Hurricanes handle fourth-ranked Raiders in boys lacrosse

By BEN HOOKE

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 05-16-2024 5:04 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Five games from playoff time, the Hartford Hurricanes defense of the VPA D-II lacrosse championship appears to be going full speed ahead. 

The division-leading Hurricanes built an early lead with great defense then weathered a second-half storm to down fourth-ranked Stowe 8-5 at Alumni Sports Complex Wednesday night. 

Brayden Trombly led the line on the night for Hartford, scoring all three of his goals in the first half as the Hurricanes took a 4-0 lead into the halftime break. Cavan Benjamin scored the other first half goal for Hartford, who defended excellently in the first half. An unofficial count marked 13 Stowe attacks that dissipated without Hartford netminder Graham Thompson facing a shot. 

“Good fundamentals, help defense… I thought we executed really well in that first half,” said Hartford coach Grant Whiteway of his team’s early performance. 

Whatever was said at the break clearly energized Stowe entering the second half. The Raiders quickly cut the four-goal deficit to just one, scoring three unanswered goals in the first four minutes of the quarter as Hartford looked shell-shocked. 

Junior midfielder Austin St. Peter stepped up big for the floundering Hurricanes, scoring on a powerful shot from the right side that broke the Raider run with 6:54 still to play in the period, then answered another Stowe goal with his second goal of the period to keep the advantage at two entering the final quarter. 

Ryan Spaulding helped slam the door for Hartford, scoring two goals on the night from accurate close-range finishes to stave off a final comeback attempt from Stowe as the Hurricanes eased down the stretch for the final margin. 

Hartford (10-1) has not lost to an opponent in their own division since the 2022 state final. The Hurricanes went undefeated in 2023 and saw their lone loss this year come at the hands of Division 1’s Woodstock in a close affair. 

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Still, Whiteway insists on the team keeping a level head despite the pressure of repeating. “We try to take things one game at a time..focus on what we can control and don’t let what other teams think get to us,” he said. 

Hartford has a two game stretch of home games starting with a Monday tilt against Green Mountain Valley before going on the road for their toughest remaining game of the season against second-ranked Harwood. 

“You gotta be playing your best lacrosse when the playoffs roll around,” said Whiteway. “Just gotta keep improving.”