Sam Feeley

Feb 172015

WESTON – Passing, defense, rebounding – the Lawrence Academy girl’s varsity Spartans struggled with key playmaking skills and came up short in a 74-42 loss to the Rivers Red Wings Saturday at Benson Gymnasium.

It was the second time the Spartans had given up 70 points in a game, and both instances resulted in losses (the other was a 73-59 decision against Noble & Greenough). They committed 11 turnovers and were outrebounded 47-23.

The Red Wings never trailed nor found themselves tied with the Spartans They got off to a quick start, leading 9-2 in the first 3:10 before Spartans head coach Donna Mastrangelo called a timeout. That didn’t to stop the bleeding, though, and the lead ballooned to 16-5 before Mastrangelo called another timeout.

Trailing 37-16 at halftime, the Spartans tried to make a game of it early in the second half. They nearly doubled their first-half scoring output in the first five minutes of the second, cutting the lead to as little as 15, but a 7-0 run by Rivers extended the lead to 22, and it would continue to expand from there.

“We missed some easy buckets early, then we came back down to the other end of the court and just imploded,” Mastrangelo said. “The second half was a different game… we’ve got to show up right from the start.”

Red Wings Freshman sensation Tess Sussman achieved a double-double in the first half on her way to 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. She completed her game by getting an uncontested rebound off her own missed free throw and laying it back in before taking a rest with five minutes to go. Kaitlyn Foley, who had struggled all year from beyond the three-point arc, scored a game-high 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting from long range. McDonald’s All-American nominee Kristen Daley had seven points, 13 rebounds, and three steals. Julia Thissell had 11 points and six rebounds.

“They’re a phenomenal team,” Mastrangelo said of the Red Wings. “They’ve got a lot of Division 1 athletes, one going to Penn and one going to Yale. They’re all great shooters too.”

Emily Pratt (17 points, three rebounds) and Erin Antosh (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two assists) led the Spartans effort. Gabrielle Reuter, who normally plays a big part in the Spartans’ offense, was called for three fouls in the first eight minutes of the first half, forcing her to sit for an extended period of time and thus limiting her to six points, five rebounds, and two steals.

The Spartans (16-2, 8-2 ISL) will travel to Brookline for a game against Southfield Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.

Feb 112015

Lopsided doesn’t even begin to describe the Lawrence Academy Spartans’ 67-15 victory over the Middlesex Zebras Friday night at the Stone Athletic Center. To sum it up in a few statistics:

  • Middlesex had more fouls (19) than points.
  • Gabrielle Reuter outscored Middlesex by herself (18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks, three steals two assists), and
  • Erin Antosh came close to doing that as well, with 13 points, four rebounds, and three steals.
  • Six Lawrence players outscored Middlesex’s leading scorer, Lydia Paddock (four points, seven rebounds, two steals), and a seventh, Kristen Parry, who played just eight minutes, had just as many points.
  • It was the second time the Spartans held an opponent to 15 points in a game, and the fourth time they held an opponent to less than 20.
  • The Spartans have beaten their opponents by an average margin of 21 points and have held their opponents to an average of 33.8 points per game.

It didn’t look like it was going to be that lopsided from the outset, as the Spartans fell behind 5-2 in the early stages, and head coach Donna Mastrangelo had to call two timeouts to get her girls back on track.

“I had to reel them in,” Mastrangelo said. “They’ve got to perform out there to the best of their ability at all times. We’ve had a great season so far, and we have to make sure they’re pumped up for every game.”

To say the timeouts worked would be an understatement, as the Spartans finished the first half on a 33-2 run, including 29 unanswered at one point, and last trailed at 5-4.

“We’ve been nervous because of all these snow days,” Mastrangelo said. “We were a little slow on Wednesday at Thayer … the kids did a much better job this time. The help defense was much better.”

It won’t be this easy for the Spartans down the stretch, because even though they now stand at 14-1 (6-1 ISL), they play six of their final nine games on the road. They have back-to-back games on Friday against Milton (whom Mastrangelo said they had not beaten in a long time) and on Saturday at Rivers. Earlier in the season, Rivers defeated Noble & amp; Greenough, the only team to beat the Spartans thus far.

