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Hopedale Hockey Co-Op in Striking Distance of Playoffs

Despite a bumpy road over the past few weeks, the Hopedale hockey co-op and its contingent of Milford High School athletes is in a strong position to qualify for the district tournament, needing just a win and a tie over the final four games of the regular season.
"We are struggling a little but after we started off strong," said Hopedale head coach Greg LaBossiere of his team's 1-3-1 stretch through the past five games. "We are struggling to find consistency, but the bottom line is we have a good shot at making the tournament."
The Blue Raiders, who also draw from Millis, Douglas and Whitinsville Christian, let a third period lead slip away against Fitchburg/Monty Tech on Monday night in a game that ended in a tie. The team entered Wednesday's contest against Lunenburg/Ayer-Shirley 8-7-1 on the season.
"We are definitely in good shape," LaBossiere said about Hopedale's playoff odds. "But we want to be playing our best and right now, that's not happening."
Hopedale has been led in goal by a pair of MHS student athletes. Senior Matt Shaver has earned the lion's share of the starts, but freshman John Tomaso is slated to fill in over the next few games due to Shaver being away.
"Matt has been really steady for us," LaBossiere said. "He has given us some chances to win some games where we have struggled out of the gate."
Milford junior P.J. Gray is the team's second-leading scorer after tallying his 14th goal of the season Monday night. He's added 10 assists for a total of 24 points. MHS juniors Easton Hanson and Nick Patterson have also buoyed the Raiders' offense. Entering Monday night, Hanson had scored three goals and added six assists for a total of nine points, while Patterson's seven goals and four helpers are good for an 11-point total.
Freshman blue liner Matthew Girard has added a goal and fellow freshman Eric Landy has scored and picked up a pair of assists.
As the team hits the home stretch, LaBossiere said peaking at the right time is about getting back to what made Hopedale
successful earlier in the year.
"We really just have to play as a unit and get back to simple hockey," he said. "Just outworking opponents like we were doing at the beginning of the season."




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