Boston High School: Andrew Lauderdale

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
2:30
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Too often powerless on the power play and generally struggling to generate offense during the hockey season's first half, Hanover High tinkered with its top line.

New HampshireIf the first game with captain Peter Bensen centering Connor Gordon and Ryan Brigman was any indication, hovering-around-.500 Hanover could pose problems in Division I.

“In any sport you play, in any season, there's going to be a turning point … I think this is going to be our turning point,” Bensen said Jan. 28 after he paced the reigning state-runner-up to a commanding 5-2 road win over No. 2-ranked Manchester Memorial High at JFK Coliseum.

Perennial power Hanover owned a 4-4 record when it faced the league's only 10-win team. Losing 13 players from a year ago contributed to the club's mediocre mark.

Coach Dick Dodds felt change up front was needed.

Brigman moved from the blue line to right wing. It didn't take the long for Dodds' decision to pay off.

Hanover's senior winger buried a first-period rebound. The goal erased Memorial's early 1-0 lead, served as the first of Hanover's two power-play strikes, and set off a run of three unanswered goals.

“He created a lot of havoc in the offensive zone,” Dodds said. “It really helped. That group works well together. They had a nice game for us.”

Bensen (two goals, two assists), Gordon (goal, three assists) and Brigman (goal, two assists) factored in all five goals for the Marauders.

But Brigman's equalizer was significant for another reason: The goal was a quick response to falling behind midway through the opening frame.

Hanover trailed for a mere 3 minutes, 28 seconds.

Roles were reversed in the club's previous contest, a 3-2 home loss to Nashua North High. The Marauders twice surrendered markers within 50 seconds of tallying their goals.

“We just pointed out to our kids how important the next shift is,” Dodds said. “We worked on it in practice. So, it was encouraging to see us come back and score.”

The Marauders were oh-so-close to clinching a comeback win Feb. 1 against Concord High. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Hanover's three goals in the final frame erased a two-goal deficit. The club's third connection, a shorthanded goal with 73 seconds left, was offset by Concord's ability to capitalize in 5-on-3 play.

Five league games remain on the regular-season schedule for Hanover (5-5-1 Div. I).

New Hampshire's club from the Upper Valley starts the stretch with four straight road games. Defending champ Trinity High of Manchester (Feb. 11) and another bout with Concord (Feb. 15) are on the slate.

“I think that our team really thrives in a tough environment when we're under pressure,” Bensen said.

Hanover won't lack chances to prove it.

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
3:54
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This had to be Merrimack High's mantra for the holiday tournament season: Why settle for just one title?

New HampshireIn the days after Christmas, the Tomahawks rolled to championships in arguably New Hampshire's top tournaments for boys' basketball and hockey.

The school's Division I hoop team, on the strength of a last-second 3-pointer from star guard Dimitri Floras, won the 48th annual Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament at Manchester Memorial High. The Division II hockey club, thanks to a fourth-round shootout goal from forward Chris Fortin, copped the Bauer Classic crown at Manchester's JFK Coliseum.

Talk about a wild week.

The hockey team's four-day run to the crown was the more surprising story. The reigning state runners-up, the Tomahawks were considered a mystery when the season started shortly before the holiday break. They graduated one of the state's top snipers (Erik Glendye) and said goodbye to their coach (Dan Legro).

They're a mystery no more.

After starting 3-0 in league play, the Tomahawks won four games at JFK. They beat three Division I teams, including defending champion Trinity High of Manchester, 3-1; reigning runner-up and perennial power Hanover High, 4-3 (shootout); and then-No. 1-ranked Memorial, 2-1 (shootout), in the final.

Goaltender Brett Glendye -- who made 45 title-game saves -- was named tournament MVP. Teammate and forward David Downie also earned a spot on the all-tourney team.

"I looked at (the holiday tourney) as a 'prove it' opportunity for the kids," Merrimack coach Kurt Mithoefer said. "Thus far, the kids have proven the naysayers wrong in terms of offensive ability and being a mystery team."

On the hardwood, the Tomahawks ended the feel-good story of the QCIBT.

Floras hit the big bucket that lifted Merrimack a 57-54 win over upstart Manchester West High. The 6-foot 2-inch junior guard -- named the tourney MVP -- drained a lead-changing 3-pointer from the left corner with 7 seconds to play. He finished the contest with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds.

"I missed a lot of easy ones tonight and felt like I let my team down. But I got the one that mattered most, I guess," Floras told the New Hampshire Union Leader after the Dec. 28 title-game win.

Merrimack's path to the title round included wins over Seacoast squads Dover High, 59-51, and Exeter High, 58-39.

