Boston High School: Brendan Cytulik

Flood-Marr final: Salisbury 4, Nobles 3

December, 22, 2013

MILTON, Mass. – Hockey is a game of flowing movement and grace punctuated by frenetic moments of chaos.

After Salisbury and Noble & Greenough battled for almost 45 minutes for the Flood-Marr tournament title, the game ended on one of those moments, a goal by Derek Barach with 27 seconds left, propelling Salisbury to a 4-3 win and its first tournament title since 2009.

Barach deflected a rising shot from Evan Smith down to the ice and poked it past Brendan Cytulik.

“I was about to come off but I stayed out there for the last shot,” Barach said. “Evan shot it on net, I tipped it down, and it landed at my feet. I just whacked at it. It's kind of lucky, but a goal's a goal so I'll take it.”

Before the curtain was fully raised on the game Salisbury was up 2-0. Goals by Smith and Griffin Luce put Salisbury up a pair just 64 seconds into the game.

“We had the momentum early,” Salisbury coach Andrew Will said. “It was certainly enough time for good teams like Nobles to regroup and get settled. They just kept plugging away.”

Nobles was able to stem the Salisbury attack and halved the deficit midway through the second period when Drew Bennett poked home a rebound. Bennett also scored Nobles' third goal.

“Drew [Bennett] was able to take advantage of the good opportunities that we had,” Nobles coach Brian Day said.

Salisbury used its size advantage to dictate tempo, but Nobles was able to keep pace. When Salisbury extended the lead to 3-1 late in the second Nobles refused to fold.

The Bulldogs buckled down and scored two goals less than five minutes apart to tie the game midway through the third period.

“The biggest thing we take away is that we're a much better team today than we were when we walked into this rink two days ago on Friday,” Day said. “We've gone through a lot of good, positive growing experience, we've competed hard. I think this will serve us well. We'll move forward and we'll be better as a result of it.”

With another notch on its belt, the top prep school team in New England shows no signs of slowing down.

“We got a great group of guys,” Barach said. “One of our mottos is to be relentless every game, and we let it get away from us a little bit but it shows we have the composure to stay even-keeled and get back in the game once they tied it up and get the winner at the end.”

SMITH'S DOMAIN: Big games call for big players and Salisbury's Evan Smith owned the role. The Yale commit scored a pair of goals to go with his assist on the game winner and provided a physical presence for the full 45 minutes.

“He's one of those kids who relishes pressure; he thrives on it,” Will said. “He looks to be the guy on the ice the team turns to. He's a relentless player; he has a ton of fun out there.”

Smith earned all-tournament honors and played like it on Sunday. Alongside his twin brother Mitchell, Smith controlled the game when he was on the ice and was a huge reason that Salisbury took home the hardware.

“To win the Flood-Marr this year, it's great to have a bunch of victories under your belt,” Smith said. “To beat a good team like Nobles is a good feeling.”

Framingham hockey cleared for takeoff

January, 10, 2012
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Expectations are high for Framingham boys’ hockey this season. But the Flyers’ brightest days still may lie ahead.

A core of talented young players will keep the Flyers competitive as they face perhaps the most intense out-of-conference schedule in the state this year. Despite the tough road ahead, the group’s focused one simple goal – returning to the postseason. Last season, for the first time in more than decade and the first time during Paul Spear’s tenure as head coach, the Flyers failed to qualify.

With that said, the Flyers – although experienced in games played – are still young. Their schedule is unforgiving at best. That means they’ll be fighting for their lives the entire season.

And, quite frankly, captain Jake McKinnon wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a huge year for us,” McKinnon said after an early season practice. “[Last year] was the first year in 20 years that we didn’t make the tournament, so a lot of people in this town are looking to us to do big things, even though they’ve seen the schedule and they know what we’re up against. We’re going to give it our all.”

Now, the Flyers (who made our preseason Top 25, but have since dropped from the poll) have had their share of disappointments early. Against the likes of Top 10 teams, BC High, Catholic Memorial and Hingham, in recent weeks, the Flyers came away with a goose egg on the scoreboard. In those three games against Super 8-flight competitors, Framingham was outscored 12-0.

The Flyers dipped below .500 with Monday’s 4-0 loss to No. 7 Hingham at 3-4-1. It was a healthy reminder of where Spear hopes his team will be in the coming years.

“I’ve always wanted us to be like a Hingham or a Needham, those great public school programs in the state,” said Spear, who’s in his 13th season with the program. “I want us to get to that level.”

Spear believes the best way to accomplish that is to play the best.

“It inspires kids. It gets them to work hard in the offseason. If they don’t, they know it’s coming one way or another.”

The reason for Spear’s optimism hinges largely on the Flyers’ young talent. While McKinnon (6 goals) provides leadership and a scoring spark, it’s a young cast, including sophomore Corey Gorovitz and freshman Ryder Lessing, that has the program on the rise.

Defensively, the Flyers will be set for years to come with sophomore Al Lynch (35 saves vs. Hingham) and freshman Brendan Cytulik seeing time in nets, along with junior Casey Brigham. On the blue line, Framingham’s elder statesman is junior Brian Meaney. Framingham’s top five is filled out with four sophomores.

“Even though we’re a young team,” Gorovitz said. “We make up for it with the time we’ve had playing together.”

Now, all the Flyers have to do is make it to the second season. Heading into the thick of their Bay State Carey schedule, and with a couple more Catholic Conference challenges against Malden Catholic and St. John’s Prep later in the season, it won’t get any easier.

“Our league is brutal,” Spear said. “The way I look at it, we were one period away from the tournament last year. But I felt if we’d gotten in, we would’ve been able to beat anybody.”

He skipped a beat.

“We just need to get in.”