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MIAA Boys Division 3 State Final: History Will Be Made As Hopkinton, Wachusett Clash

Someone’s going to make history in the Division 3 boys hockey state championship between Hopkinton and Wachusett.

The South sectional champion Hillers (17-6-2) and Central Mass. champion Mountaineers (17-4-2) meet in the finals Sunday, March 17, at TD Garden (11 a.m.)

Hopkinton players celebrate South sectional championship win over Ashland.

The late-morning breakfast affair will produce a state champion for the first time in one of the school’s history.

Wachusett has won three Central Mass. titles and fell one game shy of the Garden in 2013.

Hopkinton, meanwhile, had never even won a South sectional title until this year, when it breezed through with wins over Bishop Stang (4-0), North Quincy (3-0), Coyle Cassidy (7-0) and Ashland (6-2). It then beat Lowell, 8-3, in the North finals.

Three shutouts and outscoring foes, 28-5, in the postseason. Not too shabby.

Wachusett goalie Jackson King readies for puck with help in front from Mountaineers defenseman Zak Kapusta in 4-3 D3 state semifinal win over Longmeadow. (Fran Sypek photo)

Speaking of solid performances, the Mountaineers have done so through the Central and West, just not in the dominant fashion ala Hopkinton. They beat Auburn (3-1), Groton-Dunstable (3-2) and Longmeadow (4-3, shootout).

The Hillers have been led in the post-season by Tommy Hamblet with seven goals and Kyle Rogers and Sean Walsh with five apiece. Cole Thomas has been in shutdown mode in net all tourney. Senior Steve Simoes is a key on defense for Hopkiinton coach Chris MacPherson, who actually is a graduate of Wachusett Regional.

Wachusett has four players with at least 30 points: Kevin Skagerlind, Grant Gardula, Sean Gardner and Ryan Gardula, the nucleus of coach Matt Lane’s offense. Gardner, a junior blue liner, leads the Mountaineers defense. Freshman Jack Felicio (14 pts) has been solid in the post-season. Jackson King has been a stalwart in goal.

Each team beat Division 2 Medway – Hopkinton, 5-2, and Wachusett, 4-2.

Dom Nicastro

Dom Nicastro

Dom Nicastro is a veteran sportswriter and journalist whose credits include the Gloucester Daily Times, Salem News, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune and Boston Magazine. This is his seventh season working for Hockey Night in Boston Magazine. He covers boys Eastern Mass. Division 3 and Rhode Island. He can be reached via email at [email protected]
Dom Nicastro
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