But in the high-stakes round, it took a charging violation to clinch the win. Jeff Giannelli, a 6-foot-7 tower, held his ground as West's Jocarl Bureau drove the lane for a potential game-winning layup. The pivotal play came with 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

The QCIBT runner-up a year earlier, Merrimack reached the championship game for the ninth time in the last 12 years. This year's title was the program's fourth in that span, and first since a three-peat from 2000-02.

"We played good. But my hats off to West," Merrimack coach Tim Goodridge told the statewide newspaper. "They made it come down to one shot."

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:19
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The immediate goal for Pinkerton Academy's Astros is straightforward: Finish atop the regular-season standings this winter in Division I boys' hockey.

Sounds cliché, right?

New HampshireTurns out this very dangerous squad from Derry – the preseason pick to finish as rink royalty – has yet to earn a No. 1 playoff seed under nine-year coach Casey Kesselring.

“We've never finished first,” Kesselring confirmed before adding that his 2008-09 title team emerged from the bracket as the No. 4 seed.

Kesselring's club a year ago earned the No. 2 seed. But the Astros were a quarterfinals casualty, stunned at home by arch-rival Londonderry, 3-2.

Considering the talent returning on Pinkerton's roster, expectations are extremely high.

First-line wingers Zach Sanford and J.D. Dudek fuel Pinkerton's high-octane attack. Sanford, a junior, and Dudek, a sophomore, led the team in points a year ago.

Further illustrating the talent this team possesses: Freshman Devin Moore centers the top line.

There's no drop-off with the second line. Junior center Dominic Corsetto skates with classmate Connor Brady and sophomore Brendan Philippon.

Kesselring believes the trio would be the top line for most clubs in the state.

Clearly, Pinkerton's strength is potting pucks. Offensive output should provide insurance for the team's junior goaltenders. Nate Mitchell and Matt Marchman are first-year varsity stoppers.

Of course, the coach isn't the least bit worried about the lack of varsity experience his goalies possess. Nor is he concerned about the preseason bull's-eye painted on Pinkerton.

“It doesn't bother me. It gives the school recognition. It gives the kids recognition,” Kesselring said. “But they don't hand out rings in the preseason.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
9:35
PM ET
Bill Ball and his Exeter High Blue Hawks, in their second season competing against the state's largest schools, took the express elevator from cellar to penthouse.

It's one way to explain Exeter's voyage.

New HampshireAs is this: "It's just the ultimate roller-coaster. That's what it is," massive lineman Brad Tiernan said after his team stunned heavy favorite and statewide No. 1 Pinkerton Academy, 23-13, for the Division I championship at Memorial Field in Derry.

The Division I final on Nov. 19 was supposed to be a formality. The Astros, after all, topped the statewide poll since the preseason, securing every first-place vote in the process. They were one win from completing the first wire-to-wire run at No. 1 in the four-year era of rankings.

They were facing a former Division 2 power, but a program that went 0-8 in its Division I debut (1-9 overall) last season.

The Blue Hawks (11-1 overall, 9-1 Div. I) didn't forget those season-long frustrations. But they didn't dwell on them, either.

This team was confident. This team was composed. This team was clutch.

How else to explain the title-game comeback? Exeter erased a 13-3 second-quarter deficit.

Conor Carrier scored the fourth-quarter touchdown that placed Pinkerton in panic mode. The senior's big run off-tackle went for 37 yards and six points. The score snapped a 13-all tie with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left in the season.

Touchback-machine Logan Laurent added the extra point. He also iced the contest with his 23-yard field goal -- a kick preceded by 35- and 40-yard boots -- in the final minutes.

Tyler Grant touched the rock 31 times. He totaled 120 yards in Exeter's old-school straight-T offense.

Jamie Tymann tossed a second-quarter touchdown to Lucas Gajewski. The 15-yard strike sparked the 20-point run to the title.

The toss was the second of Tymann's five attempts. Exeter's senior signal-caller entered the final with just 29 pass attempts on the season.

But defense was the biggest difference-maker. Grant, Carrier, Ethan Joyce and Brian Henry led Exeter's disciplined perimeter defense. It surrendered 77- and 78-yard touchdown runs to Emmitt Smith in the second frame, but little else.

Exeter celebrated its sixth championship under Ball, who capped his 19th season at the helm. The coach previously won five Division II championships in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2007.

"To get this done is just amazing," Ball said. "It's amazing."

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
1:34
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Seventy games have been played at Plymouth Regional's Zoulias Field since the start of the 2000 season. Just two of those contests were won by the visiting team.

Manchester's Trinity High was the second squad in that span to record the road win. The Pioneers, in most improbable fashion, pulled off the season's No. 1 stunner to date.

In their first-ever trip to Plymouth's home turf, the Pioneers struck for two long touchdown passes in the final minutes of their Division IV tilt to complete a 12-7 comeback win Sept. 24.

