Shrewsbury won its second straight state title today and third since 2014 with a 2-1 victory over Hanover in the Massachusetts Division 3 boys hockey state championship at the TD Garden.
As winter shells out one final (we hope), late-March cold surge, the two hottest programs in Division 3 boys hockey since 2014 hooked up at the TD Garden for one final run on the ice. The Indians (20) and Colonials (10) now have 30 postseason wins and four state titles between them in the past five seasons.
They didn’t disappoint the late-morning crowd that came to watch the Central Mass champion. and South sectional champions.
It wasn’t decided until the final seconds when Shrewsbury cleared out the puck after a faceoff in its own end with nine seconds left and Hanover goalie Kevin Chandler on the bench leaving an open net.
Junior Tyler Borys (No. 11) and sophomore James Tepper (No. 20) had Shrewsbury’s goals. Tepper’s was the game-winner. It came with 6:16 left in the final period. He walked in alone on Chandler after surging past the Indians’ defense at the blue line and backhanded the puck into the net. Older brother Jack Tepper, a senior captain, and Conall Persichino, a senior defenseman, had the assists, with the latter throwing it to the younger Tepper near the Hanover blue line.
“It was just an unreal play,” James Tepper said of the development of the game-winning goal. “It all started with my brother laying a huge hit on that kid at the blue line. It came to Conall and he threw an unreal backhand sauce across the ice. I caught it, then kind of just cut to the middle and got around the defenseman and found myself on a mini breakaway.”
That came 3:18 after Hanover’s Zach Taylor (No. 38) put the Indians on the board after he took a pretty feed out front from teammate Lucas Lanagan on a 2-on-1 and buried it past Shrewsbury goalie Patrick Shaughnessy with 9:34 left in the third period.
Hanover bombarded Shaughnessy with pressure out front in the next couple of minutes, and Shrewsbury coach Steve Turnblom called what turned out to be an excellent timeout with 7:30 to play. Just 1:14 later, Shrewsbury took the lead for good on Tepper’s breakaway.
“We went undefeated up until today,” Hanover coach Jonny Abban said. “We had a helluva run and dropped one to a really good Shrewsbury team.”
Borys’ goal broke a scoreless deadlock 4:40 into the second period when he took a backhanded feed from Anthony Quinlivan and buried it out front before Chandler could fully shift to his left. The play began with Liam Quinlivan’s pass to his brother Anthony, who, as he surged toward Chandler, fed the streaking Borys to his right for the junior’s 11th goal.
It was one of the few times until that point that either team got caught leaving so much open ice in the defensive end.
“I think that first goal we got on them put them flat on their feet,” Shrewsbury’s Jack Tepper said. “They didn’t expect it. It got them worried, and we kind of just took over from there.”
The best opportunity for the Indians in the first two periods came in the first period when they had a 5-on-3 advantage. Hanover held that for a minute but never got off a shot.
Jack Tepper, Liam Quinlivan, Thomas Belbin and Persichino rotated on defense for Shrewsbury on that 5-on-3.
“We went out with three of the bigger guys with the big sticks, and they didn’t get a shot on net,” Turnblom said. “That was incredible. Our kids played sound position.”
Hanover nearly tied it with seconds remaining in the middle period. Taylor rushed down the right side and wristed one off the post a second before the final buzzer of the middle period. It was one of his nine shots on the day.
Hanover had plenty of ice time in the Colonials’ end, but most of their chances weren’t spectacular. Same went for Shrewsbury.
“You come here, and it’s a different environment,” Abban said. “We just didn’t get the flow that we really are used to. It happens. Our kids battled. We didn’t roll over. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Nothing will get through to them now, but they’ll realize we had a helluva year. We just didn’t finish the last game.”
The story of the first period was the lackluster power plays for each team. Shrewsbury had the first opportunity with 6:19 left and managed two uneventful shots (from Anthony Quinlivan and Persichino).
And then there was Hanover’s dud on the 5-on-3 with 2:52 left in the opening period. Only Taylor put the puck on net in the man-advantage portion of the power play.
Shrewsbury outshot Hanover, 8-7, in the first 15 minutes.
Hanover at this point is probably sick of Shrewsbury families scoring goals in the state championship. The Quinlivan brothers — Dan and Jack — helped Shrewsbury beat Hanover in 2014 and today Liam and Anthony, first-liners, played big roles on the Garden ice.
The Quinlivan brothers now have three state titles in the family. Today marked the first when one of them didn’t score in the state finals.
Shrewsbury dominated Hanover, 7-1, in 2014. Today, however, neither team had a clear edge. That was no more evidenced as in the final shots on goal — 22 for each.
The title was Shrewsbury’s fifth in school history. The Indians were going for their second title in three seasons. The Indians had 28 postseason goals in five games heading into the Garden today.
Shrewsbury came into the game 19-2-2 after beating Westfield, 2-1, in the Central/Western Mass. semifinal.
Hanover came into the game undefeated at 24-0-1 after defeating Swampscott, 5-0, in the Eastern Mass. semifinal. Its lone “blemish” was a 1-1 tie with Canton Dec. 13.
Each team had won four state titles coming into the game: Hanover in 2016, 2007, 2001 and 1997. Shrewsbury in 2017, 2014, 2009 and 1999.