Boston High School: Brendan Greene

Marshfield's Cataldo leads South in romp of All-Star Classic

March, 22, 2014
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Team members of Saturday's 5th annual Aleppo Shriners/Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association All-Star Classic show up knowing little about the strengths and weakness of their fellow linemates. Having not practiced together, the only thing to do is learn on the fly.

The South stars were the quick learners, as all of its lines meshed brilliantly en route to a one-sided 7-1 triumph at the DCU Center.

"You don't really see an all star game finish 7-1," said South and Braintree head coach David Fasano. "It's usually 8-7 or 9-8. But all of our goaltenders played great. We were putting lines together an hour before the game so to come out and move the puck around the way we did was pretty incredible. There was some very good play making out there. There is no system in place so to speak and the goaltenders know they are going to see a lot of shots so to their credit they made some great stops. The way our kids were moving the puck around they looked like they had been playing together for a very long time."

After racing out to a 4-1 lead after the first period, this game was never in doubt. Despite facing 43 shots, South's three goaltenders (St. John's of Shrewsbury’s Mario Pizzeri, Framingham's Al Lynch and Brookline's Jake Paul) were outstanding between the pipes.

"We got an early goal on them and I think that sort of set the momentum for us," said Pizzeri, who will play at Assumption College next year. "This was certainly a fun way to go out and a great way to end my high school career."

Offensively, Marshfield forward David Cataldo led the attack as he found the back of net twice. His rebound goal coming at 6:46 of the opening period set the gears in motion for the South squad. Three minutes later, Braintree's Nick Ward made it a two-goal affair after taking a diagonal pass from Trevor O'Brien and beating Springfield Cathedral goaltender John Liquori low glove side.

Wachusett Regional's Marc Happy, taking a well-executed behind the net feed from Jim Currier, ripped a one-timer past Pizzeri to bring his team to within a goal at 10:21 but that is as close as the North stars would get.

"I'm disappointed in regards to the final outcome but this is truly a great event and the fact that it is helping a great cause with Shriners Hospitals," said North and Winchester forward Brendan Greene.

Just 32 seconds after Happy's score, Duxbury's Nick Marrocco, standing in front of the crease, back-handed a shot by Liquori to give South back its two-goal advantage.

Things seemed to snowball from there. With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Cataldo, off a well-timed pass from Robbie Souza, ripped a shot into the back of the net from the left slot to send South into the first intermission leading by three goals.

"Surprisingly we had some very good chemistry among all of us despite having never played together," Cataldo said. "All of the lines seemed to be clicking today. You are going to develop chemistry with all of these kids coming to this game. All of them can play hockey, they can adjust and they learn to play with other kids very quickly. That is why they are here.

“It's cool to play with all of these guys because you read about them during the season."

Early in the middle frame, South picked up right where it left off to end the first. Just 2:21 into the period, Archbishop Williams forward Mike Sorenti, taking a pass from Xaverian's Antonio Marini down low, skated across the front of the crease and patiently waited for St. Mary's of Lynn goalie Bailey MacBurnie to commit before sending a shot beyond the senior's out-stretched right leg pad to make it 5-1.

With North seeing its opportunities being stoned regularly, South continued to maintain its offensive charge. Xaverian's Ricky Smith padded the lead to five at 13:56 with a laser from 20 feet out that MacBurnie never saw.

"It was fun to go out there and play with a bunch of new guys," said South defenseman and St. John's (Shrewsbury) standout Bryan Nelson. "A lot of the guys I knew from playing with or against in squirts and pee-wees. It was nice to see them and catch up on things with them. This felt more like a summer tournament game. It was a lot of fun."

To its credit, North wasn't about to go down easily during the final period. Opening up the offense a bit more, they sent 19 shots toward Paul but none got past him. Meanwhile, Dartmouth's Joseph Correia added to North's misery by tallying an unassisted goal at 13:10. South also finished with 43 shots.

