Jun. 13—BEDFORD — In the Bishop Guertin boys lacrosse team's first test of the season, senior Nick McGovern powered the Cardinals' fourth-quarter performance that secured them a 9-7 victory over Exeter in the NHIAA Division I title game Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.
The championship marks the ninth in 13 seasons, 10th overall and first since 2017 for Bishop Guertin. The Cardinals, whose closest game before Saturday was a 12-6 regular-season win over Exeter, finished undefeated for the first time in program history with a 20-0 record.
The Blue Hawks (16-3) made their first final appearance since falling to Bishop Guertin, 15-10, in 2010.
McGovern, a midfielder who transferred from Bow High School after his freshman year and was limited by a hamstring injury as a sophomore, assisted on classmate Mike Kiely's goal and scored the final two of the contest over Bishop Guertin's 3-1 run to end the game.
Bishop Guertin junior faceoff specialist JJ Murphy won four of the fourth quarter's five faceoffs to help the Cardinals dominate possession in the frame.
"I think, eventually, when we started spinning the ball and winning our matchups up top and pushing it through X, I think once we got it rotating, we were good," McGovern said of the Cardinals' offense over the last 12 minutes. "I think that's where we found a lot of our success and that allowed us to come out on top (Saturday)."
Exeter junior midfielder Aiden Drunsic scored with 32.6 seconds remaining and the Blue Hawks got possession despite losing the ensuing faceoff but mustered only a shot that hit the post and another that Cardinals sophomore Zach Connerty (seven saves) denied before the final horn sounded.
Exeter coach Gerry Holly said he felt his team's lack of possession and not capitalizing on opportunities in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
"We had a couple chances to finish and we don't get them, as do they (the Cardinals) but we need our finishes a lot more than they do," Holly said. "They can afford to make more mistakes and we can't afford to make as many."
Exeter took a 4-0 lead into the second quarter, which Bishop Guertin coach Chris Cameron said was the first time his team had been shut out in a frame this season and possibly ever. The Cardinals responded with a 5-0 second-quarter run to take a one-goal lead into halftime and entered the fourth quarter tied with Exeter at 6-6. Blue Hawks senior Spencer Clark created the six-goal deadlock with 2:24 left in the third frame.
McGovern, Jon Krikorian and Chris Heitmiller each scored twice and Kiely, Declan Wilkie, and Connor Bouvier each added a goal for Bishop Guertin. Murphy won 19 faceoffs.
Exeter received two goals from Jake Mantell and Connor Holly and one each from Drunsic and Hayden Lechner. Exeter sophomore goalie Ryan Tatman made 14 saves.
"That 4-0 lead, if it were us, it would have been a completely different game but they came out and they played great," Cameron said of the Blue Hawks. "We wore them out — you could see it — but they didn't go away."