Boston High School: Arthur Raposa

BILLERICA, Mass, -- It seemed fitting that Billerica’s first postseason game would end the same way a number of their regular season games did — in a tie.

Mired in a battle with bitter rival Chelmsford in Wednesday’s Division 1 North first-round playoff game, the Indians had to overcome two separate two-goal deficits to break even with the Lions. There would be no tie this time for Billerica, however, as junior forward Arthur Raposa gave the Indians their first lead of the game, taking a 5-4 overtime win at a raucous Chelmsford Forum.

“We knew mistakes were going to be the difference in the game,” Indians head coach Mike Mastrullo said. “In the first period, right off the bat, we made some that were really simple, but poorly executed plays. And then we played another good period in the second, for 13 minutes, again.”

The No. 3 seed Indians (11-2-8) were quickly knocked off their stride as Chelmsford’s Slade Forni lifted the 14th-seeded Lions to an instant 1-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Chelmsford (9-10-2) jumped out to a two-goal with Cam Phillips’ tally in the final minute of the first.

Billerica drew even with two goals in the second period, only to see their hard work evaporate again in the final minute when the Lions struck twice more. The Indians went back to the drawing board again in the second intermission down two.

“We’ve been in that position before,” Billerica senior forward Ross Murphy said. “It’s not like we never had to come back. It was all on us. Coach even said, there was nothing they could do for us … We found whatever it was inside of us and we got it done. It was a great game and a great comeback.”

Despite outshooting the Lions by a 12-4 margin, the Indians struggled to sneak anything past Lions netminder Brad Alber (28 saves). However, Murphy lifted Billerica’s fading hopes with his second goal of the game, coming with 3:47 remaining in the third. The winger roofed a wrist shot inside the far-side post from an impossible angle along the left wing boards.

“We were trying to get everything to the net and I threw it at the net,” Murphy said. “I was falling down and I saw it go in the net. It was the greatest feeling in the world.”

For the second time in the game, the Indians erased a two-goal deficit with Jack Jenkins’ second goal of the game, coming with 1:08 to play. Jenkins banged home the rebound off of John Ripa’s shot to the elation of the “hometown” crowd.

Ripa also figured prominently in the game-winner, notching his second assist of the game while feeding Raposa.

“My linemate [Brandon] Kuzmich threw it back to [John] Ripa, who took the shot,” Raposa said. “I was just in the right place at the right time.

With that, half of the capacity crowd went home happy.

“It was a great game for fans, a horrible game for coaches,” Mastrullo said. “It was really exciting. It’s going to be hard to top that.”

Billerica faces Arlington Catholic in a quarterfinal at Chelmsford Forum on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Short-handed Billerica ties Central Catholic

February, 10, 2011

BILLERICA, Mass. –- You could see it on Billerica’s bench.

There was clearly something missing -- players.

For what the 19th-ranked Indians may have lacked in manpower against No. 4 Central Catholic Wednesday night at Hallenborg Memorial Pavillion, they made up for in grit. Even though the Billerica MASH unit only took a point away from its 1-1 tie with the Raiders, Indians head coach Mike Mastrullo was pleased with his team’s effort.

“Tonight really was a moral victory,” he said. “The kids showed up. We were thin, we had some kids out sick. We started the game three players short and then we lost two more during the game, so we were five players short.

“It was nice to see kids work hard for a good 45 minutes. That’s been our biggest issue this year.”

The Indians (6-1-6, 5-0-4) took three of a possible four points in their season series with Central Catholic (10-4-1, 6-1-1), after taking a 2-0 win over the Raiders at Lawrence Valley Forum on Dec. 22. Billerica also holds a one-point lead over the Raiders atop the DCL/MVC standings, although there’s still much to be decided before tournament time,

“Until someone dethrones Central Catholic, they’re the perennial leader in the conference, and they’re right at the top again,” Mastrullo said.

Billerica looked poised to complete the season sweep, carrying play for much of the first period when the Indians doubled up Central Catholic in shots, 14-7. The Indians finally broke through against Raiders junior netminder Kyle Williams (23 saves) with 3:57 remaining in the first. Jack Jenkins went top-shelf with a wrister from the right side circle on a feed from Arthur Raposa. Brandon Kuzmich also picked up an assist on the play.

Central Catholic responded in the second period when Billerica carried through with its ‘short-handed’ theme. The Raiders enjoyed four power play opportunities in the second, cashing in on the third with Nicholas Pelrine’s goal from Ryan Daigle and Tommy Evangelista.

The Raiders had several late chances to net the go-ahead marker, but the luck of the puck didn’t seem to be in their favor.

It looked as though Evangelista struck for a game-winner with about four minutes left to play; however, the goal was waved off as the net had been knocked loose from its mooring behind Indians goalie Bob Bourgeois (21 saves).

“We had some unfortunate plays,” Central Catholic head coach Michael Jankowski said. “We had a breakaway that was blown dead, that was a tough one with a player’s helmet getting ripped off. We had a goal called back without a whistle being blown. It’s tough. We didn’t get the bounces tonight.”

The Raiders had built up a head of steam in the midseason, winning nine straight games before a 3-1 non-league loss to Austin Prep on Monday.

Now, without a win in their last two outings, they’re looking to regroup.

“This is kind of the way we started the season,” Jankowski said. “We regrouped after all those snow days … Hopefully, now we can get back together and put together another nice run like we had earlier in the season.”