“We were hanging in there,” Mastrangelo said about the Nobles game. “We’ve been annihilated by that team in the past, so for us to be in that game was big.”

Feb 092015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team clinched their first postseason berth since 2012 with a 57-50 victory over the Quabbin Panthers on Senior Night last Tuesday at G-DRHS.

The Crusaders came out of a tight, high-scoring first quarter which a 20-17 lead, and G-D continued to accelerate in the second quarter and the first part of the third quarter. They outscored the Panthers 30-20 to lead 50-37 entering the final frame. Three Crusaders scored in double digits: Lindsay Werner (17 points, five rebounds, four steals, four assists), Hanna Van Pelt (11 points, 10 rebounds), and Alex Pray (10 points, five rebounds).

“Alex was phenomenal tonight,” Hennelly lauded. “She had an outstanding game. I could not be happier for her. Alex is a do-whatever-you-ask-her-to type of kid, and she works hard all the time. It’s great that she had such a great night on Senior Night.”

However, G-D’s shooting cooled off in the late third and early fourth quarters, and Quabbin came roaring back to life. In the fourth quarter alone, Quabbin center Mary Beth Parslow scored nine of her 23 points, including going 5-of-6 at the free throw line, and snagged seven of her 14 rebounds, to fuel an 11-2 run that cut the G-D lead to 52-48 with four minutes to go. But the Crusaders settled down, got their defense together, and extended the lead back to seven by the time the final buzzer sounded.

“Our offense is definitely prone to inconsistency,” Hennelly said. “What I was more concerned with in that stretch was defensive lapses. We had three or four trips down the floor where people didn’t know who they had, and you just can’t do that. That’s what’s going to allow them to get close.”
The Crusaders stand at 12-5 after defeating St. Bernard’s and Westborough this week on the road. They have three more road games to close out the season this week: North Middlesex on Monday, Hudson on Thursday, and Oakmont on Friday. Hennelly said he expects his team to finish 15-5 and get a home game in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 Central tournament in the process.

“I was happy for the seniors,” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “It’s nice to get that last win (to qualify for the tournament), but we have a goal of getting back here for one more game.”

Jan 262015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders “ran out of gas,” according to head coach Phil Rowley, as a five-goal third period by the Wachusett Mountaineers let Wachusett skate away with a 7-4 victory at the Groton School rink Wednesday evening.

After trailing 3-2 for two periods, the Mountaineers took the lead for good with two goals in fifteen seconds about four minutes in. First, Joe Rinaldo fanned on an initial shot, but recovered and beat Crusader goalie Nevin Tardiff stick side. Then Brian Boulette, who registered a hat trick, took the puck from a faceoff win in his own zone and sprinted up ice to deliver a slap shot for the go-ahead goal.

The Mountaineers would extend their lead to 5-3 before the Crusaders made a last-ditch effort with the goalie pulled. Patrick Keating let loose a wrist shot from the right side circle after the entire offense set up on the right side of the dot for an offensive zone faceoff. But Boulette sealed his hat trick at 13:14 as Tardiff was forced to stay in his net, and was caught out of position off a rebound. Rinaldo got his second goal on an empty-netter with 24 seconds left, and that was that.

The Crusaders had a legitimate reason for running on empty — flu-like symptoms caused two defensemen to miss the game entirely and another to head back to the locker room partway through the game. By the end of the game, they were down to three healthy defensemen.

“I’m not making any excuses,” Rowley said, though he did point out that “the effort was great” given the circumstances. “Hopefully we’ll get some rest and come back healthier for Saturday’s game … they tried hard, and I was proud of them for that.”

The Crusaders started out well enough — after a slow start offensively by both teams in the first period, they started to get more shots on goal and eventually broke the ice at 7:57 when Harry Perrault put in a backhand from an impossible angle, straddling the goal line and with his back almost completely turned to the net. Just over two minutes later, they scored again when Ben Strauss rifled home a rebound that bounced far out into the slot.

The Mountaineers came back to tie it with back-to-back goals in the second period. First, Andrew Iacaboni stripped Kam Strong of the puck as he was setting up at the offensive blue line, then took it all the way uncontested. Then Boulette got his first goal of the game when Iacaboni fed him through the crease after collecting a rebound off a shot from Rinaldo.

