DERRY, N.H. – SNHU commit Ryan Lynch made sure his high school lacrosse career was not ending on home turf.
Not this early. And not to Pinkerton Academy’s fiercest rival in any sport, Londonderry High School.
Lynch scored seven goals and assisted on three, totaling up to 10 points on the cold, drizzly afternoon, and Pinkerton, the third seed, beat No. 6 Londonderry, 15-7, in the Division I state quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon.
“As a team, we came out a little slow, but then started firing shots at them and saw the back of the net,” said Lynch. “This certainly has to be one of the best games I’ve ever had, especially with it being the playoffs.”
Lynch started the day off with back-to-back goals just five minutes into the contest, before teammates Cole Frank and Joey Gallo joined the scoring party, giving the Astros an early 4-0 lead.
Pinkerton goalie Tyler Leblanc was stellar from the opening seconds, saving an immediate Londonderry opportunity, giving his teammates huge momentum. Leblanc finished with 12 saves, keeping his team in gear on the defensive side.
“My sophomore year I had a great game against Bishop Guertin, but this one was one I’ll always remember for how big of a game it was,” said Leblanc.
“We have two really good goalies, and ultimately Tyler got the start today,” added Pinkerton coach Steve Gaudreau. “In practice, he’s been doing everything to keep us composed. He made some big plays today, and down the stretch, that’s what we need.”
Lynch entered the second quarter with three goals, but made sure to double that before the first half ended. His statline of six goals and three assists at halftime – Pinkerton led 10-4 –was up there with the best performances of the season, and to do it in the playoffs meant a lot to Coach Gaudreau and his Astros.
“Ryan’s been great, and has emerged throughout the year,” said Gaudreau. “There was a period during the season in which he was injured, so it’s great to have him playing at his best again. He’s the leader of the offense, and for the last three years he’s continued to get better.”
Each team scored just once as the Lancers would not pose a serious threat the rest of the way.
Lynch’s final goal came in the third, and the Astros’ defense took care of the rest.
With the final minutes of an incredible Pinkerton performance coming to an end, all eyes turned to Exeter, who the Astros will face on the Blue Hawks’ home turf on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the state semis.
“We lost to Exeter by one goal during the regular season, so we feel good about where we are right now,” said Gaudreau. “We match up with them pretty well, but for us it’s really about what we have for personnel, and we are looking forward to Wednesday.”
You can follow Evan Applebaum on Twitter at @EvanApplebaum2.
Pinkerton 15, Londonderry 7
Pinkerton: 6-4-1-4 – 15
Londonderry: 1-3-1-2 – 7
Goals: Pinkerton – Ryan Lynch 7, Matt Feole 3, Mike Uber 2, Joey Gallo 2, Cole Frank 1
Assists: Pinkerton – Joey Gallo 4, Ryan Lynch 3, Matt Feole 2, Dylan Stinger 2, Mike Uber 1
Saves: Pinkerton – Tyler Leblanc 12