Hanover High continued its dominance in New Hampshire girls high school hockey, winning its seventh straight state title Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, defeating top-seeded Berlin-Gorham, 4-1.
Although the Marauders dominated this one territorially, they had to sweat a bit in winning this title. This game was a scoreless tie going into the third period, thanks in large part to the efforts of Berlin-Gorham senior goalie Chelsey Caron.
But, Hanover finally solved Caron, scoring three goals in a 2:01 span early in the third period to assume control.
The Marauders finished up at 18-1-2, and did not lose an in-state game. The Mountaineers closed out at 19-2-0, with both losses to Hanover.
After the teams battled through 30 scoreless minutes, the Marauders finally broke through when senior Julie Montgomery took the puck away from a Mountaineers player just inside the blue line, stickhandled past another, moved in on net and roofed a forehand bid from the right side.
Just over a minute later, the Marauders expanded their lead to 2-0 when Cate Wagner swooped into the zone, cut past a defender to her back-hand and but one up high over Caron’s blocker.
Fifty-six seconds later, Hanover defenseman J.J. Taube moved down the right side into the faceoff circle and fired a shot that was deflected home by Matt Hartman. All of a sudden it was a 3-0 game.
The Mountaineers, who struggled to get shots on Hanover goalie Cici Barton (just four shots on goal over the first two periods), did not fold and got it back to 3-1 at 5:52 when junior Shayleigh Valliere moved toward the net from the left. Her centering feed from behind the goal line popped in the are, hit off Barton’s back, and dropped into the net.
The goal seemed to energize Berlin-Gorham, as the Mountaineers applied some pressure, and got some quality bids on Barton. But, they would get no closer.
Hanover’s Kelly Brigham closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left.
Over the first two periods, Caron made some glittering saves, none better than stoning Eliza Laycock on a breakaway just as the second period buzzer sounded.
The Mountaineers had some moments where they threatened over the first two periods. Valliere had a couple of good chances from slot, but her shots just went wide.
Hanover, under the tutelage of coach John Dodds, have now won eight of the nine state championships in New Hampshire girls hockey since the first sanctioned title game took place in 2008. St. Thomas/Dover is the only other program that has a title, winning the 2009 crown.