Woodstock boys lax defense steps up, holds off Hartford

Reid Allegretti, of Woodstock, celebrates after scoring against Hartford in White River Junction, Vt., on onday, April 22, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Reid Allegretti, of Woodstock, celebrates after scoring against Hartford in White River Junction, Vt., on onday, April 22, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

Kyler Eaton, of Woodstock, right, scores on Hartford goalie Graham Thompson to put the Wasps on the boards after the Hurricanes established an early 4-0 lead in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Kyler Eaton, of Woodstock, right, scores on Hartford goalie Graham Thompson to put the Wasps on the boards after the Hurricanes established an early 4-0 lead in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Griffin Piconi, of Woodstock, left, maintains control as Lochlan Park, of Hartford, right, tries to knock the ball free in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Griffin Piconi, of Woodstock, left, maintains control as Lochlan Park, of Hartford, right, tries to knock the ball free in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. Woodstock won 11-10. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Tyler Spaulding, of Hartford, walks back to his teammates as Woodstock celebrates their 11-10 win over the Hurricanes in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Tyler Spaulding, of Hartford, walks back to his teammates as Woodstock celebrates their 11-10 win over the Hurricanes in White River Junction, Vt., on Monday, April 23, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-23-2024 5:31 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Monday night’s boys lacrosse game between host Hartford High and Woodstock came down to the final minute, with the Wasps prevailing, 11-10.

The Vermont inter-division clash might have been decided, however, by a pair of goals at the first quarter’s close.

Division I Woodstock trailed Division II Hartford, 4-0, with less than a minute remaining in that opening period. However, the Wasps — who annually elect to play a level higher than what their school enrollment warrants — struck for a goal with 21 seconds to go and another with one click left on the clock.

“It felt like we were down more than four, but then we scored twice and it became just another game,” said 15th-year Woodstock coach Brandon Little, whose team entered with a victory over Burr & Burton and loss to Rutland, both Division I foes.

“I knew we just needed to win some faceoffs and get some defensive stops.”

Said seventh-year Hartford coach Grant Whiteway: “We had kids getting overaggressive. If you cheat in certain areas against Woodstock, they’ll skip-pass it to the back post and make you pay.”

The night’s biggest faceoff came with a minute remaining. Hartford trailed, 11-6, with 10 minutes to play before scoring the next four goals. Suddenly, Hurricanes freshman Rex Banning and Wasps senior Jaedon Beardsley lined up for a critical draw.

The pair battled at midfield before Banning was whistled for an illegal move and Woodstock gained possession. The visitors played keep-away to run out the clock and escape an opponent to whom they haven’t lost in at least 15 years.

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“We turned the ball over too much in the clearing game,” said Whiteway, whose team won three of 21 faceoffs. “It’s like giving the other team an offensive rebound in basketball. The chances of your opponent scoring go way up.

“We cleaned the unforced turnovers up and then had a chance down the stretch.”

Midfielder Ezra Mock had five goals and fellow middie Austin St. Pierre three for Hartford. The hosts received a strong game from goaltender Graham Thompson, who stopped 15 shots. Reid Allegretti and Griffin Piconi each struck three times for Woodstock, and Sam Hambsch had two goals.

“Reid didn’t come on until he realized what he could do against their defense,” Little said of a player who scored four of his team’s first six goals. “He found that seam he could exploit. And he got robbed a couple of times on other opportunities.”

Hartford, which won the first division title in program history last spring, graduated eight seniors from that squad, including standout scorer Joseph Barwood and star defenseman Connor Tierney. Adjustments are under way, but Whiteway was encouraged by Monday’s effort.

“It’s great to see we have the ability to fight back after being down five goals,” he said. “We have midfielders who have played a lot of varsity games for us, and they kept battling and brought us back.”

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Notes: Hartford football coach Matt Trombly said Mock plans to become a Realtor after his upcoming graduation. … Trombly’s son, Brayden, who scored once Monday, is a senior headed for NCAA Division III football. However, he has yet to finalize his decision because of the delay in computerized financial aid information currently plaguing colleges and universities. Also planning to play on the Division III gridiron is Hurricanes senior midfielder Brody Tyburski. … Former Hartford goaltender Tarin Prior has yet to play for the University of Hartford (Conn.), a Division III school that began the week 5-7. … Over at Bentley University (Mass.), which is 7-4, Tierney has appeared in two games for the Falcons.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.