EXETER, N.H. — With its win on March 18 over the Manchester Flames, the Seacoast Spartans 2000 Elite Hockey Team became the Granite State’s best bantam-level hockey team, which will qualify them for the USA Hockey National Championships.
The team is comprised of seventh- and eighth-graders from N.H.’s Seacoast Region, and several kids on the roster come from the Newburyport area. The State Championship Tournament was a Saturday-Tuesday affair that took place at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett beginning March 15.
Teams from all over New Hampshire made the trip to compete for the state title, including Concord, Nashua, Manchester, Hooksett, Keene and Exeter.
On opening day, the Spartans had their first game, and a challenging one at that. Beginning with the top seed Concord Capitals, which had a 15-1-2 record heading into the tournament, the Spartans knew that they had to play their best game or risk an early exit from the tournament. Seacoast was able to hold off the Capitals and propel themselves to a 5-1 win.
The next day, Seacoast faced adversity. Coming off a strong win and handing a team just its second loss was a monumental victory for the Spartans, but a feeling of happiness was soon replaced with worry. The Nashua Panthers outplayed Seacoast and earned a 5-1 victory. It would be the last game the Spartans would lose.
“We played very well our first game and came out too cocky in the second game,” said 13-year-old Tyler Harvey. “We had to come back hard in the third game and that’s what we did.”
The Spartans faced their local rivals from Exeter, the NHE Eagles, on Monday and came away with a 3-2 nail-biting victory. That earned them a spot in the championship game on Tuesday night against a 3-seed Manchester Flames.