Pinkerton stops BG’s run

EXETER – The only way the Pinkerton Academy boys lacrosse team was going to beat Bishop Guertin in Saturday’s Division I championship game was if the Astros could slow down the Cardinals’ midfield on offense.

Not only did No. 3 Pinkerton keep No. 1 Bishop Gueritn’s midfielders in check for most of the game, but the Astros shut down the attackmen and did enough offensively to pull out a 9-7 win at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.

The title is the 10th overall for Pinkerton, and the first since 2006, while it also ended Bishop Guertin’s record run of five consecutive championships.

The Astros did it by holding the Cardinals to 10 goals below their average for the season.

“It was about stopping their midfielders,” Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said. “We felt very comfortable with our attack-defensive matchups. We felt Cam Richard on (Alex) Astarita is a wash. We felt that Ryan Burke on (Nick) Prunier is a wash. They have two exceptional attackmen, but those two kids are the strength of our team.

“We worked really hard the last week about taking away strong hands. We knew the hands, and all we talked about was they are not to be shooting with the hand they want to shoot with. They’re good enough to score with the opposite hand, but we’ll slide on them quickly. Between that and Nick (Richard) in goal, that was the key to this game because they are a double-digit scoring team.”

Richard made some key stops in the second half while Todd Billeter scored three goals in the third quarter, including one to give Pinkerton (18-3) its first lead, and Brett Dattilo had two goals and two assists.

After Bishop Guertin (17-3) scored the first two goals of the game, Pinkerton had a 9-5 advantage, including holding the Cardinals scoreless in the second quarter.

Charlie O’Brien had three goals for the Cardinals and Tim Hinrichs had two, but Bishop Guertin’s attackmen were held to just one goal collectively.

“They were a different team,” Bishop Gueritn coach Chris Cameron said. “It was defensively. Us holding them to nine goals wasn’t an issue. Defensively, we were fine.

“It was our offense that let us down. They were sliding really early and we weren’t moving it fast enough to make them pay. They recovered and they got their act together, because they used to not recover well. They just played a really good team defense.”

The Cardinals got out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, but couldn’t get much going in the second, and Pinkerton came back to tie the game before halftime.

Hinrichs gave the Cardinals a 3-2 lead with a goal 1:31 into the third quarter. But that would be Bishop Guertin’s last lead, as Billeter scored twice in seven seconds to put Pinkerton up 4-3 with 4:57 left in the third.

The game was tied again, this time at 5, going into the third, but the Astros scored twice in the first 3:36, to go up 7-5. Bishop Guertin cut the lead to one on a goal by Gage Sevigny, but Dattilo scored 16 seconds later to make it 8-6.

“We didn’t have a chance to blow it up to four or five,” Cameron said. “We’ve had their number for years and years, and they had doubt, especially with what we did to them in the first game, but they started believing and they were the better team. They outplayed us (Saturday). I’ve got to give them credit.”