First Time State Title for Nashoba Hockey…March 18, 2015
By Jess Thomas
The Nashoba Regional High School boys hockey team won the Division 3A state championship on Thursday, March 12 for its first state title in school history.
After finishing the regular season 14-6 under first year head coach Trevor Short, the Chieftains ramped up their intensity, outscoring opponents 10-0 in the district semifinals and finals.
It all culminated in a thrilling 4-2 championship victory against Chicopee Comprehensive at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, a game in which Nashoba got out to a crucial early 2-0 first period advantage.
The Chieftains had not won a district title in 35 years, so winning a state title this year is an incredible accomplishment for this group of skilled hockey players. “It has been truly rewarding working with such a dedicated group of athletes in my first year as coach,” Short said. “I am very happy for the players, the school and the families who have supported these hockey players all of these years.
“To be a part of something that these kids will remember for the rest of their lives is very special. When they walk into the gymnasium at this school for years to come, they will never forget the day they won the first ice hockey state championship for Nashoba Regional High School,” Short stated.
To pull off this feat, Nashoba had to put in many hours on the ice during practice, growing a culture in which each player believed in each other and the team.
“As the season went on, they gained confidence knowing that they could compete for a district and state title. They really came together as a team and grew closer as a group,” Short said.
He noted that the team really believed they could win at the highest level of the league, which is exactly what they accomplished.
In the final against Chicopee, Short said that the focus for the game was to score goals and force Chicopee to make mistakes, but also to continue the team’s stellar defense and goaltending.
Senior captain Hunter Boudreau started the contest off the right way with a goal off a rebound opportunity just 2:10 into the action.
But the most crucial goal, according to Short, was senior captain Kevin Gilchrest’s score that put Nashoba up 2-0 with 12 seconds to go in the first.
Short said, “This was a devastating goal for our opponent.”
Gilchrest’s second goal of the game in the second period put the Chieftains up 3-0 and Nashoba led by at least two goals for the rest of the game, winning 4-2.
Gilchrest was awarded the Husqvarna Hard Hat honors for scoring two of the four goals on the evening.
“(Kevin Gilchrest) produced for us throughout the season in crucial moments,” Short said. “(He is) the hardest working player on our team, who has given his all for four years.”
Short said that Boudreau has been a solid offensive and defensive player who is great at face-offs and penalty kills for Nashoba. He, of course, scored the first goal of the championship, helping push the team to victory.
Other quality performers were senior captain Jack Charbonneau, who Short said is also one of the team’s best penalty killers and he scored crucial goals for the Chieftains throughout the regular and postseason.
Short called junior Brad Colvin the backbone of the team’s defense that also contributed offensively. Colvin scored a goal in the 3-0 district final win.
But Nashoba’s goalkeeper, senior captain Luke Gilchrest, did a remarkable job keeping opponents out of the Chieftain net.
“Luke Gilchrest was an exceptional goaltender through our title run. He posted a shutout in the district semifinals and district finals against two quality teams, making some highlight reel saves in both contests,” Short said.
Gilchrest also stopped a penalty shot in the third period of the state final when Nashoba was ahead 4-2.
Now, with this championship under its belt, Nashoba will push forward and attempt to recreate this year’s success next year after losing some important seniors.
Short said, “We will have a successful season next year if we continue to make each other better, from the coaching staff to the individual players. The focus will always be on the team and not individual talents.”
“We have set the bar high for next year’s seniors, however we have a strong group returning next season. We will not waiver in our high expectations for the hockey program,” Short concluded.