Boston, MA – We have arrived at TD Garden for the final day on the MIAA calendar: Championship Sunday in Boston. We have a full slate of games that we will be covering LIVE via this Blog so bookmark this page now and keep hitting refresh for in-game updates!
On the docket today are the Finals for D1-D4 in Boys hockey:
D2: 3rd-seeded Canton vs 8th-seeded Hopkinton
D1: 4th-seeded Pope Francis vs 7th-seeded Xaverian
D3: top seed Scituate vs 11th-seeded Nashoba
D4: top seed Norwell vs 2nd-seeded Sandwich
D2 Final: Canton vs Hopkinton
The D2 Semifinal started with two strong fan sections vociferously supporting their hometown teams. The fan section for Hopkinton was dressed in all green with St. Patty’s Day weekend ongoing in the city of Boston and the fans of Canton were dressed in all white. Hopkinton’s fans took up roughly 2-3 sections of the loge where as the Bulldogs faithful took up three full sections on the opposite side of the ice. This game started quickly as you could tell there were some initial nerves but it didn’t take long to break the scoreless tie. The Hillers were able to establish a presence in the attacking zone and found inside ice down in front of the net. An initial shot by freshman forward Cam MacPherson bounced out to senior sniper Pavit Mehra who was in a great spot when the rebound emerged to pop it home: 1-0 Hopkinton. For the remainder of the period, Hopkinton showed active sticks and were able to take away space from the Bulldogs. As the period wore on Canton did find ways to generate scoring chances from distance that created rebounds but they were unable to solve Jack Lang. The score after 1 would be 1-0 Hopkinton: shots on goal were Canton 10, Hopkinton 4.
In the second period the full-court press was put on by Canton – from the first shift of the period they owned the puck possession and looked to put shots on net from all angles. They peppered Lang throughout the period although when Hopkinton created chances off the rush, they were able to get to Grade A areas or create lanes up ice with their skating game. The period proceeded without any scoring for quite a while until a bevy of activity occurred in the final two minutes. With just under two minutes to go, senior Canton defenseman James Young fired a puck on net and the rebound found junior forward Brendan Tourgee at the right post and after taking a first whack at the puck it hit the post and came right back to his stick, which allowed him to pot it on his second attempt: game tied 1-1. Before the buzzer rang Canton would add one more, big burly senior forward Jack DiGirolamo bullied his way into the zone and left the puck on a tee for junior forward Brian Middleton who snapped it 5-hole to give Canton the 2-1 lead with 33 seconds remaining. That would be our score after two periods: total shots on goal were Canton 22, Hopkinton 6.
In the third period, Hopkinton made a strong push to knot the game up early and put the most pressure on the Canton goalie Colin Davis that they have all game. They were able to deny looks at the net at the other end with active sticks and many times that led to transition or more prolonged possession to control the pace. While the Hillers were able to create better looks, Davis stood tall and didn’t let any behind him. The Bulldogs would pad their lead with just under three minutes to go as a nice slip pass from the circle by senior AJ Thomas led to a top-shelf rip below the dots by fellow senior Jeff Chaput to make it 3-1 Canton. The Hillers would take their timeout shortly after the third goal looking to regroup and then pulled their goalie after before the 1 minute mark and Canton would seal the victory with an empty netter by Thomas. Your final was 4-1 Canton over Hopkinton and the Bulldogs are D2 State Champs!
- F AJ Thomas, Canton
- F Brian Middleton, Canton
- F Pavit Mehra, Hopkinton
D1 Final: Pope Francis vs Xaverian
The atmosphere before this D1 Final was even more electric than our first game. Both crowds were engaged early: the Cardinals faithful clad in all white with red noisemakers and Xaverian in bright yellow to match their team’s jerseys. Both teams’ fans took up at least 2-3 loge sections and were battling back and forth throughout the entire first 15. Nerves were a factor early as both teams were unable to connect on passes and there were a few battles in the neutral zone to start. Slowly but surely the pace began to quicken midway through the period and Xaverian would be the first to get on the board. With seven minutes elapsed, a nice rush off the wing by sophomore forward Jackson Morse led to a slick centering feed that fellow sophomore forward Devin Gosciak was able to get a stick on with full extension and deflected it over the pad of the Cardinals goalie to make it 1-0 Hawks. Just a couple of minutes later the Cardinals would benefit from an interference call on Xaverian and cash in on the power play. At the top of the zone junior defender Jake Jarrell found senior forward and captain Josh Iby who bombed a one-timer past the Xaverian goalie to knot us up. The period would end tied at 1 and the shots on goal for the frame were Pope Francis 5, Xaverian 4.
