Boston High School: Adam Hall

MIAA hockey championships primer, picks

March, 16, 2012
All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA hockey title games.

We'll have you covered all day long, but until then, we provide to you a breakdown of each of the game and our prediction:

GIRLS’ FINALS Division 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-0-1) vs. No. 7 Falmouth (16-4-1), 11 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: If the Dragons win this game, they make a strong argument that they were the strongest girls’ hockey team in the state, regardless of division, with the potential for an undefeated season. As any strong hockey squad goes, the Dragons are built from goal out with sophomore goaltender Rachel Myette (0.91 GAA) looks for her second state title in as many seasons as starter. Duxbury’s blue line corps is regarded as the deepest in the state, led by ESPN Boston Ms. Hockey contender Martha Findley (4-19-23). Of course, Duxbury has plenty of offensive firepower to go along with their strong defensive play with junior forwards Hannah Murphy (18-27-45) and Lily Connolly (18-20-38) as leading scorers. Falmouth has been one of the stories of the tournament, making a run behind first-year head coach Erin Blood. The Clippers have also received strong play from a young goaltender in freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.26 GAA). Falmouth is also deep and experienced on the blue line with senior captain Brenna Callahan and junior Alexx Good. The Clippers have received scoring punch from a pair of freshman forwards in Kelly Ferreira (13-9-22) and Madison Haberl (11-12-23).

The Pick: The defending Division 2 champion Dragons spent half the season as the No. 1 team in our poll. We’re not about to go against them now. Duxbury, 4-1.

Division 1 No. 3 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (21-3-1) vs. No. 4 Arlington Catholic (20-3-1), 9 a.m.
The Breakdown: If two regular season meetings between these Central Catholic powers weren’t enough, we get a rubber match for all the marbles on Sunday. The Lady Spartans came away with two wins in the teams’ regular season series, including a defining 5-2 decision by St. Mary’s on Feb. 1 after they’d been upset by crosstown rival Winthrop/Lynn. Can’t underscore the coaching in this game enough, as Frank Pagliuca has turned in perhaps his finest performance behind the bench and Maggie Taverna has vaulted the Cougars back onto the state’s biggest stage in Year One. Taverna has been helped by one of the state’s most dynamic scorers in senior Natalie Flynn (19-15-34). Adrieana Rossini (8-14-22) has also come up with some huge postseason goals. On the blue line, AC has one of the state’s best in senior Rebecca Zappala. First-year transfers Kaleigh Finigan (30-goal season) and Brittani Lanzilli (25-28-53) have not disappointed while Alison Butler (team-leading 61 points) has taken a huge step forward. The Spartans blue line is airtight with preseason All-Stater Rachel Donahoe leading the group. Lauren Skinnion (7 SO) has been strong as a first-year starter in nets.

The Pick: Third time’s a charm? Not so. Spartans are too strong. St. Mary’s, 4-2.

BOYS’ FINALS Division 3
Medway (19-6-1) vs. Hudson (21-1-1), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: This marks the return of one of the state’s great public hockey programs to its biggest stage in Hudson (seriously, look it up), with the Hawks making their first state finals appearance since 1978, when they took the Div. 1 title from Burlington. The Central sectional champions are strong up front with a trio of 30-point scorers in seniors Tyler Kirby, Tim Murphy and Blake Seymour. The Mustangs are paced by one of the state’s top snipers in Jake O’Rourke (43-13-56). This matchup will also feature two of most dominant D3 goalies in the state with Hudson junior Shane Barry and Medway junior Mike Narducci facing off with sub-2.00 goals against averages.

The Pick: We’re going with the storyline and perhaps the most consistent D3 team throughout the season. Hudson, 3-2.

Division 2 Wilmington (15-4-5) vs. No. 1 Franklin (19-2-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Breakdown: This might be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Both of these teams were among four Division 2 teams on the Mass. Hockey Coaches Association’s initial Super 8 Watch list a month ago and haven’t disappointed in the tournament. Franklin was here a year ago, when they had their hearts broken by Tewksbury in an overtime stunner. Many observers, including us, had last season pegged as the Panthers’ opportunity to break a nearly three-decade long drought, but Chris Spillane has showed why he’s one of the state’s premier coaches. It also hasn’t hurt that Franklin has received tremendous senior seasons from Adam Hall (17-25-42) and Nick Bertoni (25-15-40). Sophomore netminder Mike Donadio (1.64 GAA) has been a revelation. The Wildcats offense has taken off since Cam Owens’ (14-19-33) return to the lineup, while senior captain Dalton Rolli (9-16-25) is an underrated two-way presence. Junior forward Jake Rogers (12-6-20) has come up with some timely goals in the postseason. Sophomore netminder Drew Foley (1.69 GAA) has played his best when it’s counted most, carrying a three-plus game shutout streak into the Wildcats’ North sectional final with Winthrop.

