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Grafton/BVT Hockey Downed by Nashoba

A fast start and an explosive second period propelled Nashoba to a 4-1 win over Grafton/BVT in the quarterfinal round of the Central Mass Division 3A hockey play-offs Wednesday at Worcester's Buffone Arena. "It was a good game and we knew it was going to be close," said head coach Mike Mazzola. "They jumped out strong and we couldn't play catch up."
Nashoba scored early in the first period to take a 1-0 lead, but did most of its damage in the second period. The Chieftains lit the lamp three more times to open up an advantage that was too much to overcome for Grafton/BVT. Mazzola's squad ends its season at 11-8-2, but was not devoid of opportunities throughout the play-off loss. "We were solid but we just couldn't get anything to go in," he said. "They also had a few weird goals that slipped in or bounced in. But give them their due, they were the better team for the three periods."
The two teams skated to a 1-1 tie the last time they met, and Grafton/BVT earned a 3-2 win back at the beginning of the season in the first meeting between the pair. But Nashoba was able to take the victory when it mattered the most. "Their defense was very strong and I think they had a little more speed in their step," said Mazzola, who was missing a player due to an illness but made no excuses. "It happens, things don't always line up perfectly, it's part of the game," he said.
Grafton/BVT will lose eight seniors to graduation this Spring, with Valley Tech's Ben Symes likely the hardest to replace. The forward was third on the team in scoring with 23 points on 12 goals and 11 assists. "He is going to be out biggest loss, he played four years of varsity," said Mazzola.
Ryan Duhamel, James Shannon, Ryan Sheridan, Rob Ekross, Adam Kargosian, Nick Manguso, and Dan Mahoney will also graduate with the class of 2012. Much of the core of the team will return next year, including leading scorers Mike Palmer and Mike Moran and starting goaltender Ian Milosz. "A lot of our standouts are coming back," said Mazzola. "We also have some good kids coming in through the system. With our co-op, the numbers have been consistently good."
Mazzola hopes next year's team can continue the success of this year's squad. "This team met all of my expectations and was a better overall team than we had last year," he said. "They may not have had as much talent but they worked well together, so I am pretty happy with the outcome."




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