The Mountaineers nearly took the lead in the final minute of the third period when a shot appeared to go into the net, but the officials signaled to play on. While the Wachusett fans and bench protested, the action went to the other end, and eventually Michael Cole stuffed in a loose puck with 2.2 seconds left.

The Crusaders fell to 3-6-1 and will travel to the Chelmsford Forum in North Billerica for a matchup with Lowell Catholic Saturday at 8 p.m.

Jan 222015

The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss.

The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss. LA Photo by Jon Chase.

BOSTON – The Lawrence Academy Spartans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took part in the 2015 Hoop Mountain Mass Arc Holiday Challenge at TD Garden Monday and came away with one win and a loss. The Challenge is a prep school basketball day with 11 Massachusetts schools competing. Funds raised by the competition go to The Arc of Massachusetts, an 18-chapter organization that represents nearly 200,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The LA girls defeated the Thayer Tigers in a no-doubter, 50-19, to remain undefeated on the season at 11-0.

Erin Antosh (18 points, four rebounds, four steals) and Gabrielle Reuter (11 points, five rebounds, three blocks) paced the effort for the Spartans. Jalianette Marquez, the shortest player on the court for Lawrence, stood tall with six points and five rebounds.

While it wasn’t the cleanest effort for Lawrence, it was clear that Thayer, who lost their eighth in a row to fall to 1-8, was outmatched. They scored only six points in the first half, five of them by Abigael Osmanski. They committed four shot clock violations, and on three of those occasions, they didn’t even come close to taking a shot. They gave up eight steals to the Spartans, and airballed several desperation shots in the second half. To top it all off, they were outrebounded 28-18.

During warmups, it came to the attention of the officials that both teams had come to the Garden wearing their white uniforms, and neither team brought their road uniforms, despite the fact that Lawrence was supposed to be the visiting team. After a lengthy fashion discussion delay, the officials ruled that Lawrence had to wear blue shirts underneath their jerseys in order to differentiate themselves.

The LA boys fell to the Cheshire Fighting Cats 86-81, in a wild, back-and-forth, fast-paced contest. The lead exchanged hands multiple times in the first half and early in the second before Cheshire (8-7) pulled away thanks to stellar performances by Austin Nehls (27 points, nine rebounds, four steals, two assists), Josh Ajayi (22 points, nine rebounds, 10-for-14 on free throws), Tyler Hamilton (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals), and Ricky Leonard (13 points off the bench). Lawrence’s Timothy Preston had a Herculean performance to keep the game close, scoring a game-high 29 points (including five three-pointers) to go along with three assists. Nick Lynch chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds; Sherron Dailey-Harris added nine points, six rebounds, and three steals; and Martin Mann had nine points, four rebounds, and two assists.
The Spartans fell to 3-10.

In the second half, the game clock started at 18 minutes instead of the regulation 16, and the issue was never fixed. However, given that Cheshire was leading with two minutes left and Lawrence never took the lead after that point, the time question became moot.

To listen to the on-demand audio broadcasts of these games:'_basketball,_1-19-2015.mp3) for the girls’ game and here
('_basketball,_1-19-2015.mp3) for the boys’ game.

Jan 162015

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team defeated the Westborough Rangers handily, 59-46, Tuesday night, but despite the double-digit margin, there were some anxious moments.

The Crusaders’ best plays came in the second quarter, when they outscored the Rangers 21-4 and didn’t allow a point until there was 1:15 left. They made four threes and exhibited great ball movement leading to plenty of wide-open looks. It could have been even more lopsided, given that they forced 10 Westborough turnovers in that period alone, but they were inconsistent in converting those opportunities into points at the other end.

“Those things are going to come and go, but I liked the energy,” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “The effort and the ball movement were good, and I’ll live with that.”

The Rangers made it interesting in the fourth quarter. Down by 20 entering the final frame, they went on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes. Eventually the Crusaders, after scoring their first points of the quarter with four minutes left, would come back with a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach, and Hennelly brought in his second-stringers.

“Mentally, we were in a place where we were all set,” Hennelly said. “We thought we had won, we thought the game was over, we shut down, and [Westborough] decided that they wanted to play the fourth quarter.”

Rebounding was an issue for the Crusaders in the second half, as Westborough came back strong and evened the rebounding totals at 33 per side by game’s end.

