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Hanover Girls Hockey Stretches NHIAA Reign to Nine Years

  • Hanover senior Briland Laycock slips the puck past the glove of Exeter goalie Isabelle Day for the goal in the NHIAA Championship game at the SNHU arena in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover goalie, junior Aiden Stone deflects a shot during the NHIAA Championship game at the SNHU arena in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover senior Briland Laycock celebrates with team mates after sliding the the puck past the glove of Exeter goalie Isabelle Day and into the goal in the NHIAA Championship game at the SNHU arena in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • NHIAA girls hockey championship on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • NHIAA girls hockey championship on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • The Hanover girls hockey team celebrates their NHIAA Championship win at SNHU in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover junior Clara Boland works her way around Exeter junior Dakota Markey in the NHIAA Championship game at the SNHU arena in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • NHIAA girls hockey championship on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)

  • Hanover sophomore Kelly Citera rips a shot on net in the NHIAA Championship game at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Alan MacRae/Valley News)



Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Manchester — Saturday’s NHIAA Division I girls hockey championship at SNHU Arena between defending champion Hanover High and top-ranked Exeter was decided in the chaos of a seven-goal flurry in the second period. Unfortunately for the Blue Hawks, too many of those ended in the back of their net.

The high-flying No. 2 Marauders (18-2-1 league, 19-3-1 overall) scored five goals in a 12-minute, 17-second span and held a sizable lead when the dust settled in the second stanza to win their ninth state title in a row and 10th in 11 seasons of NHIAA-sanctioned play with a 7-3 win over Exeter. 

When it comes to success for the Marauders girls hockey dynasty, scoring goals and winning are habit-forming.

The Marauders, riding an offense that netted a whopping 19 goals through three tournament contests, used an explosive second period to pull away. It was the ninth time Hanover had scored seven goals or more in a single game this winter.

“I was really pleased with the way we performed,” said Hanover head coach John Dodds. “Pregame here, we had a very specific game plan. They listened. They were disciplined. They executed. It’s just the sign of a good, mature hockey team. It’s what we’ve been doing since day one: getting better skill-wise individually and also as a team.”

The victory was also a historic one following the Hanover boys’ 2-1 win over Bedford in the NHIAA D-I state final, which started minutes after the Marauders’ girls game finished. The back-to-back victories marked the first time in NHIAA history that one school had swept NHIAA girls and boys hockey honors.

Senior Cate Wagner got things started in the first period, creating Hanover’s first goal almost single-handedly, deking a slew of Exeter defenders. Wagner eventually brought the puck between the circles in front of the Exeter net, and was tied up to the right of Blue Hawks goaltender Isabelle Day. Briland Laycock, late to the play, swatted in the rebound over Day’s left shoulder at 5:50 to give the Marauders an early lead.

Exeter star center Carissa Towlson answered six minutes later. The junior got behind Hanover’s forwards, fired a shot off of Hanover junior goaltender Claire Yegian and knocked in the rebound for a 1-1 tie. 

Then Hanover’s offense got rolling.

Bryn Kable started it off at the 48-second mark, finishing a furious power-play push with a laser underneath the crossbar. Hanover scored again 59 seconds later, a point shot from Marauder defenseman Emma Tysinger that trickled through the legs of Day and over the goal line.

Exeter responded by using its timeout in an attempt to slow Hanover’s momentum. Towlson scored her second of the game at 2:12, streaking over the Marauders’ blue line and roofing a shot pass Yegian to bring the Blue Hawks back to within 3-2.

But Hanover wasn’t done, scoring three straight goals in short order late in the period. Hannah Curtis snapped a forehand shot past Day’s glove on the power play to start things off at 9:26, followed by a Clara Boland goal off a scramble at the left side of the Blue Hawks’ net at 10:49.

Laycock extended the flurry with her second of the game at 12:17, taking a shot off Day’s blocker that rebounded to an Exeter defender. The Hanover senior stole the puck back and buried a shot past a sprawling Day for a 6-2 cushion.

Exeter’s Dakota Markey finally provided the Blue Hawks’ answer, roofing a wrist shot over Yegian’s glove with 10 seconds left on the period clock. Hanover led, 6-3, after two periods, outshooting Exeter, 24-14.

“We got in trouble in front of our own net,” said Exeter head coach Geoff Taylor on his team’s second period. “We knew we needed to lock people down. … No matter what you do, they’re going to end up with possession in your own end at some point.

“We were doing OK coming out of the first, taking the game into their zone and we were cleaning up in front of ours,” he added. “In the second, it just changed. They were able to own the mess in front of our net and they just pulled away. We couldn’t force the one-on-one battles in our zone.”

Natalie Morhun’s breakaway goal, off a stretch pass from her sister, Meredith, sealed the deal 58 seconds into the third period. Emma Tysinger and Meredith Morhun led Hanover with two assists each. Yegian, in her first year with the squad, made 13 saves. The Marauders graduate scorers Laycock, Wagner and Curtis.

Day, Exeter’s junior netminder, stopped 27 of Hanover’s 34 shots in the loss. The Blue Hawks return most of their core next season with Day, Towlson and Markey. But Taylor admitted his team, and the rest of the NHIAA field, has a gap to fill before Hanover’s dynasty can end.

“They move their feet with depth — lineup-wise, with depth — and they move their feet with layers all over all over the ice,” Taylor said. “Every time you think you have some open ice to make plays we’ve been able to make all year … that’s the thing. That’s good fundamental hockey. There’s no substitute to moving your feet. They do that better than anybody.

“They’re the class of the league. The evidence is there.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.