Counterpunch: Facing first deficit of season, Bishop Guertin responds with authority

Alex Hall, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·3 min read

May 4—EXETER — Facing its first deficit of the season, the Bishop Guertin of Nashua boys lacrosse team responded the way coach Chris Cameron wanted.

The Cardinals, who were down two goals after the first quarter, ripped off a 10-0 run over the second and third frames to secure a 21-8 NHIAA Division I victory over Exeter on Monday at Bill Ball Stadium.

Regarded as two of the top teams in the division — they entered the game as the only two unbeatens — Bishop Guertin (7-0) scored the game's first two goals before the Blue Hawks (7-1) ended the opening frame on a 4-0 run via two goals each from Spencer Clark and Aiden Drunsic.

The Cardinals began their 10-0 run with 8:08 left in the first half, when Brady Dumont scored to tie the game at 5-5. Bishop Guertin notched five of its last eight first-half goals over the final 2:31 of the second quarter to take a 12-5 lead into halftime.

Quick goals from John Sullivan and Connor Bouvier off JJ Murphy faceoff wins completed the 10-0 run and gave the Cardinals a 14-5 lead 4:07 into the second half.

"We said, 'Look, you got punched in the mouth. Let's see how you react to that,'" Cameron said. "And there was no head-hanging. They answered in a resounding, positive way, which you find out about your team in a situation like that."

Bishop Guertin senior attackman Dawson Clark credited the Cardinals' scoring surge to better ball movement as the game progressed. "If the ball is moving fast, then the defense really can't get there in time," he said.

Exeter's Jake Mantell stopped Bishop Guertin's run and scored his team's first goal since the 3:07 mark of the second quarter with 6:59 left in the third frame. The Cardinals ended the quarter on a 5-0 run and played their reserves over the final 12 minutes.

The Blue Hawks scored at least 16 goals and allowed eight or fewer in each of their first six games.

Exeter coach Gerry Holly said he was proud of his team for not panicking when the Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead but it did not respond when it needed to.

"If we had maybe six minutes back in the second quarter, where we couldn't stop the bleeding on them and really did some stupid things out there, I think it might have been a closer outcome," Holly said.

Dawson Clark led Bishop Guertin with four goals and three assists in his first full game back from a pulled hamstring. He played only in man-up situations in the Cardinals' previous four games.

Dumont, Bouvier, Sullivan, Declan Wilkie, Jon Krikorian and Connor Guibord each scored twice for the Cardinals. Bishop Guertin also received a goal each from Mike Kiely, Tim Kiely, Chris Heitmiller, Xander Dunsmoor and Aiden Laurendeau, 18 faceoff wins from Murphy and a combined eight saves from Zac Connerty and Will Murphy.

Spencer Clark and Drunsic both scored three goals while Mantell and Trevor Grant added one each for Exeter. Freshman goalkeeper Ethan Bernich, who was relieved by Ryan Tatman in the fourth quarter, made eight saves for the Blue Hawks.

Bishop Guertin will host the Blue Hawks for a rematch Friday at 3 p.m. at Stellos Stadium.

"The team came out a little slow (Monday) but once we got rolling, no one could stop us," Dawson Clark said.

ahall@unionleader.com