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MHS Hockey Earns First Ever Playoff Win

Four years ago, the Milford High School hockey team lost every game it played. This season, the Scarlet Hawks put an exclamation point on a turnaround that has seen them become one of the top emerging programs in the area. Milford beat North Attleboro 3-2 in overtime of the Division 2 South first round playoff game for the program's first postseason victory.
"It was huge to get that win," head coach Michael Balzarini said. "We have been grinding through the ups and downs as a team, especially this year. There are some games we would like to have back, but to battle back and play with the composure we did during the game and win it in overtime was huge for the program, the school, and the town."
Milford's season came to an end in the quarterfinals against top-seeded Westwood. Even against the number one seed, the Scarlet Hawks competed well in the 2-0 loss. MHS finished 12-8-2 overall in 2014-2015 and went 5-5 in league play.
Milford has reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. When the team made the sectional tournament for the first time, the run was cut short by North Attleboro. Turning the tables this year made the win that much sweeter. "To win it against those guys was huge," Balzarini said. "We were familiar with North Attleboro and how they play and how strong they are in goal. We were able to get traffic in front of the net and deflect pucks. Mostly, I was pleased with how composed we were."
MHS battled back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to send the game to overtime and ultimately come away with the victory. No surprise, the play in goal by junior Brian Ireland played a big part in the success.
"Brian played some of the best hockey of his high school career," Balzarini said. "Toward the end of the season he was focused on every game, even when it didn't mean anything in terms of the standings. That momentum carried him through."
That momentum also allowed Ireland to withstand a flurry of Westwood shots in the quarterfinal loss to keep the Scarlet Hawks within striking distance. He will return next year along with freshman Aidan Wilde who finished with 18 points and sophomore Alec Gilliatt who finished with 10 points. Milford will graduate seven seniors, including leading scorer Drew Wilde.
"Drew has been great all year, he's a tough kid who makes plays and makes the players around him better," Balzarini said. "We moved the lines around and no matter who he paired with, he was able to make that line click right away. He's a talented player who can score at will."
Tri-captains Griffin Lynch (six goals, 11 assists), Sean Burns (two goals, eight assists), and Sam Croteau (one goal, 11 assists) and seniors Peter Schuler (12 goals, eight assists), Seth Little, and Nick Mobilia (six goals, eight assists) will also leave the program after its best season to date.
"Nick has been a workhorse his entire career, they all have," Balzarini said. "It's going to be hard to replace what they brought day in and day out."




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