Back where they belong

  • Hanover High hockey players celebrate after winning the NHIAA Division I state title on March 12, 2022, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. Holding the plaque aloft are Danielle Rudd, left, and Lily Seelig. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes valley news photographs — Tris Wykes

  • Hanover HIgh's Rachel Rockmore scores her team's first goal against St. Thomas-Winnacunnet-Dover on March 12, 2022, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. Hanover's 5-0 victory gave it the NHIAA Division I state title for the first time since 2019. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes valley news — Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High girls soccer coach Rob Grabil, wearing a bear costume in connection with his school's newly-chosen nickname, catches up on social media on March 12, 2022, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High's Danielle Rudd (10) begins to go airborne while being tripped by a St. Thomas-Winnacunnet-Dover opponent on March 12, 2022, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes

  • Hanover High players Lily Seelig, left, Gail Morse, center, and Danielle Rudd celebrate their team's NHIAA Division I title after beating St. Thomas-Winnacunnet-Dover on March 12, 2022, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes —Tris Wykes

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/12/2022 9:26:37 PM
Modified: 3/12/2022 9:26:23 PM

MANCHESTER — There was no dog pile, hurling of helmets or other wild, celebratory gestures Saturday when the Hanover High girls hockey team beat St. Thomas-Winnacunnet-Dover in the NHIAA Division I title game.

Not only was the outcome established earlier in the Bears’ 5-0 victory, but there was a sense they’d played the de facto title game earlier in the week upon narrowly beating Bishop Guertin in the semifinals.

After this game, there were shouts, smiles, hugs and a sense that Hanover had returned to its rightful perch atop the Granite State standings.

“The senior class, after two years in a row of losing in (the semifinals), they were determined it wasn’t going to happen again,” said 17th-year coach John Dodds, whose program has won 12 championships, the last in 2019. “They’ve worked too hard over their careers to not get at least one title.”

Dodds is a quiet man, but he said he used a touch of angry volume between the first and second periods, when his team held a 22-3 shots advantage but only led, 1-0, on Rachel Rockmore’s 11th-minute tally.

“I kind of lost it a little bit,” Dodds said sheepishly. “I wasn’t screaming, but I raised my voice. That’s why you save that sort of thing, so it gets their attention when you need it.”

The coach was unhappy that his troops weren’t executing their game plan, devised with knowledge that Saints goaltender Diana Pivirotto was likely to stonewall much of Hanover’s attack. The Bears needed to shoot more often off the rush, get more pucks to the net and sustain play below the goal line.

“If (STWD) ties it up, it’s anyone’s game,” Dodds said. “But then we scored the second one and loosened up. We’d started holding our sticks a little tight.”

Hanover’s second goal came from a likely source. Sophomore Maeve Lee broke across the blue line for a 2-on-1 opportunity with a teammate, then elected to successfully shoot instead of pass.

The Bears went up, 3-0, just 45 seconds later, Mackenzie Liu tipping Kali McDonnell’s shot from center point past Pivirotto.

The lead swelled to 4-0 after another 36 seconds, Julia Lawe cutting along the bottom of the left circle before scoring her team’s third goal during a 1-minute, 21-second span.

Kaye Lindsay, the lone representative of Hanover’s six-player senior class to have skated for the 2019 championship team, closed her high school career and the morning’s scoring with a minute to play. The Bears finished with a 32-8 shot advantage.

“We were putting pressure on their defense,” Dodds said. “I just think we were quicker today in our reactions and in anticipating well. We bottled them up, and it was one of our best forechecking games of the year. We didn’t really give them any space in the neutral zone.”

Top-seeded Hanover finished 17-5-1. Fifth-seeded STWD was 13-7-0.

Notes: Hanover also beat the Saints, 3-0, on Jan. 4. … Dodds said the state’s girls hockey coaches deservingly voted Pivirotto the player of the year, adding that he’s tried for years to land a Hanover goaltender on the all-state team. “Our goaltenders don’t face enough shots, which works against them,” he said. … Hanover’s Rory Seelig forgot her No. 12 jersey. She was draped in the No. 1 sweater of reserve goaltender Juliana Masland, who in turn donned a practice top. … Because the arena is no longer home to a professional hockey team, its sideboards and ice are barren of advertising. The first row of seats at the bottom of each section were marked off with plastic yellow tape and the upper deck closed, hidden behind enormous black curtains. … Parking around the arena was $20. ... Hanover will lose forwards Lindsay, Gail Morse and Greta Schutz, goaltender Katie Smith and the top defensive pairing of co-captains Lily Seelig and Danielle Rudd to graduation.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.




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