The Pick: The last time the Panthers hoisted the trophy Coach Spillane skated. Unfortunately for the hockey hotbed, this isn’t the year either. Wilmington, 2-1 (OT).

Division 1 Burlington (17-2-6) vs. Milton (19-3-3), 8:15 p.m.
The Breakdown: The Red Devils pulled off a tough feat, bouncing back from a Super 8 play-in game loss (and a very competitive one at that) to pull themselves into the D1 championship. The Middlesex League champions have plenty of speed to burn, and senior assistant captain Trevor Cimino (17-22-39) is about as good a two-way forward as you’ll find. Along with Joe Berardi (22-13-35), Brett Romkey (17-3-20) and C.J. Grinnell (6-14-20), Burlington can score in piles. We’ve also come away impressed by their defensive corps led by Steve Mattos, in addition to Cody Crocker, Adam Crowley and Brien Diffley. The Wildcats ran the Bay State League gauntlet in the South sectional tournament to get to the Garden. Paul Curran (26-33-59) is one of the best pure scorers in the state, and along with top-liners Brian Higgins (23-29-52) and Terrance Walsh (16-33-49), Milton provides matchup problems. Blue-liner John Murtagh is a rock, logging boatloads of ice time, and senior netminder Jay Hankard is peaking at the right time

The Pick: Red Devils are simply too potent, but they’re the pick mostly because of the way they’re playing defensively right now in front of Derek DeCastro. Burlington, 6-3.

Division 1A No. 5 BC High (13-6-5) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (19-1-4), 6 p.m.
The Breakdown: After beating another Catholic Conference rival, St. John’s Prep, to advance to the final, Eagles head coach John Flaherty said he’s had a special feeling about this group. That feeling might have developed after BC High skated to a 2-2 tie with MC on Jan. 25, a game in which the Eagles in some regards out-played the Lancers. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with MC taking two wins, including a 3-1 win in the Super 8’s round robin last week. The crucible for BC High is which of their defensive units shows up: The out-of-sorts group that surrendered a 7-spot earlier this season to MC, or the cohesive group that bounced Prep and its top line? Of course, that all starts with junior goaltender Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA), who has turned in another solid tournament. Brian Furey leads a much improved blue-line group. The Eagles are also disciplined in their own zone, with Matt Sullivan (12-16-28) providing as much defensively as he does offensively. Everyone knows of the Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, but freshman center Ara Nazarian has been the breakout star of the tournament, filling the scoresheet in every game and tallying five goals. It’s not just offense with MC, however, as you’d be hard pressed to find a deeper, more dynamic top three than Casey Fitzgerald, Colin MacGillivray and Brendan White. If netminder Connor Maloney plays as he did against Central Catholic in the crossover round, that’s game, set, and match.

The Pick: Doin’ it for CS5. MC, 5-3.

D2 South final: Franklin 5, Mansfield 2

March, 12, 2012
BOURNE, Mass. -- There aren’t a lot of second chances in life, but the Franklin boys’ ice hockey team assured themselves of a big one.

After losing in the Division 2 state championship game a year ago at the TD Garden, the Panthers assured themselves of another shot at the title with a 5-2 win over Mansfield Sunday at Gallo Ice Arena.

The top-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then held back a late Hornets charge, popping a pair of empty netters in the final seconds. Franklin is now 19-2-3 for the season and can’t wait to try to secure their 20th victory next Sunday.

“I think that the kids that were there last year understood what it took to get here, and hopefully they now they understand what it takes to win that hockey game,” said a pleased Franklin head coach Chris Spillane following his team’s second straight Division 2 south title. “You don’t want to end your season on a losing note. You want to be the team that wins the last hockey game.”

A big reason that the Panthers were the last winning team in the south was that they were able to catch lightning in a bottle right out of the gate. Franklin scored twice in the first 5:53 of the game as they assaulted the Mansfield net with vigor.

