Trophy Time: Marauders Skate to Girls Hockey Title
Hanover's Emma Malenka, facing, hugs goalie Katie Fenton as the girls celebrate after the final buzzer during Hanover vs. Berlin-Gorham girls hockey Division I championship at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., on March 15, 2014. Hanover won, 5-1. (Valley News - Will Parson)
Hanover head coach John Dodds leads another victory during Hanover vs. Berlin-Gorham girls hockey Division I championship at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., on March 15, 2014. Hanover won, 5-1. (Valley News - Will Parson)
Sophomore forward Ella Williams, left, with teammates Grace Tecca and Mahler Meyerrose, right, pushes in the puck for Hanover's fourth goal of the game in the second period of Hanover vs. Berlin-Gorham girls hockey Division I championship at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., on March 15, 2014. Hanover won, 5-1. (Valley News - Will Parson)
Manchester — The well-oiled machine that is the Hanover High girls hockey team kept right on churning — its gears as balanced as ever — in Saturday’s 5-1 NHIAA championship win over Berlin-Gorham at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Sophomore Matti Hartman became the youngest Marauder ever to record 100 career points with a tightrope-walking goal, highlighting a four-score second period for Hanover (21-2; 19-1 NHIAA) as it overcame a slow start against the Mountaineers (14-4-2). It was the only point of the day for Hartman as nine players from three lines had either a goal or an assist, including five different goal-scorers. Only Eliza Laycock (goal, assist) had multiple points.
Hanover won its fifth consecutive title and sixth since it was a charter member of sanctioned NHIAA play in 2007-08. The Marauders had also won three straight unofficial titles before that, giving them nine championships in 10 seasons overall.
“I’m proud of the culture of the program we have,” said Hanover coach John Dodds. “At this point, we expect to win, and we work hard and challenge ourselves to do that. The girls have really bought in. We skate every practice like it’s a Verizon Center appearance.”
Hanover put up 14 shots in the first period, but was stymied by Berlin-Gorham goalie Chelsey Caron, a sophomore who finished with 35 saves.
The Marauders also struggled in transition against the forecheck as the No. 2 Mountaineers tried to avoid losing to Hanover for the third time this year. Hanover was able to get on the board with 3:28 left in the period on a Laycock tip-in of a shot from the top of the slot by senior defender Emily Acker, but still had some things to talk about during the first intermission.
“We made some bad decisions on breakouts against their forecheck, but we made some adjustments and it paid off,” Dodds said. “We settled in a little bit. We have five (first-year varsity) players who haven’t been here, and the ice is bigger here than what we’re used to.
“But we wore (Berlin-Gorham) down. They have a short bench and we did much in the second period not only with skating, but with puck movement.”
Hanover made it 2-0 when Sarah Wagner stuffed in the second rebound out of a flurry just 1:13 into the middle period. Freshman Maddie Lyons assisted.
Senior defender Caroline Howell did it all for the Marauders’ third goal, dashing in alone from left-to-right and wristing the puck into the net on her way across the slot for her fifth goal of the year at 7:04.
“That was the backbreaker,” Dodds said. “Caroline’s a great puck handler and moves well, but we’ve been telling her that we need her to put the puck on the net more because she has a habit of driving wide. She worked with force on that play.”
Hanover scored off another rebound just 43 seconds later, when sophomore Ella Williams stuffed in her own initial bid after a pass from the right faceoff circle from Grace Tecca.
Another second chance factored into Hanover’s fifth goal, but this one came with much individual effort on the part of the scorer. Gathering the carom of Kelly Brigham’s blast, Laycock fed Hartman on the right side. Tip-toeing the end line while drifting to the right, Hartman deftly waited for Caron to commit low before lifting it past her, top shelf.
Not a bad way to register career point No. 100.
“I don’t know if that was the toughest goal I’ve scored this year. I just know it was a great shot by Kelly and it came out to me,” Hartman said. “(The milestone) is pretty special and it hasn’t really sunk in, because I was really focused on the team winning.”
Hartman entered the game with 50 goals and 49 assists.
“I think that kind of balance says a lot about Matti as a player. She’s very aware of her teammates and very unselfish,” Dodds said. “But I was hoping the 100th point would be a goal. It’s always more fun that way.”
As impressive as Hartman’s milestone — and the goal that clinched it — was, Hanover’s balance and depth stole the show. It was the 11th time this season at least six players registered a goal or an assist.
“Our depth is really what stands out for us, that we can throw any line out there and succeed,” said Tecca, a co-captain. Not many teams can do that.”
Caron turned away 11 Hanover shots in the third period, and Berlin-Gorham scored the lone goal of the stanza when sophomore Jensyn Dandeneau beat Marauder goalie Katie Fenton with a wrister from the top of the slot at 5:31. Freshman Rylie Binette assisted.
Ice Chips: Hartman was the fourth Marauder in three seasons to notch her 100th career point. Twin sisters Madison and Tessa Hill and Maddie Dewhirst all reached the milestone two years ago. ... There were no penalties. ... The Mountaineers are coached by Tanya Rosenberg, a 2007 Berlin High graduate who was a senior during the team’s final season of unsanctioned play. ... Hanover goaltending allowed one or no goals in 19 of 23 games, including 12 shutouts. ... Hanover graduates Tecca, Acker, Howell, Sarah Muller and Emily Gougelet.
Jared Pendak can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3306.