LIVE BLOG: MIAA State Finals D1-D4

Boston, MA – Welcome to the MassNZ Live Blog of the MIAA State Finals! We will be bringing you live updates from the 9th Floor of TD Garden all day on this St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. As a quick reminder, we have four Finals that we will be covering today. We have a staff of five on hand today to cover every inch of these games with pics, video and updates across social. In the meantime, if you want to keep tabs on what’s happening from your phone, we will be updating this blog all throughout the day and you can hit refresh to see updates as they get posted.

Here are the games coming up that we will be recapping:

D4 Final: Dover-Sherborn Weston vs Hanover

Boston, MA – We are up and running for today’s Live Blog and we are starting off with an intriguing matchup, the only one of the day not featuring a 1 seed as the 5-seed DS-Weston Raiders take on the 6-seed Hanover Hawks. This game got underway about an hour late as the prior Girls Final went to 3OT which set the start time here for just after noontime for an 11am tilt. No matter, the crowds for each school arrived early and packed their respective sides of the loge. The DS-Weston fans were clad in green in honor of St. Patrick whereas Hanover fans were dressed in all white with custom shirts made for all students, faculty and parents – a great job by the athletic department to get that set up. Both fan sections were cheering loud for the Girls Final and then got ramped up again for the intros of this game. We were ready on the 9th Floor and it was time to get going…

In the first period, it was clear that both teams were adjusting to the TD Garden ice and the temp at ice level. The puck was bouncing quite a bit and both teams started at a slower pace, ensuring that there were no mistakes made in the process. Neither team had an advantage in the early minutes, but as the period progressed, you could see Hanover starting to own the action with their physicality. They were strong along the boards and punished puck carriers each time they crossed the blue line. The Raiders showed their speed in stretches but by and large a lot of the better chances belonged to the Hawks. That ended up showing up on the scoreboard as well as freshman Joe Galvin threw the puck to the middle of the ice and it deflected off a defensive stick onto the tape of junior forward Cam Scott who deposited it straight down the royal road to make it 1-0 Hawks. This goal came late in the period with roughly five minutes remaining and they were able to carry that momentum to the locker room: 1-0 was our score after 1.

In the second period, it was a momentum shifter for the Raiders as they came firing out of the locker room. They picked up the pace offensively and started to get more pucks to the net and it wouldn’t take long for them to tie this thing up. Just under two minutes into the period a pass out of the corner by freshman Christos Rogaris went in the slot to junior Brayden McKenna who dished it backhand to wide-open senior Max Nilt and we were tied at 1-1. As the period wore on, the Raiders continued to push the pace and put Hanover on their heels. Hanover began to deliver a counter punch and created a couple of scoring chances at the other end, but DS-Weston senior netminder Andrew Goldstein was able to deny them and keep the Hawks off the scoreboard. The period was getting into the late stages and it looked as though we were headed to the third period knotted up, but the Raiders had other plans, notching two in the final minute. With 47 seconds left junior forward Hunter Hourihan grabbed a puck near the left post and flipped it off a Hawks player’s stick and it rolled over the goalie’s shoulder and into the net: 2-1 Raiders. On the very next shift a shot from the point by sophomore Andrew Cahill rang the right post and it was banged in by Johnny on the spot (Rogaris) to make it 3-1 with just 31 seconds left. The Raiders were riding the momentum entering the third, but a late penalty meant they would start shorthanded: the opening minutes would be critical.

In the third period, the Raiders did what champions do: they put their foot on the accelerator and did not let up to finish this game off strong. Just two minutes into the period it was a nice feed from behind the net by McKenna that hit the tape of Nilt who finished quickly for his second of the day: 4-1 Raiders. But they were not done, just a few seconds later they padded that lead with a quick steal behind the Hanover net and a centering pass by senior Mattias Sarnblad landed on sophomore Max Patenaude’s stick and he buried it from the slot to make it 5-1 Raiders. From there, Hanover did push back and was able to create a couple of odd-man rushes through the neutral zone, but ultimately the team speed and swarming forecheck of DS-Weston was too much to overcome. The Raiders were crowned D4 State Champions, winning this title match 5-1.

Up next: the D2 Girls Final between Duxbury and Falmouth, followed by the D3 Boys Final: Nauset vs Marblehead.

Three Shamrocks:

  1. F Max Nilt, DS-Weston
  2. F Christos Rogaris, DS-Weston
  3. F Brayden McKenna, DS-Weston

D3 Final: Nauset vs Marblehead

Boston, MA – Here we are, back again for the second Boys Final on the day from TD Garden. The D3 Championship pits the top-seeded Nauset Warriors against the six-seeded Marblehead Headers. Both teams are making their first appearance at TD Garden in 10+ years. Nauset was last here in 2004 and Marblehead was last here in 2011, so clearly: something had to give. We were running about an hour and a half late on the proceedings, but nonetheless, the student sections came to play. Marblehead seems as though they brought out half the town decked out in bright red, taking up nearly half of the loge and they were very vocal right from the jump. On the other side was Nauset’s fans who were dressed in St. Patrick’s Day green and they easily had three sections filled to the brim. The arena was alive for this late afternoon tilt and we were ready to get it started.

