Hollis Brookline was focused on defense.
Coach Mike Soucy’s game plan worked. His third-seeded Cavaliers held one of the state’s highest scoring teams in check and walked off the Stellos Stadium turf with a 10-9 double-overtime victory in the Division III final.
The win over top-seeded Derryfield (19-1) halted the Cougars win streak at 39 and gave the Cavaliers (16-2) their second title in three years.
With three seconds left in the first sudden-death overtime, HB keeper Logan Blake stopped a shot on the doorstep to keep things even at 9-9 and force a second OT.
That’s when Ryan Papineau finished things off. Papineau found his way to the front of the net and buried the game-winner with 2:35 left to play.
“I just thought, ‘run’,” Papineau said. “Get up and run to your net.
“I found an opening, I took it and got a shot off. But all I could think was go get your goalie. They won this for us. Our defense was stellar tonight. And Logan. He made some unbelievable saves.”
Blake stopped 17 shots, three in overtime, for the win in net. None bigger than at the end of the first OT.
“I can’t lie,” Blake said. “There was a little luck in that one.
“Before the game, Coach Soucy told us ‘Just relax, have fun and don’t put pressure on yourselves.’ He said to just take some deep breaths and play our game. That’s what I did in the fourth quarter and overtimes. I took deep breaths and calmed myself.”
There was no calming the Cavs and their fans who rushed the field for a postgame celebration, which included two ice-cold water baths for Soucy.
Those in attendance thought the celebrating was coming earlier, as Papineau broke an 8-8 tie with 29 seconds to play in regulation. Unfortunately for HB’s fans, the cheers turned quickly to jeers as Griffin Phaneuf scored six seconds later for a 9-9 deadlock and overtime.
Phaneuf would lead the Cougars offense with five goals, while Grant Allison and Jimmy O’Brien would finish with three and one respectively in defeat.
Nine goals scored was the lowest output all season for the Cougars, who average slightly better than 18 per game. A fact not lost on Derryfield coach Chris Hettler.
“Their defense was the difference tonight,” Hettler said. “They stepped up and played a remarkable game, and their goalie made some really big stops. That was the difference tonight.”
The Cavaliers implemented a new defensive zone scheme prior to their May 20 regular-season loss (14-5) in Derryfield.
HB closed out the season working on the new set just for the tournament. It worked, as the Cavs beat No. 14 Milford (17-6), in the first round, No. 6 John Stark (16-4) in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Plymouth (16-6) in the semifinals to reach Tuesday’s title game.
“The defense has been big for us in the tournament,” Soucy said. “Our offense comes from what they do on the back end. There were some big stops by Logan, some great pressure by our defenders on their attacks and it was exactly what we needed tonight.
“That defensive effort helped generate offense, and we got enough on both ends to pull out the win.”
Papineau led the Cavs with five goals, while Sam Whitaker added three of his own to go along with solo tallies from Dan Bentall and Dan Ash.
“I can’t even explain how I’m feeling right now,” Papineau said. “Did that really just happen?”
It did, and the Hollis Brookline Cavaliers, who along with Derryfield are jumping to Division II, locked up a championship in their final season in Division III.