"The real surprise in all of this is the one goal by them on the other end," Fasano said. "That is unheard of in these types of games whether it be high school, college or the NHL. Usually those kinds of games have some pretty-big numbers. This was a lot of fun to be apart of and was a great show put on by both the Shriners and the Worcester Sharks."

D1 North: St. Mary's 4, Winchester 3 (SO)

March, 1, 2014
WOBURN, Mass. -- The old adage of one team wanting it more than the other does not apply here.

Both St. Mary's of Lynn and Winchester left their collective hearts and souls on the Ned O'Brien Rink ice following Saturday night's Division 1 North quarterfinal match up.

When it was all said and done, a full 45 minutes of regulation had been played as well as two six minute overtime periods and an eight round shootout to finally decide a victor as the top-seeded Spartans prevailed, 4-3.

St. Mary's senior forward Chris Donovan concluded this edge-of-your-seat marathon by beating Sachems outstanding junior goaltender James Offner with a backhand shot over his stick and move his club into Wednesday night's semifinal against No. 4 Reading (a 5-3 winner over Melrose) at Chelmsford Forum with the opening face off scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

"When I got that puck in the shootout I knew what I was going to do with it," said an exasperated Donovan at game's end. "I wanted to go short side because during the previous shootouts I saw the opposing goalie making all the saves on his glove side. I felt he was going to have a weak blocker side. When I came down on him I saw him leaning more towards his backhand side so I knew he was going to have to shift. Once he shifted, I pumped and then went backhand on him. This was a big win over a very good team and I'm just glad we were able to get the job done."

St. Mary's converted 2-of-8 shots during the shootout, while the Sachems went 1-for-8. The Spartans (16-4-2) other score in the shootout came from Chris Price in the fifth round. Senior Nolan Redler had the lone tally for No. 8 Winchester (12-6-5), coming in the second round.

Bailey MacBurnie was equally instrumental in this triumph. The senior netminder made several magnificent saves in regulation and then came up huge in the shootout, allowing just the one marker.

"I think I'm pretty good in shootouts because we work on them every day in practice," said MacBurnie, finishing with 31 saves. "I wasn't feeling that much pressure. It was more like whatever happens, happens."

Prior to that, this contest, in front of a full house, had its share of twists and plots. The Sachems had built a 3-1 lead after two periods only to watch in vain as the Spartans storm back with a pair of goals in the third from defensman Clay Yianocopoulus and forward Shawn MacBurnie to deadlock things. During the two overtime frames, nothing was settled in spite St. Mary's out-shooting the Winchester 7-4. That set the stage for a classic finish that ended in celebration for one team and bitter disappointment for another.

"We didn't have our A game early on but we just kept battling," St. Mary's head coach Mark Lee said. "We finally got things going in the third. I give our team credit because they fought through things, never quit and got us into overtime and the shootout. To end a game like this is pretty sweet. There is just no quit in our kids. This team wants to keep it going. They actually like each other and want to be together. It really is like a family. They are just a great group of kids that won't die for you and just want to continue to work.

"We felt very confident during the shootout having Bailey in net for us. I thought he did a tremendous job to keep us us shooting in the shootout. I also give a lot of credit to Chris Donovan. He didn't see a lot of action today but he helped move this team along to the next round of the playoffs."

Ironically, for Winchester, this marks the second time in as many years its has seen its season end on a shootout. Last year, in the North final, the Sachems were defeated by Burlington in similar fashion.

"Another tough way to end the season," Winchester head coach Matt Spang said. "It is what it is. It's tough for things to end this way for this group of guys for a second year in a row. I thought James was great for all night in net for us. I'm very proud of him and all of our team. Our guys can't walk out of this rink with any regrets. They spilled their guts out there tonight, and as a coach, I cannot ask for anything more than that. They gave me everything they had."

Price, a junior, would open the scoring with a power play goal coming at 57 seconds of the first period. But the Sachems answered one minute later when Andrew Chalas managed to slip a shot in between MacBurnie's pads to knot things at 1-1. Winchester went ahead at 4:42 of the frame after Brendan Greene pushed in a rebound, coming off an initial shot by David Troiano.

