COHASSET – The careers of Jeff Powers, Cole Kissick and the remainder of Cohasset’s senior class have been nothing short of achievement-studded over the last four years. Those nine members of the Skippers have played in a pair of state championship games, pulling out one title, but one feat has eluded them in recent memory, a victory over Hingham.
While it may not have been the way Cohasset head coach James Beaudoin drew it up as he saw his four-goal lead evaporate over the final five minutes of the game, Powers’ goal 13 seconds into double-overtime capped a thrilling 11-10 victory, securing the Skippers first victory over the Harbormen since 2008.
“Hingham is our cross town rival and obviously the state championship last year was great but as a senior, seeing us lose to Hingham that last four years of my career is tough,” Powers said. “So being able to get the game winner against them after a lot of losses is definitely something special and I’ll never forget it.”
From the opening faceoff, it was apparent that Cohasset was going to have a difficult time with Hingham’s Frankie Higgins, as two face-offs wins led to an early 2-0 Harbormen lead. That dominance continued throughout the game, before Cohasset won a rare faceoff to begin the second overtime, leading to the game-winning goal.
“It was a scrum, we had a tough going with face-offs all night but we persevered there,” Powers said. “Coach bumped up our D-man Max Fitzgerald there and he worked his off, we got the ball and it was just a fast break. Just unselfish play right now that’s all he’s been preaching all year, next man up and keep moving the ball.”
Beaudoin mixed and matched his faceoff men all game long, looking for an edge against Higgins. As the game unfolded, Beaudoin began experimenting with his long poles, sending in Jack Donohue during the fourth quarter and the first overtime, before Fitzgerald tied up Higgins to begin the second overtime.
“We are still trying to find our (faceoff) guy,” Beaudoin added. “We had Will Golden for three years, so it’s one of those thing you don’t worry about it because you have a guy and then he’s gone. We have guys that are good, but they go against this guy and they have to adjust.”
Cohasset took a 6-4 lead into halftime as Powers netted a man-advantage goal with 25 seconds remaining in the second quarter and Cole Kissick double up the lead as he scored the only two goals in the third quarter to give the Skippers an 8-4 lead entering the final 12 minutes.
While two early goals from Hingham cut the deficit to two with over nine minutes to play, Kissick responded once again with two more goals, the last coming with 5:14 to play in the game.
With a four-goal lead once again in hand with less than five to play, Cohasset looked to be in prime position to haul in the victory, but feeding off Higgins’ superior play on the faceoff-x, Will Pelissier roared to life on the offensive end.
Following a goal from Will Flibotte, three consecutive faceoff wins from Higgins led to three straight goals from Pelissier, the last with just 33 seconds to play, sending the game to overtime.
“Very nerve-wrecking down the stretch and it happened in the state championship last year where in the fourth quarter it was us holding the ball,” Powers recalled. “We were in that situation before and it’s difficult to watch them score all those consecutive goals, but our defense beared down in overtime.”
The faceoff struggles continued in the overtime period, as Higgins won the opening overtime faceoff, leading to two shots on net for Hingham, but Skippers junior goalie Connor Naughton came up with two of his biggest saves of the game to give Cohasset possession for the first time since midway through the fourth quarter.
“He’s terrific, and he’s’ been terrific since his freshman year, but he played behind two good goalies and then Jack (Conte) last year,” Beaudoin said of Naughton. “But he’s just getting better and better as the year goes on and his confidence level after a game like this and the kid are behind him and it’s wonderful.”