Skip to main content


Hopedale/Milford Hockey eyes late season charge

Sean McGee is one of Hopedale/Milford's leaders as a senior captain.

Team looks to recent win for ‘springboard’

By Chris Villani

Hopedale/Milford head hockey coach Mike MacQuarrie had a feeling it was going to be a bit of an up-and-down season this year as he brought back a team with only five players who saw significant ice time last winter. But a 5-0 shutout victory over Wachusett showed the team’s most complete effort to date, and MacQuarrie is hoping to see more games like that the rest of the way.

Aiden Collins is one of the top scorers in the area this winter.


“We have been studying film and it’s been paying off,” he said. “They are seeing things they are doing instead of me just telling them and, when you show it on film, it doesn’t lie.”

Matt Lioce uncorks a shot during a recent game.


The coach added, “hopefully that win is a springboard to make them believe that, if they make the commitment, it will translate into some wins for us.”

Hopedale/Milford’s ability to compete against a strong D1 team is a lift for a squad that has been hit by injuries all winter. But several players, including Milford High students, are hitting their stride.

Ricky Nashawaty is coming on strong for Hopedale/Milford this winter after returning from injury.


“Aiden Collins has come alive,” MacQuarrie said of the junior MHS forward following a flurry of goals over a three-game stretch. “His offensive skills and speed have been on display; he is a big reason we are going in the right direction. He is a force, he’s got a great shot, and he is working on his defensive play.”

Dave Fleming is one of the team's top defenders. Photo credit Mike MacQuarrie


Collins is near the top of the scoring lists in both the Quinn Conference and in all of Central Massachusetts.  

Senior captain Sean McGee has anchored the top line at center all winter with people rotating around him. He and Collins have recently collaborated on the top unit in recent games.

Junior Dom Dutcher is another “impact player,” MacQuarrie said. He has a strong forecheck and has been a critical part of the team’s penalty kill.

“He has been one of those vocal leaders,” MacQuarrie said. “It’s nice to see him come into his own game.”

Sophomore Ricky Nashawaty returned for Milford in January after missing time with an injury; he is a player MacQuarrie said he is happy to have for the stretch run. Freshman Joshua Balzarini has been the team’s top freshman, his coach said.

Defenseman Joe Butler is Hopedale/Milford’s best all-around defenseman, according to MacQuarrie, and Matt Lioce is another strong player on the blue line. David Fleming, a junior at MHS, has also contributed on defense.

The combination of the Wachusett victory and improved health has MacQuarrie thinking his team is in for a strong finish.

“If we can string some wins together and turn the corner, hopefully we can get back into the playoff picture,” he said.