With less than a minute remaining in the period, St. Mary's watched a golden opportunity to tie things fall by the wayside. Forward Jordan Manthorne was awarded a penalty shot but his attempt sailed wide of its intended target keeping the Sachems in front. They would then add to their lead just 3:17 into the middle period. Danny Marx, standing all alone inside the left circle, ripped a shot which caromed off the right pipe and into the back of the net.

For a team that was given serious consideration only a week ago for a Super 8 bid, St. Mary's didn't look the part over the first 30 minutes. In that sequence, the Spartans had six power play opportunities but were only able to convert just one for a score. With just 15 minutes remaining in their season, it was now do or die for them.

Looking for any kind of boost, Yianocopolus gave them one. The junior flashed towards the net following a Price shot from the left point. Offner (37 saves) initially stopped Price's laser but the puck trickled behind him where an alert Yianocopoulus managed to push it over the goal line at 3:25, making it a 3-2 affair.

With new-found momentum, St. Mary's would tie it up five minutes later. With Winchester playing a man short because of a delay of game penalty, Shawn MacBurnie fired a short side goal underneath Offner's blocker and suddenly it was a brand new game. The Spartans were 2-of-8 on their power play chances while the Sachems finished 1-for-5.

"At the beginning of the game I didn't feel like I was getting into the rhythm I wanted to and I thought it might end badly for us," said Bailey MacBurnie. "In the third period, myself, Jordan [Manthorne] and Chris [Price] really got our guys going. We all said that this would be it for us if we didn't get something going. Everyone really played their hearts out in that third period. We have a strong team and a strong coaching staff so we were not going to give up no matter what."

Recap: No. 8 St. John's Prep 3, No. 13 Winchester 1

February, 20, 2014
WILMINGTON, Mass. – With zero room for error, St. John's Prep played as perfect a game as possible.

The Eagles jumped out to a lead in the first two minutes against Winchester and controlled the Sachems for much of the game en route to a 3-1 win at Ristuccia Arena. The win means that Prep will qualify for the Division 1 tournament with a win over Wakefield on Friday.

“Our tournament started about a month ago,” Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “Tonight was absolutely do-or-die. The kids responded, they played a pretty solid game.”

Much of Prep's offense this season has run through its top line, but last night it was second-liner Ted McNamara who stole the show. McNamara scored two goals for Prep in the first period.

“Balance for team success is so critical,” Hanson said. “I didn't think our first line played well tonight honestly. They looked slow; they looked like they were off their game. It was nice to see the second line step up. We need other guys to contribute if we're going to win games. [McNamara] can definitely score goals. It was a big two he got tonight.”

For Winchester, Wednesday was another valley in an up-and-down season. Brendan Andrews scored the Sachems' lone goal with just more than two minutes left in the first period only to have McNamara answer with his second 61 seconds later.

Winchester coach Matt Spang was unenthused about his team's performance.

“We thought we had to buy tickets to the game and we played like it in the first two periods, we were just watching,” Spang said. “We decided to skate in the third, carried the play in the third, but we decided to watch for two periods. You can't watch for two periods and expect to win a hockey game.”

Ean Mendeszoon had St. John's third goal when he boomed home a shot from the point late in the second period.

LARAMIE RISES: For a first-year varsity player St. John's Prep goalie sure looked like a mature veteran between the pipes for the Eagles. The freshman turned aside 18 shots for Prep and looked smooth doing so.

“It was the type of game, especially late, where they got a lot of opportunities, and we were just sitting back,” Hanson said. “Zach had to make some big saves and he responded. That's what you need a goalie to do.

“I think tonight was a huge performance. That's what it's going to take for us to win games: goaltending. He was very solid tonight.”

When Winchester brought the pressure, Laramie sharpened even more, turning aside all eight shots he faced in the third period.

