BEDFORD – The Bedford High School boys lacrosse team executed its game plan, took advantage of its talents and played with plenty of motivation.
It turned out to be a lethal combination for Souhegan to overcome.
The Bulldogs broke open a tie game with a flawless second quarter and shut down the Sabers in the second half of a 14-6 win Wednesday in Division II action, exacting a bit of revenge for a playoff loss in 2011.
“It feels really good, especially how we exited last year in the final four with a second to go,” Bedford coach Matt Guerard said. “We had that on our minds going into the game. We had some payback we had to give. This is the first time we’ve beaten Souhegan. It’s something we’ll be able to build on.”
A year ago, Souhegan scored a goal in the final seconds – 1.7 seconds, according to Guerard – to beat Bedford in the Division II semifinals. Not only was it on the Bulldogs collective mind before the game, the Bedford coach was able to give a play-by-play of the Sabers’ game-winning goal after Wednesday’s game.
“I know it all too well,” Guerard said.
So did the Bulldogs, who got a little more fired up with each goal they scored in the second quarter. The teams entered the frame tied at 2, but Bedford outscored Souhegan 6-1 to take control of the game and hold the Sabers to half their average output.
“It was a tough game,” Souhegan coach Jonathan Salch said. “They executed their game plan. We were lacking in a lot of areas. We had some lapses, especially in that second quarter, that caused us to fall behind.”
Jared Hornsby led the Bulldogs (4-0 in Division II, 6-0 overall) with four goals and an assist and Taylor Wallace added three goals and a helper. Bedford also got two goals each from Nathan Larrivee (two assists), Tyler Sullivan and David Phelps (assist) while Mathew Howe made 12 saves.
Souhegan (7-2, 7-3) got two goals from Jason Barsky while MacKenna Walker (two assists), Mitchell Hale (assist), Zadek Burstein and Blake Burnley each had a goal.
It was Walker’s goal that helped the Sabers stay within striking distance midway through the second quarter. After Bedford scored two quick goals to open the quarter, Walker scored with 7:25 left until halftime to make it a 4-3 game.
With the Bulldogs up a man, Jordan Garron soared to intercept a clearing attempt by Souhegan goalie Nicholas King. The turnover led to a goal by Hornsby that put Bedford back up by two.
Larrivee followed with a score that made it 6-3 and the Bulldogs tacked on two more in the final 93 seconds to lead 8-3 at halftime.
“In the second quarter, we just did a good job of playing with our heads up in transition,” Guerard said. “That helped us out a lot. When we were coming down the field with the ball, we were always looking to the open guys. We were able to find guys in transition which put us up by a few. It gave us some momentum going into the second half.”
Souhegan controlled possession for most of the first four-plus minutes of the second half, but it was Bedford that got the first goal, going up 9-3 on a goal by Phelps with 7:32 left in the third.
“They’re a good team and they executed,” Salch said. “We had a bunch of defensive lapses and that’s tough to come back from.
“The good thing about it is that it’s the regular season. It’s not the end of the world. Plenty of time left in the season and plenty of time to regroup, practice and get better.”
The Sabers have time to do that, as they’re off until a game at Keene on May 9. Bedford opened a stretch Wednesday that will have it playing five games in eight days. The Bulldogs host Goffstown on Friday before playing at Oyster River (Saturday), at Portsmouth (Monday) and at Spaulding (May 9).