Two of the top Division 2 teams will face-off in the much anticipated MIAA Division 2 Boys State final. #3 Canton, which is no stranger to the TD Garden with four straight trips will square-off with #8 Hopkinton on Sunday morning (11 AM).
The Hillers are back in the TD Garden for the first time since 2019, when they fell to Wachusett in the Division 3 Final.
Both teams are fresh-off impressive semifinal wins to punch their tickets to the finals. Canton defeated #2 Duxbury in a 3-1 comeback win and Hopkinton knocked off #4 Walpole with a four-goal second period blitz to win 5-1.
Canton (21-4-0), is hungry for a state final win after last year’s loss to Tewksbury and are eager to hoist the trophy this time around. It will take some work to stop Hopkinton’s offense, but the Bulldogs have only allowed one goal in four postseason games and a lot of that is attributed to sophomore goalie Colin Davis, who has been lights out.
“I think it’s a tribute to our team’s approach to defense,” said coach Brian Shuman (on his team only letting up one goal in the postseason). “We have players at all positions who take pride in their defensive abilities, and it helps when you get great goaltending as well. With that being said, Hopkinton is an exceptional offensive and defensive team, with many players at both positions who can generate goal scoring opportunities. They are skilled and hard working, and their offensive firepower will certainly test us in this final game.”
Canton had an outstanding regular season with their only losses coming against Division 1 opponents in Franklin, Archbishop Williams, Hingham and Marshfield. So far in the postseason, they have defeated Medford 3-0, Wilmington 6-0 and Newburyport 2-0 all before their big win over Duxbury. Against the Dragons, senior captain AJ Thomas was the hero for the Bulldogs as he netted the game-winner late in the third period and sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
Coach Shuman is excited for his team to be back at the Garden and will turn to his top forwards in Thomas (19 pts) and junior captain Brendan Tourgee (23 pts), who have been key leaders all season. Also strong offensively for the Bulldogs are seniors Jeff Chaput (16 pts) and Jack Digirolamo (27 pts) as well juniors Brian Middleton (17 pts) and Colin Blake (19 pts). Both Michael Thomas (13 pts) and Travis Thomas (14 pts) will be strong up front as well.
Senior captain Leo Owens anchors the outstanding defense for Canton along with James Young (15 pts), Matt Anderson (15 pts), Griffin Hughes, Jack Lauro, Tyler Findlen and Teddy Shuman. Davis, a key asset for the Bulldogs all season will be in net.
Hopkinton (20-4-0) proved a lot of people wrong this season with their impressive campaign. The Hillers only had four losses during the regular season and finished winning nine of 11 games heading into the postseason. One of their losses was to Norwood back on February 1st, and the Hillers got the revenge in the quarterfinals round beating the Mustangs 5-3 in a nail-biter.
Here’s a look at one of senior Joe Carrazza’s 22 goals from this season:
After a 9-0 win over North Attleboro in the opening round, Hopkinton moved on to play Westwood who they defeated 6-3. That led them to the big rematch with Norwood where they pulled off the big win to move on to the semis. After getting down 1-0 to Walpole, senior Pavit Mehra put on a clinic, scoring four consecutive goals in the second to lead the Hillers to victory.
The Hillers have had no trouble scoring goals in the postseason with 25 in four games so far. They scored 102 in the regular season and their potent offense starts with Mehra (39-28-67). Senior captains Joe Scardino (12-11-23), Joe Carrazza (22-12-34) and impressive freshman Cam MacPherson (13-29-42) have been huge up front all season. Ryan Teitel (13 pts) and Wyatt Iantosca (14 pts) have also been key.
Seniors Dylan Mansur (10-18-28) and Drew Morse (5-10-15) make up the strong defensive core along with Ryan Brennan and Parker Winn. The Hillers have a veteran in net in Jack Lang (2.04 GAA) who has started every game and been solid all season.