The boys hockey team brought hope to Hanover High School this winter with its first trip to the state championship game in years. After winning the South Sectional Championship for Division 3, they won five 5 playoff games to make it to the state title game at the T.D. Garden in Boston. The Indians fell short in that game, losing 7-1 to Shrewsbury, and although it was a tough loss, it was a big step in the right direction for the team.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to get that far,” said senior captain Pat Nevins. “With our hard work ethic and really growing into one big family, that was a big part of it. We loved being together.”
“Of course a win would’ve been better,” Nevins added, “but to have my last game at the Garden … we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
This season’s finish was a big improvement over recent years. The 2011-12 team lost three of four games to end the season and miss a chance at the playoffs, and last year’s team finished with a 5-11-4 record.
Hanover finished this regular season with 13 wins and 7 losses, winning the last four games of the season. The players worked extremely hard this season and the time and effort paid off for the Indians, coached by Jonathan Abban.
“We were a close group, there was more team chemistry,” said junior Andrew Zwart. “Sometimes (in past seasons) the seniors would disconnect, but that didn’t happen.”
The five senior captains included Nevins, Matt McDougall, Drew Caldwell, Matt Randall and Mike Proctor. McDougall was the team’s leading scorer with 30 points and Nevins had 27 points. Both McDougall and Nevins were named Patriot Ledger All-Scholastics.
A tragedy occurred in the middle of the season, when Hanover youth hockey player Matthew Cox was seriously injured in a ziplining accident. The team showed a great amount of support for Matthew and dedicated their season to the boy. Players would wrap their equipment in blue tape in support of Matthew while he was still in critical condition and attended his funeral when he passed away. The loss motivated the team to win games not just for themselves but for Matthew as well.
As the 2013-2014 season closes for the Indians, the team prepares to come back next year and go all the way to win the state Division 3 title. Despite losing 11 seniors, strong performances by young players give the team hope for the future. Sophomores Landon Hasenfuss and Colin Mahoney contributed 20 points each in the season. In net the team was lead by Sophomore Noah Clapp and Zwart. Junior Cole Methot and freshman Mike McGlame were strong on defense.