DEFENSE WINS: Winchester's top line of Brendan Greene, Nolan Redler and David Troiano is one of the most formidable in the state. Aside from Redler's secondary assist on the Sachems' goal, the Eagles were able to shut them down completely.

“All week we were emphasizing that line,” Prep defenseman Ryan Byrne said. “We just tried to shut down anything they had and we did basically.

“We knew they were tough. We just had to get on top of them and keep pounding them into the ground.”

The Eagles defense was at its best late in the third, giving up the body, dirtying up passing lanes, and pressing out to the blue lines. Prep's size advantage in the back allowed them to clog more space and suffocate Winchester.

Recap: No. 14 Burlington 1, No. 15 Winchester 1

January, 18, 2014
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- When senior goaltender Mike Guleserian emerged from the Burlington locker room after the Devils’ 1-1 tie with Winchester, a familiar face awaited.

Derek DeCastro, the backbone to the Red Devils’ back-to-back Division 1 state titles the last two seasons, shared a handshake and some words of encouragement for Guleserian whose best game of the season earned the Devils a point in a Middlesex League crossover game.

“He was such a good goaltender,” said Guleserian of DeCastro. “The biggest thing I learned from him was to remain focused and not lose your poise. I learned a lot from him and I used that tonight.”

He needed that poise when the Sachems offense woke up in the third period, firing 13 shots with Guleserian turning all aside but one.

Burlington got on the board first just 4:17 into the game when senior Shawn Bowler scored his first of the season, barreling down the left wing and firing a wrist shot that broke through the catching glove of Sachems goalie James Offner.

“I told the seniors someone was going to have to step up and get a big goal tonight,” said Burlington coach Bob Conceison. “Shawn had a nice burst and fired a nice hard shot. That was big for him and us.”

Winchester came out of the gates sluggish in both the first and second periods (just 13 combined shots), but brought the pressure in the third period and cashed in with Nolan Redler scoring shorthanded while finishing off a two-on-none breakaway feed from Brendan Greene with 4:50 left in the third period.

“We played well in the third period there was no question about that,” said Winchester coach Matt Spang. “We just need to be more consistent in our approach in what we bring to the game. That is a good team down there.”

Rendered defenseless: The Red Devils did a nice job defensively keeping the Sachems top line of Redler, Greene, and David Troiano on the perimeter and limiting their chances.

However, all it takes is one break and those Sachems snipers can strike at any time.

To wit, with Burlington clinging to a 1-0 late in the third period while on the power play, an ill-advised pinch at the blue line resulted in a two-on-none breakaway with Redler and Greene skating in alone on Guleserian. Greene held the puck just long enough before sliding a pass to Redler who beat Guleserian to the blocker side.

“Those two guys going in on a two on none are pretty good,” said Spang. “I will take that most of the time.”

Rivalry renewed: Many would point to the Division 1A semi-final game in 2009 when Burlington beat Winchester, 1-0, as the launching point of this continued rivalry.

And now, despite being in opposite divisions of the Middlesex League, the Winchester-Burlington hockey rivalry continues to grow.

There was no mention by either team of Burlington’s dramatic 2-1 shootout victory in last year’s Division 1 North final at the Tsongas Arena.

With the teams not scheduled to play again in the regular season, one can only hope they meet again in the postseason and add another chapter to a growing rivalry.

Recap: No. 14 Reading 3, Winchester 3

January, 12, 2014
WOBURN, Mass. -- With time ticking down, Reading was in desperation mode.

The Rockets trailed Middlesex League (Liberty Division) rival Winchester by a goal and were doing everything humanly possible inside the offensive zone to deadlock this tilt. In the game of hockey, never underestimate the unexpected.

With less than two minutes remaining, Reading defenseman Mike Seibold gained control of the puck just inside the Sachems' blue line. The junior flung, what he anticipated as a pass, towards the trapezoid behind the Winchester net. Seibold's aim, however, turned out to be a little better than he first thought. The puck wound up knuckling towards Sachem goaltender James Offner, bouncing in front of the senior and deflecting off the shaft of his stick and into the back of the net at 13:03 of the third period giving Reading a 3-3 tie, Saturday night at Ned O'Brien Ice Rink.

