HOOKSETT, NH -- It's hard to believe we're just under two weeks away from Thanksgiving, with teams continuing to excel from top to bottom of the Avalanche program.
One week later and not much has changed for the 1st place team in the North Division. The top team in the program headed off to EHL's third-league event of the season this past weekend, and earned at pair of wins in Haverhill, MA.
In the first game of the showcase, the Avalanche held on for a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey 87's, highlighted by a game-saving play made by Josh Higgins, the captain of the team. With the clock winding down in the 3rd period, and clinging to the one-goal lead, there was a crazy scramble in front of the Avalanche net. New Jersey was able to get a back-hand chance off with the goalie down for the Avalanche, but Higgins dove across the crease and knocked the puck out of mid-air and safely away from the back of the net.
Fast-forward to the next afternoon, and the Avalanche drew the host Valley Jr. Warriors. After falling behind by scores of 1-0 and then 2-1, New Hampshire caught a spark with three unanswered goals from Douglas McGuire and Higgins (2) en route to the 4-2 victory.
Coming up this weekend, the Avalanche will travel to take on the Seacoast Spartans on Saturday, and then return home to host the New England Wolves on Sunday.
Flipping over to the EHLP, and the Avalanche's 2nd team hit the ice for three total games since last week's edition of Avs Weekly was released.
New Hampshire got to work at this past weekend's showcase with a matchup against the Philadelphia Little Flyers on Saturday. After falling behind 1-0 just over six minutes into the contest, the Avalanche flipped the switch and never looked back while pouring it on with seven unanswered goals. Connor McCowell led the way offensively by netting a natural hat-trick that spanned from the end of the 1st period to the beginning of the 2nd period.
Moving along to Sunday's matchup with the Seahawks Hockey Club, and the final game of the day proved to be one of the best, as the matchup needed a shootout to determine a winner. Ultimately it was the Seahawks who claimed the extra point, giving the Avalanche a 1-0-1 record against the East Division opponent so far this year.
Sticking with the East, the Avalanche earned some revenge of their own yesterday afternoon when they claimed a 5-2 victory over the Boston Junior Rangers, the team that shut them out on opening day. Aaron Racino scored two goals to open up the first period and Nik Vasiljevs followed the pattern in the 3rd period, staking New Hampshire out to a commanding 4-0 lead. Jared Packman earned the win in net while turning aside 34 of the 36 shots that he faced.
The Avalanche have won now four of five and six of their last nine, and it's worth noting that all three of their losses in that stretch have either come in overtime or a shootout.
The Avs '09 Premier had two big games this past weekend.
First, the boys took on the Jr. Mounties in the BHL. The Avs were quick to capitalize with two goals in the first period. The Jr. Mounties fought to score the next three goals. The Avs answered back by scoring the next five goals to capture the win. Final score was 8-4 in favor of the Avs.
The second game of the weekend was against the Concord Capitals in the GSL. Avs scored first in the 1st period. Avs commanded the play for the rest of the game. Avs scored another goal with 6 minutes left in the third. The Capitals pulled their goalie at the end to try and fight back. In the end, the Avs '09 Premier took their second win of the weekend with a score of 2-0. Colin Leger, the Avs goalie, made some big time saves that ultimately earned him his first shutout of the season.
The 2009 Elite team played against the Boston Americans on Saturday afternoon and won 7-3. They took an early 4-0 lead until the second period when the Americans came back with three goals of their own. The '09 Avs pulled it together with another three goals the third.
On Sunday afternoon, the '09 Avs had a much different game against the Boston Advantage, with their first loss of the E9 season. So far this year the team is 8-1-1 and in 2nd place in E9 ‘09 age group.
The Avs 2010 elite team came out strong on Sunday versus the Spartans 2010 elite team. We played aggressively and well as a team. Ultimately, we lost 5-2.
This weekend the 2011 Elite team traveled to MA to play in the Lucky Lobster tournament. On Friday, the Avs definitely didn’t play their best hockey giving up a 2-goal lead in a losing effort in the first game to the Bulldogs and came away with a 3-3 tie in the second game against Troy Titans.
On Saturday the 2011 Elites played much better hockey losing the first game 6-2 to a tough CP Dynamo team that ended up winning the tournament and pulling out a nice 8-4 win against the Flyers Elite.
A lot we can improve on from this weekend, but the kids, coaches and parents had a blast all weekend on and off the ice building memories that will last a lifetime.
Next weekend the 2011 Elites take on the Boston Advantage and the Patriots in 2 tough home games.