Boston High School: Anthony Panaggio

No. 20 Marshfield takes CCM Classic title

December, 29, 2014
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- There is no denying the team Dan Connolly bore witness to on Sunday night was the one he has been patiently waiting for.

The Marshfield head coach knew his team had the talent but just one week into the regular season, the Rams were still in search of an identity. Perhaps now they have found one.

On the strength of two first-period goals, along with a suffocating defense and some talented goaltending, Marshfield was able to fend off St. John's (Shrewsbury), 2-1, to capture the CCM High School Hockey Classic (formerly known as the Silverback Classic) at Loring Arena.

"We said all along that we needed to dictate the pace of play," said Connolly, his team now at 1-3-1. "We told the kids don't let them get ahead of us, try to control the puck and get it into their zone and try to forecheck the heck out of them. I thought we did a good job of that and our defense did a real good job of throwing pucks back down the ice once we got it."

The Rams, who often ran out a pair of sophomores and a pair of freshmen on defense, show no signs of inexperience as they continuously collapsed the zone once the Pioneers entered it, forcing St. John's into experiencing tremendous difficulty maneuvering the puck once past the red line. When the Pioneers were able to field shots, junior goalie Grayson Owens became a stonewall, stopping 23 of 24 attempts.

"I'm new here so I'm still trying to get use to the swing of things with the team because I hadn't played varsity before," Owens said. "We knew St. John's would be a tough opponent and hopefully we can now pick it up and have this kind of confidence in every game we play. I was pretty nervous tonight but my defense really helped me out."

Owens' highlight moments came midway through the third period. With Marshfield still holding onto its two-goal lead, the Pioneers were given back-to-back power play opportunities. St. John's rifled shots at Owens from all points of the ice in its desperation to get back into this contest. But Owens managed to swat them aside with relative ease.

After defeating Catholic Memorial in overtime the night before, the Pioneers appeared listless to begin Sunday’s tilt. They turned the puck over inside the neutral zone often and allowed the Rams to control the tempo.

That would eventually lead to Marshfield's first tally of the night when junior forward Nevan Connors blistered a shot past Matt Mongeau at 4:25 of the frame. The Rams continued with their up-tempo style for the remainder of the period, keeping Mongeau busy between the pipes. However, they only had the one goal in hand.

But in the closing minute, St. John's Pat Storer was whistled for a cross check. With only seven seconds remaining before the first intermission, the Rams capitalized on their man-advantage chance as junior Hunter McCauley pushed back a rebound and a two score lead.

"It was a slow start by us and our guys weren't ready," Pioneers head coach Mike Mead said. "That's my fault because I have to make sure they are prepared for every game. I'm going to assume that I didn't have them ready to play tonight. Marshfield did a great job dumping the puck deep into our zone and we tried to get a little to individualized by trying to carry it out of our zone.

“This is a team game and you have to rely on your teammates. When you try to play individually, it is a tough game to play by yourself. This was a game we had hope to have and we didn't play well at the start. We played OK afterwards but hopefully we learned something and now we move on."

Handcuffing the Pioneers at both ends of the ice, the offense took a backseat in the Rams strategy. The way this team was checking and moving the puck away from its zone, Marshfield stayed the course in its continued efforts to frustrate the Pioneers.

With less than a minute to be played, St. John's, with Mongeau pulled for the extra man, cut into the deficit thanks to Matt Negrotti's score with 41 seconds on the clock. But it came too little, too late as Pioneers (1-4-1) could draw no closer.

"We have some growing pains but the kids are starting to learn and starting to gain confidence," said Connolly, who reached the title game following an overtime win over Framingham on Saturday. "The kids kept things simple and made smart plays. We did a nice job keeping St. John's to the outside which gave Grayson a lot of chances to see the shots. He played a great game for us."

CM rebounds in consolation: Framingham head coach Paul Spear knew for his club to have a legitimate shot against Catholic Memorial, the Flyers needed to play disciplined.

Unfortunately for Spear, Framingham was anything but as it made a constant beeline to the penalty box all night lone. The result was four power play goals by the Knights as they cruised to a 9-3 victory in the consolation tilt.

