The Shrewsbury boys’ hockey team capped an undefeated season by beating Old Rochester, 3-1, in the Division 3 state championship game Sunday at TD Garden. It’s fourth state title for Shrewsbury and its first since 2014.
It’s also just the 21st unbeaten season in the state by a boys’ team, according to masshshockey.com.
A strong second period was the difference as the Colonials (23-0-1) put two of their 17 shots into the back of the net.
“I thought we were wearing them out a little bit,” said Shrewsbury coach Stephen Turnblom. “They stopped chasing us in their zone, that’s a sign that they’re tired. So the second period was huge for us.”
Shrewsbury broke through 2:37 into the period. Junior forward Liam Quinlivan beat his defender on a one-on-one rush and then scored from the crease.
Five minutes later, sophomore forward Tyler Borys extended the lead. Freshman forward Jack Tepper started the sequence by picking up a loose puck and firing a shot from the right faceoff circle. Tepper’s shot was stopped but Borys was able to punch in the rebound.
“Some of the puck movement there in the second period [helped open things up]. Some of those goals were just beautiful,” Turnblom said. “We were a little tight on the sticks in the first period but they loosened up. As the game went on I thought they felt like ‘we’re the better team,’ so that softened them up a little bit and made them feel a little looser.”
Shrewsbury continued its dominance in the third period as senior captain Matt Ward scored just 37 seconds in. Ward took a pass from Quinlivan and his one-timer beat Old Rochester senior goalie Chase Cunningham on the glove side.
“Anthony [Quinlivan] picked off the pass and fed it over to Liam and Liam didn’t even blink an eye, he knew I was right there. He put it right on my tape and all I had to do was put it in,” Ward said. “I was expecting it because when you’re playing with him you’ve always got to expect a pass. Liam leads Central Mass. in assists so I knew he was going to put it right on my stick.”
Old Rochester (24-4-0) responded about a minute later by scoring their lone goal of the game. Senior forward Sam Henrie’s wrist shot from the right faceoff circle beat Shrewsbury junior goalie Patrick Shaughnessy glove side high and brought Bulldogs within two.
“I think [the Old Rochester goal] tightened them up a bit,” Turnblom said. “They were running around, everyone looking to do someone else’s job rather than doing their own, so it was important that we settle down.”
Shrewsbury reset and kept Old Rochester from coming back.
“There’s no better feeling in the world,” Ward said. “I had a taste of it freshman year, and then after two heartbreaking losses sophomore and junior years there was nothing I wanted more than to go out on top and to do it with 24 other guys that are all so dedicated. It’s an unbelievable feeling that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”
Shrewsbury 3, Old Rochester 1
at TD Garden, Boston
Old Rochester (24-4-0)
Second period: 1, SHR, Liam Quinlivan (Anthony Quinlivan) 2:37. 2, SHR, Tyler Borys (Jack Tepper, James Tepper) 7:47.
Third period: 3, SHR, Matt Ward (Liam Quinlivan, Anthony Quinlivan) :37. 4, ORR, Sam Henrie 1:11.
Saves: ORR, Mike Cunningham, 17; SHR, Pat Shaughnessy, 18.Brandan Blom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.