Goffstown sinks Spartans with overtime goal

  • Pembroke’s Kobie Valdes (13) takes on Goffstown’s Ryan Hall (23) and Tiernan Benoit (15) during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke goalie Tyler Smith (1) makes a save during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke players react after Goffstown ties the game during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Maxavier Putnam (19) kicks the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Damon Smith (9) moves the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Robby Fuller (10) heads the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Maxavier Putnam (19) kicks the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Joshua Dion (3) heads the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Damon Smith (9) kicks the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke goalie Tyler Smith (1) makes a kick during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Nicholas Gagnon (7) kicks the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke’s Hunter Boyce (8) moves the ball during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Pembroke lost to Goffstown, 2-1, in overtime during a Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Monitor staff
Published: 11/3/2016 12:50:25 AM

NASHUA – They scored first, generated more shots and were less than 14 minutes away from a trip to the Division II boys’ soccer finals, the target they had been aiming for all season. But a late goal in regulation, and an early goal in overtime, derailed Pembroke’s dream as No. 6 Goffstown claimed a 2-1 overtime win against the second-seeded Spartans in Wednesday’s semifinals.

“It was a great year for us, but short of what we were hoping for,” Pembroke Coach Peter Bisson said. “We were talking about championship from day one, so that’s what we expected. And the kids worked hard for it. It’s a good team. I’ll coach them any day of the week.”

The confidence that led the Spartans (17-2-0) to talk championship from day one was with them on Wednesday’s bus ride south to Stellos Stadium.

“We were felling that we had the advantage over (Goffstown),” Pembroke keeper Tyler Smith said. “We beat them in the regular season and we were the higher seed. We felt pretty good about it.”

The Spartans needed that belief as the game started fast with both teams dashing up and down the quick Stellos turf. Goffstown (14-4-1) had the better early chances, but Pembroke always had the defensive answers – a slide tackle from Cole Sporcic, timely deflections from Nicholas Gagnon and Justin Smith, back tracking from midfielder Kobie Valdes and smart, athletic goal keeping from Smith.

Smith and the Pembroke defense did just enough to stop a dangerous net crash from Goffstown’s Ethan Skinner in the 15th minute, and from there the Spartans started to gain control. Damon Smith orchestrated most of Pembroke’s attack with vision, touch and creativity, and he had plenty of help from the likes of Max Putnam, Patrick Chase and Josh Dion.

The pressure turned into a goal in the 31st minute. Damon Smith lined up a free kick from 45 yards out on the left side and lofted a tantalizing ball into the box. Justin Smith timed his run perfectly and the big central defender got a deft deflection that gave Goffstown keeper Myles Green no chance and gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead with 9:35 left in the first half.

The Grizzlies nearly tied things with less than three minutes to go in the half. Mike Fortin’s corner kick was bending into the goal, but Smith timed his leap perfectly for the save, which deflected off the cross bar and away.

“That keeper is real good and they have a good back line, so we were happy to get any chances that we could,” Goffstown Coach Randy Lovering said. “So we talked about winning the ball out wide, getting it into the box and making a mess of it.”

That strategy yielded a couple of chances for Goffstown in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but one shot sailed wide and another promising bid was stopped by alert keeping from Smith.

When a header from Goffstown’s Nick Mason went off the crossbar in the 66th minute, it seemed like Pembroke’s day. But less than a minute later, a long throw created one of those messes in the middle the Grizzlies wanted, Mason fought through traffic to reach the ball first and poked a shot into the far side netting to tie the game with 13:24 left in regulation.

Goffstown seized on the momentum and created several more chances in those final minutes of regulation, but Pembroke got enough defense from Valdes, Sporcic and Connor Locke to force overtime.

The Spartans were still optimistic heading into overtime, “We’re a positive team, we always expect to be on top,” Bisson said, but that optimism was short lived.

Fortin, who was dangerous all game, broke free down the left side and hammered a shot that went through Smith and sent Goffstown in Saturday’s final against top-ranked Lebanon.

“Both sides absolutely competed and when it came right down to it, our big-time players made big-time plays,” Lovering said.

“I saw the shot coming the whole way, and it went right through my legs,” Smith said.

The Pembroke keeper was dejected, but the loss was hardly his fault.

“Tyler had a great game and a great year,” Bisson said. “I’m glad he’s only a junior, I’m looking forward to having him next year.




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