MIAA Boys Division 3 State Final: Hanover Finally Reaches Its Goals, Outlasts Marlboro On TD Garden Ice

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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Hanover entered the Division 3 state championship game as the stingiest team in the postseason, allowing only one goal total in its four tournament wins. But when the need arose, the Hawks proved they also have the firepower to counter the highest scoring opponent they would face all season.

The #3 Hawks got a pair of goals each from senior Robbie Hanna and freshman Mikey Munroe, as well as the game winner from senior Max DaSilva on the power play, and outlasted top-seeded Marlboro, 5-3, at TD Garden.

Hanover players celebrate MIAA Division 3 state title after 5-3 win over Marlboro at TD Garden.

The state championship was the sixth overall for the Hanover program, and some sweet redemption for some of the team’s members who were part of the 2020 squad that should have played on Causeway Street, only to have the state final against Longmeadow canceled at the start of the pandemic.

“It feels unreal,” Hanna said. “Back in 2020 I was devastated when it happened. The goal was to play here at the TD Garden and we did. We won it all.”

Hanover never trailed, but had to constantly withstand the push from a Marlboro team that was fourth in the state among all boys teams in goals this season. Much of that was attributed to senior Marcus Chrisafideis, who scored his state-best 38th goal in the first period and also had an assist. Sophomore Luc Masse and senior captain Mark Evangelous added goals, and senior Braden Deckers had a pair of assists.

DaSilva’s goal finally put the Hawks ahead to stay with 3:17 left in the second. Coming at the tail end of what was a 5-on-3 power play, DaSilva followed up after a pair of Munroe attempts were stopped, and finally slid the puck from a scramble past Marlboro goalie Dan Esteves.

Listen to Max DaSilva interview following the game:

“We were just working so hard, it was a back-and-forth game,” DaSilva said. “I was just in front of the net. I just hit it and it happened to go in. It was awesome.”

From there, the Hanover defense kicked in and protected senior goalie Liam Monahan as Marlboro pressed for the equalizer. Hanna ended any thoughts of a final comeback when he took an outlet pass from Thao Lanagan (three assists) off a faceoff and nailed the empty net with 41.7 seconds to go.

“I was just hoping it was going to hit the net,” Hanna said with a chuckle.

Hanover got off to a strong start as Munroe ripped home a feed from Hanna at 6:47 of the first. Just 2:21 later they traded roles, Munroe assisting Hanna to make it a quick 2-0 lead.

“Munroe makes a huge difference,” Hanna said. “I don’t know if we make it here without him.”

Hanover’s Thao Lanagan goes back for puck with a Marlboro forward in hot pursuit. Hawks won MIAA D3 title with 5-3 win.

But Marlboro was undaunted, as Masse made a great move at the blue line to get around the defense and then cut across the crease to put a forehand past Monahan and cut the lead in half.

Just 10 seconds later the Panthers went on the power play, and another 17 seconds after that it was tied. Chrisafideis reversed direction behind the net and tried a wraparound, jamming the puck past Monahan inside the right post.

“We’re up two goals, and then they battled right back. That was a wakeup call for our kids,” Hanover coach Jonny Abban said. “I said, this is far from over. We just kept plugging away and doing the little things.”

Munroe scored on a partial break at 3:54 of the second to put Hanover back on top, but Chrisafideis set up Evangelous for an easy tap-in at the left post on a 2-on-1 to even it at 3-3 midway through the game.

Just 29 seconds later, however, the Hawks went on the power play, and another tripping call made it a 5-on-3 for 10 seconds. The Panthers were able to get one player back, but DaSilva and the Hawks made them pay before the second penalty expired.

“They kept on fighting back, they didn’t give up,” Munroe said. “We just had to keep pushing. As soon as we got that fourth goal, we just had to play our kind of game.”

Said Abban: “We were battle-tested. I knew if we were in the game going into the third period, we could do this. The kids responded to that.”

Even for a team with as much offensive potential as Marlboro, a third deficit proved to be too much of an uphill battle in the quest for the program’s first state championship since 2005.

“You spend a lot of energy coming from behind. It wears you out when you chase the game like we were doing,” Marlboro coach Mike O’Brien said. “To their credit, they battled back twice from behind and they were still pushing to get that goal at the end. There was no letdown from those guys. They really fought all the way to the end.”

Hanover won D3 state titles in 1997, 2001 and 2016 at the Garden, as well as a D2 title in 2007. Then there was the co-championship from two years ago, but one that left an incomplete feeling. The Hawks agreed that Sunday’s win was sweet satisfaction for the current players and alumni.

“There’s a lot of kids who were on the team two years ago,” said DaSilva, who was a sophomore at BC High in 2020 before transferring back to Hanover. “That just pushed them so much, because they wanted to do it for that group of seniors who didn’t get the chance.”

Abban said he has spoken to many of the players who were on that 2020 squad, some of whom were in the stands to watch Sunday’s victory.

“They’re all part of this,” Abban said. “There were 22 kids who dressed today, but there were a lot of others who were part of this win.”

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