By Tris Wykes
HANOVER – The Hanover High boys lacrosse team enjoyed a thrilling first five minutes against Derryfield on Tuesday. The final 43, however, were a lesson in humility.
The Marauders scored the NHIAA Division II contest’s first three goals against the four-time defending state champions, their giddy celebrations taking on an almost desbelieving tone.
“Time to snap out of it, boys!” shouted Cougars goaltender Jackson Snyder following the hosts’ third tally. And just like that, his undefeated team roared to life, scoring the next eight goals en route to a 12-5 victory and a 7-0 start to the season.
“The first few minutes, we looked great,” said Hanover coach Ryan Gardner. “We were winning faceoffs, getting the ground balls and clearing well. Everything was going right.
“But Derryfield’s been the class of DII for the last seven or eight years. They’re going to adjust and clean up any mistakes that they’re making. Maybe they had some bus legs at the beginning.”
The visitors trailed, 3-2, after a quarter and appeared to be dealt a significant setback when the referees’ standard stick checks revealed their faceoff man’s crosse had too deep a pocket.
That handed Hanover a two-minute advantage during which the guilty Cougar couldn’t exit the sin bin no matter how many goals the Marauders scored. Sadly, for the home side, it didn’t score any.
“They had a huge penalty kill and any time you get that, it’s a big lift,” Gardner said. “If one or two things had gone right for us, then you might have had a different second half.”
Instead, Derryfield struck for both of the second quarter’s goals and a 4-3 halftime lead. The Cougars went up, 5-3, just 35 seconds into the third quarter. Hanover (3-1) was better during the fourth quarter but the hole it had dug was too deep to escape.
Angus Frew and Brett Simmons each had two goals for Hanover, which also received a tally from Noah Fahey and eight saves from Danny Pitiger. Derryfield hit a post with seven shots. Sophomore Brendan Logan was credited with nine ground balls and lifted an opponent horizontal in midair with one of his bodychecks.
“He’s a physical specimen and he’s got the one thing no one can teach,” Gardner said, referring to Logan’s 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. “Brendan’s really motivated and has a bright future in this sport. He plays everywhere for us: man down, man up, long pole and short stick.”
Hanover’s defense struggled as a whole, sometimes hanging Pitiger out to dry. However, Gardner pointed out that its long-stick trio features two first-year starters alongside senior Noah Bradley. Fatigue played a factor, given the Marauders’ thin ranks.
“We have very few guys and with long defensive sets, they’re getting pretty tired,” the coach said. “We’re still getting out legs under us and some of our guys haven’t played as much defense to understand our scheme.
“We were a little bit late to get over and had other mistakes and a good team will make you pay.”
Notes: The visitors won 10 of 18 faceoffs but cleared their own end successfully only 13 of 22 times… Derryfield coach Chris Hettler wore diamond-print plaid pants in maroon and white. They’re from an apparel company owned by golfer John Daly, known for his garish outerwear… The Cougars began the game with possession instead of having to compete in a faceoff, the result of a penalty assessed on Hanover for lack of proper field markings. Gardner said the surface should feature a midfield stripe extending through the large Marauder head logo on which draws are held, but that his previous requests to have one painted have not resulted in a fix by the school administration… Derryfield’s helmets feature a center stripe decal with the world “Stellos” on the back. It’s a reference to the city of Nashua’s Stellos Stadium, which annually hosts the NHIAA state title games. The facility is named for a major benefactor, James Stellos, who died in 2019 at age 87. An electrician by trade, Stellos once sponsored a youth football team called the Volts.
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