Sabers hand B-G 1st defeat

NASHUA – The atmosphere at Conway Arena on Saturday? Electric.

The Division III game between the Souhegan and Belmont-Gilford high school boys hockey teams? Full of sparks.

The result? A fully charged family affair.

It took Souhegan junior Matt Wilson converting a pass from his fast-skating freshman brother, James, with 35.8 seconds left in sudden death overtime to produce a dramatic 4-3 win over the previously unbeaten Bulldogs.

“My brother just came around, beat the ‘D,’ gave me a good pass, and I just tapped it in,” Matt Wilson said. “I love playing with him.”

And the Sabers, now 7-1, enjoyed a huge statement win in a game they trailed 2-0 late in the first period thanks to two B-G power-play goals, even though they dominated 5-on-5.

“They’ve got a great team,” Souhegan coach Dan Belliveau said. “We knew it could’ve gone either way. … The way we’ve been playing, we’ve been playing with confidence, we really didn’t have any concerns.”

Before overtime, “What we told the kids was to drive to the net, go hard and keep going until we get one. And that’s what happened.”

“They were definitely the faster team today; they beat us to the 50-50 pucks,” said Bulldogs coach Jay Londer, his team now 10-1.

“They had the puck more because they dominated on the dot,” he said, referring to faceoffs. “It’s always a battle when we see these guys.”

It certainly was this time. Belmont-Gilford took a 2-0 first-period lead on power-play goals 27 seconds apart from Caleb Drouin at 12:31 and Andrew D’Amour (Drouin assist).

But the Sabers got on the board with 5.3 seconds left, an even- strength goal that was the first of two for Joe Nutting, assisted by Mike Hayden on a 2-on-1 breakaway.

“That was a big goal, and the captains kind of talked to them that we had an opportunity to swing the momentum instead of just backing off,” Belliveau said.

Nutting scored his second on the power play on a slap shot from the left point, assisted by Hayden, to tie the game at 12:25 of the second. The Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead early in the third on Powell Wilson’s tip-in past a game goalie Connor McCall (24 saves) off a bang-bang feed from Daryll Cahill.

But the Sabers, who were thwarted often by Bulldogs goalie Calvin Davis (42 stops), tied it when Hayden stuffed a power-play goal in at 10:07. Souhegan almost won it in regulation, but Alex Maresco’s blast with a huge opening hit the post at 12:58.

It took James Wilson’s streak down right wing in the final minute to change things.

The two teams play each other again at the end of the season.

“We’re just feeling good right now,” Belliveau said. “We’re feeling confident.”