Raiders girls hockey struggles on the ice
|Published: 02-11-2024 9:41 PM
Saturday was just one of those nights for the Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge girls hockey team. The on-ice equivalent of experiencing a flat tire, a dead phone or no hot water in the shower.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, their dud occurred with Oyster River-Portsmouth in town, one of five teams ahead of it in the 17-team NHIAA standings at the time. Their 4-0 loss dropped LSK to 9-5 and seventh place. Three teams are tied at 6-8, marking the top of the division’s second tier.
“Just a tough night for us,” said fifth-year Raiders coach Mike Sheehan, whose team a year ago was 9-8 and fell in the playoffs’ first round. “We had a good start, but we’re a little banged up and a little shorthanded and we just couldn’t sustain it.”
Lebanon-Stevens-Kearsarge was essentially missing two and a half players, the half being senior defenseman Olivia Pollard, who battled a hamstring injury that limited her movements and caused her to leave the ice in obvious pain several times.
Sheehan said others were also nursing injuries, but it might not have mattered against OR-P (10-3), which had several attackers who repeatedly drove hard to the net and a puck possession mentality that allowed Lebanon only one or two scoring chances.
Oyster River-Portsmouth scored midway through the first period, again late in the second stanza and twice more during the third. LSK goaltender Andy Lindquist made 35 saves, 28 of them during the final two periods.
“We couldn’t get the equalizer and when they scored that second one, I think we got down on ourselves after that,” Sheehan said.
The Raiders knocked off third-place Berlin-Gorham-Kennett (12-3) during its previous game but that was by a 1-0 score, underlining LSK’s season-long offensive struggles. Still, LSK has won four of its last six contests and faces two sub-.500 foes during the final four games of the regular season.
“We’ve got to be better on Monday and I want to be better than seventh place by the end of the season,” said Sheehan, noting that the division’s top 11 teams qualify for the postseason, with the top five receiving a first-round bye.
“It’s been a good year and we’ve made a lot of improvements,” Sheehan said. “We’re good in our zone but it’s February and we’re still trying to figure each other out offensively. We’re still young, with two-thirds of our team being freshmen and sophomores.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.