Berlin goalie spectacular, but offense staggers in field hockey loss to Kennett

By Lloyd Jones
CONWAY — After dropping a pair of hard-fought 2-1 matches the previous week at Plymouth in overtime and at home against undefeated Derryfield, you knew it was a just a matter of time before the Kennett High field hockey team got back on track. Unfortunately, it came at Berlin’s expense on Friday at Centola Field.
You could tell it was a good day for the hometown flock, by the post-game remarks of Cassandra Johansen, Eagles’ head coach, to her team.
“I’m pumped,” she said. “You played really well. You applied everything we went over this week in practice. It was so nice to see us execute the way we did. ... I told the girls we need to rebuild our foundation. We can’t let two loses defeat us or define us.”
The Eagles dominated every facet of the match and cruised a 5-0 victory over their rivals from the top of Pinkham Notch. Kennett outshot the Mountaineers 20-2 and had it not for the spectacular play of senior Kate Host in goal it could have been a double-digit defeat. Host made a number of highlight reel saves to keep her team within striking distance.
“Their goalie played amazing,” Johansen said of the Berlin netminder. “One of our goals was to get more shots on the cage, and we stressed the same thing over and over, make sure you’re at that (back) post when the cross goes down. They could see it pay off right before their eyes."
Berlin returned to the friendly confines on Wednesday when it hosted Kennett in a rematch. Resuls were not known as of press time, but Coach Nicole Arguin and her troops were looking forward to a second meeting with the Eagles.
Kennett continued its winnign ways on Monday with a 5-2 home victory over Merrimack Valley.
The two recent wins lift Kennett to 5-2 on the season in Division II, while Berlin sits at 3-3 in Division III play.
The Eagles came out flying, creating the first scoring chance. Junior Ashton Coleman, who as all over the field on the afternoon, had a long run down the right sideline, crossed the ball to Natalie Perry, who slid a pass to Chrissy Coffield, who backhanded a shot on target, but Host made the first of her 15 stops a good one.
The save gave a spark to the Berlin offense, which had its best stretch of the match with 26 minutes to play in the first half. The Mountaineers were able to get four consecutive corners. Teah Hickey, Molly Sloan and Jessica Vien tried to create chances, but the KHS defense smothered every opportunity. Ava Drummond, Josie Phaneuf and Alex Iannuzzi were stellar on defense.
KHS goalie Hannah Frittenburg had a relatively quiet afternoon, recording one save each half.
Nine minutes into the contest, Vien beat an Eagle down the right side and sent a dangerous cross into the Kennett girls but no one was there to meet the ball, and it led to a quick counterattack by the hosts. Paige Hill turned defense into offense with a long pass to Alexa Gustowski, who fed Taylor Nusbaum, who got a shot goal that led to a corner.
Host made three fine saves in a minute, kicking away a Perry blast, a glove save on another Perry bid and getting a foot on Olivia Gagnon’s shot.
The Kennett offense finally found the back of the cage with 13:59 left in the opening half. Nusbaum netted the goal following a scramble in front to make it 1-0.
The Eagles doubled their advantage with 2:45 to play in the half when they were awarded a penalty stroke. Gutowski fired the ball home off the left post. It was a shot no goalie in the world could have stopped.
KHS outshot BHS 10-1 in the first 30 minutes.
Kennett continued to carry the play in the second half, but Berlin defenders Emily Picard, Jenah Arsenault, Sarah Clark and Alyson Blanchette were equal to the task for the first 15 minutes.
With 14:40 to play, the Eagles went up 3-0 with Olivia Gagnon scoring her first varsity goal. It came after Host made the initial save, but Gagnon pounced on the rebound and slammed it home.
Berlin’s play of the day came with 11:58 left when Blanchette made an incredible stick save clearance off the line on a waist-high shot by Gutowski.
Nusbaum netted her second of the day with 5:40 to play. She finished a cross to the far post by Natalie Shaw to make it 4-0.
Kennett closed out the scoring with 3:20 to play when Coleman made a pass to Shaw, who one-timed it across the cage where Coffield, standing by the left post, tucked it tome.
“We had three really strong days of practice,” Johansen said, adding that former KHS standout Abi Gutowski and former collegiate player Abbey Moore have been training with the team. “We’ve been applying so many different strategies, it’s been awesome to have a third pair of eyes helping out.”
Kennett closes out the week by hosting Oyster River (1-3-1) on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The Mountaineers are slated to wrap up the week with another rivalry game, traveling Whitfield to play White Mountains (1-4) at 11 a.m.

