NASHUA — The boys’ Division I lacrosse state championship rematch — and a likely preview of June’s state championship game — lived up to the hype.
Defending champion Bishop Guertin of Nashua got up early but had to fend off a strong comeback bid from Pinkerton Academy of Derry. In the end, the Cardinals (9-0) held on for a 14-11 win at Stellos Stadium Monday night.
“If it wasn’t for the first six minutes of the game I would have said we played poorly,” said BG head coach Chris Cameron. “We came out with some energy and everything we talked about, we did basically for the first eight minutes of the first quarter. After that, Pinkerton outplayed us for the rest of the game.”
Pinkerton (7-3) trailed 5-0 to open the game and 10-3 at the half, but slowly began to climb back in. Junior Gage Sevigny gave BG a 12-7 lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but two Pinkerton goals from senior midfielder Sean Delea made it 12-9 with 9:21 remaining.
Cardinals senior Tom Hurley scored his fifth goal of the game to make it 13-9, but Delea answered and it was 13-10 with 5:15 to go. Sevigny pushed the lead to 14-10 for BG, but Todd Billetter scored for Pinkerton with 2:09 remaining to make it 14-11. From there the Cardinals were able to wind down the clock on the win.
“A win is a win, but you’ve got to credit Pinkerton for playing physical and playing tough and not going away,” Cameron said. “We were up 10-3, and we’ve seen teams go away. They didn’t go away.”
The red-hot start for Bishop Guertin was something Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly hadn’t seen in a while, but he was happy with his team’s comeback effort.
“Considering I cannot remember the last time a team unloaded on us as quickly as they did tonight, I’m actually very pleased with the way we came back in the second half,” O’Reilly said. “It’s something we talked about at halftime, but talk is cheap.”
Bishop Guertin opened the scoring 1:03 into the game when Connor Donahue found Hurley on the right post for a quick score. The Cardinals then rolled off four more goals over the next four minutes to build a 5-0 lead.
Dom St. Laurent, Nick Prunier Donahue and Hurley again tallied those first five goals. Pinkerton finally broke through with 6:07 remaining in the first period. Jack Hanaway broke the drought, firing home a mid-range shot to make it 5-1. Delea made it 5-2 with a second Astros goal with 5:43 remaining in the first.
Bishop Guertin responded with a pair before the buzzer sounded to end the first to make it 7-2 after one. Mike Carluccio and Hurley notched the BG goals. The Cardinals pushed the lead to 8-2 with a St. Laurent tally 26 seconds into period two. A pass-and-fire from Delea to Brett Dattillo for Pinkerton made it an 8-3 score.
From there the game slowed down and the scoreboard remained quiet until BG scored a pair in the final minute to forge a 10-3 lead at intermission. St. Laurent went on a long run to score the ninth goal and Hurley managed to score his fourth just as the buzzer went to end the half.
“That first half, give them all the credit. They just exploded on us,” O’Reilly said. “We made some mistakes defensively, offensively and it’s something we can learn from, I hope. Some of our kids weren’t used to the speed of some of their kids. They got some steps on us and unloaded with some great shots.”
Pinkerton began to chip away with a slow and deliberate attack in the third. Delea scored for the Astros 1:13 into the third to make it 10-4 and Evan Sweeney tallied for Pinkerton at 5:36 to close the gap to 10-5.
St. Laurent broke the PA string with a goal with 3:59 remaining in the third to make it 11-5, but the Astros closed the period with goals from Sweeney and Jake Lisauskas on a low laser with 18 seconds to go to leave the score 11-7 BG after three.