BEDFORD — The Cardinals machine rolls on.
Bishop Guertin of Nashua won its fifth consecutive NHIAA Division I boys’ lacrosse state championship with a 10-6 win over arch-rival Pinkerton Academy of Derry at Bedford High School Wednesday night.
The Cardinals (19-2) have been in 10 consecutive state championship games, winning seven of them. The past two wins have come against Pinkerton, as did the 2005 and 2008 titles. The Astros (16-4) won four straight state championships from 1999 to 2002 and set the template for what BG wanted to be.
“My goal when I first took over the program (in 2003) was to be like Pinkerton,” said BG head coach Chris Cameron. “We closed the gap quicker than I thought with the big upset in 2005. We weren’t at that level, but in one game anything can happen. When anything can happen in one game, to win five is pretty incredible.”
Astros head coach Brian O’Reilly said the Cardinals just had too many weapons to account for.
“Too many impact players on their side of the ball. Too many players to have to control,” O’Reilly said. “Going into the game we knew, what do you do with (Connor) Donahue? What do you do with Dom (St. Laurent)? What do you do with (Tom) Hurley? What do you do with (John) Miller? It’s too many bodies to deal with. Give them credit, they’re always a step ahead of you.”
Pinkerton cut the lead to 8-6 with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter on a James Tulley goal and the score would stay that way until the fourth frame. The Cardinals began to grind down the clock, only taking shots when the percentages were high.
The end result was two more BG goals from seniors Miller and Donahue to account for the final score of 10-6. Pinkerton had few opportunities to get back into the game late as BG controlled the ball.“It’s a good feeling,” St. Laurent said of winning another state title in his senior year. “It’s humbling, but at the same time you work all year long. The hard work pays off in the offseason. This is what we do it for.”
Donahue and St. Laurent scored the first two goals of the game for Bishop Guertin and the Cardinals would never trail.
Evan Sweeney tallied for Pinkerton to make it 2-1, but BG came back with another two goals (Hurley and Donahue) before Brett Dattilo got Pinkerton a goal back to leave the score 4-2 after one frame.
The teams each netted two goals in the second period for a 6-4 BG lead at halftime. Another two goals each in the third period left the score 8-6 after three. During those middle frames, Pinkerton senior goalie Cam Heyward (16 saves) was keeping the Astros in it with some big saves.
“We like Cam. Every coach talks about this guy or this guy, but we think Cam’s the best goalie in the division. He’s shown that all year long,” O’Reilly said. “He’s the all-state goaltender and he came up with some big saves. If it wasn’t for Cam, this game would have gotten away early. He has the knack for making that kind of save.”
Pinkerton’s offense was led by Jake Lisauskas (goal, assist), Todd Billetter (goal, assist), Sean Delea (goal), Dattilo (goal), Sweeney (goal) and Tulley (goal).
In the Bishop Guertin net, senior Jake Sonberg made four saves in the win. Donahue finished with three goals and Miller (two goals), St. Laurent (goal, assist), Nick Prunier (goal), Charlie O’Brien (goal), Gage Sevigny (goal) and Hurley (goal) rounded out the Cardinals scoring to help them claim championship plaque number five.