To say the Boston Bruins have been amazing this year is an understatement. Tonight, they begin their 19th Stanley Cup Final and have a shot at winning their 7th NHL championship.
The Bruins started out by grinding out the regular season, finishing second in their division and second in the whole league with over 100 points on the season. In the first round of playoffs, they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs,a league rival and Original Six foe. Over the years, the Bruins have consistently beaten the Leafs in the playoffs, including a miraculous comeback in 2013 when the Bruins scored four goals in the dying minutes of the first game of the opening round series . This year, the two teams went to seven games in a grueling battle that ended with suspension, bruises and blood.
Next up was the Columbus Blue Jackets, another very tough team who happened to be coming off the most historic first-round ever. As the last-seeded team in the playoffs, the Blue Jackets beat the top seed in a four-game sweep. The Bruins again faced a team that would give them a run for their money. The Bruins had a 3-2 lead in the series heading into game 6, which started off extremely fast-paced with plenty of scoring chances for both teams. Eventually, veteran forward David Krejci put one home, giving the Bruins momentum and the rest of the game was theirs. David Backes and Marcus Johansson scored and the Bruins won 3-0.
In the semifinals, they faced the Carolina Hurricanes, an unlikely opponent that grinded its way through the early rounds. The Bruins took care of them in a four game sweep, getting contributions from all four lines and especially Tuukka Rask, the goaltender having one of the best performances in the playoffs.
Going into the finals against the St. Louis Blues, the Bruins are locked in and focused and know what they need to do to win. With contributions from 1st line All-Stars Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to 4th line standouts Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Accarica and Chris Wagner, the Bruins will be in great shape. The fans and the team are ready for the Boston Bruins to bring home their seventh Stanley Cup.
Sports have been a huge part of my four years at Hanover High. I’ve played baseball, soccer, basketball and rugby, and I couldn’t imagine not being a part of these teams.
I made my closest friends on these teams. Your teammates become your family for three straight months and they take you through ups and downs of the season. This past fall, I started playing soccer with all kinds of new kids that I was never really close with. And when the season ended, I had 20 new friends that I would’ve never met outside of high school sports.
Along with the family feel of high school sports comes a unique opportunity that you will never again have in your life. This opportunity is being able to wear your hometown team across your jersey and see the community rallying around you. This was something I truly took for granted until the end of my final basketball season. After playing my last game in the sold-out Hanover High gym, I realized how much it really meant. How much our teams mean to the community. How much our teams shape the youth athletics of this town. Representing the place you have lived in your whole life is really only something you get with high school sports.
Featured photo used with permission of DJ Meads Photography
Monday marked the end of another hard-fought South Sectional in Division 3 Boys Ice Hockey, as Hopkinton defeated Ashland 6-2 at John Gallo Arena.
Division 3 South is regarded as one of the stronger sections in MIAA boys ice hockey as more than 20 teams compete in the tournament that eventually leads to the Eastern Massachusetts championship. The Eastern Mass. champ moves on to the state championship at the TD Garden.
Unfortunately for Hanover fans, the Indians’ post-season was cut short. After winning the D3 South championship in 2018, Hanover had a strong season this year and earned top seed going into tournament. But in the quarterfinals March 2, 9th seeded Ashland beat Hanover 2-0, with both goals scored by senior Jackson Hornung.
Hopkinton, the 11th seed, outscored opponents 20-2 in the tournament, including three shutouts. On their way to their first D3 South title, Hopkinton beat teams that were heavily favored over them, including North Quincy, Bishop Stang, Coyle Cassidy, and finally, Ashland.
Hopkinton’s high-powered offense will continue into the Eastern Massachusetts championship where it will face Lowell, the D3 North champion. Lead by senior defenseman Steve Simoes and junior forward Sean Walsh, the Hillers will look to beat Lowell and advance to their first state championship in program history.
BFor the second straight year, the Varsity gymnastics team won the Patriot League Championship. In a season full of highlights, the league meet on Feb. 9 stands out for the dedication and heart shown by the athletes.
The league meet features all South Shore Patriot League high school gymnastics teams, which includes Hingham, Pembroke/Silver Lake, Plymouth, Scituate, Whitman Hanson, and Hanover. Coached by Keriann Hart and led by senior captains Julia Leskow and Abby Stone, the Hanover team entered the meet with an 11-1 season record. This meet was the team’s opportunity to demonstrate its strongest athletes’ skills and abilities and reward themselves with their progress.