"You go into the penalty box and you are going to lose to this team," Spear said. "When you go into the penalty box like we did, you might as well just put a point on the board for them. We made it easy for them in a variety of ways tonight. You have to keep your game tight against teams like this because if you don't then you deserve to lose and tonight we deserved to lose."

CM (3-1-1) led 1-0 after the first period on a Paul Hardiman unassisted goal. In the middle frame, things took an ugly turn for the Flyers (2-1-2). Early on, the Knights netted a pair of man advantage goals by Zach Sullivan and Harrison Morrill to up the lead to 3-0. Later in the period, Sullivan, a senior forward, ripped a hard wrist shot past Jason McCarthy, putting CM on top by four.

"It was tough to lose last night in overtime but our coach (Bill Hanson) spoke to us before the game telling us how we needed to become more in sync as a team," said Sullivan. "We did that and we just went out there and killed it tonight. My linemates Gunnar McKenzie and Harry Morrill set me up all night by giving me good passes and fortunately my shots went in.”

Less than two minutes later, Billy Czar scored off a turnover to make it a 5-0 affair. Framingham got one back late in the period on Scott Swennes' power play tally.

Just 1:02 into the third, Scott Hall redirected a shot past Knights goalie Brandon Collett bringing the Flyers to within four goals.

However, the momentum off of that score didn't last. Another Framingham penalty put CM back on the power play which led to Kevin Curley's lone range marker at 12:56.

The floodgates opened soon thereafter with Aaron Clancy, McKenzie and Anthony Panaggio (shorthanded) all finding the back of the net. Patrick Lavin would score a power play goal in the final minute for the Flyers.

With just five seconds to go, Knights freshman Shane Murphy took a nasty hit into the boards behind the Framingham net. Murphy was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital with his condition unknown.

Super 8: No. 2 Malden Catholic 6, No. 7 CM 4

March, 6, 2014

LOWELL, Mass. -- There are times when changing goaltenders can be the difference between victory and defeat.

That seemed to be the case when Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial met Wednesday night.

Trailing by two goals early in the second period, MC coach John McLean pulled freshman goaltender Kyle Casey and inserted junior Alex Reissis. The Lancers turned their two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead by the end of the period, and went on to defeat CM 6-4 at the Tsongas Center.

The win gave second-seeded MC a two-game sweep in the Super 8 best-of-three quarterfinal-round series.

“We have two very good goalies,” McLean said. “You have to get by five guys to get a shot on net, so I don’t blame the goalies on any shot. Reissis came in and did what he had to do. I thought he did a great job.

“If need be I have the confidence to put Casey in any game in any situation.”

Junior forward Zach Sullivan scored twice for seventh-seeded Catholic Memorial (10-9-4). Both goals came during Catholic Memorial power plays. The Knights also received goals from sophomore defenseman Tim Weinstein and junior forward Anthony Panaggio.

Senior left wing Tyler Sifferlen and senior right wing Brian Cameron each scored twice for MC (18-4-0). Sifferlen’s second goal came with 1.8 seconds remaining in the second period while the teams were skating four-on-four. The goal handed MC a 5-4 lead.

Junior defenseman John McLean and sophomore center Matt Filipe also scored for MC, which has won the last three Super 8 tournaments. Filipe’s goal came while MC was short-handed and made it a 4-4 contest.

MC outshot CM, 40-16.

“I’m proud of the kids, McLean said. “They worked hard tonight. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”

Up next: MC will play either third-seeded Springfield Cathedral (16-2-5) or sixth-seeded Duxbury (16-3-3) in the tournament’s semifinals, which will be held March 12. Cathedral and Duxbury will play the second game of their best-of-three series Thursday night (6 p.m.) at Tsongas Arena.

Cathedral won the opener, 4-1.

Cathedral beat MC, 5-2, during the regular season. Duxbury and MC have not met this season.

“We haven’t seen Duxbury yet, but if we play Cathedral we know what we’re getting since we played them out in Springfield,” Filipe said. “All the boys are amped up.”

Net assets: Reissis, an Arlington resident, entered the tournament with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 11 games. He made 21 saves when MC beat CM in the series opener.

