BYFIELD – The Squirt AAA hockey team solidified its place as Triton Youth Hockey’s best team in program history, winning the organization’s first ever Massachusetts State Championship.
“We had a very skilled team,” head coach Paul Kohan said. “It wasn’t a team of just one or two superstars, but it consisted of 13 very good hockey players. I saw them come together as a group, especially in the overnight tournament setting. It was good for them to bond over the course of the weekend and come together to pull out the win.”
While any championship run is impressive, state title runs have been anything but common for Triton Youth Hockey. In fact, Sunday’s championship game win in Springfield was the program’s first title.
“I grew up playing for Triton Youth Hockey in 1979, so we are talking about at least 40 years of program existence,” Kohan said. “This is the first state championship in any level for the program.”
While his team comprised of 9 and 10-year-olds was expected to perform well this season, Kohan knew that team bonding would be mandatory if it was going to perform to potential. A tight-knit team is able to remain together through the highs and lows that are a staple of hockey.
The Vikings beat Cape Cod Canal, Nashoba and Quincy to advance to the state semifinals to face Wilmington. Four late unanswered goals would prove to be the difference in a 6-1 Triton win. Next up was Westwood: a team the Vikings were very familiar with.
Triton’s Brady Lindholm set the tone from the get-go, scoring the game’s first goal just 24 seconds into the first period. Westwood responded, though, and led 2-1 at the first intermission.
But the second period belonged to the Vikings, who exploded with four quick goals to pull away in the contest. Cael Kohan tied the game just 10 seconds before Ryan Lindholm scored two goals in just 39 seconds. Ben Rennick would also get in on the second period action, scoring a goal to put his team on top 5-2 heading into the season’s final period.