Bears score early and late


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 01-02-2023 8:27 PM

WEST LEBANON — John Dodds crunched the numbers and made his Hanover High girls ice hockey players aware of them before Monday’s clash with NHIAA Division I rival Bishop Guertin at Campion Rink.

“We generally we play them three times a year and going back 10 years, almost every game has come down to the final minutes,” Dodds said. “Sometimes even the last shift.”

Not on this afternoon. Hanover scored three times during the third period to dispatch the Cardinals, 5-2. Rory Seelig had two goals and an assist, Nora Bradley scored twice and Maeve Lee contributed a goal and an assist.

Bears goaltender Eleanor Edson was credited with 28 saves against the team that two years ago ended the Bears’ streak of 10 consecutive state titles.

Hanover improved to 5-1 while Bishop Guertin fell to 3-1. The rivals are scheduled for a Jan. 10 rematch in Hudson.

The Bears scored the first period’s lone goal 53 seconds into the stanza, Seelig hustling after the puck to the end boards and throwing it back into the slot for Bradley to knock home.

The Bears went up, 2-0, when Lee broke into the clear while skating down the slot and was tripped by Gracie Menicci, resulting in a penalty shot. Lee used a backhand effort to beat Cardinals netminder Scarlet Casey seven minutes into the second period.

Bishop Guertin halved its deficit two minutes later. Cardinals standout Jenna Lynch skated around Hanover’s Mackenzie Liu at the left point. Bearing down on Edson, the tall senior switched from forehand to backhand and scored at the far post.

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The visitors committed a minor penalty as the horn sounded to end the second period and Hanover pushed ahead at 3-1 with a minute expired in the final stanza. A fierce scramble in front of the Cardinals’ net saw the puck kicked across the crease before Seelig scored at the right post. Kali McDonnell was given the assist.

Lynch, long a Bears tormentor, pulled her team within 3-2 with six minutes remaining. Hanover’s Bradley, however, capped a beautiful rush from center ice by slickly stickhandling past a backskating defender and whipping a backhand shot by Casey with a minute to play. Seelig slid an insurance tally across the line with eight seconds remaining.

With 14 players, Hanover has its smallest roster during the 20 years that Dodds has been with the program. Inexperience is obvious on the blue line, where the Bears lagged at times, especially during the first period. Their coach said the forwards’ backchecking has to improve, giving development time to a four-player unit that includes a senior, two sophomores and a freshman.

“They’ve got to get their feet wet, because only two of them are returnees with experience,” Dodds said. “I think they’re a little nervous and we might not have given them enough support.”

The Bears recently beat traditional Vermont powers Essex and BFA-St. Albans during a tournament at Campion. The latter triumph was against the Green Mountain State’s defending Division I champion, which went 22-0 last winter.

“I think that gave us some confidence,” Dodds said. “We’ve played some good hockey lately.”

Notes: One of the game’s two referees was 2020 Hanover High graduate Carter Auch, who displayed strong skating and a sharp eye, whistling Hanover for having too many skaters on the ice during the second period. … Hanover senior Patrick Elder, a Bears football and track competitor, drove the Zamboni and said he’s been on the job for about a month. … Dodds credited Seelig with blocking three shots during one 45-second shift on the penalty kill. “Little things like that can change momentum,” he said… Because of their short bench, the Bears are capping shifts at no more than 45 seconds… Shots were listed at 31-30 in Hanover’s favor.

Tris Wykes can be reached at