A Garden Party Awaits: Nauset Boys Hockey Punches Ticket To Division 3 State Final

by Brad Joyal

BOURNE – The Nauset boys hockey team is heading to the TD Garden.

For the first time in two decades, Nauset will end its season with a state championship appearance after skating to a dominant 6-0 victory over Somerset Berkley on Sunday in the Division 3 state semifinals at Gallo Ice Arena.

Junior Logan Poulin tallied two goals and an assist, senior Julian Krivos chipped in a goal and two assists, and senior Aaron Howard, junior Colin Ward and sophomore Jake Eldredge each added a goal to help the top-seeded Warriors cruise past the No. 12 Raiders.

“The boys are playing their best hockey at the best time of year, and that’s all you can ask for,” Nauset coach Connor Brickley said. “Every single game in these playoffs we’ve only gotten better, so I can only wait to see what kind of effort we put together at the TD Garden.”

Sunday’s victory marked 19 consecutive wins for Nauset (22-1-1), which will meet No. 6 Marblehead (16-9-1) in the state final at 3 p.m. Sunday at TD Garden. Marblehead advanced following a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Shawsheen Valley Tech in the semifinals. General admission tickets for the state final are $20 and are available through Ticketmaster at tinyurl.com/365tkvk4.

It will be Nauset’s first state championship appearance since the 2004 team suffered a 6-0 loss to Saugus in the Division 2 final. However, that game was played in Chelmsford due to scheduling conflicts, so Sunday will mark the program’s first appearance at the TD Garden in Boston.

As excited as the Warriors are to skate on the Boston Bruins’ ice, they aren’t going to let the larger arena get to them.

“We’re going to stay in our own heads,” said Poulin, a Truro resident. “It’s something we’ve all dreamt for as kids, whether it was to go to the NHL or to go there with our high school team. It’s just another day at the office for us. Maybe it’s a bigger stage, but we’re not going to let that get to us.”

The road to the Garden included a convincing 4-1 victory over eighth-seeded Pembroke in the state quarterfinals March 7 at Gallo. Like the semifinal, Nauset built an early 3-0 lead after Ward, Poulin and junior Andrew Bohannon each lit the lamp during the opening 3:03 of the game.

Sophomore Brody Bassett added a second-period goal to extend the Warriors’ lead to 4-0 before junior goaltender Zach Coelho allowed a breakaway goal to Colin Blake later in the middle frame. That was the only goal Coelho and the Nauset defense surrendered in its past two games, proving that the team is at the top of its game, according to Brickley.

“It’s a great sign that our goalie maybe isn’t getting a ton of work,” the coach said. “It means our game in front of him is exactly what we want to look for. We’re not giving up a lot of Grade A chances, we’re keeping people in front of us and that’s the best thing we can ask for.”

Finally reaching the Garden is a dream come true for the entire team, but especially the seniors. After suffering a 3-2 loss to Watertown in the last five seconds of last year’s state quarterfinals, the team immediately turned its attention to this year and established its goal of reaching the state championship.

“It’s amazing,” said senior defenseman Joe McManus, a Barnstable resident. “It’s great to finally be in the position that we wanted to get to last year. I feel like last year we ended a little early, so it’s great to have this opportunity. We just can’t let off the gas.”

“We lost that Elite Eight game and our number one goal was to get to the Garden,” added Howard, a Yarmouth Port resident. “Now we’ve got to win it now.”

Editor’s Note: Can’t make it to TD Garden for Sunday’s state championship? The Chronicle has you covered. Follow our sports reporter Brad Joyal on X (formerly Twitter) @bradjoyal for live updates throughout the game and then visit capecodchronicle.com for a recap that will be posted online Sunday night. Additional coverage and photos will be in the March 21 edition of The Chronicle.