D3 South final: Hanover 6, Bishop Stang 2

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Parents of the Hanover High School boys’ ice hockey team’s players are going to have to deal with their sons’ lustrous hairstyles for a little while longer, and they’re probably just fine with that.

The Indians (17-7-0), who to a man have dyed their hair some variety of peroxide blonde, lit up the scoreboard at the Gallo Ice Arena today to reach the Division 3 state semifinals.

Hanover put the game away with three goals in the third period, pulling away from Bishop Stang to earn a 6-2 victory over the Spartans (15-9-1). They will meet Wayland in the EMass final on Wednesday evening back at Gallo.

Hanover took a slim one-goal lead into the third against a team that seemed to be on the comeback trail after a nice second period effort had allowed the Spartans to tighten things up. At crunch time, it was the Indians that responded with an unassisted goal by Pat Nevins, who had a pair of goals and a helper in the game, turning the tide in Hanover’s favor for good. Nevins picked up a loose puck in the offensive zone, near the top of the right circle, and let it rip to the upper far corner. The puck beat the glove of Jesse Pavao (29 saves) to make it a 4-2 game at the 4:35 mark.

Landon Hasenfuss scored on a breakaway up the right wing at 12:09 to ice the victory. He flew up the right wing and picked the far side to make it a three-goal game. Colin Mahoney banked an empty-netter in off the left wing wall from inside the defensive zone with 12 seconds left.

Hanover head coach Jonny Abban said his team finished the game the way it wanted to, and said that his team has plans to complete the season the same way.

“This is something we’ve talked about since the beginning of the year, finishing strong, and they’re not done yet,” Abban said. “They hear some of the older kids talking, they won a state championship in 2007 for Coach [Jim] Sylvia, and it’s been a great effort by the team, backed by community. It’s a great feeling.”

Hanover had some great feelings right from the start. The high-powered Indians offense got on the board first, just 5:04 into the game on a goal by Matt McDougall. One of the Indians’ four captains, McDougall finished off a hard work shift by his club by chipping a loose puck up and over a prone Pavao, who just missed getting a piece of it with a wave of his glove.

Hanover increased their lead to 2-0 about five minutes later on a goal by Mitch Beard at 9:52. The forward with the long flowing bleach blonde locks camped on the far post and tipped in a super cross by Mike Proctor off the right wing wall. McDougall also picked up an assist on the play.

Stang scored at 5:54 of the second period to cut the lead in half, but Hanover wasted no time getting the lead back to two. The Spartans’ Chace Correia tucked one through the five hole on a breakaway, with a nifty move.

However, before the goal was announced over the public address system, Hanover got it back. A slap shot from high in the zone, off a draw, by Matt Beard was deflected by Pavao by Nevins to make it 3-1.

Stang cut it back to a single goal at 8:20 of the second. That came off the stick of Kade Kaminski, who trickled one by Noah Clapp on a shot from the slot.

Down just one, heading to the last period, the Spartans had put themselves in a good position, head coach Ken Gouveia said, but it was Hanover that carried the play in the third.

“The next goal was the big one, and they got it. It was tough. We were down a defenseman tonight, so we only had four D. I thought our defensemen did a great job, being down to four, but it took away from the way that we wanted to play a lot. We couldn’t be as aggressive and pinch, with just four, so we had to be more conservative and that hurt.”

Hanover made the most of its opportunities. Five different players lit the lamp in the game, and nine put their names on the scoresheet.

“We’ve spread it around pretty well this year,” Abban said. “We had four or five guys with 30 points. It’s a great group effort every game that we show up.”