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Hopkinton flies into boys’ lacrosse title game

  • Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, #18, absorbs a hit from Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, #18, absorbs a hit from Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Doug Fleury, #7, and Evan Ruderman, #22, celebrate a goal during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Doug Fleury, #7, and Evan Ruderman, #22, celebrate a goal during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • From left: Hopkinton High School students Peter Sawitsky, Jake Hemmerlein and Evan Ruderman celebrate after defeating Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    From left: Hopkinton High School students Peter Sawitsky, Jake Hemmerlein and Evan Ruderman celebrate after defeating Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, left, takes a tumble as Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker, right, chases the ball during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, left, takes a tumble as Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker, right, chases the ball during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau looks for a pass during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau looks for a pass during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau, middle, runs from Hollis-Brookline High School Cavaliers during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau, middle, runs from Hollis-Brookline High School Cavaliers during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Robby Ferguson, #21, celebrates in the locker room after Hopkinton's win over Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton High School's Robby Ferguson, #21, celebrates in the locker room after Hopkinton's win over Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, #18, absorbs a hit from Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton High School's Doug Fleury, #7, and Evan Ruderman, #22, celebrate a goal during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • From left: Hopkinton High School students Peter Sawitsky, Jake Hemmerlein and Evan Ruderman celebrate after defeating Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton High School's Ned Metcalf, left, takes a tumble as Hollis-Brookline High School's Sam Whitaker, right, chases the ball during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau looks for a pass during a game against Hollis-Brookline High School at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton High School's Bennett Mosseau, middle, runs from Hollis-Brookline High School Cavaliers during a game at Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Hopkinton defeated Hollis-Brookline by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton High School's Robby Ferguson, #21, celebrates in the locker room after Hopkinton's win over Hollis-Brookline High School by a score of 8-5 in the Division III boys' lacrosse semifinal in Nashua on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

NASHUA – Hopkinton was facing the unknown. The Hawks hadn’t seen Hollis-Brookline all year, but the No. 3 Cavaliers were waiting for second-seeded Hopkinton in yesterday’s Division III boys’ lacrosse semifinal at Stellos Stadium.

“Yeah, we definitely didn’t know much about them, so there were some nerves coming into the game,” Hawks senior Ned Metcalf said. “But it just fueled us, we were ready to go.”

There’s no question Metcalf was ready, and his two goals in the first four minutes fueled a five-goal game-opening run that propelled Hopkinton (17-0) to an 8-5 victory and a spot in Tuesday’s final against No. 1 Derryfield (19-0).

“We were fortunate that we were able to jump off to a good lead early on,” Hawks Coach Doug Maynard said. “I think we kind of took them by surprise.”

Metcalf’s first score came from close range on an assist from Bennett Mosseau (three goals, assist) exactly one minute after the opening faceoff. The next came from extra long range (25 yards) 3:37 into the game to give Hopkinton a 2-0 lead and force Hollis-Brookline (15-2) to use a quick timeout.

That break slowed the Hawks, but it didn’t stop them. Doug Fleury scored on a bounce shot with 5:27 to go in the first, Mosseau used a spin and a bounce shot of his own to beat H-B goalie Logan Blake with 4:30 left in the period, and then Fleury scored off a rebound to give the Hawks a 5-0 lead with 3:25 remaining in the opening frame.

“Getting that lead relaxed everyone, it also got everyone a little gassed, and then we started slowing down,” Mosseau said. “But it was definitely a relief because we’ve been playing (with a lead) for most of the year.”

Hollis-Brookline did score the first two goals of the second period to make it 5-2 (Ryan Walsh at 4:18 of the second and Ryan Papineau at 6:56). Maynard used one of his timeouts at that point, implored his team to get the next goal, and the Hawks responded. Mosseau scored on a wicked side-arm shot with 3:19 left in the second, and Henry Merrow, who was double-teamed for much of the game, created a slam-dunk one-timer for Metcalf with 1:40 to go in the period.

The Cavaliers got one back 30 seconds before halftime when Patrick Dunn assisted Zach Nardone to make it 7-3, but the Hawks still had a firm hold on the momentum, and they got a needed break from the heat.

“We did an all right job (with the conditions), I did think we overexerted ourselves in the first period,” Mosseau said. “But halftime helped.”

The slowing offense also got plenty of help, as usual, from the Hopkinton defense. Long poles Austin Hunt, James McCluskey and Jake Hemmerlein were both physical and smart as they closed off shooting lanes and hoarded ground balls. But the backbone was goalie Matt French, who finished with 14 saves, many of the highlight variety.

“We’ve switched things around on our defense for the playoffs to get our stronger players backing up, and it seems to be working,” Maynard said. “Plus, we’ve got the best goaltender in Division III in Matt French, and I think he proved that again today.”

While the rest of the Hawks felt some anxiety before the match, that wasn’t the case with French.

“I was actually surprisingly relaxed today, I don’t know why,” French said. “I knew Hollis-Brookline would be one of the hardest teams we played this year, along with Plymouth, but I think we’ve been well-prepared throughout the playoffs.”

French’s calm showed up early in the third as he came up with a point blank save, and less than a minute later Mosseau scored on another long-range sidewinder for a two-goal swing that gave the Hawks an 8-3 lead with 10:47 left in the third.

The Cavaliers got one past French with 2:02 to go in the third, and they were searching for another in those final minutes of the period, but Hunt and Metcalf delivered a pair of big hits to stop the attack and keep Hopkinton in control.

Sam Whitaker inched Hollis-Brookline closer with his goal with 8:01 to go in the fourth, and the Cavaliers kept the pressure on as best they could for the rest of the game, but they couldn’t get any closer. French made a few more saves, midfielder Sam Smith led the groundball effort, and the long poles tightened the screws another notch in their own end as the Hawks closed it out.

“We had scouted them some, and we knew that we were up against a well-coached, hard-fighting team that wouldn’t give up,” Maynard said, “and that’s what we got.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)

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