“I’m not thrilled with the overall effort,” Hennelly added. “I’m thrilled with certain aspects of it. We played a great second quarter, but I’m not pleased with our defensive rebounding in the second half. We’ve got to be better.”

Three Crusaders scored in double digits: Jenna Plausse (14 points, five rebounds), Lindsay Werner (13 points, six assists, four steals, four rebounds), and Melyssa Langell (11 points, three rebounds). Hanna Van Pelt also had a nice game with nine points and seven rebounds.

The Rangers, who have no seniors on their roster, were led by forwards Melissa Mitrovich (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Kaylie Doherty (six points, 10 rebounds).

“They’re bigger players, which we just have to deal with,” Hennelly said. “We’re always going to be the smaller team, so we’ve got to box out, and we’ve got to maintain intensity. We don’t have the size to just relax and hope that balls are going to fall in our hands.”

The Crusaders improved to 6-4, 3-1 in Mid-Wach B play.

Jan 122015

WESTBOROUGH — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders have slowly been getting their legs underneath them as the 2014-15 hockey season has progressed, and last Monday night at North Star Youth Forum, they finally broke through with a 4-2 victory over the Westborough Rangers.

Harry Perrault got the scoring started at 14:03 into the first period. The Rangers committed a turnover in their own zone, which led to an easy top-shelf wrist shot for Perrault past Westborough goalie Jared Ward. The Crusaders extended their lead with two goals in 47 seconds in the second period. After an initial save by Ward, Michael Cole collected the rebound and wrapped around the goal to find Nathan Rabbitt, who put it in the wide-open net. Then Westborough’s Evan Leva fanned on a pass at his own blue line, leading to a breakaway and easy goal for Ryan Dodge.

The Rangers finally got on the board at 6:50 of the third period. G-D’s Eric Niemoller fanned on a shot from the blue line, allowing Jacob Uhlman to chase down the puck and head for the goal. Despite two Crusaders draped all over him, he still wriggled free and scored.

The Crusaders eventually put it away with 1:43 to go in the game, as Robert Hoare batted in a rebound out of midair with six players representing both teams scrambling in front of the net.

“We played Algonquin exactly the same way,” G-D head coach Phil Rowley said. “We outshot them and outplayed them, we just didn’t finish. But we had some nice finishes today, and we had some nice goals. We moved the puck well, and we had a lot of good shots.”

Westborough’s Dylan Kehoe got the last goal of the game 28 seconds later by scoring from a tough angle on his own rebound, but it was too little too late.

Eight different Crusaders had a point, and two had multi-point games: Perrault (goal, assist) and Bradley Garside (two assists).

In the games leading up to this win, the Crusaders have finally found their identity: pepper the opposing goalie with shots. And they lived up to that mantra by outshooting the Rangers 45-17, including margins of 14-3 in the first period and 17-4 in the second.

“That’s what we need,” Rowley said. “We don’t have any pure scorers, so we need to throw a lot of shots on net … It’s a work in progress. We’re trying to get them to feel good about themselves and do things with muscle memory instead of overthinking.

The Crusaders (1-4) have killed penalties at a 94% rate this season, and only built on that mark by killing all three penalties called against them. In fact, they ended up with more short-handed shots (three) than Westborough had power play shots (two).

“The penalty kill has been really good for us this year,” Rowley lauded. “We got some good power play looks today which we haven’t gotten in the past.”

Jan 072015

Marlborough Boys Outpace Crusaders 56-33

The Marlborough Panthers continued their surprising hot season with a 56-33 drubbing of the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders at G-DRHS Friday night, January 3.

Marlborough had three players score in double figures: Chris Doherty (15 points, four rebounds, four blocks, three assists) Joe Cappadonna (13 points, four rebounds, three assists), and Brian Short (10 points, six rebounds). Meanwhile, the Crusaders’ leading scorer, Danny Howes, had just eight points and six rebounds, and no starter scored more than five points.

“We were out of sync offensively for whatever reason,” G-D head coach Greg Gillette said. “When we don’t execute well, no one’s going to get good shots, and you end up getting a lot of forces.” Doherty, Marlborough’s 6’6″ freshman center, was the tallest player on the court, and thus was able to dominate the paint both offensively and defensively, though surprisingly he didn’t record a rebound until midway through the second quarter.

