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HHS boys hockey edges Norwood to advance to state semifinals

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Featured: Sports, Sports

Jack Lang

Jack Lang makes a save during Wednesday’s game. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Pavit Mehra broke a 3-3 tie with 1:20 remaining and the Hopkinton High School boys hockey team skated away with a 5-3 victory over Norwood in a thrilling Division 2 state quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at New England Sports Center in Marlborough.

Mehra, the team’s senior standout, started the game-winning sequence by blocking a Norwood shot from the left point and carrying the puck up ice. Classmate Dylan Mansur joined the rush, and once Mehra moved from the left toward the middle, Mansur crossed behind him and took a drop pass. Mehra then went to the goal and Mansur found him with a perfect pass that Mehra snapped into the net with 1:20 remaining.

Joe Carrazza put an end to Norwood’s comeback hopes when he fired the puck from 10 feet behind his own blue line and into an empty net with 31 seconds remaining.

Mansur and Carrazza each scored twice for eighth-seeded Hopkinton, which improves to 19-4-0. Meanwhile 17th-seeded Norwood, which knocked out top-seeded Tewksbury in its previous game, finishes its season at 14-7-2.

UPDATE, March 9, 9:55 p.m.: Hopkinton will meet fourth-seeded Walpole (15-6-2) in the semifinal round on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Loring Arena in Framingham. Canton and Duxbury will play in the other semifinal.

Hopkinton jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. Carrazza got things started almost six minutes into the game when he picked up the puck just over the blue line, put on a burst of speed to his right, skated past a defenseman and fire a hard wrister from the right face-off dot that found pay dirt.

Just 28 seconds later, Norwood found an answer. Following two saves by HHS netminder Jack Lang, Sean Dittmeier found the puck in front and slid a backhander past the prone goalie.

Hopkinton bounced back on a spectacular individual effort from Mansur with 4:53 left in the period. He took possession of a sliding puck near center ice, skated back into his defensive zone, put on a nifty backward spin move to elude one Norwood player, skated past another Mustang at center ice, raced into the offensive zone, split the defensemen and fired a wrister that deflected off the goalie and trickled home as Mansur took another poke at it.

With 1:13 left in the first, Mehra took a drop pass from Cam McPherson at the blue line, skated down the left side, curled in toward the net and backhanded a pass across the front of the net to Mansur, who smacked it home for a 3-1 lead.

Norwood clawed back with a goal 2:16 into the second period, as Michael Moynihan scored on a wrister from the blue line, finding the top right corner while a teammate skated in front of Lang.

With 7:13 left in the third, Norwood’s TJ Martin set up in front of the goal, took a pass from behind the net and fired it home to tie the score, setting up the dramatic finish.

The win was Hopkinton’s second straight over a Tri-Valley League opponent, as the Hillers bested Westwood in the previous round.

HHS hockey

Joe Carrazza surveys the ice while Hillers fans, clad in black, watch the action. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

HHS hockey

The team waits to head onto the ice. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

HHS hockey

The Hillers celebrate a first-period goal. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO