Top line leads Souhegan to win over Kennett

MANCHESTER – Normally a Souhegan-Kennett High School boys ice hockey game would be a nip-and-tuck battle.

But this year there’s too much disparity between the teams. All it was for the Sabers on Sunday was a skate in the park, as they blistered the Eagles 6-2 at St. Anselm College’s Sullivan Arena.

It was a day for points. The Sabers top line of Mike Hayden, Joe Nutting and Matt Wilson produced 13 points, with Nutting leading the way with a goal and five assists. Not bad for a second game in 24 hours.

“We got a deep bench this year, which we didn’t have in the past,” Sabers coach Dan Belliveau said, his team now 13-1 atop Division III. “But you’re going to get your scoring from my first and second line.”

True to form, the Sabers started quickly, with Wilson (two goals, two assists) scoring on Kennett goalie Bobby Davis’ doorstep just 19 seconds into the contest. Nutting and Vin Silvestri got assists. It turned out to be a three-assist period for Nutting.

“We had a bit of slow start (Saturday) against Laconia,” Belliveau said. “So one of our goals was to get off to a faster start.”

Hayden scored the next two goals of the period, one at the six-minute mark and the next at 13:49. Assists went to Nutting and Wilson on the first and Nutting and Taylor Farrow on the second.

The Eagles (7-9) did manage a shorthanded goal at the 4:37 mark by one of their top players, Brad Canavan, and it was 3-1 after one. The handwriting was on the ice.

“Their first line, it’s hard to match up with,” Kennett coach Mike Lane said. “Our kids battled hard, but they’re just very good.”

The Sabers increased the lead to 5-1 in the second on goals by Farrow and Nutting (3:12 and 7:43) respectively, the latter a breakaway. Kennett kept some hope alive as Nick Ansaldi beat Saber goalie Connor McCall (14 saves) assisted by Canavan, at 4:37 of the period.

Wilson, assisted by Nutting, scored shorthanded with just under three minutes remaining to account for the final.

“We wanted to take that (early) lead, see if we couldn’t work with it, and then at that point go deep into our bench and get some of the other kids some experience. We’re going to lead that down the line, I would imagine. Or even next week.”