Hockey: Concord and Bow boys, Concord girls enter playoffs on cold stretches

Concord goalie Luukas Mayer goes into the butterfly against Exeter during a game on Feb. 14, 2024.

Concord goalie Luukas Mayer goes into the butterfly against Exeter during a game on Feb. 14, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

Concord sophomore Hailey Pinette	looks to make a pass during the Tide's game against Bishop Guertin on Feb. 21, 2024.

Concord sophomore Hailey Pinette looks to make a pass during the Tide's game against Bishop Guertin on Feb. 21, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

Bow senior Billy Smethurst tries to backhand a shot on net against Manchester Central-West-Memorial on Feb. 21, 2024.

Bow senior Billy Smethurst tries to backhand a shot on net against Manchester Central-West-Memorial on Feb. 21, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 02-26-2024 12:02 PM

Modified: 02-26-2024 1:09 PM


It had been roughly three years since Concord High boys’ hockey last lost a regular-season game, but on Feb. 13, the long winning streak finally came to an end in a 4-1 defeat against Hanover. Previously 11-0-1 on the season, the Tide finished just 3-3-0 over the last six games, including back-to-back losses to close out the regular season against Keene (2-1) and Hanover (3-2), again, this time in overtime.

Concord (14-3-1) scored just four goals over its last three games.

“It was a tough loss,” head coach Dunc Walsh said after the overtime defeat to Hanover on Saturday. “It was a hard-fought game. We played hard but didn’t execute. We struggled on the power play tonight, and that hurt us. We battled to the end but need to regroup and really work hard this week heading into the tournament.”

As the No. 3 seed, the Tide will still receive a first-round bye into the quarterfinals of the D-I boys’ hockey playoffs. Concord will host the winner of No. 6 Bow (11-7-0) and No. 11 Exeter (8-10-0) at Everett Arena on Saturday at 4 p.m., two teams it already beat in the regular season (2-1 over Bow on Jan. 10; wins over Exeter, 2-1 and 5-2, on Dec. 20 and Feb. 14, respectively).

The Falcons, meanwhile, started the season 7-2-0 only to lose five of their last nine games of the regular season. No. 6 Bow will host No. 11 Exeter at Everett Arena on Wednesday night. The two teams opened up the regular season against each other, with the Blue Hawks winning, 4-2.

How far Bow goes in the playoffs will likely be determined by which team shows up: the one that started 7-2-0 or the one that finished 4-5-0.

“We just don’t have that killer instinct around the net right now, which we’ve gotta learn,” head coach Tim Walsh said after a 5-1 loss to Bedford in late January. “We gotta get it. We work on it in practice, and that’s gotta translate to the games.”

Among other area schools, Coe-Brown’s co-op with Somersworth (7-10-1) will play as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 Spaulding (7-9-2) in the Division II playoffs on Wednesday night. In D-III, No. 2 Pembroke-Campbell (13-4-0) hosts No. 7 Hollis Brookline-Derryfield (6-11-0) and No. 3 Belmont-Gilford (13-4-1) hosts No. 6 Kearsarge-Plymouth (8-9-1) in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

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In girls’ hockey, Concord (7-11-0) snagged the 11th and final playoff spot and will play on the road against No. 6 Exeter (13-5-0) in the first round on Tuesday afternoon. It was a season of streaks for the Tide, which started 1-3-0 and then won four of five before losing five in a row and seven of nine to close out the season.

“For our team, it’s a mental game and just trying to find what gets them going for each game,” head coach Kate Billings said after the team’s win over Manchester Central-Memorial-West on Feb. 14. “You never know what they’re going to show up with, to be honest with you. So it’s just trying to get them hyped for games, and hopefully the consistency follows with us for the next few games.”

Bishop Brady-Trinity-Londonderry (9-9-0) will be the No. 8 seed and host No. 9 Kingswood-Prospect Mountain (8-9-1) in the first round on Tuesday. BTL started the season just 2-6-0 but rallied down the stretch to win seven of its last 10 to host a playoff game.