The MHL Cup this year had four teams all featured in the last rankings, #4 Xaverian, #7 Marshfield, #11 St. Johns (S) and #19 Framingham. The first round of the tournament lived up to its expectation as Marshfield defeated Framingham 2-1 in shootout. Then in the second game, Xaverian defeated St Johns 3-1 in game where St Johns goaltender Dan Laursen kept them in it the entire game. The consolation game was played first on Friday night and in that contest, Framingham beat St Johns 3-2 in a tightly fought game. Then came the championship game between Xaverian and Marshfield.
The championship game between Xaverian and Marshfield carried a lot of hype and it lived up to its expectations. Right off the drop of the puck, Marshfield was pushing the pace, something they failed to do for most of their first round matchup with Framingham. Xaverian was first to the powerplay, but off of the faceoff, Paul Rorke won the draw himself, rushed down the ice and proceeded to snipe short side to put the Rams up 1-0 while shorthanded. The game evened out as each team traded chance for chance until halfway through the first period when Xaverian goaltender James Herring was forced to make a breakaway save to keep the Hawks only down by 1. This proved to be a largely important save because shortly after the save, Hawks forward Jack Silva centered a puck that would be buried by his teammate Mike Pitochelli to tie the game at 1. This would be the last score of the period as the teams headed to the first intermission tied at 1.
The second period was more of the same as both teams traded chance for chance. Xaverian was generating a lot of shots, but the Rams defenders seemed to be getting in the way of all of them. The game remained tied until a shot from the point was blocked and bounced in front of the net and Xaverian forward Josh Barton found it and put it home on the backhand. This gave Xaverian the 2-1 lead about halfway through the period. The rest of the period was a struggle for Marshfield as they had to kill off a number of penalties, but they did so sending the game into the third period with a 2-1 Xaverian lead.
The Rams entered the third period needing a goal and they were presented with many great opportunities because Xaverian took four penalties just in the third period. Marshfield could not get any consistent pressure on these powerplays and let these opportunities go by without any harm done. With two minutes to play, Xaverian forward Matt Ryan drew a penalty shot that had potential to be the dagger for Marshfield. Ryan came in on goal, deked, had the open net, but was stopped by a last second poke check by Marshfield goalie Jack Gatie. This gave time for one more chance for Marshfield, unfortunately for them Xaverian did not even allow them to sniff at a game tying goal. Xaverian won the 2018 MHL Cup with a final score of 2-1, congratulations to the Hawks.
MHL Cup All-Tournament Team:
F- Mikey Tersoni, Framingham
F- Josh Barton, Xaverian
F- Dhillon Wilde, St. Johns (S)
D- Hunter Balducci, Framingham
D- Jon Jordan, Marshfield
G- James Herring, Xaverian
MVP- Mike Pitocchelli, Xaverian
Xaverian: The Hawks are super 8 contenders yet again after sweeping the MHL Cup with two victories over good competition. They skate with great size and speed, creating nightmares for matchups. They play BC High on Wednesday, which will be a great battle between two of the best teams in the state.
Marshfield: The MHL Cup was not terrible for the Rams, but they walk away with a loss and a tie (the shootout win counts as a tie in MIAA rules). The season so far has been ups and downs for the Rams as they had high expectations based off of the season they had last year. They play Hingham next, which will be a matchup between two of the best public schools in the state.
Framingham: The Flyers did not win the MHL Cup, but they walk away with a win and a tie. They showed how well they can compete with some of the best teams in the state and forward Mike Tersoni has been one of the best players in the state so far this season. They play a tough next few games as they are faced off against Wellesley, Braintree, and Pope Francis. With another good showing in those games, Framingham will appear on a few super 8 projections.
St. Johns (S): A very tough start to the year so far for the Pioneers as they sit with one win and four losses so far. The chance at a super 8 appearance is nearly lost, and with a schedule as hard as theirs, it is going to be tough to get a shot at the state tournament. They have a great opportunity to get back on track with their next matchup being against Shrewsbury, a team that is new to division 1 play.