"I was aiming to dump the puck around the boards and it sort of caught the blade of my stick and it bounced in front of their goalie and went in," said Seibold. "We had a flat second period so we wanted to redeem ourselves in the third. We wanted to hang in with them because we know they are a good team. We have a bunch of new kids on the team this year so we need to rely on each other than individuality here. We are starting to play more as a team this year."

The Rockets (6-2-1, 5-1), jumped out to a quick two goal lead before watching in vein as Sachems senior forward Brendan Greene notched a natural hat trick, with a goal in the first period and two more in the second, staking his team out to a 3-2 advantage. Two of his three markers came off the power play.

For most of the final frame, Winchester was playing a game of dump and chase in an effort of making Reading work the full-length of the ice in its attempts to nab the equalizer. For all but the final two minutes of the period, the strategy worked. However the Rockets are much to talented a bunch to hold off for an entire 15 minutes and it showed.

"We got a break," Reading head coach Mark Doherty said. "I did think we played a good first and third period. The second period we had some penalties and got a little lethargic. But Winchester has some very good offensive talent. When you give them power plays they are going to score goals."

The Rockets appeared as though they would run the Sachems (3-2-4, 2-1-4) right out of the rink early on. Junior Sean Verrier got Reading off on the right foot after taking a nice cross-ice feed from Mike Thomson and burying a shot past Offner (22 saves) just 2:17 into the contest.

Two minutes later, it was Thomsan's turn to light the lamp. The forward blew past the Winchester defense down the right half boards and slipped a shot by Offner, putting the Rockets ahead by a pair.

But the tide of this game began to shift shortly thereafter. Reading was called for consecutive penalties midway through the frame giving the Sachems a 5-on-3 advantage. Just several seconds into the power play, Greene capitalized, going top shelf over Ian Lapham (16 saves) to cut the deficit in half.

During the middle period, it was all Winchester. For whatever reason, the Rockets left their opening period intensity in the locker room and looked like they were skating on egg shells in fear of sending another player in the penalty box.

That proved to be more than enough for the Sachems to take advantage. Greene bagged his second score at 2:05, skating behind the Reading net and firing a laser past Lapham from the right point to knot things at 2-2.

The Greene show would continue a few minutes later. Catching the Rockets defense back on their heels, Winchester parlayed an odd-man rush into a go-ahead score at 6:18 as Greene converted a quick wrist shot 15 feet in front giving the Sachems a one goal lead.

"We had a tough time getting the puck out in the third and we need to do a better job at finishing," Sachems head coach Matt Sprang said. "We dug a whole for ourselves in that first period and against a club like that you need to play a whole 45 minutes. In the second period we played well but just couldn't finish. Brendan played well for us. He's a senior and a captain so we expect him to play well for us."

While Reading continued a lack of execution for the remainder of the period, the defense did just enough in keeping it a one-goal margin heading into the final frame. During the early stages of the third, the Rockets had difficulty getting the puck beyond the red line as Winchester's forwards and defensemen worked in unison, applying pressure to any Rocket with the puck on his stick.

But in the final minutes, the Sachems left Seibold unattended at the blue line and he made them pay dearly with his tying tally. A few seconds later, the Rockets spoiled a golden opportunity to seize victory when Jake Barbera's open shot rang off the post before the two teams skated out the closing seconds.

"Obviously whenever you come into this rink whether it be playing Woburn or (Winchester) it has sort of been a nemesis of ours," Doherty said. "We had a good start in that first period. But we knew Winchester is good offensively. We were down 3-2 late so I'm just happy to escape with a tie at this point. It's high school hockey and funny things can happen sometimes."

Preseason Super 8 hockey projection

December, 2, 2013
With Monday marking the beginning of MIAA hockey practices across the state, it's as good a time as any to take an initial stab at projecting this year's Super 8 tournament field. So here goes nothing, kicking off the #RoadToTheGarden:

(By the way, look for our full preseason boys' and girls' Top 25 polls, along with All-State teams, starting next Monday.)

