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Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Hampshire high school tourneys inspire clutch performances

Joe Marchilena

The best players show up for the biggest games, no matter what the level of sports you’re watching.

It happened Tuesday for three area lacrosse teams in their biggest game of the year. There were three performances that will likely be talked about by fans of those programs for a while to come, despite the final score. ...

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The best players show up for the biggest games, no matter what the level of sports you’re watching.

It happened Tuesday for three area lacrosse teams in their biggest game of the year. There were three performances that will likely be talked about by fans of those programs for a while to come, despite the final score.

It started early in the afternoon, in the Division I girls final at Southern New Hampshire University, where Pinkerton Academy was on the verge of all but ending the game before halftime. The Astros scored five unanswered goals in the final seven minutes - including three in the last 1:11 – to take a 9-3 lead over Souhegan into the break.

But even with Pinkerton extending the lead to eight goals, 12-4, with 18:25 to play, the second half of the game belonged to Souhegan senior Mickenzie Larivee.

Larivee, who has been a starter for the Sabers since her freshman year, took over the game. After Pinkerton took that lead, Larivee helped the Sabers score four goals in 1:08 by winning four draws, scoring two goals and assisting on another.

She was determined to get Souhegan back in the game, and that’s exactly what Larivee, who will play at Boston University next year, did. Had there been another minute or two, the Sabers might have gotten another goal or two and changed the outcome, a 13-12 win for Pinkerton.

“It was almost running time for them,” Larivee said. “I was like ‘this is ridiculous.’ I had this adrenaline rush that I was going to go down and get that fight that we need.”

It would have been tough to top Larivee’s performance, but Bedford’s Drew Shapiro found a way to do it in the second game Tuesday at SNHU, the Division II championship game.

Shapiro had 10 goals – seven in the first half – as the Bulldogs won their first championship with a 19-12 win over Windham.

The Bedford senior has had more in a game – she scored 12 earlier this year in a win over Portsmouth - but Shapiro’s timing meant everything in this game. With the Jaguars up 6-4 midway through the first half, Shapiro started Bedford on an 8-1 run to close out the first half by scoring back-to-back goals 37 seconds apart.

She added three more during the run and had three more in the second half, including one with 8:58 left after Windham had cut Bedford’s lead to three.

“This proves that she’s the best in the state,” Bedford coach Christine Hodgdon said. “She’s got the state scoring record, she’s been all-state, she’s going to Hofstra University, and now she’s got a championship to prove it.”

While Bedford was receiving its championship plaque in Manchester, Hollis Brookline’s Ryan Papineau was etching his own name into the record books in Nashua.

The Cavaliers senior has certainly scored more goals in a game than the five he did in Tuesday’s Division III boys final against Derryfield, but none were bigger than his last two in HB’s 10-9 double overtime win.

Papineau scored with 29 seconds left in regulation to give HB a 9-8 lead that had to seem like the game-winner, but the Cougars scored just six seconds later to send it to overtime.

After goalie Logan Blake made a championship-saving save in the final seconds of the first OT, Papineau put in the actual game-winner with 2:35 remaining.

Three performances for the ages turned in by three big-time players on the biggest stage. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or jmarchilena@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeM).