HIGHGATE — The MVU Thunderbirds celebration rocked the Highgate Arena as Hunter Mason sent the puck into the back of Colchester’s net.

Mason ended the 2020 season one point shy of 100, and as Covid delays pushed off the start of the 2021 season, some wondered if he’d get the chance to reach the coveted milestone.

That question was answered two minutes into the first period when Mason scored an unassisted goal after racing the Colchester goalie for a loose puck and chipping it in the net behind him.

“My team was behind me, and they really wanted me to get it; I think that pushed me even harder,” said Mason.

“It’s a dream come true, and I’m just trying to live in the moment.”

The Lakers answered Mason’s goal at the end of the first period, the teams leaving the ice knotted at one apiece.

Colchester struck first in the second period, scoring a shorthanded goal at the end of a five-minute major, but MVU’s Jake Benjamin scored off assists from Ethan Messier and Hunter Mason just thirty seconds later to tie the game.

Mason scored the tie-breaking goal on an assist from Messier late in the second; Messier, a sophomore, scored on an assist from Charlie Gates with less than a minute remaining in the second.

“We needed more offense to really come out and challenge their goaltender; that was the strategy coming out in the second period. Those three goals were huge,” said MVU coach Chris Hattin.

The Thunderbirds continued their offensive domination of the Lakers, adding two more unanswered goals in the third period.

Messier scored the fifth goal of the game with less than 50 seconds in the third, assisted by Jackson Porter. Mason scored the game’s final goal with seconds on the clock, leaving the ice with a hattrick. The Thunderbirds earned the 6-2 victory.

MVU goalie Garrett Freageau had 21 saves, and Colchester goalie, Kieran Phillips, had 17.

“Garret Fregeau was our backup goalie last year, and with PJ Bouchard being hurt, we needed him to step up. As a sophomore, that’s a big ask. He had a couple of huge saves in the second period, and if those go in, that can really change the momentum,” said Hattin.

Saturday’s game almost didn’t take place after the game scheduled with Harwood was canceled; MVU athletic director John Lumsden made it happen.

“All the credit for this game goes to Mr. Lumsden. He worked hard to get this game. I’m so glad he could pull this together for us,” said Mason.

Mason also thanked his teammates, especially the group of seniors he’s grown up playing with.

“We’ve been dreaming about this year since we were kids, and now that it’s here, people better watch out because we’re coming.”

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