By John DeCoste
The Valley High School Hockey League got back to business after the Christmas break with a pair of boys’ games Jan. 4-5.
The Park View Panthers took over sole possession of first place with a 7-2 win over the Central Kings Gators on Jan. 4 in Berwick.
Park View had 10 wins, two losses and one overtime loss for 21 points, one more than second-place Northeast Kings, 10-1 for 20 points with two games in hand.
The Panthers and Titans have vied for top spot in the VHSHL for most of the season.
West Kings was third with a 6-3 record for 12 points and had played just nine games as of Jan. 7. Central Kings (with an 0-2 record so far in the New Year) was fourth at 5-8 for 10 points.
Avon View was fifth at 4-4-1 for nine points, Horton was at 4-6 for eight points, Digby at 3-7 for six and Middleton brought up the rear at 1-9-1 for three points.
The Monarchs did show some promise of improvement for the second half by claiming the runner-up spot at the Horton Memorial tournament.
In Park View’s Jan. 4 win over Central Kings, Fletch Selig had a pair of goals and added two assists to lead the Panthers to victory. Ryan Nowe and Nate Baker each had a goal and an assist. Luke Garagan and Jake Shepherd replied for CK.
In the only other VHSHL weekend game Jan. 5, also in Berwick, Middleton notched its first regular season win, topping Central Kings 5-3.
Connor Gough, Jacques German and Shepherd had the CK goals.
In the scoring race, entering play this past weekend, Brady Atwater of NKEC was the boys’ division leader in goals with 17 and points with 36.
Rounding out the top-five were NKEC’s Dylan Dauphinee (12-22-34), Kieran Collins of CK (13-17-30), Middleton’s Coulter (14-11-25) and CK’s Connor Gough (9-14-23).
Brandon Wile of Avon View was the top goalie with a 2.40 goals against average, followed by Jake Key of Park View (2.49) and Jamie Freeman of West Kings (2.58).
In the VHSHL girls’ division, Kings-Edgehill remained the only unbeaten team at 8-0 through Jan. 7, but West Kings was close behind at 6-1 for 12 points.
Park View was third at 5-2-2 (the girls’ division does not decide tie games), Middleton at 4-3, Horton at 3-4, CK at 1-4-1, Avon View at 1-2, Barrington at 0-5-1 and NKEC at 0-7.
Kings-Edgehill, which had scored 84 goals in its eight games (and allowed just seven), was not surprisingly dominating the scoring race. KES had the division’s top six scorers, led by Erica Kelly, who led both in goals with 25 and points with 32.