“[Doherty] protected the rim,” Gillette lauded. “I thought our big guys played well against him, but he’s a good player and a good shot blocker, and he made us change shots.”

The Crusaders got to the line far more often than the Panthers did, but only shot 10-of-18 compared to 5-of-6 for the visitors. They were also out-rebounded 35-27, and made just one three-pointer compared to five for Marlborough.

G-D captain Corey Romich, considered one of the best three-point shooters in central Massachusetts, was held to just four points and four rebounds, and did not record a basket from long-distance. Gillette said that he is still “banged up,” coming around the bend from injuries that are not limited to the injury he suffered in the first game of football season.

Despite all this, Gillette felt that the final score belied the effort his team put in.

“We played hard, we just didn’t execute well enough,” he said.

The Panthers, who did not make the state tournament last year, improved to 6-1 (2-0 Mid-Wach B), while the Crusaders fell to 2-4 (0-1 Mid-Wach B).

Nashoba Girls Squeak by G-D 61-59

In what could go down as one of the best games of the season, the Nashoba Chieftans overcame a 12-point deficit to squeak by the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders, 61-59, at G-DRHS Tuesday night.

With her team down by six entering the fourth quarter, Nashoba center Nikkiah Snoddy (24 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, two steals) took off. She scored nine points in the final session and played a role in the final two plays of the game — the seal on the victory. First, with less than 15 seconds to go and the score tied at 59, she drew a double-team at the elbow, then found a cutting Erin Cressman (seven points, eight rebounds, three assists) for the go-ahead layup.

The Crusaders went cold offensively and scored just six points in the final eight minutes. After a G-D timeout with 7.5 seconds left, the Crusaders hesitated over taking the final shot — and Snoddy blocked the last-ditch effort with ease as the clock expired.

“We didn’t have an answer for [Snoddy],” G-D head coach Mark Hennelly said. “But I can’t fault the kids’ effort. It was a monumental step forward in comparison to the last couple [of games].”

The Crusaders played had to play catch-up themselves, trailing by as much as 11 early in the second quarter. But after Hennelly called timeout with 6:14 left, the Crusaders found their rhythm and outscored the Chieftains 22-6 to take a 37-32 lead into halftime. Lindsay Werner fueled the G-D offense, scoring 17 of her 24 points in the first half, while also collecting five rebounds, four steals, and two assists. Jenna Plausse also had a great game for the Crusaders, registering a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds).

“Lindsay is going to be one of the most talented players on the floor on any given night,” Hennelly said. “She’s such a coachable kid.”

Hennelly also had high praise for Plausse: “Every single practice, every single game, I’ve never seen her take a breath. I’ll live and die with whatever happens with Jenna Plausse. She’ll play any position, she’ll guard any player.”

Both teams were plagued by turnovers, with Nashoba’s Kevyn Green doing the most damage — she collected eight steals, six in the first half, along with seven points and four rebounds.

“There were too many ill-conceived passes on our part,” Hennelly said. “It’s a double-edged sword. We have guards that can turn up the pace and make other teams turn it over, but sometimes we play too fast and we give it back. We’re trying to learn to play fast defensively and slow down offensively.”

G-D was helped out by Melyssa Langell (nine points, four rebounds), Nikki Eggimann (seven points, four rebounds). and Hanna Van Pelt (two points, eight rebounds). Nashoba received contributions from Kelly Poole (eight points, seven assists, five steals, three rebounds), Nicole Boucher (six points, three rebounds) Afton Burrell (five points, two rebounds).

“Langell’s defense was outstanding, and her offensive contributions took a step up,” Hennelly lauded. “And we need that from her. When she’s doing that, we’re a very tough team. She’s been working so exceptionally hard at practice.”

The win allowed the Chieftains to remain unbeaten at 7-0, while G-D fell to 4-4 with the loss. But Hennelly is already looking forward to the rematch at Nashoba on January 30.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we certainly can play with them,” he said. “I expect to go down there and have every opportunity to beat them in a couple of weeks.”

Dec 292014

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders girl’s basketball team lost to the Algonquin Tomahawks 55-40 last Tuesday night at G-DRHS, but as G-D head coach Mark Hennelly affirmed, the game wasn’t even that close.