Casey, who lives in Boxford, entered Wednesday’s contest began with a 2.22 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage in nine games.

“We didn’t give Kyle much support, so you can’t put the blame on him,” Filipe said. “We just tightened up in the D zone when (Reissis) got in there.”

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 6 Catholic Memorial 3, No. 2 MC 2

January, 26, 2014

BOSTON – Against a team as fast and skilled as Malden Catholic, the margin for error in the neutral and – in particular – the defensive is slim.

That’s why Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson spent the lead-up to Saturday’s Catholic Confrence clash emphasizing responsibility through those two zones and the principle of taking away time and space from the Lancers’ forwards.

The Knights delivered on that promise, and combined with a 37-save performance from sophomore goaltender Brandon Collett and a couple of timely goals from senior winger Mike Stathopoulos, the No. 6 Knights delivered a 3-2 win over the second-ranked Lancers.

“We worked a lot on executing, getting the puck out of the zone,” Stathopoulos said. “If it’s not in the zone, they’re going to have trouble scoring, so we just wanted to get the puck out of the zone and really lock down the neutral zone, then make sure we work the puck down deep in their zone.”

Despite their attention to detail, the Knights (8-1-2, 2-0-1 Catholic) emerged a bit flat-footed in the first, while being outshot by MC (8-3-0, 2-2-0) by a 12-2 margin.

The opening stanza is when Collett turned in perhaps his finest work, keeping CM in the game while stopping a number of Lancers’ scoring chances. None was finer than his stop on an Ara Nazarian back-hander off a partial breakaway with about three minutes remaining in the first.

“Territorially, in that first period, they did what they do best, they attack the net,” Hanson said. “Our goaltender had to play real well in the first period to keep us in the game.”

The Knights turned the territorial battle in their favor in the second, propelled by an early goal from Stathopoulos. Just 11 seconds into the period, Stathopoulos floated a wrister from the right wing circle past Alex Reissis (16 saves).

CM outshot the Lancers, 10-5, in the stanza, but MC was able to head to the room all square after Matt Filipe’s tally at 8:46.

The Lancers claimed the lead at 4:26 of the third period on a Jake Witkowski goal. The lead was shortlived, however, as Aaron Clancy responded for CM just 36 seconds later.

The Knights reclaimed the lead with 7:58 remaining on Stathopoulos’ second of the game. CM defenseman Frank Cosolito earned his second assist, firing off a shot from the point with Stathopoulos putting back the rebound off the initial save.

“He’s playing with confidence and he’s an intelligent kid,” Hanson said of Stathopoulos. “There’s no nervousness in him.”

Little things add up: On the Knights’ methodology for success Saturday, Hanson outlined it to be: “We just didn’t want them to get odd-manned situations against us.”

Hanson lauded the efforts of his top defensive pairing of Cosolito and Tim Weinstein, which was rolled out each time MC’s top line touched the ice.

But defense is a team game, and the Knights forward shared in the responsibility – much of which was left to junior center Anthony Panaggio, who went toe-to-toe with the reigning Mr. Hockey award winner in the circle.

“He got in his shirt just enough to not let up that extra step,” Hanson said of Panaggio. “I thought he was tremendous tonight. [Nazarian] skates as well as anybody, but he was in his kitchen.”

Conversely, Lancers head coach John McLean thought his team was outworked and unable to get the greasy kind of goals required to win a tight Catholic Conference game.

“You get pucks on net, get to the net and good things happen, but we’re not doing that enough right now,” McLean said. “We’re kind of shooting and watching, there were a lot of rebounds that we weren’t in the dirty areas to get to.

“When you have a good, hard-working defensive team like that, you have to take your lumps to get a goal.”

Work in progress: On that first line of Malden Catholic, it took another new look on Saturday, as the Lancers look to find the right combination heading into the pivotal month of February.

Filipe, skated the right wing alongside Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen to start the game, with the trio combining on the Lancers’ first goal.

Witkowski stepped back onto the line, as the MC’s top line was again on the ice for its second goal.

“We’re doing what we did last year, trying to fine the right combination and who gels well,” McLean said. “[Filipe] is an outstanding center, but wherever he goes, he’s an outstanding player.”