One In, One Out
Marauders Advance, While Raiders Narrowly Miss Out
Lebanon’s Chrissy Drake scores her team’s only goal during the second period of last night’s NHIAA semifinal game against Oyster River. (Alan MacRae photograph)
Hanover’s Sarah Wagner chases the puck against Bishop Guertin at Concord’s Everett Arena. (Alan MacRae photograph)
Lebanon goalie Erika Moffitt deflects a shot from Oyster River’s Hannah Herz-Kahn last night at Concord’s Everett Arena. (Alan MacRae photograph)
Concord — The people who say age doesn’t matter are usually the first in line at the cafeteria buffet or the plastic surgeon’s office. But it’s been a theme in reverse all season for the Hanover High girls hockey team.
The Marauders have just two seniors on their roster, both captains. Goalie Kelly Gaudet was lost for the season last month with a recurrence of an earlier hip injury. Hanover lost its other senior, defenseman Katrina Menard, to an apparent knee injury midway through the third period of last night’s NHIAA Division I semifinal with Bishop Guertin at Everett Arena.
But the kids have led the top-ranked Marauders all season, and they did again in a 4-2 win that sends No. 1 Hanover (19-0-0) on toward extending its three-year reign as state champions.
Freshman Eliza Laycock netted a hat trick for Hanover, scoring twice in the middle period and adding an empty-net clincher with 17.3 seconds to go.
Sophomore goaltender Katie Fenton was equally solid, throwing a couple of superb late stops into a 13-save performance.
“I just think they’ve got a lot of poise,” Hanover coach John Dodds said. “It’s some girls that have played a lot of hockey, and they work. They’re pretty well prepared. We try to prepare them for all situations.”
No. 3 Oyster River denied a second straight neighborhood throwdown with a 2-1 defeat of No. 2 Lebanon to start the night. Sandra Strogen scored both goals as the Bobcats answered an early second-period tally from Chrissy Drake, the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer.
The Marauders and Bobcats meet at Manchester’s Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday at 10 a.m. Hanover has won its last 26 games against NHIAA opponents and will be bidding for its second perfect in-state season in three years.
Hanover 4, Bishop Guertin 2
As was the case in the Marauders’ 3-0 win over the Cardinals (13-6-1) at Campion Rink in December — a game in which Hanover held a 54-1 advantage in shots on goal — Hanover camped out in the BG end all night long. Yet the Marauders hit the first intermission staring at a deficit courtesy of a fluke bounce.
Working out of its own end on a late power play, Hanover’s breakout attempt hit the trailing stick of Guertin forechecker Brianna Birmingham. The bouncing puck went right to Brittany Levasseur, who one-timed a shot behind Fenton at 14:44.
“You never like to give up a late goal; you never like to give up a shorthanded goal,” Dodds said. “We may have gone all year without a shorthanded goal against us. We made two or three mistakes, and they kind of snowballed on that power play. …
“I think they were a little down, but we’ve got some leaders on this team. They kept their heads up. They’ve been in tough spots before.”
The Marauders answered Levasseur’s fluke strike with one of their own midway through the middle period, kicking off a three-goal run over a 2-minute, 50-second span.
Laycock drew Hanover level at 6:55 without putting the puck on her stick. BG goalie Julia Pelletier (27 saves) steered a Matti Hartman shot from the low left circle to the opposite side, where the disc hit Laycock’s rear skate and slipped between Pelletier’s pads. The officials briefly chatted over the legality of the goal before awarding it.
Just 26 seconds later, Hanover had its first lead courtesy of Sarah Wagner’s left-hash wrister inside the left post. The 3-1 lead looked better at 9:45 on Hartman’s three-on-one drop pass and Laycock’s bullet to Pelletier’s left, but BG kept the Marauder faithful squirming on Birmingham’s third-chance rebound goal with 1:40 left in the stanza.
“It was a huge momentum shift,” Dodds said.