Trinity (4-0) terminated Plymouth's 40-game home win streak, which started nearly seven years earlier with a regular-season finale victory over Peterborough's ConVal Regional on Oct. 30, 2004.

"I brought it up (the night before the game) at a team meeting. That was the only time that we really brought it up," Trinity head coach Gary Leonard said of Plymouth's 40-game run at home. "It didn't seem to motivate them. But we can say we did it. That's what counts."

Exactly what motivated the Pioneers is difficult to determine. But it's clear what –- make that “who” -– sparked their comeback. He is sophomore quarterback Carmen Giampetruzzi.

A first-year starter under center, Giampetruzzi hit running back Josh Hughes for an 80-yard touchdown with 4:01 to play. Hughes caught the 10-yard pass outside the left hash mark, turned, and raced 70 yards down the left sideline. The throw was threaded perfectly between two Plymouth defenders.

The play was just the second pass attempt for Trinity, whose double-wing offense rarely moves the ball through the air. But the Bobcats completely neutralized Trinity's rushing attack, which left Leonard with no choice but to rely on his quarterback's left arm.

Moments after Hughes hit paydirt, the Pioneers, as they routinely do, lined up for the two-point conversion. Plymouth stuffed it.

Trailing by a point, the Pioneers needed a defensive stop. They got it with a turnover-on-downs at their 26-yard line.

The scenario: Trinity was 74 yards from the end zone – without a time out. Just 1 minute, 24 seconds remained in regulation.

Giampetruzzi went to work from the shotgun. He completed passes to Hughes (5 yards), Andrew Lauderdale (16 yards) and Adam Chambers (10 yards), moving the ball to Plymouth's 43. A false start moved the ball back to Plymouth's 48.

On third-and-15, with 26.5 seconds to play, Giampetruzzi handled the snap, dropped back, and rifled a spiral down the right seam. Lauderdale, a 6-foot 6-inch tight end, gained a step on his defender, caught the pass in stride and bolted for the goal line.

He crossed it with 17.8 seconds to play.

"So far, for Trinity, for football, this is probably one of the best wins we've had," said Giampetruzzi, whose ensuing two-point pass was incomplete, forcing the defense to make one final stand.

Lauderdale locked up the win, batting down a pass from Plymouth's 43 on the final play.

The Pioneers celebrated. The Bobcats huddled up to hear head coach Chuck Lenahan, the state's all-time wins leader, address them.

"Stick together," said a stunned Lenahan (328-68-1) when asked what he told his team after the final horn sounded. "That's all you can do. Regroup."

BIG WINNERS
Hampton's Winnacunnet High and Northwood's Coe-Brown Academy were the big winners at the 37th annual Manchester Cross Country Invitational Sept. 24.

Without a single runner recording a top 10 finish at Derryfield Park, Winnacunnet won the boys' team title in the large-school race. Coe-Brown won the girls' crown in the small-school event.

Winnacunnet edged Burlington, Vt., 157-161. Justin Trott was Winnacunnet's first runner (12th overall) to complete the 3.1-mile course.

Coe-Brown won comfortably (67-99) over second-place Hopkinton High. Jessie Carney (20:22) and Carissa Hodgdon (20:40) were top 10 finishers, placing fourth and sixth, respectively.

The Bears also celebrated a boys' individual title as Jeremy Brassard won the small-school race. He clocked a time of 16:27.

In the boys' elite race, Pinkerton Academy of Derry delivered a solid showing. The Astros placed second in the team competition behind Rhode Island's Bishop Hendricken (42-89). Anthony Anzivino finished second overall (16:06).

Sami Hicks of Laconia High won the girls' small-school individual title (19:22).

CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW?
Division I field hockey powers Salem High and Pinkerton clashed Sept. 24 in a fight for first place. Very little separated the squads in Salem's 2-1 home win.

Abbey Raymond snapped a 1-all tie inside the final 4 minutes of regulation. The dagger ended Pinkerton's bid for perfection. Danielle Ferraro set up Raymond's game-winning strike.

Jordyn Hamilton's goal late in the first half pulled Pinkerton even at 1-1. Her tally answered an early marker by Erika Smith.

Pinkerton finished the month with back-to-back wins, improving its record to 9-1. Salem also closed the month 9-1.

GRANITE STATE GREATS
Sept. 15: Josh Hofer scored in double overtime to lift Manchester Memorial High to a 2-1 win over Salem in Division I boys' soccer. Hofer buried a rebound in the 95th minute.

Sept. 15: Cassidy John scored in the final minute of regulation to give Penacook's Merrimack Valley Regional a 1-0 win over Concord's Bishop Brady High in Division II girls' soccer. The win was the Pride's fifth straight and, at the time, kept the team unbeaten in league play at 6-0-1.

