Hanover Opens With OT Win

  • Hanover High lacrosse midfielder Owen Brooks is knocked out of bounds by Champlain Valley's Jake Evans during the teams' season opener at Merriman-Branch Field. The host Marauders rallied for an 12-11 victory in overtime against the Redhawks, who are the four-time defending Vermont Division I state champions. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint » Purchase a reprint »

  • Hanover High's Graham Penfield (8) is mobbed by his teammates Monday after scoring the winning goal in the host Marauders' 12-11 victory over Champlain Valley. Hanover's Kyle Rozzi (13) and the Redhawks' Walter Braun (32) exchange words in the foreground. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint » Purchase a reprint »

Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hanover — Everyone at Hanover High’s Merriman-Branch Field knew what was coming on Monday as overtime wound down in the Marauders’ boys lacrosse game with Champlain Valley Union. Hanover attackman Graham Penfield, holding the ball behind the Redhawks’ cage, would run right, slide off a pick on the goal line and shoot while twisting his body back toward the inside.

The play had produced four previous goals and several narrow misses for the junior, who delivered yet again with the teams’ season opener on the line. With 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining, Penfield scraped long-pole defender Ty Parker off against fellow Marauder Colin Rozzi, then took advantage of a late slide by short-stick midfielder Vander Miller. The ball bounced behind goaltender Andrew Tieso for a 12-11 victory, and Penfield was mobbed by teammates running from the bench and by students coming out of the stands.

“That low pick, we just could not defend it, and that’s really frustrating,” said CVU coach Dave Trevithick, whose team lost 13 seniors to graduation after last season and returned just a handful of starters. “We just weren’t getting a slide down from the crease, but it’s the first game of the season and those are little mistakes you can’t fix when you’re on parking lots or inside and not practicing on a field.”

Said Hanover coach Ryan Gardner: “If they’re letting us score and not adapting, we’re going to keep going with what works.”

Monday’s result carried a touch of catharsis for Hanover, which last season failed to qualify for the NHIAA playoffs for the first time since its 1994 creation. The Marauders finished an uncharacteristic 7-11 and outside the 10-team Division I tournament field. 

“It was certainly disappointing, and we certainly expect to make the playoffs this year,” said Gardner, who has a 20-17 record in his third season at his alma mater. “We hope that a process-oriented outlook will have us in the hunt.”

Hanover looked dreadful during the opening minutes, when CVU scored on three of its first four shots and hit the post with the lone effort that didn’t find the twine. The Marauders trailed, 5-3, at halftime but took an 8-7 lead with 24 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Penfield’s third goal. 

The Redhawks were up, 11-10, with a minute remaining. However, Hanover’s Reed Winter, who had two goals and two assists, drove down the middle, spun away when an opening closed and attacked again to score with 31 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Penfield hit the crossbar on his patented curl-around play with 8 seconds on the clock.

Hanover somehow triumphed despite winning just six of 26 faceoffs and losing the ground-ball hunt, 24-16. Sophomore goaltender Mason Winter played better as the game went on and was particularly strong in overtime. Jake Acker had three goals, Griffin Johnson and Brian Pattison each had single strikes and Penfield had an assist in addition to his scoring spree. 

“Graham’s developed during the last year, from being a sophomore who didn’t really carry the load into a guy who’s matured a lot physically,” Gardner said. “He’s got more strength to turn the corner and more game awareness.”

Hanover hosts Bishop Guertin, winner of six of the last seven NHIAA Division I titles, at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The Marauders visit Nashua North on Monday and tackle always-powerful Pinkerton at home four days after that.

“This is a group that works extraordinarily hard, and we aren’t going to roll over for anybody,” Gardner said. 

Notes: Gardner said Hanover defender Pat Logan, who also plays soccer and hockey, will attend Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts for a postgraduate year. … Hanover’s assistant coaches this season include former Marauders player Rick Hughes and Jim “Grim” Wilson, who started the boys lacrosse program at Connecticut’s Loomis Chaffee prep school in 1959. A Yale graduate, he taught at Loomis Chaffee for 49 years and has more recently coached at Kimball Union Academy and with the Hanover Recreation Department. … CVU’s program has a 29-player varsity roster, and its two junior varsity squads have a combined 50 boys. The school’s website lists a student enrollment of 1,222 for the current school year.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.