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Grafton/BVT Hockey Fights for Playoff Spot

The Grafton/Blackstone Valley Tech hockey co-op has put itself in prime playoff position as the regular season comes down the home stretch. The Indians started the week 8-7-1 on the year and fresh off a 3-2 win over Oakmont on Saturday night.
"We know Oakmont is going to be a good test and to see if we could pull off a tie or a win," head coach Brian Lehtinen said. "They lead the league and we get them twice at the end of the season."
Grafton/BVT closes out the campaign with a game against Oakmont and has tilts with Worcester, Dover-Sherborn, and Fitchburg in between. Lehtinen's team needs two more wins, or a win and a tie, to lock up a spot in the Division 3A Central Mass tournament.
"We've already beaten Fitchburg so we are hoping to get another one against them and I think we can compete with Dover-Sherborn even though they are a division three team," he said. "If we can get one from Worcester and get that tie or win over Oakmont, we should be in great shape, but it will be an uphill battle."
It's an uphill battle that got a little tougher when Grafton/BVT lost senior goalkeeper McKay Lewis for the season with an injury. Junior Vishall Bajwa, another Grafton High product, has stepped in and posted an impressive 1.37 goals against average and an .889 save percentage in seven games in net.
"It worked out because (Bajwa) had seen the ice before and the transition went well," Lehtinen said. "He is stepping up and wasn't all that far away from McKay at the beginning of the year. We knew he would see some starts and the kids definitely believe in him."
Bajwa has been aided by a strong blue line. Valley Tech senior James Moran and Grafton junior Kyle Roy have not only stood out on defense, they've combined to produce 10 goals and nine assists.
On the other end of the ice, the top line of Nicholas Hart, Kevin Koloski, and Matthew Davis has been solid. Hart leads the team with 18 points and Koloski, a BVT senior, has four goals and seven assists.
Grafton/BVT is in good shape to make a run at the postseason, but Lehinten would still like to see his team build some momentum headed into the playoffs. "We have not had any streaks or consistency," he said. "I think it's a lot of mental things. If we get down, we can't panic, we need to be smarter and more consistent. It's a challenge, but hopefully we can find it over the last few games. We are competing on a nightly basis and I still see the division and district as being wide open once the playoffs begin, but first we have to get there."




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