By Juli Cocomazzi
This year, Pembroke’s Massachusetts Gymnastic Center hosted the meet. The Leagues meet is not only the largest, most challenging, and most competitive meet of the season, it is also the last meet of a senior’s high school career. It is a night of excitement, emotion and dedication. The whole team comes together and gives it there all no matter if they’re on the floor or cheering on their teammates. Gymnastics is a sport which requires concentration, willpower, and skill. Our talented athletes rise to the challenge and display their well honed skills they have been working on all season.
Pembroke/Silver Lake placed first with a score or 139.9, Hanover finished second with a 136.45, and Hingham came in third with a 134.9.
Placing second with a score of 136.45 in this arduous competition was no easy feat. Sophomore Kayleen Boutin and junior Sydney Thai were named All Stars, Boutin for vault and Thai for floor. Boutin placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Senior Meghan Rice earned the Sportsmanship Award, and Leskow was named Scholar-Athlete.
Despite a strong season, the team bowed out of tournament play in the D3 South quarterfinals. With a record of 16-2-2, Hanover earned top seed going into tournament play. They received a first round bye and beat 16th seed Nantucket 4-2 on March 1 to advance to the quarterfinals. In a tough contest March 2 against 9th seed Ashland, who finished the regular season 13-5-3, Hanover lost 2-0.
It was a disappointing finish a year after making it to the D3 State Final, but the season had a lot to cheer about. Senior captain Lucas Lanagan helped lead the team, and senior Kevin Chandler was solid in the net.
Seeded 20th in Division 2 South tournament, the team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the first round to end the season. Up against 13th seed Bishop Fenwick on Feb. 26, the squad trailed until midway through the third period before tying it up with two goals within a minute. The game went into double overtime before Bishop Fenwick pulled off the 3-2 win.
Some observers never expected Hanover, which graduated several key seniors, to be a contender this year. But the team played relentlessly all season, compiling a 17-3 record and winning the Patriot League Fisher Division title on Senior Night. Seeded 3rd in the Division 2 South tournament, Hanover kicked off the post-season with a nail-biting win over 14th seed Milton on Feb. 28. The game came down to the final minutes, when Hanover pulled ahead 56-53. Junior Pat Damon had 21 points, while senior captain James Clarkson added 15.
In the quarterfinals March 3, Hanover hosted 6th seeded Scituate, a tough competitor in the regular season. In front of a standing room only crowd, the teams fought hard, exchanging their hold on the lead until Scituate pulled away late in the 4th quarter. Scituate took the game, 62-56.
The team was led by Clarkson, the Patriot League MVP, who also was named a league All Star along with Damon and seniors Michael Simon and Steven Simon. Clarkson also captained the team with seniors Joe Clinton and Andrew Carroll.
Led by a strong roster of returning players, Hanover played with heart all season but fell short of making the tournament. The team was led by senior captains Erin Flynn, Janey Devlin and Kathryn Fallon. While the team will be graduating five seniors, sophomore starters Clare Connolly and Emily Flynn, as well as two freshmen who made varsity, help lay a solid foundation for next year.
Swimming & Diving
Senior diver Lauren O’Sullivan ended the season as the undefeated Patriot League Champion. Led by captains O’Sullivan, Danielle Taft, Dan Greene and Olivia Reddish, the team sent several swimmers to the Division 2 State meet. The 200 Free Relay of senior Danielle Taft, freshman Caris Mann, sophomore Kelly Taft and junior Sarah Gavin finished 14 in the 200 Free Relay and 19th in the Medley Relay. Mann earned 9th place in the 200 IM and 25th in the 100 Breast. Danielle Taft finished 27th in the 100 Back.
For the second straight year, the team won the Patriot League Championship. They defeated a tough Pembroke/Silver Lake team in their final meet of the season for the title. At the championship meet, sophomore Kayleen Boutin placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Junior Sydney Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Team captains were seniors Julia Leskow and Abby Stone.
Senior Matt McLeod broke the school record for career pins while also earning his 100th win. He finished 6th in the D3 Divisional Meet in the 160 lb. weight class and earned a trip to All States. McLeod also led the team as a captain, along with senior Pat Brown. Jack Long, a junior, won the South Sectional championship in the 195 lb. weight class. Jack is only the second sectional champ in recent years.
The team hosted youth dance clinics and performed at home basketball games all season to perfect their routine before competitions began. The hard work paid off, with a first place finish at the Braintree Winter Invitational on Feb. 16. The state competition takes place March 5 at Weymouth High School.
