Contributing Mike Flanagan and Jake Levin
BOSTON – The Cohasset Skippers won their fifth state title in program history on Saturday with a 10-6 victory over fellow perennial Division 3 power Dover-Sherborn at Nickerson Field.
Cohasset’s victory was the culmination of a journey, four years in the making.
A senior-laden roster, many of the Skippers who hoisted the championship trophy at Nickerson Field were on the sidelines during Cohasset’s last championship win in 2014 – also against D-S.
Skippers head coach James Beaudoin recalled today’s seniors storming the field as 8th graders in the aftermath of a 10-9 victory for Cohasset back then.
“They’ve wanted it since,” Beaudoin said. “They realized how hard it would be. Every team’s getting better in our division. But they stepped up in the offseason with leadership and actually working – actually making sure that the practices and the workouts were efficient.”
The Skippers raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter on goals from five different players in Noah Froio, Ryan Donovan, Gray Thomas, Will Thomas and lastly Kyle McFetridge with 15 seconds left in the quarter.
Tim Polk scored with 1.7 seconds left on the clock in the first for the Raiders, the beginning of a comeback to slice their deficit to 6-4, but despite its gargantuan advantage on the faceoff-X (16 of 19, won predominantly by Matthew Paolatto), it was all in vain thanks to Mason Fitzgerald and his 14 saves in net for the Skippers.
“That’s why he’s an All-American,” Beaudoin said. “Lights out leadership and lights out in the net. He’s the big difference.”
Each Thomas brother finished with three goals apiece for Cohasset, while McFetridge netted two for the Skippers.
“It means everything to us,” McFetridge said. “Us 15 seniors, we’ve been together all four years. We’ve worked so hard together and to finally win a state championship, it feels great for us.”
Cohasset increased its lead to 9-4 after the third quarter, holding D-S off the board entirely – but saw Jack Dillon find the back of the net twice in the first 3:38 of the fourth to pull the Raiders back within three.
Trying to match his younger brother with a hat trick, Will Thomas found the back of the net with 3:52 left to all be ice it for the Skippers.
“He got a good start,” Will Thomas said of Gray. “I was just trying to play a team game and towards the end, my shots were falling.”
Cohasset finished the season 17-6, five of its losses coming against MIAA Division 1 teams and the other to out-of-state Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) The team wound up outscoring its opponents through five tournament games by a 74-19 margin.
“Our goalie played unbelievably,” Will Thomas said. “Our defense has been playing awesome all regular season, but particularly the playoffs. They kept us in this game. We started winning the GB [ground ball] battle and that’s what wins games.”
Cohasset – 5 1 3 1 – 10
Dover-Sherborn – 1 3 0 2 – 6
Gray Thomas – 3 Goals, 1 Assist
Will Thomas – 3 Goals
Kyle McFetridge – 2 Goals
Jake Sullivan – 2 Assists
Noah Froio – 1 Goal
Ryan Donovan – 1 Goal
Christopher Longo – 1 Assist
Mason Fitzgerald – 14 Saves
Jack Dillon – 3 Goals
Pierce Gregory – 1 Goal, 2 Assists
Erik Niit – 1 Goal, 1 Assist
Tim Polk – 1 Goal
Henry Kenney – 1 Assist
Standish Carothers – 8 Saves
Faceoff-X: Dover-Sherborn 16, Cohasset 3