Bishop Guertin beats Hanover in another must-win game

TYNGSBOROUGH, Mass. – Evan Dalaker sprawled out on the ice in front of a Hanover forward late in Wednesday’s Division I boys hockey clash at Skate 3 Arena, laying it all on the line.

The Bishop Guertin hockey senior knows exactly how important these late season games are for the Cardinals.

“We pretty much do have to win every game,” Dalaker said after he scored what proved to be the game-winner in the Cardinals’ 2-1 win over the Marauders. “We’re trying our best. We’re pulling it together. It’s a shame that we’re pulling it together so late in the season.”

BG is 4-8-1 in Division I, and if the season were to end today it’s possible the Cardinals might not make the tournament, a situation they haven’t experienced in ages. They’ve just posted two one-goal home wins over middle of the pack teams (Hanover, now 5-7-1, and 6-6 Manchester Central) and have another similar game Saturday when they host a struggling 7-7 Nashua North team.

“We’re more than desperate,” said Guertin coach Gary Bishop, who probably aged a few extra years on his birthday after his team was outshot 12-4 in the third period. “We’re in the playoffs already. Every game matters right now.

“Everyone out there has to block shots. Everyone out there has to give an extra effort. Every battle along the wall, we can’t make mistakes now. We can’t lose the battles.”

For the most part, the Cards didn’t. They killed off four penalties, including two in the final period, thanks in great part to goalie Griffin Scanlon’s 23 saves. They scored a first period power-play goal as Justin Pearson pushed in his own rebound at the 8:03 mark, assisted by Connor Donahue.

Guertin made it 2-0 on Dalaker’s goal at 3:39 of the second off a 3-on-1 play that was originally muffed. But teammate Tim Trudel got the puck back to him where he was able to beat Hanover netminder Mike Stinson (18 saves). Max McCabe also picked up an assist.

“Everyone was in the right place at the right time,” Dalaker said. “It was a fantastic play, an all-around effort.”

Down 2-0 after two, Hanover dominated the third period and was rewarded at 3:34 on Shawn Cavallaro’s goal on a rebound of a Ben Acker shot. A play Scanlon really had no chance on. But that was it for the Marauders.

“We don’t have any natural goal scorers, and not many teams do,” Hanover coach Dick Dodds said. “Lately we haven’t had any puck luck, either. … They’re (the Cards) a good physical team, a tough matchup for us.”

It didn’t help Guertin when one of the teams its battling for that final spot, Pinkerton, upset North. After Saturday, the Cards have it very difficult with four games against upper echelon teams – Trinity (two), Manchester Memorial and Londonderry.

“It’s going to get interesting the last couple of weeks,” Bishop said.

Like Dalaker, he is just hoping the Cards are active participants and not just bystanders.