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Drake Takes the Cake: Lebanon Scorer is N.H.'s Player of the Year

Lebanon senior Chrissy Drake set multiple program scoring records on her way to earning player-of-the-year honors from the New Hampshire Hockey Coaches Association. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Lebanon senior Chrissy Drake set multiple program scoring records on her way to earning player-of-the-year honors from the New Hampshire Hockey Coaches Association. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

Lebanon — The Lebanon High girls hockey team has yet to taste the sensation of an NHIAA state championship. One thing the Raiders do know about, however, is how to produce the top player in the state.

For the second straight winter, the New Hampshire Hockey Coaches Association has bestowed player of the year honors on a Raider. Senior forward Chrissy Drake earned the nod, one year after former linemate Kyra Herbert pulled down the award.

Drake led Lebanon to a 13-4-2 mark and the second seed in the recently completed NHIAA Division I tournament. She graduates — with the potential to continue her scoring exploits in college — as owner of six program records, including that of all-time leading points producer.

“She’s a goal scorer, and she’s a point scorer,” Lebanon coach Brad Show noted following a January practice. “When you look at her, her (number of) assists are very similar to her goals. It shows you that she’s very unselfish as well. She’s as happy to set up a goal as to score it herself.”

Drake led the Upper Valley in scoring with 35 goals and 19 assists for 54 points in 2012-13. Many of the Lebanon records she broke were formerly held by her ex-teammate, and some came in dramatic fashion.

Drake broke Herbert’s career scoring mark on Feb. 16 by netting all of the goals in a 5-4 overtime defeat of Concord at Campion Rink. The five-spot also matched Drake’s program record for goals in a single game. Her only other five-goal game on Dec. 18 in an 11-0 rout of Souhegan on the night she reached 100 career points.

Drake’s list of career accomplishments also includes most single-game assists (six, vs. Woodstock in 2010), single-season goals (35), single-season points (54) and career points (141). She will attend Nichols College next year, where she expects to play either hockey or softball.

“She’s got good hands, she moves well for a big girl and she has a great shot,” Hanover High coach John Dodds said earlier this year. “She sees the ice well, and she finishes. All of those are attributes you want to see your goal scorers have, and she’s a good kid, too.”

Lebanon now owns two girls hockey players of the year in the six seasons of NHIAA-sanctioned play. Two others come from Hanover — Emily Eickhoff (2011) and Josie Fisher (2008) — while Concord (Melissa Lehtinen, 2010) and St. Thomas-Dover (Samantha Hippern, 2009) have the others.

The state-champion Marauders put four players on the all-state team. High-scoring freshman forward Matti Hartman and rock-solid defender Caroline Howell made the first team, sophomore forward Sarah Wagner landed on the second team and goalie Katie Fenton — who backstopped Hanover’s 3-1 title win over Oyster River on March 9 — made honorable mention.

Aside from Drake’s first-team inclusion, Lebanon saw two others make all-state. Amelia Gage, who reached 100 career points late in the regular season, made the second team, as did junior defenseman Michaela Schones.

The field ran fallow for New Hampshire boys hockey teams. Hanover defenseman Mike Yukica and goaltender James Montgomery were honorable-mention choices in Division I, but Lebanon and Kearsarge were shut out in their respective leagues.

All-League of Their Own: Two Upper Valley basketball coaches have ended their seasons as the best in their Marble Valley League divisions, according to their peers.

Ed Kehoe, in his first year at Hartford High, was voted the top coach in MVL B Division girls basketball after guiding the Hurricanes to the Vermont Division II semifinals last week. The Hurricanes, who won the state title with now-Hartford boys coach Steve Landon, went 19-4 before falling to eventual champion Mount Abraham last Monday. Hartford’s Kelsey Kehoe and Stephanie Grobe were chosen for the all-league first team, with Windsor’s Nikki Kibling making the B Division honorable mention team.

