Boston High School: Bill Belisle

Previewing the Mt. St. Charles Holiday Face-off

December, 17, 2013
With snow hampering some of the early schedule across the region’s ponds, let’s take a look at one of the premier holiday tournaments coming soon.

Per tournament director Larry O’Donnell, here’s a look at another loaded 8-team field at this year’s Mount St. Charles (R.I.) Holiday Face-off Tournament. Some of the best programs in the Ocean State, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania will be on hand for what should be a highlight to the New England high school hockey calendar.

This year’s entrants:
Mount St. Charles
Franklin (Mass.) High School
Bishop Hendricken (R.I.)
La Salle Academy (R.I.)
Bishop Guertin (N.H.)
Fairfield Prep (Conn.)
St. Joseph’s (N.Y.)
La Salle College (Penn.)

First-round schedule:
(Games scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 26)
Fairfield Prep vs Bishop Hendricken High School, 2 p.m.
Bishop Guertin vs LaSalle College, 4 p.m.
LaSalle Academy vs Franklin, 6 p.m.
Mount St. Charles Academy vs St. Joseph's, 8 p.m.

Second round games (Friday, Dec. 27):
Matchups and face-off times, TBA

Championship and consolation games (Saturday, Dec. 27):
Matchups and face-off times, TBA

Tournament notes: Mounties head coach Bill Belisle enters the RIIL season with more than 900 career wins and 31 state championships. … Fairfield Prep head coach Matt Sather has accumulated more than 230 career wins in 14 seasons at the helm. … Matt Barnaby, son of the former Buffalo Sabre of the same name, plays for St. Joe’s of Buffalo. Also, there’s another Sabres connection, as St. Joe’s head coach Richard Crozier is the son of former Sabres coach Joe Crozier. … La Salle Academy (R.I.) coach Mike Gaffney served under New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello while at Providence College. … Guertin head coach Gary Bishop was on the staff of former UMass-Lowell coach Billy Reilly.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

March, 27, 2013
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League has held boys’ hockey state tournaments since 1933. From that year until the present, one school has dominated regardless of division alignments.

Rhode IslandThis season, the RIIL implemented a Super Four championship which involved the top four teams in the state based on a power-point system. New format or not, the final result was the same: Mount St. Charles emerged with its fifth state championship in the last six years; its 31st in the last 36 years; and its seemingly-incredible 43rd in RIIL history.

What made Mount’s conquest this season even more impressive was the fact that, in its best-of-three series with La Salle, the two games coach Bill Belisle’s team needed to annex another title weren’t even close.

Mount blew out the Rams, 7-0, in Game 1 and closed the deal with a 5-2 victory in Game 2.

The Mounties led 2-0 after one period in Game 1 only because of stellar goaltending by Tyler Walsh, who stopped 18 of 20 shots.

Walsh made 22 more saves in a scoreless second period. But in the third the Mount erupted for five goals – the first a power-play score by Dan Glod (his second of the game).

After that, it was all downhill for Mount as Brian Belisle (the coach’s grandson), scored to make it 4-0.

In the end, Mount outshot La Salle by a whopping 67-24 margin.

Mount only led 1-0 after the first period of Game 2 on a goal by Patrick Holmes. But Devin Votta’s second-period goal made it 2-0 and Glod scored twice in the third period which ended any suspense.

Glod, a senior forward, was voted the Super Four MVP after scoring three goals in two games.

Barrington finished a lackluster Division I regular-season record of 3-14-1.

But just like Superman stepping into a telephone booth and emerging as the antithesis to Clark Kent, the Eagles took flight and captured the Division I Tournament by beating Burrillville, two games to one, in the best-of-three series.

Truth be told, eight of Barrington’s regular-season losses were at the hands of the Super Four Tournament teams. But in tournament play, the Eagles were 4-1 and captured the school’s first boys’ hockey title in 18 years (Barrington won the Division II title in 1995).

Barrington set off a wild celebration after blanking the Broncos, 2-0 in Game 3, due in large part to tournament MVP Andrew Galbraith.

A senior goaltender, Galbraith stopped a hefty 52 shots after stopping 28 in a 1-0 victory in Game 1.

Barrington scored the only goal Galbraith would need barely four minutes into the first period on a shot by Brett Fay.

Mike Lombardi’s power-play goal early in the second period provided an insurance goal. Lombardi, a freshman, scored the only goal in Game 1 as the Eagles prevailed, 1-0. But the Broncos kicked up their heels in Game 12 and clipped the Eagles, 7-2, behind a hat trick by Chad Stone.