Senior captain Alyssa Nee was voted MVP of the Patriot League. At the Division 4 All State Meet, she finished 7th in the 1000m with a time of 3:08.36. Sophomore Chris Pacino finished 13th in the mile with a time of 4:46.75
This team seems to fly under the radar every year, but its members don’t seem to mind. They’re having too much fun on the slopes. This year’s captains were seniors Mathew Meads, Harry O’Brien, Haraden Bottomley and Mikayla Chabot.
Going into Super Bowl LIII, many people expected the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams to be a high-scoring shootout. But the Pats’ 13-3 win over the Rams on Sunday ended up being a defensive battle instead.
With the score only 3-0 at the half, many were starting to question what was going on with both offenses. On the Patriots’ first drive, they moved the ball well until an ill-advised throw by Tom Brady led to an interception by Cory Littleton. But the Rams went nowhere with the ball and had to punt it away. On the second drive, the Patriots moved the ball well again and got within field goal range only to have Stephen Gostkowski miss a 46-yard kick to keep the game scoreless going into the second quarter. Gostkowski eventually returned to get the Patriots on the board with a successful 42-yard field goal kick before the half ran out. The Rams punted on their first eight possessions of the game, while the Patriots were able to move the ball with Julian Edelman, who caught every pass that came his way. He could not be covered the entire game and finished with ten catches for 141 yards and the Super Bowl MVP.
In the second half, the Rams finally moved the ball into field goal range and Greg Zuerlein nailed a 53-yarder to tie the game at 3. The rest of the third quarter was back and forth, without a lot going on. But in the fourth quarter, the offenses started to move the ball and make plays. The Patriots brought pressure in the fourth quarter to make Rams QB Jared Goff think faster, and when he did, he struggled. The Pats sacked Goff four times and he was either pressed or hit on most of his throws.
When the Patriots got the ball with about 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they needed a vintage Brady drive to score a touchdown to take the lead. The drive started on their own 31-yard line, and Brady hit Gronk on an 18-yard touch pass to get the drive going. After that, Brady went to Edelman on a 13-yard catch over the middle for another first down. You could see that Brady and the Pats started to figure out this Rams defense and Brady found his rhythm. A few plays later, on Tom’s best throw of the night, he hit Gronk down the seam for 29 yards on a perfect pass that landed the Pats on the two-yard line. On the next play, Sony Michel punched it into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, making it 10-3. The Rams got the ball and moved it all the way to the Patriots’ 24 yard line. On 2nd and 6, the Pats brought a blitz and when Goff tried to throw it up to Brandin Cooks, he was intercepted by Stephen Gilmore. It was the play the Patriots needed to close out the game.
After the pick, the Patriots got two huge runs by Rex Burkhead and Michel. Both went for 26 yards leading to a Gostkowski 41-yard field goal to make the score 13-3. After a last attempt by the Rams, the Patriots got the ball back, and Brady took the snap, kneeled down and won himself his 6th Super Bowl. It is the most titles by any one player in NFL history, and tied the Pittsburgh Steelers with most wins by a franchise. This team was doubted all year long. I never shied away because as long as they have Brady and Belichick, they are always going to be in it.
The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the ninth time in the Brady-Belichick era. Many thought the Patriots wouldn’t get there this year, but their 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship clinched the spot. If you ever doubted Brady and Belichick, then you were wrong. Since 2001, this has been the most dominant dynasty in sports history. Nine trips to the Super Bowl, five wins, and now a chance for their sixth Lombardi Trophy, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers as the winningest franchise in the NFL. No sports team in the salary cap era will ever be able to replicate this. The way the Patriots have been able to compete for the Super Bowl year in and year out is unlike anything ever seen before. Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in the NFL, and Brady is the best player in league history.
In Super Bowl LIII next Sunday, the Pats will face the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the New Orleans Saints in overtime for the NFC Championship. The Rams are led by a 33-year old head coach Sean McVay, fourth-year quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley (an MVP candidate), and Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive players in the league. No strangers to the game, I believe the Patriots will not be impacted by all the “Super Bowl distractions” this week. But the Rams, on the other hand, will be dealing with media day, an extra week of practice, and an extended halftime — all of which could all be a factor in the game. In an early prediction, I am going with the Patriots because of their outstanding play of late. But the Rams, who definitely have the firepower to shut down the Patriots, should not be counted out.
Side Note: The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, 20-17, which started this unbelievable run.