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Hurricanes Edge Raiders in Rare Fashion

  • Lebanon High's Trey Chickering (18) moves off the side all in the Hartford zone Wednesday night against defender Patrick McGlone. Chickering's dash set up a goal by his brother, Graham, with 3.7 seconds remaining in a first-round game of the Bouthillier Holiday Classic at White River Junction's Barwood Arena. Hartford won a shootout to advance to tonight's title game against Woodstock. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Hartford High's Kyle Hamilton, center, jostles for position with Lebanon defenseman Aaron Damren during Wednesday's clash in the first round of the Bouthillier Holiday Classic at White River Junction's Barwood Arena. Behind them is Raiders goaltender Jared Audette. The Hurricanes won in a shootout and play Woodstock in the title game tonight. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Lebanon High's Ian Garland is sent flying in center ice Wednesday by Hartford's Nick Cameron. The Hurricanes prevailed in a shootout during a first-round matchup at the Bouthillier Holiday Classic in White River Junction. Hartford and Woodstock play for the title today while Lebanon meets Burr & Burton. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Hartford High's Tyler Hamilton (7) meets Lebanon's Aidan Yates in the neutral zone Wednesday during a first-round game at the Bouthillier Holiday Classic at White River Junction's Barwood Arena. The teams tied, 4-4, before Hartford won a shootout to advance to today's title game against Woodstock. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Hartford High's Tyler Hamilton, left, delivers a hit that knocks the helmet of Lebanon's Aaron Damren askew Wednesday during the teams' first-round clash at the Bouthillier Holiday Classic at White River Junction's Barwood Arena. The host Hurricanes prevailed in a shootout to reach tonight's title game against Woodstock. The Raiders will face Burr & Burton in the afternoon. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

White River Junction — Shootouts aren’t exactly a thing in New Hampshire or Vermont high school ice hockey. Playoff games in both states are decided by an endless sequence of overtime periods; regular season games end in ties if no winner is decided.

Wednesday’s skills competition in the opening round of the Philippe H. Bouthillier Holiday Classic between Hartford High and Lebanon-Stevens at Wendell A. Barwood Arena was brand-new territory for everybody involved.

Hartford freshman A.J. DeBois’ forehand deke in the eighth round of the shootout secured the Hurricanes a 3-2 shootout victory following a 4-4 tie with the Raiders.

It concluded a two-hour game that had a little bit of everything: three lead changes, two shorthanded goals, a long 5-on-3 Hartford advantage and two goals — one by each side — in the final two minutes of the third period that left coaches on both sides disappointed.

“I’m trying to find the right words,” Hartford head coach Todd Bebeau said. “There were just so many peaks and valleys in the game, but that’s a step in the right direction for us. But we’ve got to find a way to finish games. On the power play, with a minute to go, you’ve got to manage the puck better. … That kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth that we didn’t win that one in regulation.”

Added Lebanon first-year head coach Jim Damren: “It was an interesting finish. … A shootout is a shootout. You’re only as good as your next shooter or your next goaltender. I watch it in the NHL, and it’s not hockey, but it’s a necessary evil to decide a game. Five-on-five, I like our guys. I like our speed. I like the way we play.”

The win advances Hartford (0-4-1) to today’s 6 p.m. championship game and a rematch against Woodstock, which beat Burr & Burton, 2-1, in the tournament opener. Lebanon (1-2-1) will play the Bulldogs in the consolation game at 4 p.m.

“We do a fun (shootout) drill at the end of practice sometimes, but we’ve never encountered (a shootout) before,” Bebeau said. “I’ve never seen that. The only time it could happen is in a holiday tournament.”

It will be hard for either of today’s games to follow up the late-night fireworks of the tournament’s opening round.

Lebanon-Stevens controlled the game from the opening faceoff, putting relentless pressure on Hartford’s defense. It broke through with 8 minutes, 46 seconds left in the opening period, a pass off the boards to the slot for a wide-open Lebanon-Stevens freshman Andrew Duany, who roofed it under the bar for the opening tally. Nate Chickering added to it, shorthanded, a little less than six minutes later to make it 2-0.

Hartford, which had been outscored, 17-9, in its first four games, answered with two goals 13 seconds apart to tie the score before the first intermission. Clayton Groenewold scored on the power play, and Korrigan Allen followed moments later from the left circle.

“Hearing the kids feel good about something, it’s been a while since we could celebrate something,” Bebeau said. “But we’re going to play much better tomorrow night, or it’s not going to go this way.”

Lebanon-Stevens spent much of the second period on the penalty kill, finishing the game with 19 minutes in the box. Chickering drew a five-minute boarding major for a hard hit on Allen behind the Hartford net, and Joseph Dupree’s infraction two minutes later gave Hartford a lengthy two-man advantage. But the Canes couldn’t capitalize, sending three shots into Lebanon-Stevens defenders and another wide of the net. Trey Chickering made Hartford pay, circling the offensive zone and scoring an unassisted goal from the right circle to give the Raiders their lead back.

Allen’s conversion in transition tied the game again, 3-3, with 6:07 remaining in the third period, setting up a frantic final few minutes before overtime. The chaos led to a Groenewold breakaway with 2:17 left, a chance that he missed wide after he was hauled down by a slew of Lebanon-Stevens defenders. He was then pushed by Lebanon-Stevens goaltender Jared Audette for good measure, resulting in another Hartford power play.

This time, the Canes made it count. A scramble in front of Lebanon-Stevens’ net squeaked out of a pile to the stick of Andrew Daley, who sent a quick, low shot on goal that slipped through Audette’s pads with 1:18 remaining.

“We took way too many penalties,” Damren said. “You can’t let teams hang around. We had a 2-0 lead, and we let them back in it. We made some young mistakes. I think the biggest thing will be to learn from it.”

The Raiders pulled their goalie twice in the final minute. Luckily for Lebanon-Stevens, the Chickering brothers had a little bit more magic in them. Trey Chickering came out with the puck from the right wall, entered a scramble in front of Hartford goaltender Ross McFate and sent the puck wide for brother Nate to tuck just inside the far post, tying the game with 3.7 seconds on the clock.

Hartford outshot the Raiders, 4-2, in the scoreless five-minute overtime period. Hartford’s Tyler Hamilton, Nick Cameron and DeBois all converted in the shootout. Lebanon-Stevens’ Chickerings also scored. McFate made 24 saves on the night; Audette made 17 in the loss.

“In overtime, we held on. And the shootout was just fun,” Bebeau said. “It was fun for the fans to see.”

Notes: Woodstock’s Owen Coates scored in the second period and Cullen McCarthy struck in the third in the Wasps’ victory over BBA. Henry Greene made 27 saves. … Bebeau admitted that Hamilton, his first-line center, is still dealing with some discomfort from a high ankle sprain in his right leg that he suffered during football season in the fall. The senior was visibly limping for parts of Wednesday’s game, but the veteran coach said Hamilton — the team’s captain — is playing through it. … Lebanon-Stevens resumes NHIAA Division II play on the road against Bow on Saturday. Hartford takes on Northfield at home next Wednesday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.