With the exception of a tie, Lincoln completed a spectacular 23-0-1 season by sweeping the best-of-three Division II championship series against Prout by scores of 3-2 in each game – the second in overtime.

The title was the first for the Lions since the 1984-85 season.

With Game 2 tied 2-2 in OT, Griffin Hevey’s shot from the blue line at 3:36 eluded Crusader goalie Austin Gemma. In Gemma’s defense, Lincoln caught Prout during a line change.

Previously, Hevey scored an overtime goal against East Greenwich which clinched the quarterfinal series.

Lincoln sophomore goalie, Chris Leclaire, stopped 34 shots to earn the victory while Lincoln’s other goals were scored by Ryan Krohto and Jerzy Polak – the latter during a power play.

Leclaire was solid in Game 1 as he turned aside 30 shots and kept Lincoln’s deficit at 1-0 until late in the second period when Krohto scored twice in a span of 3:20.

Three years ago, West Warwick was dropping hockey due to a lack of participation.

So, West Warwick and Exeter/West Greenwich formed a co-op team and in March it did something that was totally unimaginable: win a state title.

West Warwick/EWG swept Tolman by scores of 5-2 and 5-1 to annex the Division III title and erase the sting of a 5-11-0 record the team posted last season.

In addition, it enabled coach Pete Ethier’s team to finish with a 20-0-0 record.

The Wizards/Scarlet Knights scored a hefty 142 goals during 16 regular-season games. And it was more of the same against Tolman, which will be dropping hockey (does this sound familiar?) due to a lack of boys willing and able to play hockey.

Troy Sankey scored the Wizards/Scarlet Knights’ first two goals and Anthony Ventura buried a rebound early in the third period for what proved to be the game-winner.

The victors also boasted the tournament’s MVP in Antonio Rei, who scored the game’s final goal.

Sankey came up big in Game 1 when he scored a power-play goal in the first period to tie the score at 1-1. Ventrua followed suit, and after Tolman’s Chris Baldwin tied it, Rei scored the eventual game-winner at 7:47 of the third.

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.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 17, 2012
At face value, the La Salle Academy boys’ lacrosse team should have been devastated last spring by graduation when six All-State players – including All-Americans Ryan Poirier (midfield) and Cody O’Donnell (defender) - departed via the cap-and-gown route.

Not quite.

Rhode IslandThrough games of May 15, the Rams were sitting atop Division I with an 8-0 record and were leading in both goals scored (107) plus goals allowed (48).

Most importantly, the Rams have established themselves as the team to beat in their pursuit of the first state championship since the school added the sport.

Over the previous four seasons, coach Steve O’Donnell’s team posted a combined record of 44-3. But the Rams have lost three times in the finals – in 2008 to North Kingstown, in 2010 to Moses Brown and in 2011 to Hendricken.

But the returning veterans have keyed La Salle’s run to a possible undefeated season.

For example, All-American attack Brady O’Donnell scored five goals in this week’s 12-9 victory over North Kingstown. And in a 7-5 non-league victory over Bishop Guertin, a Division I school from Nashua, N.H., O’Donnell collected a hat trick.

Second Team All-State midfielder Jack Collins fired home seven goals and assisted on another in a 12-8 win over Hendricken.

Senior midfielder Dan Lucchetti scored three goals and assisted on one when La Salle beat the Hawks, 11-7, in the teams’ rematch.

Senior midfielder Sam Ricci added one goal plus four assists in the second win over the Hawks.

Sophomore Peter DeSimone has played well at attack and recorded four goals plus an assist in that 11-7 win over Hendricken.

With three games left in the regular season, Tolman clinched the Division II-Central title on May 15 by blanking Mount Pleasant, 3-0, as Andrew Larson and Carlos Sanabria combined on a six-hitter.

That was the latest in a string of impressive victories for the Tigers (13-3 in league play and 14-3 overall).

Against arch-rival Shea, Sanabria tossed a two-hitter replete with one walk and 12 strikeouts as the Tigers prevailed, 10-0. Sanabria also went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI.

Earlier, Tolman received another solid mound performance from Larson who went the distance on a five-hitter as the Tigers edged Classical, 2-1.

(Read full post)

BOSTON – The nightcap to Monday’s opening night festivities of the Frozen Fenway series featured two of the most respected boys’ hockey programs in their respective states.