In the first period each team looked to assert their style of play and there were two contrasting styles. Nauset looked to play physical and work hard to get the puck to the net with bodies whereas Marblehad was looking to create chances in space and spring their forwards in transition where they could. In the first few minutes Nauset was able to pin Marblehead deep and created a couple of shots on goal from point blank range. As the period wore on though Marblehead was causing headaches for the Warriors with their team speed and persistent forecheck. It meant that more of the action was localized in the Nauset defensive end. Ten minutes had elapsed in the frame before the seal was broken by the Headers. Junior Kyle Hart was able to drive the puck behind the net and attempted to wrap it around but noticed his teammate was standing at the far post. He found him for the easy tap in: sophomore Adin Rodvosky banged it home to make it 1-0 Headers. The Marblehead fans went absolutely bonkers: the loudest roar we’ve heard all day thus far. The final five minutes saw Nauset take the reins of control back and create a couple of quality chances off the draw and on the power play, but none got past junior Leo Burdge. On we went to the second period with the Headers up 1-0.

In the second period the game began to settle into a rhythm for both sides. Marblehead was successfully able to force Nauset wide from quality scoring areas, and they created turnovers in neutral ice with active sticks as well. As the period continued on, the Warriors engaged their strength and forced their way to the front of the net. Burdge once again was a big factor and turned away every Nauset shot, plus he had the benefits of his friends in red; both in the stands and to his left and right. Nauset rang the post twice in this period cleanly, just missing goals twice off the rush. It felt like the Warriors were applying more pressure the deeper we went into the game but full credit to Marblehead as they found ways to deny every shot so far. On we go to a decisive third period for the D3 Championship.

In the third period, as you might expect in a State Championship in a one-goal game, it was all nip and tuck with both teams looking to strike the final blow. Both teams left everything they had on the ice and it was a terrific showing on both sides. Nauset was strong and forced Marblehead into tough spots with their net drives but once again, Burdge came up big. The Headers played very well structurally, as they have all postseason and they limited Nauset though the middle of the ice and forced them into shots they didn’t always want to take. This game was going down to final minutes and the same script continued to play out as Nauset pushed for that tying goal and Marblehead stood tall against the tide. Nauset took their timeout five minutes into the period to regroup in advance of a power play, that Marblehead was able to kill. Conversely, Marblehead took their timeout in the midst of a power play 10 minutes in following a hectic netfront scramble, which Nauset was able to kill. Despite the back and forth, no goals had been scored and Nauset pulled their goalie with a minute to go, looking to make that final push, but Burdge kicked out two final shots to secure a D3 Championship for Marblehead: 1-0 was the Final.

Three Shamrocks:

  1. G Leo Burdge, Marblehead
  2. F Avin Rodovsky, Marblehead
  3. F Kyle Hart, Marblehead

D1 Final: St. John’s Prep vs Winchester

Boston, MA – Following another delay as the MIAA Academic and Sportsmanship Award winners were announced, we were ready to get underway for the D1 Championship between the top seed St. John’s Prep and 11th seed Winchester. The atmosphere pregame was juiced up with two very passionate fanbases. SJP came in hot pregame in all white, largely in t-shirts and face paint while Winchester was decked out in all green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, taking over half of the lower bowl with the biggest fan numbers we have seen all day. SJP was seeking their first title since 2022 whereas Winchester was looking for their first since 2000. The answers would all soon become clear once the opening faceoff was completed.

In the first period, it was fairly even early as both Winchester and St. John’s Prep were matching each other’s pace and flying all over the rink. Both teams were playing aggressive and heavy on the puck and that meant not very many scoring chances to be had. Both teams were strong on their sticks early and aggressive on the forecheck. As the period wore on, Winchester had a couple of odd-man rush chances but St. John’s Prep began to own more of the possession. To his credit, Red and Black team MVP Aiden Emerick was making a lot of critical saves early to keep Winchester focused and locked in, as he projected that confidence from the net out. The Eagles were possessing the puck deep in the attacking zone for long stretches but it took 12 minutes for the first goal to come. A purposeful shot from the point by sophomore defender Joe Goldstein hit a stick in front and deflected by Emerick to make it 1-0 Eagles with three minutes to go. That is how the period would end as the Eagles had the momentum, but Winchester was not far off the pace.

In the second period, it was a rough and tough battle for ice as both teams clamped down and refused to allow quality shots. The defensive sticks and positioning of Winchester in particular was impressive here as they found ways to steer pucks out of the scoring spots. The Eagles had a decent shot disparity in first first and extended that disparity in the second but the difference was Emerick who made a number of key saves and was able to rally his team in the process. Just six minutes into the period, the Red and Black would tie this game up as sophomore Adam Krogmeier threw a puck through the crease parallel of the goal line and it found junior Chris McCarthy who threw a negative angle shot on net that found the back of the net: 1-1 was our score. Following the goal, SJP got right back to work and threw everything they had at the Red and Black and rang a post in the process. They created a couple of Grade A chances down the stretch, but again, Emerick was there. We move into the third period and it’s anyone’s ballgame.