Nick Bertoni opened the scoring with a pretty individual effort, wrapping one around from behind the goal and beating Rich Shipman to the far side post just 2:44 into the game. Three minutes later Franklin struck again. Ryan Garland used the defense as a screen and whistled an arrow past the keeper’s right ear to give the Panthers a 2-0 advantage at 5:53.

“We got the first two goals and set the tone right there,” Spillane said. “If we didn’t get those first two goals I don’t know where this game would have went because we were tired at the end.”

Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos, whose team rallied back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period in the semifinals to beat North Quincy, said that the first period has been a bugaboo for the Hornets all season.

“You can’t make mistakes. We turned the puck over, they scored. You just can’t make mistakes against a good team like Franklin.”

Each team popped one in the second period to keep it a 2-goal game going to the third. Franklin opened up a 3-0 lead at 5:44 on a pretty play by Adam Hall, who got a pass up the left wing from Nick Bertoni and put on burst of speed. He lifted a wrister from 8-feet out to the upper far corner.

Things were unraveling for the Hornets, but a good job of selling a penalty by Erik Foley led to a power play for Mansfield at 6:53. Four seconds later the Hornets were finally on the scoreboard as Brendan Murphy got the puck off the draw, slid from the left hashes to the slot and sneaked a wrister behind Mike Danadio.

Mansfield made it really interesting in the third, pulling to within one just 58 seconds into the third period. Foley, a very talented freshman, scored a goal-scorer’s goal to cut the deficit to one as he flew up the right wing and sniped one inside the nearside corner on the top shelf.

The Hornets continued to get after for the rest of the period, but Franklin goalie Mike Donadio was up to the task. The sophomore made a number of big saves in the third. With 8 minutes remaining he got piece of a chip by Steve Folan from the doorstep. With just under three minutes to go Donadio gobbled up a backdoor tip by Cam Neary, who was set up brilliantly by Kevin Flynn from the left wing wall, to preserve the lead.

“I thought we might have a little magic left, it was close,” Anastos said.

Mansfield pulled Shipman for the extra attacker with 80 seconds remaining. Franklin cleared the zone and could finally breathe a sigh of relief when Hall chipped one from the red line into the vacant goal to make it 4-2. With seven seconds left, Farnklin got another empty-net goal from Aidan Isberg, who hit the post and then buried his own rebound to make it 5-2.

Despite his team ending the night on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Anastos was quite upbeat about his club, one that featured 7 freshman playing roles on it. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the way these kids played and battled,” he said. “They did a great job. I mean, they’re playing Franklin and Franklin is such a great team.”

Franklin claims D2 South hockey crown

March, 14, 2011
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. –- The last time Franklin won a state hockey championship was in 1983 and Chris Spillane was one of the team’s players.

Now, Spillane will have an opportunity to win a state title as a coach.

That scenario was a result of Franklin’s 5-2 victory Sunday over Plymouth South in the Division 2 South finals before a standing room only crowd of 2,200 at Gallo Arena.

“I guess you could say everything’s come full circle,” said Spillane, whose team was led by James Marchand’s two goals. “This is the fifth time [going to the South finals] since I’ve been coaching.

“We’ve had some real quality hockey teams. This team just has that intangible. They bond together. They formed friendships at the beginning of the season and it’s carried right through [to the end].”

Franklin (17-4-2) will get a crack at that state championship on March 20 when it faces Tewksbury at TD BankNorth Garden.

Besides Marchand’s hat trick, Spillane felt a major reason why his team prevailed was that it skated three lines while Plymouth South (15-7-1) only skated two.

“All three lines scored tonight,” Spillane said. “We don’t rely on one line. They skated two. We went into this game saying if they can skate two lines for three periods against our three, they deserve to win.

“We kept rolling three lines and tried to see if they could keep up with the pace we set. It was a factor in the third period. Our speed was there. They were tired. They weren’t winning the 50-50 battles like they were earlier in the game. That just comes down to our players focusing on what they need to do, working hard and winning the battles in our zone.”

Marchand scored his initial goal at 4:17 of the first when he unloaded a slap shot from the top of the left circle but Plymouth South (15-7-1) tied it 15 seconds into the middle period when John Leaman buried the rebound of an Andrew Tympanick shot.

Adam Hall then put Franklin ahead for good, at 1:36, with a snap shot from the left circle that beat Matt Peltier (13 saves) to the far right post.

“We’ve been preaching all year long after someone scores a goal the next biggest shift is the following one,” said Spillane “Either you get the momentum and keep it or you give it back. We did a good job of getting it back in our favor and continuing to do the simple things we did all game.”