In the end, it was a familiar name who lifted Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles over Springfield Cathedral, 4-2, at Fenway Park.

Junior forward Brian Belisle, with his father and grandfather watching from the bench, tallied a hat trick to lift the Mounties to victory.

“My father played outdoors when he first started,” Mounties coach Dave Belisle said of his father, head coach Bill Belisle. “Even his high school team, when he played for Mount St. Charles, they played outdoors. To be able to come to this venue and not only share it with my father, but with my son and for my son to do so well tonight, this was a wonderful evening.”

Brian scored Mount’s first two goals within a minute span in the first period, giving his team a 2-0 lead. Cathedral (3-3-1) responded with two second-period goals, tying the game.

But Mount (5-2-1) reclaimed the lead before the period was out with Callan Morisseau netting what would be the game-winner with 1:01 remaining in the second.

Belisle netted the insurance marker for the hat trick midway through the third.

“It’s once-in-a-lifetime,” the youngest Belisle said, reflecting on his performance. “Looking around here, it’s just unbelievable.”

Although No. 15 Cathedral played at Rhode Island powerhouse Mount’s tournament during vacation week, the teams met for the first time this season at Fenway. The Mounties won that tournament, gaining momentum after being upset in the season’s opening week by Rhody rival La Salle Academy.

With a couple of wins under their belt, the Mounties are starting to play with confidence.

“The first couple of games of the year, we struggled to find our identity,” captain Brian Campbell said. “We came back and won our [Mount St. Charles holiday] tournament and, today, we really picked up our game at the end there.”

The team’s newfound chemisty was evident in their first line, particularly with Campbell and Belisle. Campbell set up Belisle’s first two tallies with tremendous passes, one coming from the left side faceoff dot and the other on the back hand from behind the net back into the slot.

To say it’s been a trying year at Springfield Cathedral would be an understatement. The school’s campus was ravaged by June’s tornado, forcing classes to be held at a middle school in Wilbraham.

After enduring so much, Monday’s game was a welcome distraction and a positive spin to the New Year.

“It was so nice of Red Sox and the Fenway group to invite us out here,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “With all the school’s been through, we needed something good to happen to us and this event was just outstanding. We couldn’t be more appreciative of happening the opportunity to play out here.”

Likewise, the determined Panthers showed their resiliency in the second period when Thomas Quinlan and Alex Vincellette scored to knot the score, 2-2.

While the Panthers weren’t able to build momentum into a lead, they showed they could battle back against high competition. It bodes well for team that participated in a Super 8 play-in game last season and returns a young, but veteran core this season.

No. 8 CM skates to tie with Mount St. Charles

February, 16, 2011
WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- A late goal in the third period from junior forward Chris Stathopoulous helped No. 8 Catholic Memorial come away from Adelard Arena with a 3-3 tie with Rhode Island powerhouse Mount Saint Charles Wednesday afternoon.

With the tie, CM (7-7-2) now needs four points from its final four games to qualify for the Massachusetts Super Eight state tournament.

“I said to my kids that we had to come out and try to steal a point down here,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said. “We played awfully well that second period. That was huge for us tonight.”

On the tying goal, it was a poke check that started the play in motion. Before the puck could clear the zone, junior defenseman Jared Beckwith stretched with his stick at the blue line in front of the Mount bench to keep it in the offensive end. He dumped the puck into the zone to Kevin McCarthy, who found Liam Coughlin behind the net. Coughlin fed a perfect pass to Stathopoulous, who beat Mount goalie Dan Foster to the blocker side with 4:26 left on the clock.

“In this rink here, we didn’t play well along the wall,” Hanson said. “It was [get the] puck along the wall, chip, set up battles and get bounces. We got a bounce there.”

“Their good forecheck created a turnover and we left a man open,” said Mount co-coach Dave Belisle. “It was a bang-bang play and our goalie had no chance. When you turn the puck over in your own end on the break out, with guys skating one way away from the net, it was a quick turnover, they made a nice pass out front and [Stathopoulous] didn’t even hesitate, he just buried it.”

Mount (19-1-1) got on the board just 51 seconds into the game when senior Alexander Erban took a pass from Shamus Maloney and easily beat CM keeper Shane Starrett to the far side for a 1-0 lead.

