When asked about Pavit Mehra at the start of the season, Hopkinton High School boys hockey coach Scott Hayes stated, “We are expecting him to put the puck in the net all season.”
It’s fair to say Mehra has lived up to his coach’s expectations.
On Sunday night at Framingham’s Loring Arena, the sensational senior recorded four goals in the second period alone, leading the Hillers to a 5-1 rout of Walpole and a spot in the Division 2 state championship game at TD Garden next Sunday at 11 a.m.
Eighth-seeded Hopkinton improved to 20-4. Fourth-seeded Walpole finished its season at 15-7-2.
In the final, the Hillers will face third-seeded Canton (20-4) [Editor’s note: Corrected from Duxbury], which topped second-seeded Duxbury, 3-1, in Sunday’s other semifinal.
Walpole scored the first goal Sunday. Just under seven minutes into the game, Grady Murphy got control of the puck in the center of the offensive zone, held off a Hopkinton defender and fired a shot past Jack Lang for his first-ever varsity goal.
Hopkinton answered with 4:38 left in the period, as freshman Cam MacPherson took possession in front of the Walpole goal after a turnover and capitalized to tie the score.
Mehra started his second-period show just over two minutes in. With the Hillers on a power play, Mehra drifted over to the right side, took a pass, skated toward the net and fired a hard shot that eluded the goalie.
Less than two minutes later, Mehra broke out on a 2-on-1 with Joe Scardino. Mehra skated down the left side and found no resistance, so he smacked a shot past the goalie.
Walpole called timeout to regroup. It didn’t work.
A few minutes later, with the Timberwolves on the power play, Mehra blocked a shot from the right point. The puck deflected up the ice, and Mehra was the first to it. He skated in alone, faked to his right, went to his backhand and lifted the puck into the net.
Mehra makes it 4-1!!!! pic.twitter.com/RzPwBIs232
— Hopkinton Athletics (@HillerAthletics) March 13, 2023
That was the end of the night for Walpole goalie George Chamoun, who was replaced by Ryan Fowkes. It didn’t matter to Mehra. He scored again with about 2 minutes left on a tough-angle shot from the left side.
Meanwhile, Jack Lang had another stellar game in net for Hopkinton.
Hopkinton reached the state championship game once before. In 2019, the Hillers suffered a 3-2 loss to Wachusett in the Division 3 final at TD Garden.