May 26, 2022 - Story and photos by Joshua Ross
Yesterday's rematch against Lincoln-Sudbury has been circled on the calendar ever since the Harbormen fell to the Warriors 8-7 back on April 23rd. The rematch of two of the top teams in the state didn't disappoint.
Just as in the first matchup, L-S scored first to take an early lead. But, that's where the similarities ended. The Harbormen quickly tied things up on a goal from sophomore Michael Garrity minutes later and took the lead shortly after that when senior captain Cian Nicholas blew one past the goalie. The Warriors evened up again before the end of the first quarter. The game remained tied until just under five minutes to go in the half when Hingham scored three unanswered from senior captain Henry Crean, Nicholas, and senior Owen Hoffman to close out the half.
The Harbormen defense continued to shine in the second half behind senior captain John Sula, junior Eddie Rochte, and sophomore Will St. Pierre. Hingham added two more in the third and never looked back heading into the final frame. Six players scored for Hingham in the 10-5 win.
"We played, overall, one of our better games of the season," explains coach John Todd after the game. "As far as everyone played together, we minimized our mistakes for the most part, which you have to do against a team like that."
While the loss in the first game against them may have stung at the time, that experience helped his players this time around.
"That is where we spent most of our time as far as making sure they understood what they left on the table in a great one goal game," Todd goes on to say.
Learning from their mistakes and missed opportunities certainly paid off, but Todd also credits his team's commitment to what he calls "non-negotiables" during not so competitive games.
"This is where it better sink in," said Todd. "Because if you're not biding by those non-negotiables, you're losing this game. We had a fair amount of non-negotiables broken over vacation week and that's why we play in that tournament (Coaches Cup) and that's why we play these guys, so you can keep testing where you are at that point in the season. I give all the credit to our kids. They took what they had in front of them. They played hard nose defense. They did fairly well in the ground ball battle. That sort of stuff."
Crean credits his team's focus and attention to detail as reasons for the better outcome in this game.
"The difference was I think we came out ready from the jump," said the senior captain. "The first time we played them we were a little lackadaisical coming out of the gate, but this time we were ready go and knew what we had to do and got it done. We know we have to play a full four quarters against teams like this. The little things we need to keep on doing the entire way. If you give them one extra position, one extra shot, they are going to take advantage of it, so we knew we needed to stay disciplined all game."
During the Harbormen's attempt to comeback in the April game, a huge reason they even had the opportunity was the great goaltending from senior Niko Decola in the second half of that game. With that performance and a big win against Duxbury a few weeks ago, Decola is playing with the confidence that's giving his team a chance to win every game.
"He's a big talker, a big leader on our team," Crean says of Decola. "We always have his back and he's been great lately. This is huge for his confidence going forward. He's a great goaltender."
The Harbormen will host their final regular season home game on Saturday versus top ranked St. John's Prep at noon. One of the boys last big tests before the State Tournament starts next week.