Woodstock High’s Jeff Thomas took coach-of-the-year honors in MVL C Division boys hoop. Thomas, who is also the Wasps’ athletic director, coached Woodstock to an 11-10 mark and had three had players who ranked among the top 20 scorers in the Upper Valley. All three of them earned all-MVL honors, Doug Avellino on the first team and teammates Connor Fegard and Reid Langona on the honorable mention team. Windsor’s Tanner Tibbits was the only area player on the all-MVL B Division first team; the Yellowjackets’ Luke TanCreti joined Hartford’s Nick Fucci and Justin DeVoid with honorable mentions.

Career 1,000-point scorer Trenton Morrison capped his Sharon Academy basketball career last week by landing on the Central Vermont League’s top all-star squad.

Morrison joined Rivendell’s Jack Steketee as the only Upper Valley players selected for the CVL’s 12-man first team. Morrison joined the 1,000-point club midway through the season, while Steketee helped the Raptors reach the Vermont Division III semifinals before succumbing to eventual champion Williamstown.

The region was better represented on the honorable mention team, a group that included Rivendell’s Nathaniel Eastman, South Royalton’s Ian Kinnarney and the Whitcomb trio of Stephen Davis, Matt Kill and Caleb Chase.

Stars of Snow and Mat: Woodstock High’s state championship cross country ski team piled up the Marble Valley League all-star slots yesterday.

The Wasps’ Zane Fields and Harry Linowski both earned places on the all-MVL freestyle and classic squads. Woodstock had four girls on the freestyle roster — Carmen Bango, Christie Harris, Lauren Kaija and Finn McFarland — while Bango and Harris added the classic team to their honors, joined by teammate Anna Ramsey.

Indoors, five members of the cooperative Bellows Falls-Hartford wrestling team made their all-MVL squad. Hartford students Patrick Libuda (138 pounds) and Nolan Viens (145) joined Bellows Falls’ Kyle Record (152) on the first team, and two other Hartford contributors, Austin Viens and Steve Cerrone, made the honorable mention unit. BF-H coach Claude Weyant was voted the league’s coach of the year.

Hello, Again, Hello: Circumstances in scheduling have allowed Windsor and Newport to confirm a rare meeting on the high school football field on Nov. 12.

The two haven’t played each other – or anyone across the opposite side of the Connecticut River – in at least 20 years, and more likely even further back than that. Both were longtime members of the Connecticut Valley League, the 10-team two-state configuration built in the late 1970s to help area schools curtail fuel expenses and enhance local rivalries. The CVL died in the early ’90s.

Realignment in Vermont football has left opportunities open for schools to add out-of-state opponents in otherwise vacant weeks in the schedule. Windsor’s opening was partially aided by Montpelier’s decision to not field a varsity team in 2013.

The VIFL doesn’t require every team to play every other team in Division I and III, basing tournament seeds on a point-rating system. D-III will also go to an eight-team playoff for the first time this fall; D-I has done it the last two years.

The Tigers were 5-4 last year, the Yellowjackets went 4-5 and both schools missed their respective state tournaments. The game will be staged at Newport’s Maryn Field.

Keep Your Head: The National Federation of State High School Associations is adding three rules to its football rulebook to address players losing their helmets during games.

The NFHS instituted a one-play sit-out rule before last season for players who had their helmets come off during live-ball situations. The additions are geared toward protecting the safety of helmetless competitors:

∎ Teams guilty of initiating contact on a player whose helmet has come completely off will be subject to an illegal personal contact penalty.

∎ A player lacking a helmet will be flagged for illegal participation if he continues to engage in a play after losing his helmet.

∎ A player who loses his helmet during a down or subsequent dead-ball situation, and such loss isn’t attributable to a foul by the opposition, must sit out the next down. The only exceptions are halftime or overtime intermissions, when officials will call a timeout.

Next year’s most significant change not involving lost headgear comes in the area of pass interference. While a 15-yard penalty will still be in effect, offensive pass interference will no longer come with a loss of down. Defenses will no longer give up an automatic first down as a result of pass interference.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.