Saber-Titans reach final at Conway

NASHUA – They were in it to win it.

The Nashua High School South-Pelham boys hockey team wanted to gain some good feeling in the 12th annual Conway Arena Hockey Tournament, and they got just that in a 7-4 title win over city rival North-Souhegan.

“We were,” South coach Shawn Connors said. “We needed the boost before we got back into the regular season. … We were trying to have fun with it until we got to the final game, and then we really wanted to win. I think we still have some work to do.”

Kyle Joyce fired a loose puck through the wickets of Saber-Titans goalie Robbie Morel at (23 stops) at 4:44 of the third period for what proved to be the game-winner, giving the Kings (2-2-1 overall) a 5-4 lead. It came about a minute and a half after North-Souhegan’s Griff Masseur backhanded a loose puck into an empty net as Kings netminder Adam Gagnon (25 saves) was caught out of position to tie the game at 4.

“I’m proud of our team,” North-Souhegan coach John Coughlin said. “I wasn’t expecting us to get to the championship game of this tournament. I’m proud of our team and proud of our effort. We showed some good things.”

One of the things that hurt the Saber-Titans (3-2 overall) was not having top player Jeremiah Latham for the final 9:45 of the game, as he left with an injury.

“That hurt,” Coughlin said. “He was spitting up blood and the trainer wouldn’t let him back in. He’s getting checked out.”

South-Pelham, despite giving up a goal 24 seconds in to Saber-Titan John Natale (assist to Chris Constant), led 3-2 after one period. The Kings’ Zac Clancy scored on a power play rebound with 6.5 seconds left in the period. That came just 14 seconds after Dean Paquette’s wrister tied it 2-2 for North-Souhegan.

The other two goals in the period were by South-Pelham’s Nolan Harvey (unassisted) at 5:01 and Riley Nutter, on a nice feed from Mike Fournier, about five minutes later to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.

“North played really well,” Connors said. “They have a young goalie (sophomore). That’s the only reason we took that game. Otherwise, I don’t know, it would have been real tough. … We couldn’t get it on net, their defense kept us to the side, we didn’t have very good angle shots.”

North-Souhegan tied it at 3 at 11:49 of the second on a Brendan Martin rebound goal, the play started by a Latham break-in. He and Natale picked up assists.

However, the Kings regained the lead on Clancy’s rebound goal, assisted by Haverty and Riley Nutter.

The Kings got two insurance goals late, Josh Kinghorn at 10:53 and an empty netter by Robby Pavlas at 14:12.

Now it’s back to the regular season next week for both teams.

“We’re young, and I think we’re going to keep getting better, Coughlin said, “and (Morel) is going to keep getting better.”