra skater in the final minute of play, but that didn't help either. Berlin had a 2-1 victory and sole possession of second place.

The River Drivers will look to continue their winning ways on Saturday, Jan. 14. The locals face-off against the Cornwall Nationals in a 7 p.m. start.

Mounties quell the Tornadoes 41-39

Senior Myra Arsenault scored 16 points and the Mountaineers survived a fourth quarter rally, defeating Franklin 41-39 in a girls' Division III basketball game played in Berlin Friday. The Mountaineers improved to 7-1 on the regular season, while Franklin dipped to 2-6.

BGBBvsFHS2Senior Myra Arsenault gets ready to throw this pass on a fast break during third quarter action. Arsenault had 16 points in Berlin's 41-39 win over Franklin. (GUY STEVER PHOTO)

Neither team shot well from the field. At halftime, the Mountaineers held a slim three-point advantage, 16-13. Brianna Jurking had two hoops for the visitors. Emily Theriault and Joshlyn Lanteigne had six points each for Berlin.

"If you look at Franklin's record, one would think this game wouldn't be close," said head coach Pete Peare. "We knew that three of their losses came from teams that are predicted to be in the top four in Division III, Monadnock, Fall Mountain, and Newfound."

The Mountaineers played a solid third quarter and out pointed the Tornadoes 16-10 to lead 32-23. Hannah Hicks had two buckets for Franklin. Arsenault started to heat up and had seven markers on three hoops. during the third session

As quickly as Berlin built a lead, the Mounties went cold from the floor. Zoe Kaplan lead a fourth quarter rally with ten markers that came up one possession short 41-39. Both teams missed some key free throws down the stretch. Arsenault had six of Berlin's nine points to help them to the victory.

"Sometimes in basketball a team can go cold from the floor like we did tonight only shooting 20 percent from the field," said Peare. "I was very happy that the girls kept their composure and played solid defense throughout the entire night. I was happy at how we handle the press tonight. I feel like we handled it a lot better than we did in the Christmas tournament against Colebrook."
 
For the game, Franklin converted 15 shots from the floor and went 9-18 from the foul line. Kaplan led the Tornadoes with 12 points. The Mountaineers had 13 field goals from the floor, that included five of those shots from behind the three point arc. Berlin shot 10-16 from the free throw line. Arsenault had 16 points and team mates Lanteigne nine and Theriault eight markers, contributed to the Berlin offense.
 
BGBBvsFHS1Junior Joslyn Lanteigne shot 7-10 from the foul line and scored a total of nine points in Berlin's 41-39 victory over Franklin. (GUY STEVER PHOTO)
 
Berlin will take to the road traveling to undefeated Newfound on Wednesday evening.
 
BHS   11 05 16 09   41
FHS   08 05 10 16   39

Berlin/Gorham glides to 10-3 win

The Berlin/Gorham boys' hockey team traveled to Laconia to battle Laconia/Winnisquam on Saturday. The Mountaineers rolled out to a 4-0 first-period lead and never looked back, cruising to a 10-3 victory, in a boys' Division III hockey game played in Laconia. The Mounties improved to 4-0 on the regular season and 6-1 overall, while Laconia/Winnisquam is looking for their first win in 2016-17.
"We skated all four lines and doubled shifted the third and fourth lines," said head coach Mike Poulin. "It was good to get the younger and inexperienced players some playing time. We had two players get their first goal ever and senior goal tender Noah Giroux (1st season as goal keeper) played in goal the second and third periods."
Scoring in the first period went as follows; B/GHS — Cam Cochran (11th) from John Arguin and Noah Schoenbeck at :15, Hunter Fauteux (5th) unassisted at 1:24, Travis Lamontagne (4th) from Cochran and Hayden Piet at 7:49, Trevor Breault (1st) from Fauteux and Tom Sullivan.
Second period: L/WHS — Connor Johnson from Ryan Fields at :22, B/GHS- Piet (1) from Fauteux at 3:22, L/WHS- Noah Wirth from Nick Luther at 12:34.
Third period: B/GHS — Damon Ruel (3rd) from Cochran at 2:18, Owen Dorval (4th) from Fauteux at 4:18, Cochran (12th) from Ruel at 5:19, Dorval (5th) from Schoenbeck at 9:38, L/WHS — Hannah Maxx from Josh Shevlin at 11:20, B/GHS — Arguin (6th) from Ruel and Cochran at 13:12.
Trever Labrecque had one save and Noah Giroux had three blocks in the Mountaineer goal.
On Wednesday night in Conway, the Mounties will travel Ham Arena to take on the top ranked and undefeated Kennett Eagles at 7 p.m.