By Dave Dyer
---- — MANCHESTER, N.H. — Londonderry senior Eric Coburn seemed to be everywhere, at all times, yesterday in the Division 1 championship game.
The Lancers’ captain was on the ice to start the game, he spearheaded the power play, he keyed the team when Londonderry staved off a 5-on-3 Manchester Central advantage and he was on the ice for about five of the game’s final seven minutes.
“Eric had another great game, in every area,” said Londonderry coach Peter Bedford. “That’s his consistency. He’s been our leader all year and he wears his heart on his sleeve.
“He always makes things happen for us. He’s a three-zone player. A lot of players are good on offense, or on defense, but he’s good at both and in the middle of the ice.”
Coburn, who led the team in scoring throughout the season, didn’t get in the scorebook last night, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. He created numerous scoring chances for both himself and his teammates. His wrist shot midway through the final period that hit the post was a sizzler.
“I’ve been using that (high) shot for awhile,” said Coburn. “It’s just unfortunate. Another inch and it’s in.”
Coburn played most of the final few minutes as Londonderry tried to tie the game up and force overtime, but he didn’t seem overly tired, perhaps sensing that his hockey career is about over.
Although he was recently named the Division 1 Player of the Year, Coburn has committed to Merrimack College to play lacrosse.
“If you don’t count the senior all-star game, this is it,” said Coburn. “I wanted to end it with a win, but we did our best.
“This stings now, but you can’t take anything away from the last four years. We won a lot of games.”
And Coburn had a lot to do with it.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much he’s done for us,” said Bedford.
It’ll be an upset if the same teams are in next year’s championship games in either Division 1 or Division 2. Londonderry graduates 10 talented seniors and Manchester Central will be without star goalie Ian Beliveau in Division 1. Bedford, which defeated Bow 3-1 for its third straight Division 2 crown, graduates 13 seniors. ...
Although Londonderry coach Peter Bedford felt his club was tight in the first period as it adjusted to its first-ever appearance in the championship game, there were more scoring chances for both teams in the first period than either of the final two periods. ...
Three of yesterday’s four goals were unassisted. ...
Although No. 4 Manchester Central entered the tournament with a so-so 11-7 record, Bedford wasn’t surprised that the Little Green won it all.
“I’ve been saying all year that there’s little difference between No. 1 and No. 8,” said Bedford, whose club was the third seed. “There wasn’t much difference between us tonight.”