In the second period the intensity picked up in a big way right off the bat as senior Joe DiMartino for Xaverian was hauled down on his way to the net 27 seconds in and was awarded a penalty shot for his efforts. Sophomore Pope Francis goalie Nick Ritchie made the save to keep this a 1-1 game. About two minutes later, the Hawks would get the goal they were looking for. Senior Tommy Dunn made a great steal shorthanded and fed fellow senior Sean Connolly who was stationed near the post and fired it off the end boards. The puck came right back to him and he deposited it to make it 2-1 Xaverian. The Hawks had all the momentum and were able to kill off a double minor which continued to grow the belief on the bench. However, Pope Francis started to turn the tide by picking up their pace and stringing together better possessions. The passing was crisper and none more so than on the game-tying goal. With under three minutes to go the Cardinals executed a pretty tic-tac-goal as junior Jacob Petrin fed sophomore Nick Petkovich who fired the puck cross-ice to the right post where it was finished by senior captain Ryan O’Leary: 2-2 was our score. That would hold up until the buzzer, we were deadlocked with 15 minutes left to play. Total shots for the game were Pope Francis 18, Xaverian 12.
The third period was a bit of a nail-biter as both teams were looking to deliver the knockout blow early. Both teams were able to create scoring chances across the balance of the period but Pope Francis had a big edge in shots. Each team was effective off the rush but both Ritchie and Xaverian goalie Cole Pouliot-Porter stood strong in their nets. We went deep into the period and it looked as though we were headed to OT but Iby had a different plan. Junior Cardinals forward Mossy Kearney gained the blue line and found the senior captain Iby down low who took two whacks at it and the second one found the back of the net with 25 seconds to go, sending the student section into a frenzy: 3-2 Pope Francis. Xaverian took their timeout next and looked to make one last push, but it was not quite enough. Pope Francis took home the outright D1 State Title by a final of 3-2. Final Shots: Pope Francis 31, Xaverian 17.
- F Josh Iby, Pope Francis
- F Ryan O’Leary, Pope Francis
- F Joe DiMartino, Xaverian
D4 State Final: Norwell vs Sandwich
After a thrilling finish to the D1 title game we moved on to the top-seeded grudge match between 1-seed Norwell and 2-seed Sandwich in the D4 title game. The fan sections brought the noise once again as Norwell’s fans were draped in all green St. Patty’s garb while the Sandwich faithful wore their baby blue to support their squad. Both teams were battling with chants early in the period but the action on the ice was largely one-sided. Norwell came out of the gate strong and put a great deal of pressure on the Blue Knights, peppering senior Mitchell Norkevicius with shots. He was forced to cover numerous times to cease the onslaught but eventually the dam broke nine minutes in. There was a lot of activity around the net and junior Nolan Petrucelli found fellow junior Quinn Simmons who buried it near the right post to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. The momentum was decidedly on Norwell’s side and the shots kept coming, with the buzzer offering a sense of relief for the Blue Knights. 1-0 was our score after 1 and the shots were Norwell 13, Sandwich 5.
In the second period, Norwell was able to match their pace from the first and put more pressure on the Blue Knights and in the second minute they would pad their lead. Sophomore Joe Perniola won a puck battle down low and found Petrucelli open in the slot to give the Clippers a 2-0 advantage. It seemed as though Norwell was well on its way but Sandwich had other ideas. They were able to shift the momentum when star senior Colin McIver did what he has done all year: create breakaway chances. After a steal at the blue line he cruised in all alone and buried it forehand/backhand to make it 2-1, five minutes in. From then on, the Blue Knights found their stride and began to put additional pressure on the Clippers. The ice was tilted in favor of the Blue Knights for most of the period and they would take advantage with three minutes remaining. McIver would drive to the net and take an initial shot that slid it’s way across the crease onto the stick of junior forward (and last year’s OT hero) Jack Connolly which tied the score at 2-2. It looked like we were headed to the room knotted up, but a last-minute push by Norwell un-tied the game. Senior Austin Shea snuck up on the left post and snapped a shot that slipped through the goalie’s pads with 31 seconds remaining: 3-2 Norwell would be our score after 2: total shots on goal Norwell 22, Sandwich 14.