CM tied the game at the 2:02 mark when Coughlin beat Foster off a nice feed from McCarthy. But the Mounties were able to take the lead right back just 34 seconds later when Michael Magerman fired a shot on net that Starrett stopped with his pad, but the rebound went right to the stick of Zachary Samborsky, who buried the shot into the back of the net for a 2-1 advantage.

In the second period, play was slow for both teams, although Catholic Memorial did carry the offensive play for the early portion. But the Mount was able to extend its lead at the 11:11 mark when Magerman won the faceoff draw to Trevor Plante, who slipped a pass to Samborsky in the slot. Samborsky buried his shot between Starrett’s legs for a 3-1 advantage.

The Knights didn’t waste any time getting that goal back, as Stathopoulous took a feed from Coughlin and beat Foster to the near side at the 11:18 mark, making it a one-goal game heading into the final period.

Mount carried the play for the better part of the third period, coming up with a number of quality scoring chances, even hitting the post on a shot from Callan Morisseau midway through the period. But Starrett turned away each opportunity, and CM rewarded that with the tying goal at the 10:34 mark.

This was the final nonleague contest for Mount Saint Charles, who finished 5-0-1 against some of the top teams from around New England and the East Coast. Belisle and his staff, which includes his father, legendary head coach Bill Belisle, hopes his team is able to use the experience of the game with CM to prepare it for another run at a state title.

“It’s a great non-league schedule and to accomplish what we did, I am very, very pleased with the effort of the boys,” Dave Belisle said. “It was a great year for the non-league, now we’ve got to finish the regular season and think about the playoffs. But this game is something that will get us working toward the playoffs.”

With the tie, CM now must get four points in its final four games to secure a coveted spot in the Super Eight. The Knights are back in action at Walter Brown Arena against another R.I. Catholic power, Bishop Hendricken, on Saturday night before travelling to Connecticut to face that state’s top team, Fairfield Prep, on Wednesday.

“We’re in desperation mode,” Hanson said. “We need to win these games and get points. We’ll be at our best, hopefully. To get a point from [Mount], they are just as good as any of those teams [left on CM’s schedule], if not better.”

Coming in, many people had been looking forward to the matchup of the two goalies from the respective teams. But CM started sophomore Shane Starrett over senior Tommy Knox, based on recent play. Starrett was in net for the team’s only point in the last two weeks, a 1-1 tie with No. 1 Malden Catholic. So Hanson started the sophomore, who is from Bellingham, just down the street from Mount’s home rink.

“[Starrett] has played very, very well for us,” Hanson said. “[Starrett] is a heck of a goaltender, and he’s only a sophomore. He stole a point for us against Malden Catholic and had a great game against St. John’s Prep earlier last week. He can play.”

After the game, Hanson said Starrett would be in net Saturday night against Bishop Hendricken.

The Starrett name should be familiar to fans of the Knights and of hockey in the region. His older brother, Peter, is playing at Harvard and had a couple of assists in a win over Boston University in the Beanpot consolation game Monday night; Troy is a freshman at Babson; and younger brother Beau is a freshman forward for CM.

While it isn’t official, the Mounties should be the top seed in the Division I playoffs when they start March 4. Mount is the defending champions and is seeking the 42nd state title banner in school history. This year, with eight teams making the playoffs in the top division, MSC will have to play in the quarterfinals against the No. 8 seed. In the past, the top seed was given a bye into the semifinals.

The state championship, a best-of-three series, is scheduled for Schneider Arena at Providence College on March 16, 18 and 19.

Mount Saint Charles 3, Catholic Memorial 3

First period: MSC Erban [19] (Maloney) :51, CM Coughlin [9] (McCarthy, Beckwith) 2:02, MSC Samborsky [19] (Magerman) 2:36. Penalties: MSC (Magerman, unsportsmanlike conduct, 2:00).

Second period: MSC Samborsky [20] (Plante, Magerman) 11:11, CM Stathopoulous [9] (Coughlin), 11:18. No penalties.

Third period: CM Stathopoulous [10] (Coughlin, McCarthy) 10:34. No penalties.

Power play: CM 0-1, MSC 0-0.

Goaltenders (saves/shots): MSC Foster 27/30, CM Starret (26/29).

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 12, 2011
What do traffic jams on Route 95 during the rush hour and Division I boys’ hockey have in common?

Right. Congestion.

Rhode IslandEntering 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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Chariho senior Innocent Jacobs smashed a 22-year-old Rhode Island state record in the boys’ indoor long jump by leaping 23-feet, -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.