One team defended its title, while the other gained some valuable big-game experience. So for Bedford and Hanover, the Manchester Monarchs Christmas Hockey Classic served its purpose nicely.
The Bulldogs generally controlled play, scoring a goal in each period to beat the Marauders, 3-0, in the tournament final at JFK Coliseum on Friday. Forwards Eric Flynn, Griffin Gagne and Colin Voloshin scored the goals, and junior netminder Eric Voloshin stopped 13 shots to post the shutout.
Bedford finished 4-0 in the tournament for a second straight year. The Bulldogs outscored their competition 27-2.
So what did Bulldogs learn during the week?
“The kids learned that they have to work all three periods,” said coach Marty Myers, whose club is 5-0-1 overall. “The first few games, we didn’t do that. But today, I thought we did.”
Hanover, meanwhile, finished 3-1 in the tourney, counting victories over Bow (3-1), Trinity (3-0) and Concord (1-0). The Marauders held their own in the neutral zone on Friday against the explosive Bulldogs, and senior goalie Luke Ratliff, the all-tourney goalie, made 37 saves in a spectacular performance.
“We got a lot better as a team (in the tourney),” said Hanover coach Dick Dodds. “That was the goal.”
Flynn scored the only goal Bedford would need at 11:50 of the first period, one-timing home a pass from behind the net by Nathan Musgrave.
Gagne doubled the advantange at 7:51 of the second period on a nice individual effort. The tournament MVP collected a loose puck behind the Hanover net and tried to stuff it home. Ratliff held the post, but the rebound squirted free and Gagne tapped in his own rebound from the crease.
Eric Voloshin made his biggest stop, on Jake Acker from the slot, in the early going of the third period. Then Bedford scored a backbreaker at 5:57, on a power play. After Ratliff made several acrobatic stops, Colin Voloshin backhanded one inside the right post for the 3-0 lead.
Myers credited defensemen Chase Vaillantcourt, Nick Cannone, Jack Flanagan and Parker Joyce, a sophomore, with limiting Hanover’s chances.