Mass. HS Boys Hockey – Central Mass. Tournament: Hopedale Wins Late Thriller; Grafton/BVT, Worcester, Gardner, Oakmont Advance

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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The semifinals are set in the two divisions of the inaugural Central Mass. Athletic Directors Association tournament, with the Class C title game already etched in stone.

* In Class A, Hopedale continued its perfect season going thanks to goal from Cam Collins with 1:01 to play, giving the second-seeded Raiders a 2-1 win over No. 7 Wachusett at Blackstone Valley IcePlex. Collins also assisted on Tyler Lane’s goal just 1:18 into the game, but Hopedale couldn’t crack Wachusett goalie Steve Layton for much of the game. The Mountaineers finally tied it on a Matt Bjorkman goal 1:42 into the third.

Sean McGee finished with two assists for Hopedale.

* Nick Viens and Zack Baker scored two goals each and third-seeded Grafton/Blackstone Valley broke out with four goals in the third period to topple No. 6 Leominster, 7-2, in Class B. Both scored in the first period along with Drew Breen to give the Gators a 3-1 lead after one. After Patrick LeBlanc cut the deficit for the Blue Devils in the second, G/BVT broke out in the third on goals from Lukas Petone, Baker, Viens and Noah Becotte. Reed Henson made 25 saves for the Gators. Zackary Warner-Senee had the other goal for Leominster.

* Luke Evers struck for five goals, four of them in the third period as No. 1 Worcester broke a tie and pulled away from No. 8 St. Paul, 7-2. The game was delayed a day because of an issue at Buffone Rink in Worcester, and the teams were in a tight battle for two periods. Chase Burdett and Max Costa gave the Knights a 2-1 lead in the second before Evers tied it for the Wildcats. Evers struck for a pair of shorthanded goals among his four in the third, and James Morse finished the scoring. Nathan LaPrade also scored for Worcester and Josh Lemieux stopped 23 shots.

Josh Lemieux Worcester

* Mark Quinn made 29 saves and third-seeded Gardner knocked off No. 2 Littleton/Bromfield, 1-0, in a Class C semifinal. Jayden Patel scored the lone goal for the Wildcats early in the third period.

* Gardner will meet up with neighboring archrival Oakmont, after the top-seeded Spartans iced No. 4 Lunenburg/Ayer Shirley, 3-1 at Cushing Academy’s Iorio Arena. Evan Thibault scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period for the Spartans, then iced the victory with an empty netter with 15 seconds left. Thibault also assisted on Blake Riggins’ goal in the first period before the Blue Knights pulled even in the second period on a Tyler Fortier tally. Cathel Wells made 22 saves for the Spartans.

Here is the updated CMADA Tournament schedule:

Class A semifinals – Saturday, Feb. 19

No. 4 Algonquin at No. 1 Marlboro, 4:30 (Navin Rink)

No. 3 Nashoba vs. No. 2 Hopedale, 6:00 (NorthStar)

Class B semifinals – Saturday, Feb. 19

No. 4 Fitchburg/Monty Tech at No. 1 Worcester, 7:40 (Buffone)

No. 3 Grafton/Blackstone Valley vs. No. 2 Assabet Valley, 8:00 (NorthStar)

Class C championship – TBD

No. 3 Gardner vs. No. 1 Oakmont

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