NASHUA, N.H. – It was a battle fitting of two of the top teams in New England and in the end it was Bishop Guertin holding on to defeat Lincoln-Sudbury, 9-8, at Rivier University.
The Cardinals held the ball for the last four minutes to seal the win. Bishop Guertin rode its endless depth to the victory. Six different Cardinals scored, and Guertin coach Chris Cameron was liberal in his substitutions from start to finish.
Nick Prunier, Dom St. Laurent, and Charlie O'Brien each had two goals for Guertin.
“Nick Prunier, who came in off the bench, had two big ones right away,” Cameron said. “We run seven middies, two faceoff guys, three LSMs, we have five long poles who can play. We have a lot of depth down the line, and I think we needed that today.”
Lincoln-Sudbury came out of the gate rolling, jumping to a 5-1 lead early in the second quarter. Eric Holden had two of his three goals in the opening barrage. Greg Roder scored the first of his three during the run as well.
The Warriors were able to consistently move the ball in the opening period and put up more shots in that quarter (10) than in any other quarter. However, a slew of penalties allowed the Cardinals to get back in it.
“We didn't execute little things,” Lincoln-Sudbury coach Brian Vona said. “We didn't deserve to win. They're a very good team; they're best players executed some big moments and played big the whole game.”
The Cardinals flipped the script the last 11 minutes of the second quarter. Guertin utilized its substitution advantage and scored six goals to into halftime up 7-6.
St. Laurent, who scored both of Guertin's second half goals, said that once he and his team worked out the jitters they were able to get down to business.
“I think we came out a little bit timid, a little bit nervous,” St. Laurent said. “But once we pulled ourselves together the sky's the limit when we're playing our brand of lacrosse.”
The Guertin offense was aided by solid defense and even stronger goaltending. Jake Sonberg turned aside eight shots for the Cardinals including a pair in the fourth quarter that preserved the lead.
“It was definitely a new experience,” Sonberg said. “I honestly haven't been shot on by poles that well. The biggest thing for me was watching the ball the whole way and addressing the defense because they really stepped up today.”
Lincoln-Sudbury was able to reel in Guertin's attack in the second half and chip away at the lead. Roder scored a goal midway through the third and again in the fourth quarter to keep the Warriors within a goal.
“When Greg was dodging up top he was patient,” Holden said. “He didn't rush things or take too many bad shots. He waited for the third or fourth dodge; he waited for a good time to go and capitalized on his shots.”
A penalty with 1:41 left doomed Lincoln's attempts at tying the game as the Cardinals were able to salt away the win.
Guertin, who has beaten its five New Hampshire opponents 96-29, relished the challenge of playing another of the Commonwealth's best teams. The Cardinals beat Needham, 10-9, on April 22.
“I live for it,” Sonberg said. “It's no fun playing those 15-2, 18-2 games. I don't get anything out of that. This game experience is what really drives and is what I play for.”