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Taft defeats Hotchkiss Bearcats in 4-0 win

WATERTOWN — The Taft School Rhinos hosted The Hotchkiss School Bearcats on Saturday, Feb. 25, for the final hockey game of the 2022-23 regular season. Taft put on a show in front of a packed home crowd and closed out the year with a 4-0 victory.

The rival squads appeared evenly matched as they took to the ice in Odden Arena. Defenders from both sides shut down offensive opportunities before they began, leading to a scoreless first period.

Taft got the action started about a minute into the second period when senior Zave Greene found the back of the net on a fast break. Hotchkiss booked an interference penalty shortly after the goal, leading to a powerplay for Taft. The Rhinos capitalized on their advantage with a goal from sophomore Preston Hidy to take a 2-0 lead over the Bearcats.

Lockdown defense from both teams resumed as the game got increasingly chippy. A washout penalty midway through the third period was quickly followed by a crosscheck from Hotchkiss, leading a four-on-three advantage for Taft. Rhino senior Jackson Holl scored during the powerplay to put Taft up by three.

Hotchkiss found a few fastbreak opportunities but was unable to sneak one past Taft’s brick wall in front of the net. The puck seemed magnetically drawn to Rhino goalie Rudy Guimond’s glove as he scooped up everything that came his way.

Senior center J.J. Lemieux scored the final goal for Taft to cement their 4-0 victory over Hotchkiss.  The Rhinos celebrated on the ice as they wrapped up the season with a record of 19-8-1 while the Bearcats finished 10-14-3.

The win qualified Taft as top seed for the Martin/Earl Large School Tournament in New England Prep School Athletic Council’s postseason. Tournament play begins Mar. 1 with the championship game to be held Mar. 5 at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H.

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