Tomahawks fall to Titans

Friday was a day of firsts for Nashua High School North’s Igor Monteiro. He coached his first regular season NHIAA contest and his first overtime game. Most importantly, he earned his first victory.

The Titans scored a dramatic goal late in regulation and ultimately won the game in extra time, taking their season-opener 3-2 over Merrimack at Stellos Stadium.

Trailing 2-1 in the final minutes of regulation, North’s Nick Cico managed to sneak one by Merrimack goalie Austin Thomson. The Tomahawks controlled the tempo for much of the first overtime, but the Titans finally got their opportunity. Sophomore Jack Stone found the back of the net midway through the second overtime, giving his team the victory.

The win came as a relief to Monteiro, who was not anticipating an overtime period. The coach admitted that he was still mentally operating under Massachusetts rules, where the game ends in a tie after regulation. Since his team wasn’t necessarily prepared for the situation, Monteiro was happy to see his players keep their composure.

“I always tell them to be calm and the result will come, and it came,” he said. “They didn’t panic, so we’re feeling pretty good.”

North’s Jeremy Desmarais got the scoring started early in the first half, and the Titans entered halftime with a 1-0 lead. The Tomahawks came out firing to start the second, and they eventually tied the game when Chase Bantham scored off a feed from Sean Courtemanche and Ethan Harrington.

“Everyone has nerves for the first game,” Merrimack coach Ryan Farnsworth said. “We made some changes and the boys definitely stepped up big in the second half.”

The Tomahawks continued playing aggressive offense, and they took the lead later in the half. Harrington managed to chip the ball just out of the reach of Titans goalie Brett LeBlanc, giving his team a brief advantage. The two teams traded golden opportunities late in the game, but each goalie came up with a handful of clutch saves.

Considering his team nearly came away with a victory, Farnsworth was very happy with the results.

“We really had our chances, and I’m really feeling positive about that,” he said. “Unfortunately, Nashua North came to play. They were moving the ball well, attacking up the flanks and getting good looks. They were countering on some opportunities, and that’s what caught us on our heels. “

On the other side, Monteiro was happy to see his squad play as a team and stick to their strategy.

“We played our game, distributed the ball and defended as a team,” he said. “Every single play we played as a team, and that’s the biggest thing right now.”