Bishop Guertin’s Joseph Lupo, shown in action against Bedford’s Jonathan Giroux last week, looms as a key player for the Cardinals tonight against Pinkerton Academy.

The last time the Bishop Guertin and Pinkerton Academy boys’ lacrosse teams met, the Cardinals played the worst first half of their 2018 campaign and the Astros walked away with the NHIAA Division I championship.

Pinkerton (2-1) and Bishop Guertin (2-1), two of New England’s premier programs, will meet for the first time since that title game last June for their lone regular-season contest tonight at 7 at Stellos Stadium in Nashua.

The Astros won last year’s title game, 11-9, scoring five of the game’s first six goals and building a 6-2 halftime lead.

Pinkerton and the Cardinals have met in seven of the past eight Division I championship games. Bishop Guertin won five of those meetings (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) while the Astros took two (2015, 2018).

Under coach Chris Cameron, the Cardinals have won nine D-I titles overall and made 14 straight championship appearances since 2005.

Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly is one of 17 high school lacrosse coaches in the country to win at least 500 career games, according to laxrecords.com. O’Reilly has led his program to 11 state championships since the NHIAA began holding a boys’ lacrosse tournament starting in 1994.

Prior to that, the Astros competed against prep schools like St. Paul’s School of Concord, Holderness School and Proctor Academy of Andover.

In each of the past four seasons, the winner of the regular-season meeting between the two went on to lose the rematch in the D-I title game. The Astros lost, 13-11, to Bishop Guertin in the regular season last year in Derry before winning the title game.

Bishop Guertin and the Astros are both unbeaten against in-state competition. BG lost, 12-11, to Needham, Mass., last Thursday while the Astros fell, 14-5, at Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) last Wednesday. Lincoln-Sudbury (No. 2) and Needham (No. 10) are both ranked in this week’s Boston Globe Top 20 rankings.