MANCHESTER, N.H. | After several game cancellations, the Pinkerton boys lacrosse team was finally able to play its season opener Tuesday at Manchester West.

Clearly happy to be playing a meaningful game again, the Astros displayed their happiness on the scoreboard, with a dominating 14-2 victory. Pinkerton picked up right where it left off last year, when the Astros finished unbeaten and won a state crown.

The offensive attack was led by Anthony Valentine. The Pinkerton Academy junior scored five goals and dished out two assists. Valentine was a right-handed attack his first two years as an Astro and was stuck behind star Steve Boyle on the depth chart. As a result, Valentine finished last season with only eight total points (5 goals, 3 assists).

However, he spent months working on his left hand with hopes of making a bigger offensive impact this spring, and so far it appears to have paid off. He led the team in scoring during the preseason, and he scored all of his goals Tuesday with his left hand.

Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly credited Valentine for adapting to a new style of play.

"Most kids, it goes in one ear and out the other," said O'Reilly, who floated the idea of becoming a left-handed attackman to Valentine last year. "He's created himself as a left-hander. It's made all the difference in the world."

The weather may have been miserable, but the head coach is glad his club's season is finally underway.

"It was our first game. I'm just happy to play," he said. "But it was just awful (outside)."

Sophomore midfielder Brian Estes also had a big afternoon, notching a hat trick. Junior midfielders Peter Mazzola and Steve Eurieck scored two goals each, and sophomore attack Nolin Murphy had a goal and two assists.

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