In the third period, to be frank, it was a roller coaster. Momentum swings over the course of 15 minutes and both teams took the upper hand in different stretches. The action started early as Winchester would draw first blood: four minutes into the period McCarthy would drive hard to the net and throw a backhander that surprised AJ Farese, slipping past to make it 2-1 Red and Black. SJP was undeterred and was able to tie the game back up just a minute later as a nice cross crease feed by senior Jake Vana to senior Johnny Tighe to knot us at 2-2. The remainder of the period would feature a number of close calls on both sides. SJP held the possession for long stretches and had the bulk of the shots, but Emerick was equal to the task – he kicked out a number of shots and kept Winchester rolling. We got down to the nitty gritty and things got interesting. With a minute remaining, SJP called their timeout on an offensive zone draw, but Winchester was able to clear. 10 seconds later, Winchester called their timeout with their own offensive zone draw, but the puck was cleared. That set us up for a wild finish. As time was ticking off the clock senior defender Brady Plaza was able to keep the puck in at the blue line and in a wild sequence of events the puck landed on Vana’s stick and produced a rebound that Tighe fired home with literally no time left on the clock to deliver the Eagles their second D1 State title in three years 3-2. The referees conferred after the goal was scored and decided that the goal should stand: the Eagles are State Champs.

Three Shamrocks:

  1. F Johnny Tighe, St. John’s Prep
  2. F Jake Vana, St. John’s Prep
  3. G Aiden Emerick, Winchester

D2 Final: Tewksbury vs Boston Latin

Boston, MA – Following that pulse-pounding finish, we worked the late shift at TD Garden as Tewksbury and Boston Latin got started just after 9:30pm. The Redmen enter as the 1 seed and Boston Latin enters as the 11 seed. Tewksbury is no stranger to the Garden, having secured a D2 title just two years ago and the Wolf Pack secured their last title in 2005. This was an intriguing matchup of teams would have played twice previously in the regular season…but we imagine this last one would be the one both squads want…

In the first period, it was evident that Tewksbury came out of the dressing room with purpose, speed and jam and they deployed all three liberally in the opening 15. They were flying around the zone early and swarmed the Boston Latin defense which would lead to their opening goal. Just three minutes in, an odd-man rush with two top linemates ensued as senior Jeremy Insogna held the puck as long as he could before whipping a strong pass over to fellow senior Matt Cooke who buried on a quick release to make it 1-0 Redmen. The period really took the shape that Tewksbury envisioned and there were many more shots on net thereafter but Wolf Pack sophomore Oliver Murphy was able to shut the door after the first one. Both teams had power play time to their credit in the frame but neither was able to put the puck in the net. Boston Latin did push back later in the period and created a couple of chances by cycling the puck, but both went for naught. We would enter the second period with the Redmen holding a 1-0 lead.

In the second period, we saw more of the same from the Redmen. They swarmed to the puck early and often and once again the top line was up to their usual tricks early. Two minutes in, a faceoff play win led to a puck squirting out into the slot where Cooke was able to pounce to make it 2-0 Redmen with a quick snipe. As the period wore on, Tewksbury continued to own the possession battle and Latin continued to prioritize clean and fast zone exits. There were many physical plays throughout, especially in the neutral zone as neither squad was willing to back down. The Wolf Pack continued to press on and as they engaged the forecheck, the momentum shifted. Junior forward Tristan Speiss got in hard on the forecheck and created a turnover. The puck slipped to space where sophomore defender Ryan McHugh got good composite on it and buried to cut the lead to 2-1. The Wolf Pack was flying after the goal and despite the large shot disparity, they were very much in this game. The remainder of the period was very even in terms of possession but the key was that this was anyone’s game entering the final 15.

In the third period, it felt akin to a game of keep away for Tewksbury as they looked to possess the puck as often as possible. This meant there were fewer chances for Boston Latin to put shots on net and ultimately, create scoring chances. The Redmen continued to put pressure on the Wolf Pack and poured additional shots on net, but once again Murphy was equal to the task. Because Tewksbury was kept off the scoreboard, it meant the Wolf Pack were emboldened and guess what? We had a tie ballgame heading into the final five minutes! A net drive by McHugh left a juicy rebound and junior Billy Cunniffe was able to bury it: we were square at 2-2. Tewksbury shortly after called their timeout to calm things down, but the action was just beginning. Just a minute later, the game would be untied as senior Aidan Fitzpatrick gathered the puck behind the net and emerged at the right post and gathered his own rebound and roofed it to make it 3-2 Wolf Pack. The Wolf Den was howling at ice level at 11PM and were more than glad they stayed. Seconds later, the game looked to be put away as senior speedster Matt Carrara broke into the zone, dipped around the defender and slipped the puck 5 hole to make it 4-2 Boston Latin. The Wolf Pack would call their timeout with 44 seconds to go and that would put a bow on it: the Wolf Pack pull the late upset to become D2 State Champs.

Three Shamrocks:

  1. F Aidan Fitzpatrick, Boston Latin
  2. F Billy Cunniffe, Boston Latin
  3. F Matt Cooke, Tewksbury