June 21, 2022 - Story and photos by William Wassersug
For anyone just looking at the score, Hingham’s 12-8 loss to St. John’s Prep in Saturday’s Division 1 State Semifinal game at Burlington High School might not see the story of what truly happened that morning.
Yes, the final score was 12-8, similar to a previous 13-8 loss to SJP a few weeks back, but this one actually came down to the wire, with the game tied 8-8 with less than five minutes to play.
The Harbormen trailed 2-1 after one quarter, then took leads of 3-2 and 4-3 in the second before SJP answered to take a 5-4 lead.
Charlie Packard gave Hingham a good feeling heading into the half, nailing a buzzer-beater to tie the game 5-5 at the half.
After three quarters it was 7-7 and briefly led 8-7 before SJP knotted things at 8.
Then No. 1 seeded SJP (21-1) took control with the final four goals of the game to send them to the State Championship game against No. 3 B.C. High (17-5) in a rematch of last year’s title game, won by SJP.
That game will have a local connection, with seven Hingham residents on the B.C. High roster.
That game is Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Worcester State University.
The Harbormen came into the game with the No. 4 seed and finished their season with an impressive 20-3 record.
One high point for Hingham was a five-goal, two assist effort from Packard, but that wasn’t the only highlight for the team.
“He had a great game,” coach John Todd said. “You couldn’t ask any more of our seniors. Cian (Nicholas) and (John) Sula stepping in for faceoffs and Nico (goalie Nico Decola) standing tall and holding down the fort until he just couldn’t hold it down anymore. It’s still a team game and we took advantage of things we needed to take advantage of, then it is what it is.
“We have a young defensive group. We’ve got a young attack group. We have great middies in Connor Hartman, Cian Nicholas, (Owen) Hoffman, Packard, Henry Crean leading the attack group.”
Todd was proud of the way his team gave everything they had.
“The heart and will and effort that this team, this group has is second to none,” Todd said. “We knew we were up against a big challenge, and they were up for the occasion and gave them everything they could handle. When you play amongst the best, as we are one of the best, at any given moment things can turn one way or another. Today it just didn’t turn our way.”
If there was one spot that gave Hingham fits in the game, it was on the draw, where SJP’s Christopher Esposito was somewhat dominant.
“He’s good, he’s good,” Todd said of Esposito. “He’s definitely a master at his task.”
Hingham has a young group coming back, but will be losing a number of big contributors.
“We’re graduating our goalie (Decola) and one attackman (Crean) and four middies,” Todd said “We’re losing the middle a little bit, but we’ve got good kids to step up. We’re losing kind of the heart and soul of this team in the middies, because they really led this team and supported the younger attackmen and the younger defensemen. They really helped get them up to speed fast and show them what it means to play this game at the level you have to play this game.
“We’re going to miss them. They’ve been with the program four years, and some have played varsity since freshman year. All these guys were leaders, so we expect the sophomores and juniors coming up to do the same. Our senior group of attackmen and middies and John Sula at defense were the backbone along with a bunch of other guys who were in support roles who made the season special.”
Along with Packard’s five goals, Crean, Hartman and Connor Lasch each scored one.