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12 - December 17, 2010

Pelham~Windham News Pelham~Windham News

by Marc Ayotte First varsity game. First

Pelham~Windham News Pelham~Windham News

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varsity win. First varsity shutout. Anything else ? Yeah. First-class coaching staff and team! In this often- tiring era of “look at me” antics by individuals in team sports, it was refreshing to witness young athletes play with only the team in mind. This is even more impressive, given how this Windham- Pelham (WP) hockey team was formed. The current hockey program, comprised of players from previously competing schools, displayed a newly found cohesiveness. They exemplified the team philosophy in the locker room and on the ice while cruising to a Division III season- opening 7-0 rout over Pembroke Academy- Campbell (PAC) on December 11. First, let’s cover the accomplishments on the ice. Both teams came out a little tentative, as play remained largely in the neutral zone. Then, as WP began to apply pressure in the offensive zone, the historic first varsity goal was recorded by Alec Paradis (#16) at 4:34 into the game! From that point on, there was no contest, as PAC was unable to merely clear the puck out of their end for over three minutes. The Wolf Pack closed out the last five minutes of the opening period with relentless fore- checking. Effectively cycling the puck in the attack zone, WP proceeded to score three more times—a goal each by captain Nick Morin (#8), Alec Paradis (#16), and Matt Merchel (#2), leading to a 4-0 cushion going into the intermission. Pembroke started the second period a little stronger, as the first three minutes saw most of the action take place in the Wolf Pack end of the ice. WP then took control of the action again, but with just over three minutes remaining in the middle period, PAC had their best scoring opportunity when sophomore Danny Sanders nearly slid a centering pass behind goalie Caitlin Re. Seconds after that missed opportunity, Porter Carelli of WP was sent in on a breakaway only to be stonewalled by PAC freshman net minder Nick Berube who, while adding to his personal highlight reel, was keeping his team in the game with cat- like reflexes and solid positioning between the pipes. However, on the big Olympic sheet of ice at the Salem Icenter, the strength and speed of the WP skaters began to take its toll on the visiting PAC team. Dustin Lubinger (one goal, two assists) scored with 1:17 left in the second period as the Wolf Pack amassed a staggering 25-6 shots on goal advantage and

Wolf Pack Earns ‘Re’-Spect in Ice Opener

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Forward Alec Paradis (#16) raises his stick in celebration as he scores the first varsity goal for the Windham-Pelham hockey program

a 5-0 lead before the zamboni reappeared to resurface the ice. Wolf Pack head coach Doug Watson had

high praise for the fab frosh, as he recalled talking to Berube in the customary post- game handshake line. Watson, in a manner that reflects the class of this entire group, took extra time to congratulate the opposing goalie on his stellar, 27-save performance. “I simply told him how great a game he played,“ he recounted. The final period again saw PAC come out with a little fire as they were able to come up with a couple of odd-man rushes of their own. But when senior WP goalie Re (#30; 12-save shutout) came up with a brilliant blocker save on a breakaway by PAC’s Cade Lacroix, any possibility of a Spartan comeback seemed to vanish. Ensuing goals by captains Nick Morin and Korey Lubinger closed out the scoring, resulting in the Wolf Pack victory. Morin scored twice while Alec Paradis led the scoring assault with two goals and one assist. “It’s a good feeling knowing we played our game,“ stated Coach Watson on the win, alluding in part to the words painted above ‘freshmen corner‘ in the locker room—Play Our Game. The locker room walls reflect many phrases that he and assistant coach Bob Neary try to instill into their players. In parlaying their coaching philosophy to life outside athletics, Watson pointed out the words painted on the wall upon entering the locker room – Sportsmanship Class And Respect – “… that’s a lifetime lesson when they walk in and see that,” he said. Though pleased with the entire team’s

effort, Assistant Coach Neary highlighted the accomplishment of senior goalie Re, stating, “I am very happy Caitlin got her shutout.” Both coaches recognized the talents and leadership of Re and expect a lot from her throughout the season. With

Brian Barnard (#17) of WP introduces Pembroke Academy’s Bobby Hemmerle to the boards

Newly elected tri-captains Nick Morin, Corey

Alberico, and Korey Lubinger light-heartedly ponder the responsibilities bestowed upon them by Wolf Pack coach Doug Watson

a slight smile, Coach Watson added: “She doesn’t wear a ‘C,’ but she’ll say her piece—she’s a leader on the ice.” Just prior to the opening face-off was

when the tri-captains (Morin, Korey Lubinger, and Corey Alberico) were awarded their jerseys bearing the coveted ‘C.’ Along with the jerseys came Coach Watson’s disclaimer of responsibility associated with that honor: “You guys have to show sportsmanship, pride … You have to set the example.” The honor came as a surprise to each recipient, but when Morin, who had just moments earlier jokingly proclaimed himself the ‘noisy leader’ of the team, looked at that C on his jersey, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed “Oh, yeah!” The Windham-Pelham Wolf Pack play at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 18, at Kearsarge Regional, and are next on home ice at the Icenter in Salem when they play host to Monadnock Regional High School on Wednesday, December 22. The puck drops at 4 p.m.

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by David Jaracz As the Windham High School varsity basketball teams get ready for their 2010- 2011 seasons, both teams’ recent impressive performances in scrimmages against other schools hint that both young programs might have plenty to be optimistic about. Even though both squads will be facing teams with much more experience throughout the year, both coaches seem intent on delivering teams that play with quickness, sound fundamentals, and strong team defense. Coach Joe Mason’s girls’ team looked impressive in a recent scrimmage versus Division I Alvirne. While it was only pre- season, the Division II Jaguars showed good team speed and defense against the Broncos, who recently won their season opener against Nashua North. The Jaguars managed to outscore Alvirne in each of the four quarters, though Coach Mason tried to temper any

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enthusiasm by being realistic. “We will be a young and inexperienced team, with only one player with any varsity experience,” he said of his first year varsity program. “And we know we will have to focus on a total team effort.” Mason’s roster is still coming together, and he didn’t want to set any unrealistic goals. “The expectations are simple: play hard, play together, play smart, and have fun. We strive to be a little better each day and do

After starting the season with a road game at Plymouth Regional, the Jaguars then have a stretch of three home games: Lebanon on December 17, Merrimack Valley on December 21, and then Pelham on January 4 in what is sure to develop as a strong rivalry between the two schools. Coach Todd Steffanides’ boys’ team also faces similar challenges, but is also showing that they may be a side to be reckoned with this year. In a recent scrimmage against Sanborn Regional,

Windham’s strong guard play helped them build leads of 15-4 and 33-13 at the end of each of the first two quarters. More important than any score in a pre-season game was Coach Steffanides’ team building. Little things are obvious to those who watch the Jaguar bench: whenever a player comes off the floor, all his teammates spring to their feet and enthusiastically congratulate him. Whenever a ball skips away out of bounds, it is a badge of honor for the player on the bench who hustles to chase it down. These small, but important team-building items should only help the team come together as the season progresses. The boys’ schedule opens with three

consecutive home games. The Jaguars open against Lebanon on Friday, December 17, and then face Merrimack Valley on December 21 and Portsmouth on December 23. They then open the New Year with their first road game by taking the trip down Mammoth Road to face Pelham on January 4.

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photo by David Jaracz

photos by Marc Ayotte

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