In the third period we saw more of the same from the second as Sandwich continued to own the better of the possession and their breakouts were more crisp allowing them to gain the zone with speed. There were not a lot of shots on net all told, but there were many good looks that were either blocked or tied up near the net. Seven minutes into the period, the Blue Knights would get the equalizer. Junior forward James Mawhinney was able to center a puck from behind the goal line into the slot where fellow junior Avery Richardson one-timed it from the slot and buried to make it 3-3. From that point on, the play was largely even with each team trying to land the haymaker, but none hit the target. We would go to 4×4 OT with the total shots at Norwell 27 and Sandwich 20.
In the 4×4 OT it would be Timmy Ward who called game, with three minutes elapsed, he cruised into the attacking zone off the wing – cut to the net and buried to give Norwell the 4-3 victory. Final shots on goal: Norwell 31, Sandwich 20.
- F Timmy Ward, Norwell
- F Nolan Petrucelli, Norwell
- F Colin McIver, Sandwich
D3 Final: Scituate vs Nashoba Regional
We would follow up the OT thriller with one final Boys hockey final as the Sailors and the Wolves would square off for D3 supremacy. The student sections were alive and well for this tilt as well, swallowing up 2 loge sections a piece. The Scituate throng was covered in white and the Nashoba students were all dressed in black. The opening featured a lot of open ice and some quick skating but few shots on net. There were plenty of solid defensive sticks keeping scoring chances from reaching Grade A, but that all drew to a close six minutes in when a pretty tic-tac-goal play opened the scoring. The Wolves gained the zone and freshman Nate Carter set up at the point, he dished the puck down low to senior Ryan May who whipped a pass over to fellow senior Sam Mongeon who was open in the slot: 1-0 Nashoba. The Sailors would make a push later in the frame but they were not able to solve junior goalie Charlie Mattocks. We would advance to the second period with the score 1-0 Wolves, shots on goal were Scituate 7, Nashoba 4.
In the second period, the opening minutes were all Scituate, largely because the Wolves were assessed a too many men penalty at the end of the first. The Sailors would capitalize quickly (48 seconds in) as birthday boy and junior big man James Sullivan walked off the half wall on the power play and sniped one past Mattocks to tie us up at 1. Following that goal, the Sailors were flying high and their transition game really cranked up to another level. They were seemingly able to create off of every rush whether that meant extended possession in the attacking zone or odd-man chances speeding over the blue line. Most of the period was spent in the Nashoba end and the shots reflected that. But, to Nashoba’s credit they were able to get sticks on a number of those shots to send them wide or to clear out the netfront. We would wrap the period with the score tied and the shots on goal totaled 12 for Scituate and 6 for Nashoba. On we went to the third…
In the third stanza, Nashoba began to get more aggressive on the attack and put more quality looks on net. Scituate was able to create a couple of chances early but Mattocks found a way to shut them down. Later in the period, there was a puck that escaped his glove and began to roll behind him but he snuffed that one out too. Nashoba continued to pepper the Scituate net all period but junior Tom McMellen found a way to kick pucks out and glove down many others. The Wolves would outshoot the Sailors 15-5 in the period, but we were ultimately still knotted at 1-1 after 45 minutes of play and headed to 4×4 OT…
In the overtime period, Scituate had two or three good looks with set plays offensively but were unable to convert and four minutes into the overtime a mad scramble for a loose puck in front of the net led to a goal by senior captain Joey Quinn who polished off a miracle run for the Wolves as the 11 seed: winning a D3 Championship. Final: Nashoba 2, Scituate 1, Final shots on goal: Scituate 20, Nashoba 22
- F Joey Quinn, Nashoba
- D Dillan Lowe, Nashoba
- F James Sullivan, Scituate