Wednesday, January 12, 2011
New England Roundup: Rhode Island
By Mike Scandura
What do traffic jams on Route 95 during the rush hour and Division I boys’ hockey have in common?
Entering the second week in January, you could put a postage stamp over the top four teams after the previous weekend’s results – which, among other things, featured one of the more remarkable comebacks in the storied history of Mount St. Charles.
Mount (6-0-1) and Moses Brown (6-1-1) are tied for first place with 13 points each although the Mounties have one game in hand. Hendricken (5-1-1) and La Salle (5-1-1) are in a dead heat for second.
For the longest time last Saturday when Moses Brown played the Mount, it appeared the Quakers would exit Thayer Arena in sole possession of first place. Moses Brown led, 6-3, with just under five minutes left in regulation. That’s when the Mounties staged their improbable rally. Trevor Plante’s goal with 4:52 left sliced Mount’s deficit to 6-4 and then Mike Magerman scored twice – his second goal coming with all of 8.3 seconds left on the clock to forge a 6-6 tie.
Since neither team scored in overtime, each was awarded one point in the standings.
Ironically, the six goals coughed up by the Mounties were the most they’ve allowed in a regular-season game in longer than coach Bill Belisle would care to remember. Even more ironic was the fact that the other game on the Thayer Arena card, between La Salle and Hendricken, also ended in a tie – 3-3, after the Hawks rallied from a three-goal deficit.
PASSAGES Words are impossible to find when describing the tragedy that occurred on January 6 when former Harvard star, multiple-All State hockey pick and NHL player Tom Cavanagh was found dead in the Providence Place Mall garage.
Cavanagh, 28, went right from Toll Gate High to Harvard and later signed with the San Jose Sharks.
In both his junior and senior years, he led the state in scoring and was voted First Team All-State honors. Cavanagh played on the 2004 Titans team that broke Mount St. Charles’ national-record 26 consecutive state championships.
FUTURE FRIAR Johnston’s Noel Acciari will be playing his college hockey at Providence College.
Acciari began his interscholastic career at Hendricken and earned 2009 First Team All-State honors. He then transferred to the Kent School where he was elected a co-captain and was voted Most Valuable Player in the Avon Old Farms Christmas Tournament.
DON’T OVERLOOK MOUNT GIRLS While the Mount St. Charles boys’ hockey team invariably tends to overshadow the girls’ team, there’s no overlooking the fact that the Mount girls are one of the premier female teams in the state.
What’s noteworthy about the 2010-11 team – which was 6-0-0 through January 9 – is its depth. Mount coach Steve Shea lost five players through graduation, including All-Staters Katie Loiselle and goalie Kayla DiLorenzo. But he returned the rest of the team and welcomed a handful of freshmen.
Shea’s current team is led by the first line of senior wings Erin Rouleau and Samantha Smith plus sophomore center Danielle Allain.
BIG-TIME VICTORY Barrington’s St. Andrew’s School over the years has developed a reputation as one of the top basketball prep schools in the nation. But the team out-did itself by upsetting nationally-ranked/traditional power DeMatha Catholic High, 49-46, in the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, West Va.
DeMatha came into the game ranked seventh in the nation with a 12-0 record. But Michael Carter-Williams tipped in a missed shot with 18 seconds left in regulation for a 47-46 lead and clinched the victory by sinking two free throws shortly thereafter.
Carter-Williams finished with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals while Cedric Kuakumensah pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked 6 shots.
DOUBLE DRIBBLES Gunnar Bjornson scored 25 points, burying four 3-point shots in the process, as Tiverton beat Portsmouth, 69-47, in the finals of the East Bay Christmas Tournament.
Bridget Hollenbeck and Kelsey Cahill scored 13 points apiece as Cumberland beat Mount St. Charles, 48-35, in the Smithfield Boosters Holiday Tournament championship game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH Smithfield and Westerly invariably aren’t confused with Rhode Island’s traditional boys’ basketball powers like Hendricken, La Salle, St. Raphael and Central. But the Sentinels and Bulldogs may bear watching this season if for no other reason than a pair of front-court players.
Smithfield’s Kyle Morvan is a 6-4, 220-pound center who in the early going was averaging 23.2 points in Division I. He also was voted to the Keene (N.H.) Holiday Tournament All-Tournament Team. Morvan earned Second Team All-State honors last season and, obviously, is on track perhaps to do even better.
Westerly’s Zach Wells is a 6-4, 190-pound power forward who through his first eight games was averaging 16.7 points against Division II competition.
ONE FOR THE BOOKS Chariho senior Innocent Jacobs smashed a 22-year-old Rhode Island state record in the boys’ indoor long jump by leaping 23-feet, ½-inch in a recent dual meet.
The previous record was 22-11 set by Hope’s Dennis Soares.
Jacobs also displayed his versatility in the meet by clearing 6-10 in the high jump.
Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey, plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y. he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.