Matt DiRosario gave Franklin a 3-1 lead at 6:40 of the second on a wrist shot from the left circle that eluded Bill Spillane (17 saves). But Plymouth South countered on a power play at 13:35 when Joey Colbert flipped in the rebound of a Gavin Yates shot.

Marchand gave Franklin some breathing room at 7:44 of the third when he converted a pass from Hall.

“I was fortunate to get it and it set the tone for the rest of the period,” said Marchand, who scored into an empty net with 14 seconds remaining. “The big thing about this team is we gave good chemistry. We all get along with each other. We all know how to play the game.”

Marchand almost was speechless when trying to discuss his emotions after Franklin’s most important win of the season.

“It’s the best feeling in the world … it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

Robbins lifts No. 21 Franklin over Canton

January, 17, 2011

CANTON, Mass. -- The finish was a thing of beauty, but it only told half the story.

Frankin senior captain Mark Robbins gained the blue line, put a move on the defense and cut back toward center ice. He got Canton goaltender Richard Nee shifting to cut down the angle and, when he did so, Robbins unleashed a wrister stick-side.

Robbins’ goal, breaking a third-period stalemate, provided the No. 21 Panthers with what would prove to be the game-winning goal in a 3-2 decision over their Hockomock League rivals in a Martin Luther King Day matinee at Metropolis Rink.

His only regret was that he couldn’t split the puck in two.

“That was an unbelievable pass,” Robbins said of the assist he received from junior forward Adam Hall on a perfect tape-to-tape pass. “That was half his goal, too, not just me. It’s just as much the assist as it is the goal.”

Franklin (6-1-0, 5-0-0) withstood the Bulldogs’ onslaught in the third period, when they were badly out-shot. However, the Panthers’ defense, led by goaltender Ryan Geary (25 saves) stood tall.

“I felt comfortable with our guys and their conditioning,” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane said, discussing the Panthers’ mindset as Canton pulled is goaltender in the final moments. “I wasn’t going to give them a chance to rest his top line. We just told our guys to play smart hockey, chip the puck in deep and don’t make mistakes, don’t turn it over. It comes down to heart.”

For the heart the Panthers showed in the third, they came into the game a little flat. Franklin was out-shot 8-3 in the first period and were behind on the scoreboard, 1-0, after 15 minutes of play. Canton’s J.C. Marcone tapped home a rebound past Geary on Nick O’Connor shot, with a second assist from Greg Boyd.

The pace was fast and furious in the second period, as both teams skated up and down with plenty of good scoring chances to go around.

Mark Teehan put Franklin on the board 57 seconds into the second with assists from James Marchand and Robbins.

The Panthers kept the pressure going and struck for a 2-1 lead one minute later. Hall chipped one past Nee from the goalmouth with an assist from Matt DiRossario, who fed Hall after the puck had taken a strange carom off the backside boards.

The lead didn’t last long as Canton (5-1-1, 3-1-0) responded 3:39 into the second when Pat Ward scored with an assist to Tom Delsignore.

The teams went to the room tied 2-2 after two and that’s where the heroics of Hall and Robbins came in.

“It was a great, great open-ice pass,” Spillane said. “For a high school player to make that tape-to-tape pass is outstanding. But for our player to cut to the middle, Mark Robbins saw open space, cut to the center and finish with that shot — it’s nice.

“I can’t say that I told him to do that, or that he practiced that, but that’s just a good hockey play.”

  • Unfortunately for local hockey fans, the Panthers will not be squaring off with the Bulldogs for a second round this season with the Hockomock’s new two division alignment. But that didn’t diminish what Monday’s game meant. The teams met in the postseason last year as well. Canton bounced Franklin in the South semifinals in a 2-1 thriller before going on to a Division 2 state title. “It doesn’t matter where we are in the standings, every game is like that,” Spillane said of the rivalry. “It’s just a good rivalry and a good hockey game every time we play them.”
  • After shutting down a Canton power-play chance later in the third period, Brian Shuman pulled Nee in favor of an extra attacker. On the next stoppage, Shuman took a timeout to set up his troops for an attack zone face-off. Despite a couple of later stoppages, Spillane held on to his timeout, favoring not giving the Bulldogs’ legs a breather. “I know he [Canton head coach Brian Shuman] was running two lines,” Spillane said, “so I didn’t want to use a timeout in the last minute and a half.”