CLAREMONT, N.H. – Well for the second straight day, teams needed overtime to determine a victor in Thursday’s Division III second-round game between 8th-ranked Stevens and 9th-seeded Hillsboro-Deering.
But much to the dismay of the home crowd, it was the Hillcats who left Claremont with a dramatic 2-1 victory after a controversial goal scored off a corner kick. Stevens players and fans alike immediately put their hands up looking for a “hand ball” call, but the officials disagreed with their pleas, letting the play stand in a move that put a disappointing end to an otherwise successful season for the Cardinals.
Stevens jumped out to a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the contest when Mitchell Paquette found Drew Grenier on this free kick who deposited a perfectly-placed header into the net for the early advantage. The Hillcats seemed poised to tie things up on a penalty kick early in the second half, but the attempt rattled off the far post and out of harms way to keep Stevens’ lead in tact.
Hillsboro-Deering kept fighting though, and eventually knotted things up later in the half despite the best efforts of Tanner Durkee in goal. Durkee finished with eight saves in all in the contest, including several of the highlight reel variety. Both teams had several opportunities in the extra 10-minute period, but it was the Hillcats who capitalized first.
Coach Jason Stone’s team is set to return 12 players from a squad that finished 11-5-1 overall, who will all be eager to improve on this year’s success.
Hillsboro-Deering will travel to face top-ranked Bow in the quarterfinals Thursday at 3 p.m.