By Michael James LeClair
The Nashoba Regional boys’ lacrosse team may not be going to the postseason but that didn’t stop the team from ending the 2015 spring season on a positive note Thursday evening.
The Chieftains honored their seniors the best way possible; with a victory in the final game of their high school careers notching an 8-6 triumph over visiting Shepherd Hill Regional.
Nashoba wraps up the campaign with an 8-10 overall record. The win also gives the Chieftains a modest two-game win streak to end the year.
The Rams drop to 4-13 on the season with two games left on the slate. Shepherd Hill hosts North Middlesex Regional and Littleton on May 26 and May 27 respectively to end its season.
Thursday night marked the final time 13 seniors would put on the Nashoba uniform as Eric Demmer, Ryan Courtney, Kurt Arsenault, Casey Elkins, Henry Foster, Chad Sarnoski, Aidan Murray, Lucas Delisle, Eli Boots, Hunter Boudreau, Gareth Carey, Kraig Arsenault and Ben Hurley were honored prior to the start of the game.
“With no playoffs for us this year we needed to make sure we finished the season on a high note for this senior class,” said Chieftains head coach Kevin McNamara. “Eric Demmer and Casey Elkins are two of the best players I’ve ever coached. In addition, you get athleticism and leadership across the board from this senior class. They knew what was at stake and they feel a lot better than if we’d have lost tonight.”
As for the game itself, the Chieftains found themselves down early, trailing 3-0 halfway through the first quarter. Nashoba however wasn’t going to let the spotlight fade on this particular night as they bounced back. Trailing 5-3 at the half, the Chieftains came out of the break motivated and turned in a dominating second half. Nashoba limited the Rams to just one goal over the final 24 minutes of action.
“It was more of a mindset for us in the second half,” said McNamara when asked about his team’s halftime adjustments. “When teams come up from Mid-Wach B they always seem to give us their best games. I knew Shepherd Hill would come at us with a great effort tonight. We just needed to calm them down and tell them to focus on every possession.”
In the third quarter, Nashoba grabbed control of the contest with four goals while the Rams couldn’t find the back of the net thanks to a stifling Nashoba defense. The Chieftains enjoyed a 7-5 lead after the three complete quarters.
Nashoba senior goalie Gareth Carey made the most of his opportunity to start between the pipes as he was stellar in net for the home team, making 13 saves on 19 shots as he did his best to keep the Shepherd Hill offense at bay.
“Gareth stepped in; he’s a senior so we gave him the start tonight. He’s not typically our starter but he played very well tonight. He had a great week of practice, especially the last couple days knowing he was going to get the start,” said McNamara. “He played great. We hung him out to dry a little bit early on when we gave up some big shots, but as long as we prevented Shepherd Hill shooters to line him up we’d be fine.”
The Nashoba offense was paced by Elkins, who had a five-point night with three goals and two assists. Junior attackers Robert Braceland and Mike Czekanski each scored two goals for the home team while Demmer ended his career with a milestone. The Nashoba senior captain registered three assists, his third assist midway through the third quarter, broke the program’s single season scoring record with 70 points.