Boston High School: Billy Spillane

Tewksbury takes D2 title in OT thriller

March, 20, 2011
3/20/11
9:59
PM ET


BOSTON -- Tewksbury senior Mark Petti scored 53 seconds into overtime, giving the Redmen their first state championship since 1995, 2-1, over the South sectional champions Franklin Panthers.

The game, the stage, it was all little overwhelming.

“It was just unbelievable, the last game of high school playing at the Boston Garden, and to score the game winning goal was just unbelievable.” said Petti after the game.

“It was back and forth, up and down”, Tewksbury head coach Derek Doherty said, “Franklin is a great team and it made for a really good state tournament game.”

The Redmen thought they had taken the lead at 11:17 in the first period. Rob Pruyne’s shot appeared to go off the crossbar and over the goal line, but the referee’s were quick to wave it off.

“He came over to me and said ‘Coach I’m 100 percent sure that the puck didn’t go in the net, it hit the crossbar and didn’t go in.’” Doherty explained, “He was confident when he came over and said it to me. So if he was confident then I was fine with it.”

The Panthers and the Redmen looked to be heading into the locker room scoreless after the first period until a flukey goal at 14:59 scored by James Marchand giving Franklin a 1-0 lead after one period of play. Tom Carlow had the initial shot which was knocked away by Redmen goalie Niko Cunha (18 saves) but the puck deflected off the boards behind the net, and trickled out in front of goal where Marchand was waiting and finished.

“Everyone didn’t put their heads down” Cunha said of the goal, “I told myself that doesn’t happen a lot, it’s not going to happen again. I made sure I was tracking everything, trying to smuggle the rebounds and it worked.”

Cunha made 11 saves in the second period including one where Marchand stole the put a few feet in front of the Tewksbury goal and had a shot point blank. Moments later the Redmen tied the game when senior Frank Mazzei scored on a rebound from a Cam Rowe shot at 10:22.

After that, it was a goaltenders duel. Franklin goalie Billy Spillane (22 saves) and Cunah, both seniors, went back and forth making impressive saves. With 10 minutes remaining in regulation Cunha made a split save on a Nick Bertoni break away, while Spillane made a stop on a Tewksbury two on one opportunity just one minute later. With 4:04 remaining Cunha made another breakaway stop on Mark Teehan and the game seemed dentin for overtime.

In overtime, it only took 53 seconds for Petti to score the winner for Tewksbury. Mazzei had the initial shot which rolled out from Spillane’s pads and onto the doorstep for Petti to smash in.



“I just came here to do what I had to do to and do my job to win.” Petti said, “And it just worked out that I scored it (the game winner). I saw that puck and I saw the empty net, I just fired it right in and it was unbelievable.”

“It’s tough to lose. We had a couple of chances in the third period, a breakaway and a two one we didn’t capitalize.” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane said postgame, “on the flipside they also had a beautiful two on one from 21 to 4 [Ryan Doherty and Petti]. “We’ll be a stronger team next year, we’ll build and learn from this and we’ll improve.”

“Any goalie that only allows one goal in three periods is a great goalie. Cunha said, complementing his opposing goaltender, “I told him in the line ‘You played a hell of a game.’

"It could have gone either way, it took a bounce like that to win.”

All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA 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 predictions:

GIRLS’ TOURNAMENTS
Division 2

No. 4 Fontbonne Academy (16-2-5) vs. No. 2 Duxbury (20-3-0), 9 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: The Ducks’ Taylor Shepherd can hold her own against the very best the state has to offer and along with linemates Liz Coleman and Erin McLoughlin, they’ve created one of the state’s most potent pairings. Make no mistake, the Green Dragons can also score with the best of them — with prolific sister duo Brianna and Lily Connolly leading the way—but Duxbury is strong from the net out with freshman Rachel Myette turning in a strong first season between the pipes.
The Pick: While the Dragons might be the deeper team, Shepherd is perhaps the most dynamic player in the state, and talent goes a long way this deep in the tournament. We like the Ducks to win their second title in three seasons. Fontbonne, 3-2.

Division 1
No. 8 Hingham (19-4-2) vs. No. 3 Acton-Boxborough (19-3-1), 8:15 p.m.

