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Pioneers end Marauders’ reign

  • Hanover’s Charlie Plottner (8) tries to pass between a pair of Trinity defenders to teammate Cameron Woods, front right, during their game in West Lebanon, N.H., on March 2, 2019. Trinity won, 6-2. (Rick Russell photograph)

  • Hanover’s Will Laycock (18) is blocked by Trinity goalie Ryan Brewitt during the second period of their NHIAA D-I quarterfinal playoff game in West Lebanon, N.H., on March 2, 2019. Trinity won, 6-2. (Rick Russell photograph)



Valley News Correspondent
Saturday, March 02, 2019

WEST LEBANON — Celebratory hip-hop music blaring from the visitor’s locker room on Saturday evening at James W. Campion Rink signified an end to the season for the Hanover High School boys hockey team.

The No. 4 Marauders scored a pair of early goals before their offense went cold, paving the way for No. 5 Trinity’s 6-2 victory in the NHIAA Division 1 quarterfinal matchup.

“I think we just had a hard time finishing,” Hanover coach Dick Dodds said of his defending state champs. “(Trinity) played a pretty good defense against us, stifling defense, and we didn’t have a lot of good looks. We did have some and they weren’t dropping for us, and that made a big difference. We couldn’t convert on our power plays and they had (Anthony Dizillo).”

Dizillo scored four goals for Trinity (13-5-1), which will advance to face Pinkerton or Salem in Wednesday’s semifinal game at Manchester’s JFK Coliseum.

The Pioneers were whistled for nine penalties.

“We just put ourselves in a position that was pretty dangerous,” Trinity coach Mike Connell said. “You can’t win too many games when you take that many penalties.”

Will Laycock opened the scoring for the hosts 32 seconds into the contest by lofting a loose puck from near the Trinity bench past an unsuspecting Ryan Brewitt in goal.

Trinity countered three minutes later before the Marauders (13-5-1) cashed in on a power play for the first and last time. Hans Williams scored from in front of the net on an assist from Sylas Oberting during the seventh minute.

From that point on it was all Pioneers, who rallied from the early deficit to lead 3-2 after the first period.

“Honestly, I thought our energy level was up,” Connell said. “(Oberting, Matty Gardner, Hans Williams and Charlie Plottner), I thought we did a good job of kind of stemming them. In the beginning, that first goal, we could have gotten down, but I felt like our energy was still there.”

Saturday marked the fourth time the two teams had met, including twice in the regular season and once in a holiday tournament. Each won twice.

Dodds, who concluded his 37th year as Hanover’s coach with the defeat, talked about how tough playoff openers can be.

“Sometimes it can be difficult,” he said. “It’s a different brand of hockey. “It’s not the same hockey that you played during the regular year, and it’s hard to get used to. I think we only had nine players from last year’s team that actually played. And it was hard to get to that level that we needed to get to.”

Connell, who played for Trinity, spoke to the allure of competing at Campion.

“I love coming here,” Connell said. “It’s my favorite rink. It’s an old-school barn; the atmosphere, playing against Coach Dodds — it’s unbelievable. … I get excited about it every time that I know we’re coming up here, and we always tell the guys, ‘Listen, you’re down by two getting into that building right off the bat because it really is home-ice advantage.’ ”

Notes: Hanover committed four penalties on Saturday. … Trinity last won a state title in 2011 with a 3-2 victory over Hanover. … Saturday’s game started about 30 minutes late due to Zamboni complications. ... Freshman Ben Plottner played goalie for the hosts. … The Marauders graduate Laycock, Williams, Plottner, Joseph Goff, Duncan Bailey and Sam Seelig. … Dodds said he still remembers Connell scoring a hat trick against the Marauders back in the day.