Four-cylinder nationals set to bring nearly 50 race cars to Claremont Speedway


Sept. 15 event will pay big to winner, qualifiers and lap leaders

By Mike Twist

Nearly 50 entries from eight states are expected to attend the first annual Four Cylinder Nationals to be held at Claremont Speedway (NH) on Friday, Sept. 15.  The race, which is sanctioned by the North East Mini Stock Tour, boasts a payday of $1,500 to the winner and at least $150 just to start the A-Main.  An additional $20 per lap is available as a leader bonus. This event is bound to bring the best four-cylinder cars and drivers from every corner of New England and beyond to try and take home the biggest payday in recent history.

"Claremont has been great to work with and the new owners have put a lot into such a great facility," said NEMST promoter Bob Guptill. "By having this size of show at a local grassroots track it opens up the drivers from many different tracks and divisions all over to have a great run in the region's largest 4-cylinder race. Claremont is a track that doesn't require large engines or broad RPM ranges. It doesn't have long straights or high banked corners. It has a tight and awkward shape with multiple grooves for competition. The track is excellent for side by side racing as NEMST veterans stack up against local hotshoes, NEMST rookies, and track champions from a multitude of areas."

This year has been one of the most competitive seasons in the nine-year NEMST history with five different drivers in five different brands of cars winning the first five events.  The points lead has been swapped three times in the past two races and with only two events to go in the 2017 season, the championship is far from being decided.  As we head into fall and the temperatures begin to dip across New England, the NEMST action will only be heating up.

So far, the entry list for nationals encompasses a dozen makes and models with the driver resume just as diverse. NEMST point leader Emerson Cayer will be looking for his first win since 2014 as he has had his fair share of podium finishes this season. Local hot shoe Zach Lyn will be making his first career NEMST appearance. Monadnock Sportsman Modified competitor Matthew Kimball will be running is third NEMST race of the season.  Billy Osborne and Nick Maniatis will also make their return along with NEMST regulars, Cody LeBlanc, Jake Rheaume, Nick Anderson, Matt Sonnhalter, Dana Shepard, Desmond Skillings, and many more.

For full event information please visit Hauler Parking will start at Noon with pit gates opening at 3pm, practice at 4pm and heats going green at 7pm.  Claremont Speedway is located at 78 Thrasher Rd. Claremont.

For more information and the latest news on the North East Mini Stock Tour, please visit and be sure to "like" the series on Facebook.

Team HLLR 22016 NEMST Rookie of the Year #7NH Cody LeBlanc, 2016 Claremont Speedeway Wildcat Track Champion #36 Kodi Sabins, and 2016 NEMST Champion #17NH Haywood Herriott, set their sights on the 2017 Four Cylinder Nationals set to go on Friday September 15 at Claremont Speedway. Team HLLR is sponsored by B&B Auto and Truck Parts (NAPA) of Berlin, Leo's Speed Shop, and the Gorham Corner Market. (COURTESY PHOTO)




Berlin field hockey team opens season with a win


By Bart Bachman

TILTON — The Berlin girls’ field hockey team got a bit of revenge with a 3-1 win over Winnisquam Regional High School in the Mountaineers’ season opener Aug. 30.

Winnisquam eliminated Berlin from the playoffs last year.

In the 2017 opener, Jess Vien scored two goals and Molly Sloane scored one for Berlin, while goalie Kate Host stopped nine shots on goal by Winnisquam.

“When we got the momentum offensively, we moved the ball very quickly,” said Berlin Head Coach Nicole Arguin. “We struggled with the transition from offense to defense, and we have some positional strategies we need to tweak and improve on. Winnisquam is very strong offensively and has some girls who can move the ball well and fast. Our defense had to work very hard to contain them to the outside of the field.”

Berlin scored its first goal with just 45 seconds left in the first half.

“The ball came out of the circle,” Arguin said. “Makenna Balderrama hit the ball back into the circle. Emily Coulombe lifted the ball to Jess Vien, who was at the right post.”

Winnisquam scored first in the second half to tie the game at 1-1. But Berlin broke the tie and took the lead for good with 13:48 left.

Vien passed the ball to Molly Sloane, who hit it into the net.

At 9:48, Vien scored her second goal of the game off a scramble in front of the net.

Berlin’s first home game of the season is Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. against Littleton.

The Mountaineers had a 9-5-1 record last year, and 12 players are returning this year.


Co-ed Monday night in-house dart league looking for players/teams

BERLIN — The Monday night in-house dart league is looking for players/teams.

Game play begins at 7:30 p.m. starting in September at the Eagles Club in Berlin. You do not need to be a member, although a member will need to sign you in. Great fun night out, 50/50 raffle each night.

Cost is $40 per player for the season. There is an annual end of season banquet, which consists of cash prizes for the season. If interested, you must show up at the first informational meeting this Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Eagles Club.