Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division III championship
At Bill Ball Stadium, Exeter
No. 2 Bow (17-1-1) vs. No. 1 Hopkinton (18-0-1), 2:15 p.m.
Head to head: Hopkinton won the first meeting, 2-0, at home in mid-September, then the teams tied, 1-1, in Bow a month ago.
Previous tournament games: Bow shut out No. 18 Campbell, 3-0, No. 7 White Mountains, 1-0, and No. 14 Sanborn, 1-0 in penalty kicks. Hopkinton ousted No. 17 Somersworth, 6-0, No. 8 Laconia, 3-0, and No. 4 Prospect Mountain, 2-1.
Notes: It’s student vs. teacher on the sideline for these familiar opponents. Hopkinton Coach Scott Zipke played for Bow Coach George Pinkham when the two were at Concord High, and now they meet again, only this time with the D-III championship at stake. Pinkham’s boys have won the last two titles and are making their fourth straight title game appearance, while Zipke’s crew is returning to the title match for the first time since winning four straight from 2006-09. The games have been memorable so far this year. In the first meeting, Doug Fleury and Riley McNicholas scored for Hopkinton, with defenders James McCluskey, Liam McNicholas, Matt French and Wes Rose helping keeper Rob Ferguson earn the shutout. In the rematch, Bow defenders Mitchell Blair, Thomas Poulin, David Merchan and keeper Tim Bradley kept Hopkinton off the scoreboard until the final 15 seconds of regulation, when Nick Fleury converted a corner kick from Zach Rouleau to earn the draw. Chris Ketcham scored for Bow. Expect a similarly tight game this time around, a game where one mistake or one spectacular play could decided it all.