By Tris Wykes
Copyright Octopus Athletics 2021
WEST LEBANON – John Dodds wanted goals. His Hanover High girls ice hockey team had managed just one tally during its last two games, so the 17th-year coach dedicated Thursday’s practice to scoring.
How best to shoot in certain situations. When to fire away and when to wait a beat or two before unloading. Backing off the crease in anticipation of a rebound or loose puck.
Call it lessons learned for the Marauders (2-1-1), who routed visiting Beekmantown (N.Y.) Central High, 9-2, at Campion Rink on Friday. The Eagles, usually one of upstate New York’s stronger squads, were hit hard by graduation last spring. The visitors and their first-year goaltender surrendered two goals each to Maeve Lee and MacKenzie Liu.
“There are natural scorers, but most of it’s mental and you can teach all the little details that set someone up to be more successful,” said Dodds, whose team must replace 2021 graduates Sage McGinley-Smith and Natalie Morhun, two of its top three scorers from last season.
“We played four lines tonight, which you don’t see many teams do.”
Kaye Lindsay, Lily Seelig, Gail Morse, Nora Bradley and Lexi Feldman also scored, the latter pair earning their first varsity goals and Bradley adding two assists. Senior Katie Smith played the contest’s first half in net without allowing a goal and was replaced by freshman Eleanor Edson.
Hanover’s season opener at Bishop Brady was postponed because of Covid concerns among the hosts. The Marauders waxed visiting Oyster River, 7-2, before their next game, with visiting Souhegan, was postponed by a storm. Next on the schedule was the annual battle at Massachusetts power Acton-Boxborough, but the Colonials canceled because of Covid.
Hanover’s annual holiday tournament also took a hit when Vermont’s BFA-Fairfax had to back out because of positive virus tests. That scrambled the event’s schedule, but the Marauders’ captains urged Dodds to play back-to-back games on Wednesday, tying Rhode Island’s La Salle Academy, 1-1, before losing to Vermont foe Essex High, 2-0.
“This is the time of the year when you’re developing your team identity,” said Dodds, whose roster includes seven players new to the varsity level. “That effort certainly made a statement about the type of player we have on this team.
“I didn’t want the (back-to-back) situation to affect our play. I told them not to save an ounce of energy during the first game, and then it went into overtime.”
Hanover led, 4-0, after a period against Beekmantown, which lost nine players to graduation last spring. The hosts were up, 6-2, after two stanzas against a foe, that with a more experienced goaltender, would have made the game much tighter than the final score.
“We usually split with them,” said Dodds, whose squad is scheduled to visit the Eagles on Jan. 17 and has regularly played a home-and-home series with them in recent years. “We did a better job today at getting harder, lower shots. We’d been shooting a lot of pucks into the goalie’s chest.”
Notes: Watching the game was longtime Hanover boys hockey coach and rink manager Dick Dodds, who’s rehabilitating from a heart attack suffered in his Campion office last month. Dodds, who’s in his 40th season and directing practices from the bench, said he’s hopeful he can return to on-ice participation later this month… Lindsay deserved another goal on a wrap-around shot at the right post during the third period. Photos clearly showed the puck over the line but play continued nonetheless… Speaking of Lindsay, she’s joined on the Marauders roster by her younger sister, Faith. The pair’s older sisters, Grace and Ella, previously played together at Lebanon… Hanover girls assistant coach Tucker Garrity-Hanchett wore a suit coat and dress shirt with a pink necktie adorned with light blue whales… Watching the game were former Marauders skaters Eliza Laycock and Matti Hartman. The former, who played at Amherst College, is a content and features production assistant with NFL Media. The latter, who played at Northeastern University, is studying at her alma mater to become a physician’s assistant… Driving the rink’s Zamboni ice resurfacer was former Lebanon High player Ryan Damren, currently finishing work on a criminal justice degree at Plymouth State… Campion’s public-address system didn’t seem to be working, with music and announcements being piped through a portable speaker mounted above the scorer’s table.
If you found this story worthwhile, please consider donating to support the work that produced it.
Octopus Athletics is an independent site covering sports in the heart of the Upper Valley. Your contributions allow us to bring you news without paywalls or pop-up ads.