BEDFORD — Exeter came out with some fire, but Pinkerton Academy of Derry quickly doused it to take control and run away in a 15-4 win in NHIAA boys’ Division I lacrosse semifinal play at Bedford High School Sunday night.
No. 2 Pinkerton advanced to Wednesday night’s state championship game at Bedford at 7 p.m. The Astros (17-3) will face the winner of Sunday’s late game between top-ranked Bishop Guertin of Nashua (17-2) and No. 4 Hanover (12-7). This will be Pinkerton’s second trip to the finals in as many years and third trip in four years. BG has won the past four state titles.
“Our players expect to be in the championship game every year. You notice when the game was over they didn’t go charging on the field and jump on top of each other because they expected this,” said Pinkerton head coach Brian O’Reilly. “Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t expect that Exeter could beat us, because I always believe that from a quality team. But now we’re where we need to be. We’ll see what happens the next game as far as jumping on top of each other. That’s a whole different ball game.”
The sixth-ranked Blue Hawks (11-8) scored the first goal of the game from senior Buddy Carr just 12 seconds into the game. Pinkerton responded with goals from Jake Lisauskas and Jack Hanaway, but Exeter tied the game at 2-2 on another Carr tally 3:47 in.
“They get the ball to Buddy Carr, who we all know is their best player. We know he’s lefthanded, we know he likes to curl to the left and rip lefthanded. So he caught the ball, curled to the left and ripped lefthanded and I was sitting there by myself and I was like ‘is it going to be like this today?’” O’Reilly said. “The next time down, Buddy made another nice move up inside, tucked his stick in there and stuck in a second goal. But then he was pretty much quiet for the rest of the game. But it was a little disconcerting for the first few minutes.”
Pinkerton’s Austin Maylor scored with 32 seconds remaining in the first period to make it 3-2 Astros and start a string of eight unanswered Pinkerton goals that extended into the third period. The Astros scored all five second-period goals to carry an 8-2 lead into halftime.
“I expected guys to be a little tight. At some point you’ve got to play the game and I think the second quarter unfortunately sealed our fate,” said Exeter head coach Gerry Holly. “We just could not control the ball, threw it all over the place and had no time of possession.”
Pinkerton led 10-2 with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter when Exeter’s Sean Penna ripped a laser from 10 yards out to stop the Astros’ string of goals. Lisauskas scored his second goal of the game to close the third period with the score 11-3.
The Astros closed the game with a 4-1 edge in the fourth frame to seal the win. Exeter’s final goal was scored by Michael Cashman, making it 12-4 at the time. Pinkerton slowed the game down and added three more tallies after that.
Senior Sean Delea scored three goals to lead Pinkerton. Evan Sweeney (two goals), James Tulley (goal, assist), Mason Barchard (assist), Todd Billetter (goal), Bailey Walsh (goal) and long stick midfielder Ryan Burke (goal) all chipped in for Pinkerton. Goalie Cam Hayward made seven saves.