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Bedford, Goffstown face off for boys' Div. II lacrosse crown

Whether it’s Little League baseball, football, basketball — you name it — whenever Bedford and Goffstown clash, their fans can always expect a hard-fought battle.

Tonight at 7, the defending Division II state champion Bulldogs (20-0) and the surging, sixth-ranked Grizzlies (11-5) will compete at Exeter’s Bill Ball Stadium for the boys’ lacrosse crown.

“This is a rivalry game and the records don’t mean anything right now,” said Bedford coach Matthew Guerard. “The season comes down to one game and it’s going to be a heck of a game.”

For lacrosse lovers, tonight’s showdown will serve as an appetizer for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Division I confrontation between three-time defending state champion Bishop Guertin of Nashua (16-4) and top-seeded Pinkerton Academy of Derry (19-1) at Bedford High. The Cardinals will be playing in their eighth straight championship game and Pinkerton will be making its 15th overall state finals appearance.

Bedford beat St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover 12-4 for its first state crown and has not missed a beat despite graduating many talented seniors, including first-team All-State defender Matt Dillon.

This season, the Bulldogs came out barking, already setting a school record for goals scored with 298 and have allowed just 94 with junior captain and goalie Matt Howe protecting the cage. Bedford’s stingy defense will be led by Clay Kirkpatrick, Gardner Gendron, Dan Flynn and Tom O’Rourke.

Bedford is loaded with scorers. Dan Colella (59 goals, 41 assists) leads the team in scoring, followed by Dave Phelps (44 goals, 27 assists), Tyler Sullivan (44 goals, 22 assists), senior captain Jason Campbell (40 goals, 23 assists) and Taylor Wallace (27 goals, 23 assists). Senior captain Dave Lademan has also had a solid season.

Bedford did handle Goffstown twice during the regular season, 21-10 and 15-5, but Guerard knows the Grizzlies come into the finals with momentum. Goffstown has knocked off third-ranked Winnacunnet of Hampton 10-6 and second-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, 8-4.

“Doesn’t surprise me,” said Guerard. “I said at the start of the year there would be many teams in the mix for a run at the state title and I mentioned Goffstown as one of those teams. When you have players like Jack Carney, Liam Moloney and Logan Allard, you’ve got a nucleus of players who know how to win. This is not a team you can take lightly. We have to play well to beat them.”

Tomorrow, Bishop Guertin’s title run will be severely tested against the Astros, who bring a potent offense (278 goals), a tough defense (108 goals allowed) and, a 17-game winning streak to Bedford. Throw in a 14-11 victory over the Cardinals during the regular season and Pinkerton has a boatload of momentum.

Derryfield tipped Plymouth 12-11 in overtime in the semifinals while Hopkinton got past defending state champion Hollis/Brookline, 8-5. Derryfield won the state title in 2010 and the Hawks were the reigning champions in 2011.

Today at Southern New Hampshire University in the Division I girls’ lacrosse title game, top-ranked Souhegan of Amherst will face second-ranked Pinkerton at 7 p.m. Pinkerton nudged Londonderry 8-7 in the semifinals and Souhegan upended Exeter, 10-7. SNHU will be hosting the Division II girls’ title game at 5 p.m. between top-ranked Hanover and second-ranked Portsmouth.

Portsmouth beat Bedford 13-12 in the semifinals and Hanover edged Bishop Guertin of Nashua 15-14 in overtime.

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