NHIAA Div. I Championship: Guertin boys once again rule the roost in lacrosse
BEDFORD — Once again, the Cardinals rule the NHIAA Division I boys' lacrosse roost.
Second-ranked Bishop Guertin of Nashua won its fourth consecutive Division I championship with a 13-6 win over No. 1 Pinkerton Academy of Derry at Bedford High School Wednesday night. The win avenged a regular season loss for the Cardinals (17-4) to Pinkerton (19-2), which suffered its only loss to a New Hampshire school this season.
"We put together our best four quarters of the year," said Bishop Guertin head coach Chris Cameron. "We've had runs before, but never been able to play a full 48 minutes."
The run Cameron referenced encompassed most of the second half. Bishop Guertin broke the game open with a 5-0 third quarter that took the game from a 5-5 halftime tie to a 10-5 Cardinals lead.
Junior John Miller scored the first two goals in the salvo, classmate Domenic St. Laurent tallied the next two and another junior, Thomas Hurley, made it 10-5 .
So just what a happened in that third quarter?
"That's a really good question," Pinkerton head coach Brian O'Reilly said. "Where we were scoring goals in the first half, it turned around in the second half. We were getting good shots and goals in the first and had too many turnovers in the second. Credit them with good defense."
Cardinals senior goalie Paul Callahan was also a major part of the strong third quarter, making four big saves. He had alternated with junior Jake Sonberg, but that solid third period made Cameron stick with him in the fourth.
Miller scored again 44 seconds into the fourth period and freshman Nick Prunier scored at 3:58 to push the lead to 12-5. That extended the unanswered string of goals to eight stretching back to the end of the second quarter.
Pinkerton broke through at 4:32 of the final frame when senior Anthony Saitta scored to make it 12-6. But Guertin came right back with a St. Laurent goal at 7:24 to make it 13-6. The Cardinals then rode the clock down and celebrated their fourth straight championship plaque.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. Bishop Guertin scored two quick goals in the first 2:46 of the game on strikes from Connor Donahue and Alex Astarita, but by the end of the first quarter Pinkerton had tied the game at 2-2 on goals from Josh Gallant and Brendan Megan.
Evan Sweeney gave the Astros their first lead of the game 34 seconds into the second stanza. The Cardinals scored two to reclaim the lead, then Pinkerton repeated the feat to make it 5-4 Astros. A Thomas Hurley goal for BG with 32.8 seconds remaining in the half left the score 5-5 at intermission.
Bishop Guertin has now won six state championships, with four of the title game wins coming against Pinkerton. The Astros' last championship came in 2006 when Pinkerton defeated Bishop Guertin in the final.