Div. I Boys' Lacrosse: Guertin tips Pinkerton in final
NASHUA - The goal Bishop Guertin set this spring was simple: Win consecutive crowns for the first time in program history.
Coach Chris Cameron & Co. finally celebrated a successful title defense.
The Nashua squad Wednesday night finished No. 1 in Division I boys' lacrosse for the second straight season and fourth time since 2005. BG toppled top-seeded and undefeated rival Pinkerton Academy of Derry, 11-8, in front of roughly 1,500 fans at sizzling Stellos Stadium.
'History right there. Back-to-back. First BG team to do it,' said Manhattan College-bound midfielder Erik Kelly. 'It feels great.'
Second-seeded BG (14-7 overall, 14-1 Div. I) avenged its regular-season loss to the Astros, a last-minute 8-7 setback that snapped the program's 48-game in-state win streak.
Guertin also denied Pinkerton (20-1, 16-1) its fourth perfect season since 1997.
'For most of the game … they did an exceptional job of controlling our offense,' Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. 'We scored four goals in 6-on-6. We've hung our hat all year long on offense, on our ability to move the ball and rip shots.'
The game was knotted at 6-apiece entering the third quarter. That's when the Cardinals took control.
Lock-down defense - BG's No. 1 strength - was the difference.
Long-stick midfielder Brody Smith cut down angles up top. Defensemen Bob Fahey, Kyle Karaska and Jay Krzyston forced Pinkerton to play from the perimeter, making life slightly easier for standout goalkeeper Colin Delea (14 saves).
'When we made them play 6-on-6, we were great,' said Cameron, whose program is 3-1 in title games against Pinkerton. 'We made an adjustment in the second half. We said, 'No slides at all.' It gave them nothing.'
Paul Spinney (three goals) made the Astros pay at the other end. The first-line junior midfielder zipped three shots past Pearce Connal (seven saves) to fuel Guertin's 4-1 run in the third frame.
Kelly (two goals) added to the Cards' cushion early in the fourth. The four-goal lead was clearly insurmountable for Pinkerton, whose offense was simply stifled.
The scene was quite different in the first half. The opening 24 minutes featured five ties and two lead changes.
Pinkerton's Luke Somers (three goals) struck just 38 seconds into the game. His hard charge to the cage came seconds after Josh Murphy landed the first of multiple turnover-forcing stick checks.
But BG's John Miller tallied the final goal with 11.4 seconds until the break. A costly turnover at midfield gave Guertin one last chance to shoot. Miller didn't miss from point-blank range.
Kelly and Connor Donohue struck 17 seconds apart to give BG the half's largest lead - two goals - late in the opening quarter. Kelly walked in unguarded on the right wing. Donohue capitalized on Blake Boudreau's relentless effort to secure the faceoff possession moments earlier.
But the Astros answered with four of the next five goals. Somers, Peter Field, and cousins Jeff and Tom Auger produced a 6-5 lead.
Tom Auger's fake-high, shoot-low tally from atop the crease lifted Pinkerton into the lead, 6-5, with 4 minutes, 53 seconds left in the stanza.
Bp. Guertin (14-7, 14-1) 4-2-4-1-11
Pinkerton (20-1, 16-1) 4-2-1-1-8
Scoring: B - Paul Spinney 3-0, Erik Kelly 2-0, Matt Thistle 1-1, Casey Burnett 1-1, Brody Smith 1-0, John Miller 1-0, Connor Donohue 1-0, Bob Fahey 1-0; P - Luke Somers 3-0, Conor McCarthy 1-2, Jeff Auger 2-0, Peter Field 1-0, Tom Auger 1-0, Max Jendrick 0-1
Saves: B - Colin Delea 14; P - Pearce Connal 7