Hanover held an 11-10 shots edge in the final period, but Levasseur and Birmingham kept BG buzzing. That put the onus on Fenton, who made a confident glove save on the latter with 2:27 to play and stopped a blind backhand bid from Birmingham with 1:06 left. Laycock locked down the win by hitting the empty net from center ice for her 18th goal of the year.
Oyster River 2, Lebanon 1
Lebanon (13-4-2) couldn’t follow suit in the night’s opening semifinal, unable to turn a 24-13 advantage in shots into a return trip to the finals.
Strogen scored twice on solo counterattacks in response to Drake’s 35th goal of the season, with all of the tallies coming in the second period. Emily Croot made eight of her 23 saves in the final period, a job aided by a defense that frequently got in the way of Lebanon shots and passes.
“We didn’t do anything differently tonight than we normally do,” Oyster River coach Jamie Long said. “Some of our better players play defense. That’s the way we’ve always done it because I don’t have depth. … Defensemen have the ability to take the puck and rush it at opportune times.
“That said, we pride ourselves of getting in the way and blocking shots. I try to tell the girls, ‘The puck shot from a boy is harder than you can shoot, and they have the same pads you have, so get in the way.’ ”
Instead of doing a perp walk to the penalty box, as they did in last year’s 7-1 semifinal loss to Hanover, the Bobcats (15-4-1) focused on the basics. When Lebanon played dump-and-chase, Oyster River methodically retrieved and returned. When the Raiders attacked, OR defenders quickly stuffed the passing and shooting lanes.
After a three-shot opening stanza, Lebanon peppered Croot with 13 shots in the second. The Raiders broke the deadlock at 5:25 when Drake banked a behind-the-net feed from Lauren McEwen off the right post from the low slot.
Little did Lebanon coach Brad Shaw expect it to be the Raiders’ only marker.
“We had great offense all night long,” Shaw lamented. “We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
The Raiders had everything working in their favor until allowing Strogen room to race through the neutral zone with the biscuit on her stick.
The junior tied the game at 7:19 with a solo dash down left wing, beating Lebanon goalie Erika Moffitt over her glove. Sent forward by Sarah Lessard’s breakout pass, Strogen struck again at 12:14, rifling a wrister through Moffitt’s legs while staying wide enough against three chasing Raiders to have room the shoot.
Strogen also had the defensive play of the night with two minutes left in the game. Gage led a three-on-one against Strogen — with McEwen trailing in the slot and Drake on the right wing — but the senior held the puck too long and Strogen slid in for the block.
“Three-on-one they come down, and Sandra’s the only one back,” Long said. “Thank God, because most of that time it finds the back of the net.”
Ice Chips: All six NHIAA girls hockey title games, including Saturday’s, have included at least either Lebanon, Hanover or both. … Gaudet, on crutches, watched the game from beside the Marauder bench and spoke to the team afterward. … Dodds was optimistic Menard would be OK for the final. The Marauders swept OR in the regular season, 4-1 in Durham to open the season in December and 1-0 at Campion on Jan. 15. … Lebanon’s only regular-season meeting with the Bobcats came in a 3-3 tie in Durham on Jan. 26. The game was played at Jackson’s Landing, the partially outdoor rink Oyster River uses as an alternate to UNH. The Raiders gave up a game with OR this season to give one to the nascent program at Con-Val High. … Lebanon loses only Drake and Gage to graduation, departures that may force Shaw to adjust the Raiders’ systems next winter.
Greg Fennell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3226.
A caption for a photograph associated with this article has been amended to correct an earlier error. The following correction appeared in the Thursday, March 7 edition of the Valley News.
Lebanon's Chrissy Drake was shown in a photograph in yesterday's Valley News scoring the Raiders' only goal during Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to Oyster River in the NHIAA Division I girls hockey semifinals at Concord's Everett Arena. Drake was misidentified in the photo caption.