Sept. 17: Chris Camire made an acrobatic 32-yard catch in the final minute to set up a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Connor Benjamin. Division III Goffstown High for the first time in the football program's history defeated Amherst's Souhegan High, 21-14.

Sept. 19: Jenna Freitas connected for five goals in Memorial's 7-0 Division I field hockey win at Nashua North. She scored the game's first three goals and added two more in the second half.

Sept. 24: Playing quarterback and running back during Merrimack Valley's rain-soaked football contest in Week 4, Cody Thurston had a hand in six touchdowns. He tossed four TDs and notched two rushing scores as the Pride topped Wolfeboro's Kingswood Regional, 64-45, in Division IV action.

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com. Read his "New Hampshire GameDay" blog and follow him on Twitter: @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
3:58
PM ET
A year ago, underclassmen-laden Pinkerton Academy wasn't supposed to win its 10th Division I football championship since the celebrated 1985 season. But the young Astros, facing foes with far more experience, beat those odds.

New HampshireThis time around, the odds of repeating are overwhelmingly in their favor.

"Our focus doesn't change at all, even when we're not the favorites," Pinkerton head coach Brian O'Reilly said. "We simply strive for championships. That's our goal, otherwise it's not a successful year."

Quite simply, there isn't a more complete team, at present, than the one residing in Derry.

The Astros return almost everyone. Twelve of the team's 20 seniors are returning starters.

Bulldozer Kevin Davies and speedy Emmitt Smith are the focal points of Pinkerton's Wing-T offense. But there's also junior quarterback Chris St. Onge and sophomore Manny Latimore that round out the returning starting backfield.

Andrew Curran, exclusively a top-line defensive back in 2010, will reprise that role this season. But he's expected to earn touches on offense, too.

On a team stacked with superb athletes, Ryan Coombs could prove most dynamic. The 5-foot 11-inch, 178-pound senior kicks, punts, catches passes and patrols the defensive secondary.

“He's a big-game player. He can be a difference-maker. He's got some outstanding athletic ability that other kids do not have,” O'Reilly said of Coombs. “He just turned 17 for his senior year. He really doesn't come off the field.”

Linebackers Branden Rodgers, Davies and Matt Madden, last year the team's second-leading tackler as a freshman, were huge reasons the Astros excelled in red-zone defense. The linebacking corps added depth with the return of Matt St. Onge, sidelined in '10 with an ACL injury.

Understandably, the Astros were unanimously voted No. 1 in the preseason edition of the fourth-year statewide poll, a joint effort involving the New Hampshire Union Leader, WGAM-Radio and WMUR-TV.

Based on history alone, Pinkerton is the preseason pick.

Since O'Reilly's fabled Ryan Mihalko- and Joe Segreti-led 1985 team surprised everyone to win it all (the program's debut season in Division I) the Astros have always won championships in chunks.

The Astros went back-to-back in 1985-86, copped four straight crowns from 1991-94, and rattled off a three-peat from 2005-07.

But don't talk championship pep rally with O'Reilly just yet. Pinkerton's 34-year head coach knows a grid king isn't crowned in the preseason.

“We might be pegged as favorites. But we weren't pegged as favorites last year – and we won,” he said. “Our focus is 'Don't allow newspaper clippings to influence hard work.'”

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
4:39
PM ET
Coaches in Divisions I and II boys' hockey can't complain about the state tournament formats for their leagues.

New HampshireBut coaches in Division III have a beef. It's hard to argue otherwise.

“I certainly think it was an oversight,” Marc Noel said of the issue. “Do something about it. Make it good.”

Noel coaches co-operative team Pembroke-Campbell, which competes in 16-team Division III, the largest of the NHIAA's three leagues for boys' hockey. Yet based on the percentage of clubs that qualify for the postseason in each tier, Division III is the lowest.

And it's not even close.

Division I features 15 teams. The top 12 squads (80 percent) compete in the tournament, which rewards the first- through fourth-place clubs with a first-round bye to the quarterfinals.

Division I features 12 teams. The top eight teams (67 percent) punch tournament tickets.

As for 16-team Division III, its top eight teams compete for a championship.

Just 50 percent of the field plays on.

Jim Daley, the NHIAA ice hockey committee chair, said in an e-mail that Division III was the smallest league when by-laws for this season were set. The addition of several co-operative teams (Pembroke-Campbell is one of six) and North Sutton's Kearsarge Regional, where Daley is principal, added greatly to the division's depth.

Noel's frustration is fueled by the lack of consistency across all divisions. He wants the NHIAA to adopt the Division I format. Simply add four teams to his league's tourney.

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