Chieftains capture Division 3A hockey title

Gilchrest cousins star in state title win


Mr. Kendall, Journalism Teacher

After years of close calls, the Nashoba Regional hockey team finally got over the hump, winning both the Division 3A Central Mass. and state title this week. The Chieftains (17-6) captured its first district title in 35 years with a 3-0 win over Worcester on Monday, then capped their championship season with a 4-2 win over Western Mass. champion Chicopee Comprehensive at the MassMutual Center Thursday night.

No Eastern Mass. schools play in Division 3A.

“No matter when you win a state championship, it’s going to be history,” senior Kevin Gilchrest said. “But to be the first ones to do it makes it even more special.”

Gilchrest, who was a four-year star for the hockey team, netted two goals in his final game, including what proved to be the game-winner late in the second period, redirecting a Bob Denaro shot past CC goalie Parker Nunes (22 saves) to give Nashoba a 3-0 lead.

Kevin Gilchrest’s cousin, Luke Gilchrest, was the star of the third period. Despite allowing his first two goals of the postseason, Gilchrest turned aside 10 third-period shots – including a penalty shot with 6:31 to play.

Despite having his shutout streak ended at 120:45, Gilchrest finished the night with 25 saves.

“Our goalie was able to come up big,” coach Trevor Short said. “That was the turning point of the game. When he made the save on the penalty shot, I felt confident that we were going to win the game.”

As it did throughout the postseason, the veteran Nashoba squad jumped out to an early lead. Senior Hunter Boudreau scored just 2:10 into the game with assists going to Trevor Sicard and Devyn Barrett.

The Chieftains dominated the rest of the first period, eventually adding to their lead when Gilchrest scored the first of his two goals with 11 seconds to play.

“You go down in a big game like this it kind of sucks the confidence out of you,” Kevin Gilchrest said. “It’s really important to score in games like this.”
CC held a 7-5 shot advantage in the second period, but Gilchrest netted the only goal of the period to give Nashoba a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the final 15 minutes. However, Cam Kagen gave the Colts some life with his goal just 45 seconds into the third.

The Chieftains regained the momentum a few minutes later on sophomore Dan Kerble’s goal (assists to Matt LeBlanc and Sicard), but Jeremy Lewis’ 35th goal of the year brought CC back to within 4-2 midway through the third.

The drama began there, as CC was awarded a penalty shot with 6:31 left. Gilchrest made a huge save on Myles Hemingway to all but kill any CC comeback hopes.

“This is a special group of guys. We all love each other,” junior Brad Colvin said. “For the seniors, this has got to be something like no other. It’s amazing.

“Maybe someday I’ll walk into the school and see the banner and it will bring back some memories.”