The Breakdown: Jane Freda scored a rather historic goal during the Harborwomen’s overtime upset of top-seeded St. Mary’s. Not only did she catapult Hingham forward on its march to the finals, she also ended the Lady Spartans’ 100-game unbeaten streak. Katie Walsh and Sarah Schwenzfeier have contributed a consistent scoring punch all season for Tom Findley’s team, while Beth Findley has been stellar in nets with a 1.30 goals against average to go along with nine shutouts. While it might not have as historic, Kati Goguen’s third-period goal lifted the Colonials in their upset win over Woburn in the semifinals. A-B boasts a staunch defense led by one of the best in the state in Caleigh LaBossiere and seventh-grader Cali Loblundo (90.6 save percentage) has been a revelation in goal.
The Pick: Instant karma’s going to get you, and we feel that Hingham has it on their side after toppling the state’s undisputed No. 1 team. Hingham, 2-1.

BOYS’ TOURNAMENTS
Division 3
Westfield (15-5-4) vs. Marblehead (20-4-3), 11:15 a.m.

The Breakdown: Defenseman Colin Arnold and forward Matt Gagnon were just freshmen when the Bombers won their last state title in 2008. This year, the pair were a major driving force behind Westfield’s run to the state title game, which included an upset over Central champion Hudson in the state semifinals. Marblehead’s seniors are trying to win their first state title as a group, despite having won three of the last four North sectional titles. Forwards Chris McLeod and Ryan Dempsey lead a dynamic offense, while you’d be hard pressed to find a better blue-liner in all of D3 than captain Jake Kulevich.
The Pick: We’re going with the emotional pick here and siding with the Magicians, but it’s also a reflection of their skill. This is a very talented and deep hockey team. Marblehead, 4-2.

Division 2
Tewksbury (18-5-1) vs. Franklin (17-4-2), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: The Redmen won their first D2 North title since 1995, while the Panthers haven’t won a state title since 1983 – that’s a year after somebody named Laviolette moved onto bigger and brighter things and when current head coach Chris Spillane was playing. Something has to give and one of the hockey-rich towns will come away with a long-awaited title. Tewksbury is led by explosive forward Ryan Doherty, who leads the Redmen in scoring, along with Frank Mazzei and Derek and Mark Petti. The Panthers are very strong on the back end with defensemen Alex Taddeo, who’s among the state’s best, and netminder Billy Spillane, who’s been solid all year.
The Pick: It’s usually a safe bet to take defense over offense this time of year and we’ve always been a fan of the Panthers’ team defensive philosophy. Franklin, 3-2.

Division 1
Wakefield (14-6-4) vs. Marshfield (18-3-5), 3:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: Both of these teams had to defeat the No. 1 seeds, who also happened to be Super Eight tournament participants to win their respective sectional tournaments. The Warriors slipped by St. Mary’s in a one-goal decision while the Rams took a hammer to Springfield Cathedral in the South. Wakefield (No. 7 seed in the North) has been led on its Cinderella run by goaltender Joe Centrella, who’s big and plays high (think Martin Brodeur) while playing his angles well. The potent Marshfield offense is led by 100-point scorer Ryan Connors and Chris Perry.
The Pick: This game might be the hardest of the day to forecast. We went back and forth on this one before settling with the Rams. Marshfield, 2-1.

Division 1A
No. 2 St. John’s Prep (18-5-1) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (20-2-2), 6 p.m.

The Breakdown: This is the matchup everyone’s been waiting for, simply put, they truly are the two best teams in the state this season. Both are skilled. Both play fast. Both have the type of talent that draws attention from scouts. The Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Vecchione hasn’t seen a parallel in this state in quite some time. MC’s second isn’t far behind with Mike Iovanna, Nick Roberto and Garrett White stepping up their play in the tournament. The Lancers have plenty of talent along the blue line as well with playmaker Connor Evangelista and rising star Colin MacGillivray. Pat Young is a stalwart in net. The Eagles have perhaps the best player in the state in center Colin Blackwell, who’s put on an offensive display along with linemates John Farrow and Shane Eiserman. Winger Sam Kurker provides a power-forward presence on the Eagles’ second line. Junior netminder David Letarte has been steady all season long.
The Pick: We wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one turns into a barnburner, however, the most encouraging thing the Lancers might have going for them is the defensive clinic they put on during the second period of their crossover round win over BC High. If the Lancers forecheck like they did against BC High, they will be very hard to beat. Malden Catholic, 5-3.

Franklin claims D2 South hockey crown

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
1:31
AM ET
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.”

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