Souhegan shuts out Goffstown in semis

NASHUA – Souhegan High School forward Devan Casey had two simple words for teammate Ali Ewiess after Wednesday’s Division II boys semifinal.

“Thank you,” Casey said.

You see, Casey had clanked a penalty kick off the post in the first half, and you don’t get better chances than that.

But, Ewiess buried a kick from right wing in the 69th minute to give the No. 6, 12-5-1 Sabers a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 7 Goffstown. Ewiess’ shot was a bullet high into the far left corner that Grizzlies goalie Maxx Chambers (six saves).

“It was just a play we make all the time,” said Ewiess, who was assisted by Ely Marciano and had missed wide about five minutes earlier.

“I was just trying to get (the wide shot) out of my head and make sure to score on the next one.”

The Goffstown High School boys soccer team had been peppering his goaltender, Teigue Young (eight saves), all game.

“Ali’s been an important player for us,” Souhegan Dave Saxe said, his team in the finals for the fifth time in his 19-year tenure. “He’s got the speed to beat you one-on-one.”

The thing is, he got a break. Grizzlie defender Brendan Hall left with an injury, unbeknownst to coach Randy Lovering.

“I didn’t even know we only had 10 guys (including Chambers),” Lovering said, his team done at 12-7.

Both teams had golden opportunities in the first half, robbed by a whistle and a post. Goffstown’s Kyle LeCour had a goal in the game’s second minute taken away by an off-sides call.

As for the Sabers, they had Casey’s failed penalty kick off a hand ball call, and in the second half Jasper Jones was stuffed by Chambers. And, in the first 12 minutes of the second half, Goffstown’s David Wright shot just wide left during a free kick frenzy with Young caught away from the goal mouth.

Saxe felt his team’s midfield play was the difference down the stretch, but the Sabers still had to survive some late Goffstown threats in the final two minutes. And Young came up big.

“We’re battle tested,” Saxe said.

And Wednesday was quite a battle.