“It was a very disappointing performance,” Hennelly said. “I expected a lot more out of our team. It was by far our worst effort of the season.”

The Crusaders had very little offensive rhythm in the first half and trailed 27-19 at halftime. They went on a small run to cut the Algonquin lead to five early in the third quarter before three turnovers fueled a 10-2 Tomahawk run to put them up 38-25 and effectively seal the game there. The woes were only compounded early in the fourth quarter when Lindsay Werner, who was playing her first game of the season off the bench after sustaining an injury during soccer season, fouled out with only two points and two rebounds.

“That was the nail in the coffin,” Hennelly said. “The entire night, everything was sloppy … the turnovers were awful … we’ve got to get back to work.”

“It was the first time we had a full complement of players, but we came up way short,” he added.

Algonquin led by as much as 18, led by Emily Carens, the only player to score in double digits. She finished with 12 points, six rebounds, and four steals. Caroline Leonard chipped in eight points, three rebounds, and two assists.

“[Carens] is an outstanding player,” Hennelly said. “We knew that coming in, and we were prepared for the fact that she was going to be there, but we were certainly not up to the task of dealing with her.

The lone bright spots for the Crusaders were the play of Jenna Plausse (eight points, six rebounds) and Ariana Lacombe (eight points, seven rebounds off the bench). Hennelly was especially pleased with Lacombe’s effort.

“I thought Ariana was fantastic,” Hennelly lauded. “By far she was the most energetic kid on the floor for us. She was sprinting up and down. That’s where it starts. You at least have to put forth the energy and the effort, and she gave us that tonight, so I’m very proud of her.”

The Crusaders actually out-rebounded the Tomahawks 42-36. But Algonquin was much better at the free-throw line, shooting 21-for-33 (64%) compared to just 10-for-22 (45%) for G-D. Neither team made a three-pointer.

The Crusaders lost their second straight game to fall to 3-2 and are off until December 30th when they host Fitchburg. But Hennelly knows it’s still early in the season, and all is not lost.

“I’m OK with everything that’s gone on this season so far except for the effort tonight,” Hennelly said.

Dec 232014

BEDFORD — A controversial icing call led to three goals on three consecutive shots for the Bedford Buccaneers, boosting them to a 4-2 victory over the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders Saturday night at the Bedford Edge. Tied 1-1 in the second period, the aforementioned icing call led to a faceoff in the Crusader zone, even though the Buccaneers appeared to commit the violation. Crusader head coach Phil Rowley asked the officials for an explanation, but was dissatisfied with the one he got. The ensuing faceoff led to a prolonged chance for the Buccaneers that resulted in the go-ahead goal at 6:20 scored by David Bartkus off a feed from Josh Berenson.

“They said it was a new rule this year,” G-D head coach Phil Rowley said. “I thought it was supposed to be a center-ice draw.”

That opened the floodgates. The Buccaneers scored on their next two shots in the ensuing 1:53. On a race for the puck into the G-D zone, Michael Barr caught up to it as it went around the net and buried it backdoor past Crusader goalie Nevin Tardiff (15 saves). Josh Parella finished the Bedford scoring at 8:13.

“We were still in it, but we made some mental mistakes,” Rowley said.

Trailing 1-0 after one period, the Crusaders got some momentum back at 3:31 on a short-handed goal by Eric Niemoller, who stripped a Bedford defenseman of the puck at the blue line and raced all the way to the goal to beat Bedford netminder Matt Judge (28 saves).

Bedford’s Ethan Miller opened the scoring at 10:07 of the first period when he and Jake Citrano were all alone with Tardiff. Citrano passed to Miller on his right, who beat Tardiff over his right shoulder. Bradley Garside had the final goal of the game at 8:02 of the third period, as he lifted the puck into the top corner from a tough angle. The Crusaders had plenty of chances to make the game more competitive, but poor puck control foiled two breakaway attempts, and two more shots rang off the crossbar.

“We couldn’t convert on those breakaways,” Rowley said. “We had some decent shots from the point, but we couldn’t get the rebounds. We had some chances, no doubt about it. But we had some breakdowns, and we lost it on our own.”

The Crusaders (0-2) are off until Monday, December 29th when they visit Shrewsbury.