Teams get ready for holiday tourneys

It’s time for the annual holiday high school tournaments.

In the next couple of days, there will be hockey and basketball tournaments galore, with the main events locally taking place in Nashua. Teams from Milford and Souhegan be competing in tournaments in the Gate City, starting Thursday with the Chick-Fil-A Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament (at Nashua South) and the Nashua Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament (at Nashua North). On Friday, its the start of the Conway Arena Hockey Tournament.

HOCKEY

The Conway event will feature two non local teams. Bishop Brady returns, bringing an 0-2 record in, but this year’s favorite may be Coventry (R.I.) High School. A strong program that was one of Rhode Island’s top teams a year ago, the Oakers have lost a few players and come in 0-3, but have a strong goaltender in Ryan Clifford (.910 save percentage at last look). They are no stranger to playing in New Hampshire, having won the Salem Christmas Tournament last year.

But don’t forget who the defending champion is in this tournament – Nashua High School South. The Panthers won a 1-0 final against city rival North last year, and a competitive 0-1-1 start gives them hope of repeating. The tourney opens at 12:10 on Friday with North facing Souhegan, then Brady vs. Coventry at 2:20 p.m. and then South vs. Alvirne. The Broncos are 0-2, off to a tough start, still looking for their first goal.

Day Two is Saturday with South facing Coventry at 1, North facing Bishop Brady at 3:10 p.m. and Souhegan meeting Alvirne at 5:20. The tourney features two divisions, with Alvirne, Brady and Coventry in one group and North, South, and Souhegan in the other. That likely prevents a North-South final this time around. The finals are Monday, Dec. 30 at 12:40 p.m., sandwiched in between consolation games at 10:30 and 2:50.

North is in even better shape, coming in at 3-0 with wins over Londonderry, Concord and Bishop Guertin. Jake Latham has been a big leader for the Titans, and how they handle this tournament will be interesting.

Watch out for the 2-0 Sabers. North will certainly be a test up two divisions, but Souhegan has scored 21 goals in its first two games in Division III

BOYS BASKETBALL

The Chick-Fil-A tourney opens with a battle of Souhegan Valley teams, as Milford and Souhegan open the tournament at 3 p.m. on Thursday. That’s the first of four games on the day, as Goffstown and Thornton Academy (Sacco, Maine) play at 4:30 and Nashua North plays Alvirne at 6. Hollis Brookline takes on the hosts, South, at 7:30 p.m. The tournament continues through Dec. 28, with the championship game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

Wilton-Lyndeborough will also be competing in a holiday tournament, as the Warriors head North to Meredith to take part in the Inter-Lakes Holiday Jamboree. The tournament runs from Dec. 27-29 and will feature Franklin, Woodsville, Mascenic, Sunapee and the host school.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Souhegan also opens play on Thursday at the Nashua Holiday Tournament in one of the more intriguing matchups. The Sabers will face former coach Jeremy Faulkner and his Bishop Guertin team at 2 p.m. at North. Milford gets to play in the nightcap, taking on the host Titans at 6:30 p.m. The tournament runs until Dec. 29, with the championship game scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The WLC girls competed in the Zero Gravity Holiday Tournament in Keene, which wrapped up on Sunday.

WRESTLING

Milford wrestling will also be participating in a holiday tournament, as the Spartans head to Massachusetts to compete in the Lowell Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29-30.