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High schools: Concord boys’ hockey team back in tournament picture

Just two weeks ago, following a disheartening 4-2 loss to Exeter on the road, the Concord High hockey team sat at 3-8-0 and precariously on the bubble for the Division I tournament.

Fifteen days and three wins in four games later, Concord is now 6-9-0 following yesterday’s 2-1 victory over that same Exeter team. And most importantly, the Crimson Tide is sitting firmly in the No. 8 spot and challenging for a home game in the first round of the tournament.

“That’s a big win. They were right behind us, so it gives us some breathing room,” Concord Coach Dunc Walsh said of Exeter, now 4-9-1 and owner of a two-game losing streak after previously winning three straight to get itself back in the playoff picture.

Yesterday’s game was tight from the get-go, with neither team scoring until Concord freshman Trevor Bickford scored his first varsity goal 8:48 into the second period. Defenseman Hagan Otto sent a breakout pass to Alex Marceau, who sent the puck along to Bickford, who beat an Exeter defenseman and backhanded a shot off the post and in.

Exeter came back to tie the game 4:41 into the third period, scoring on a rebound, and had the Tide pinned in its defensive zone for much of the final three or four minutes of regulation. Thanks to the work of goalie Ben Nelson, who finished with 38 saves, Exeter couldn’t find the equalizer.

Then, just when the game seemed destined for overtime, Otto corralled a loose puck at center ice, carried it to the goal line and tossed it in front, where Bradley Murphy popped it in for the game-winning goal with 20 seconds to play.

Concord closes the regular season with games against Pinkerton, Manchester Central and Bishop Brady – all teams it has already beaten. A sweep of those three would guarantee home ice in the first round, while winning two of three could bring a home game.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Spaulding 9, Pembroke-Campbell 0

A game between second-place Spaulding (13-2-0) and last-place Pembroke-Campbell (0-14-0) produced the expected results, with the Raiders handing PAC its seventh shutout loss of the season. No details were reported.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Pembroke 70, Bishop Brady 65, OT

Pembroke (14-1) held onto its top ranking in Division II, but not without a fight from third-ranked Bishop Brady (11-3), which took the Spartans to overtime before seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped. No details were reported.

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