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Heart and Hustle Not Enough in State Championship Game

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From the humble New England Sports Center in Marlborough to the big stage of TD Garden, the Hopkinton hockey team has had a dream season. Led by Tri-Valley League MVP Pavit Mehra, the Hillers finished with a record of 20-4 under coach Scott Hayes. Their run culminated yesterday in a State championship game against the fourth-seeded Canton at TD Garden.

The Hillers started aggressively and took the lead early. With 11:48 remaining in the first period, Mehra slotted a rebounding puck past the Canton goalie and sent the Hopkinton supporters section into a frenzy.

Pavit Mehra scores and the Hillers take a 1-0 lead over Canton

Canton rallied in the second period, peppering Hopkinton goalkeeper Jack Lang with an array of shots from all over the ice. Lang was stalwart in the net and made save after breathtaking save.

Senior Jack Lang made an incredible 29 saves in the game, and this may have been his best

Throughout the second and third periods the Hillers struggled to clear their zone. Despite Lang’s heroic effort, Canton finally broke down Hopkinton’s defense with 1:48 remaining in the second with what looked like an intentional kick of the puck into the back of the net.

Canton quickly doubled down on that, just two minutes later scoring again and taking a 2-1 lead. In the third period, the Hillers looked to tie, but the relentless press of the Canton attack and several turnovers proved to be their undoing. Canton scored again with 2:55 remaining and the Hillers were forced to pull Lang from the net in favor of a sixth attacker. A Hiller turnover allowed Canton to score an empty net goal, putting them up 4-1 and sealing the victory.

After the game, Senior Izak Peterson shared his thoughts. “The season was great. We had the best coaches and this was a great team. It’s definitely a tough way to end the season, but there wasn’t a better team to end my career with.”

The Hillers come together as their season ends.

photos courtesy of Klara Niss

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