Boys’ hockey: Craigue, Coskren dazzle in return as Concord wins big over Bedford

  • Concord’s junior captain Brooks Craigue is checked by Bedford’s Andrew McGee (7) after scoring a second period goal. Rich Miyara photos / NH Sports Photography

  • Concord’s A.J. Dow (17) celebrates his goal with teammates.

Monitor staff
Published: 1/16/2022 11:49:42 AM

It was an unlikely song permeating through the door of Concord’s locker room.

Maybe you’d except a classic rock song or rap song, but the Crimson Tide sang their way through Natasha Bedingfield’s smash hit “Unwritten.”

While there aren’t many – if any – skaters in the choir, the tune was sung ceremoniously, the laughs echoed into the arena any time some opened the door and the good times oozed into the frigid winter night. There was plenty of reason for celebration too, however, as Concord defeated Bedford 5-1 at Everett Arena on Saturday.

The first tilt of celebration was caused by the return of perhaps the Tide’s best two players in center Brooks Craigue and right winger Tyler Coskren. The senior forwards had missed extensive time due to injuries, but were cleared for action against the Bulldogs and there was no grace period in their return.

Coskren, who is also the post-game DJ, got things started early in the game as he skated through a trio of Bulldog defenders into the low slot and sent the puck through the legs of goalie Tristan Kerr to put the Tide up 1-0 just 3:41 into the game.

The Tide’s mentality at the start of each of their games is to put the pressure on teams early as a way to set the tone and establish a sense of control. Coskren’s goal was merely the beginning of that plan in motion.

Craigue scored his first of two goals with a well-placed pass by Alex Pelletier that allowed Craigue to send the puck into the right-hand corner of the goal just past Kerr’s glove hand that put the Tide up 2-0 five and a half minutes into the game.

Concord’s first-period run ended a minute later with Cam McGonigle skating on the far right side of the goal, shooting the puck across the ice and celebrating as it went into the left-hand corner of the net, which cemented a 3-0 lead.

“If we get a lead, we’re pretty hard to beat,” coach Dunc Walsh said. “That was a pretty substantial lead for us over a good team.”

It helps with the reintroduction of Craigue and Coskgren back into the lineup, but even without those two on the ice against the Bulldogs, the Tide’s second and third lines produced well throughout the night. Second-line winger A.J. Dow scored in the third on a power play and linemate Dawson Fancher earned an assist.

Craigue, whose second goal was scored on a power play in the middle period, felt revitalized after finally being back on the ice and while it was hard to be away, it allowed him to see the game in a different light.

“It was weird,” he said. “I’ve never missed a game, so it was weird to just watch, but I picked up different things (from watching).”

Concord (7-0) remains as the only team without a blemish on its record and one of two teams without a loss. Exeter has only tied, but not lost a game this season. There’s still a blank page that the Tide are staring at as the season dips into the back half. They face a competitive Bishop Guertin team on Wednesday as their next immediate test, but rematches against Hanover and Bedford remain, as well as both games against Exeter.

While the rest of the season is still unwritten, in its seven sanctioned NHIAA games, Concord has proved to be the best in the division.

“It was a good solid win,” Walsh said. “Bedford’s a good team, but I thought the way our guys came out and dominated was huge.”

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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