Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division I semifinals
At Stellos Stadium, Nashua
No. 4 Concord (14-2-2) vs.
No. 1 Hanover (17-0-1), 6 p.m.
Head to head: The teams tied, 0-0, late in the season.
Previous tournament games: Concord shut out both No. 13 Keene, 1-0, and No. 5 Exeter, 5-0. Hanover ousted No. 16 Memorial, 3-1, and No. 8 Timberlane, 3-1.
Notes: Hanover is likely to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder after having its perfect record blemished by Concord three weeks ago. And the Tide is likely to come in with plenty of confidence after being the only team in the state to hold the Marauders scoreless. How the rematch shakes out is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely to be a spirited affair. When the teams met earlier, Concord controlled the first half, Hanover the second half, and the Marauders had the run of play in overtime, but neither team could break through the other’s goaltending, with Andrew Grondin posting the shutout for the Tide and Alex Bynum doing the honors for Hanover. They’re sure to be tested again. Xavier Tchana has scored twice in each of the first two playoff games and is Hanover’s leading scorer. Tomas LaPorta and Asa Berolzheimer (who was out injured in the first meeting) are also dangerous with the ball. For the Tide, Chris Pinkham, Gaston Arocena and Emmanuel Smith have tickled the twine in the postseason, while Arocena and Smith are also part of a formidable back line along with Augustine Fornor and Dan Vignati.
Division II semifinals
At Bill Ball Stadium, Exeter
No. 3 Pembroke (15-2-1) vs.
No. 2 Hollis-Brookline (15-2-0), 4 p.m.
Head to head: Hollis-Brookline edged Pembroke, 2-1, early in the season.
Previous tournament games: Pembroke eased past No. 14 Plymouth, 6-1, and No. 6 Portsmouth, 3-1. Hollis-Brookline beat No. 7 Con-Val, 3-1, after receiving a bye.
Notes: When the teams met back in early September, Hollis-Brookline struck twice in a two-minute span late in the first half to set the tone. Jake Gaskell halved the deficit, but Pembroke couldn’t notch the equalizer. It’s likely to be a similarly tight game this time around. So far in the postseason, Pembroke has used the fast-start formula to perfection. In the opening round, Aaron Locke scored a hat trick in the game’s opening 12 minutes to get the Spartans off to a quick start. Parker Heath added a pair of goals, Justus Turk also scored, and Jeremy Caruso assisted on three of the tallies. In the quarterfinals, another fast start propelled Pembroke, which scored two goals in the first half before Portsmouth got one back just before halftime. Locke, Heath and Caruso were the goal scorers in the quarters, with Austin Sartwell adding an assist and generally playing a significant role for the Spartans. Hollis-Brookline, last year’s runner-up, lost just twice during the year to Portsmouth and defending champion Windham, while also beating Portsmouth. Pembroke went 1-0-1 against Portsmouth and did not play Windham. The Spartans’ other loss was to Lebanon, a team the Cavaliers did not play.
Division III semifinals
At Merrimack Valley H.S.
No. 14 Sanborn (11-8-0) vs.
No. 2 Bow (16-1-1), 4 p.m.
Head to head: Bow topped Sanborn, 3-1, early in the season.
Previous tournament games: Sanborn stopped No. 19 H-D, 3-0, then posted upsets over No. 3 Gilford, 1-0, and No. 6 Stevens, 3-2 in penalty kicks. Bow shut out No. 18 Campbell, 3-0, and No. 7 White Mountains, 1-0.
Notes: Sanborn has emerged as this season’s Cinderella team, following up its second-round upset of third-ranked Gilford with a quarterfinal upset of No. 6 Stevens. Bow is hoping to strike midnight on the Indians. The Falcons haven’t allowed a single goal in their last six games, and have posted shutouts in 10 of their last 12, thanks to a stifling defense that has made life relatively easy for keeper Tim Bradley. When the teams met on Sept. 13, Sanborn’s lone goal came on a penalty kick. Bow, meanwhile, got a goal from Chris Ketcham in the first half and two from Corey Plumb after the break to take control. In the first round, Ketcham notched a pair of goals, with Plumb scoring once, while in the quarters it was Ben Maurer converting with just five minutes to play to help the Falcons avoid overtime. Those players, among others, will look to test Sanborn goalie Shaun Howard early and often as the two-time defending champs look to reach the title game for a fourth straight season.
No. 4 Prospect Mountain (14-2-2) vs.
No. 1 Hopkinton (17-0-1), 6 p.m.
Head to head: The teams did not meet during the regular season.
Previous tournament games: Prospect Mountain ousted No. 13 Belmont, 3-1, and No. 5 Raymond, 3-2. Hopkinton blanked No. 17 Somersworth, 6-0, and No. 8 Laconia, 3-0.
Notes: Prospect Mountain poses a formidable opponent for the Hawks, who are looking to reach the title game for the first time since 2009, when they won their fourth straight championship. The Timberwolves, who are looking to reach their first title match, have 10 shutouts under their belts this year, and of the four blemishes on their record, one loss and one tie were against third-ranked Gilford. Hopkinton can match Prospect’s shutouts and raise them four more, giving up a goal in just four games this season behind the goaltending of Rob Ferguson. The Hawks got off to a slow start in their postseason opener, but after a scoreless first half, Hopkinton has scored nine goals in its last 120 minutes of play. Riley McNicholas, the team’s leading scorer with 16 goals and 14 assists, has four goals so far in the playoffs, while Zach Rouleau (15 goals, 11 assists) has scored three times in the postseason. Doug Fleury (15 goals, nine assists) has also been an offensive catalyst, with Brian Hauschild and Tim Jones also finding the back of the net in the last two games.