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March 17, 2014

Beverly hockey notebook: Doherty was a presence all night for Panthers

BOSTON -- One of the happiest guys in an exuberant Beverly High locker room late last night was senior center Graham Doherty.

Not only did he bask in the glory of his team's first-ever state hockey championship, a 2-1 triumph over Medfield in the Division 2 title game, but he also felt good about playing his best playoff game at a time when his team needed him most.

"This is probably the last competitive hockey game I'll ever play," said Doherty, "so to go out and win it like we did, and to be able to contribute like I did, feels awesome."

Doherty was a presence all over the TD Garden ice last night..

Right off his first shift, Doherty set the tone for himself and his team. He skated with a purpose, drove hard into the Medfield end and was aggressive when it came to battling for pucks, especially in the neutral zone. He also had no problem laying out to block potential shots, of which he turned away three.

"First time out there Graham beats his guy wide and attacks their end. He set the tempo for his game right off the bat," said captain Connor Irving. "It was great to see because he had been struggling a bit the last two games and wasn't getting his shots. I'm really proud of him for playing through it, keeping after it, moving his feet and how he played tonight."

While Doherty didn't factor into the scoring, he didn't have to in order to make himself known. Every time No. 21 hopped over the boards last night, something positive seemed to happen for the Panthers.

"It's just a great way for us to finish our careers," said Doherty, who by an unofficial count won 12 of the 16 faceoffs he took last night. "We've wanted this for so long ... and now it's ours."

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