1. Austin Prep

Last year’s record: 16-2-6

Last year’s final ranking: 3

Key returners: F Bobo Carpenter, D Andrew Cross, G Elijah Harris, D J.J. Layton, F Eric MacAdams.

Why they’re here: Feeling was that the Cougars were about a year away from contending heading into last season and, low and behold, AP was just a goal or two away from capturing last year’s Super 8 title at the Garden. A young and talented nucleus returns largely intact this season, so the expectation is even higher. The goal will be to interrupt Malden Catholic’s designs on a four-peat.

2. Malden Catholic

Last year’s record: 16-6-3

Last year’s final ranking: 1

Key returners: F Matt Filipe, F Austin Goldstein, D John McLean, F Ara Nazarian, D Nick Rolli, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski.

Why they’re here: As a three-time defending champion, it’s again the Lancers’ derby to lose. There are questions entering this season, as they’ll again be breaking in a new goaltender and Casey Fitzgerald moved on to the United State National Team Development Program. However, with returning ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey award winner Ara Nazarian (a UNH commit) returning, anything’s possible with this group.

3. Springfield Cathedral

Last year’s record: 16-3-4

Last year’s final ranking: 7

Key returners: F Peter Crinella, G John Liquori, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli.

Why they’re here: The Panthers might have the best forward depth of any returning squad, but there are some serious voids to be filled on the blue line, with All-Staters Matt Foley and Jack Williams lost to graduation. However, for whatever Cathedral might lack in experience on defense, three-year starting netminder John Liquori should mask.

4. Central Catholic

Last year’s record: 15-7-3

Last year’s final ranking: 6

Key returners: F Zack Cote, F Lloyd Hayes, D Alex Lester, G Colin Soucy.

Why they’re here: Arguably, there was no bigger breakout star in last year’s Super 8 tournament than Colin Soucy. The then-junior goaltender backboned the Raiders in a hard-fought, three-game series against St. John’s Prep, nearly earning the upset against the top-seeded Eagles. Head coach Mike Jankowski’s teams are always defensively responsible and well-organized through the neutral zone, thus they are perennial staple to the tournament.

5. BC High

Last year’s record: 15-5-3

Last year’s final ranking: 5

Key returners: F Steve DeForge, F Pat Kramer, F Tim Larocque, F Jake Lemanski, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham.

Why they’re here: Of course, there’s the question of how will take Peter Cronin’s place in between the pipes, but the Eagles are deep on returning talent. Sophomore defenseman Ryan Shea has generated a good amount of Division 1 college interest in just one year at Morrissey Blvd. Meanwhile, junior Pat Kramer was among the Eagles’ top scorers last year. If the transition in net is smooth, they’re likely the second Catholic Conference team in.

6. Winchester

Last year’s record: 16-6-3

Last year’s final ranking: 11

Key returners: F Brendan Greene, G James Offner, F Nolan Redler.

Why they’re here: The Sachems were a couple bounces and a shootout away from a Division 1 state title appearance last season, going down in a narrow defeat to eventual champion and Middlesex League rival Burlington. This year, Winchester could assume the poll position in the state’s premiere public school division. The aforementioned Red Devils and last year’s Super 8 entrant, Reading, both graduated significant portions of last year’s roster, so the time is now for the Sachems to make their run.

7. Archbishop Williams

Last year’s record: 13-6-4

Last year’s final ranking: 15

Key returners: D Matt Clifford, F Ryan Dunn, F Mike Jessman, F Nick Menzel, F Mike Sorrenti

Why they’re here: After an albeit brief appearance at last year’s Super 8 tournament – getting trounced by MC in a play-in game – the Bishops should remain a top team in the Catholic Central, which is often a two-bid league at the Super 8 table, with 13 seniors on the roster. They could be the team to push AP in league play, and if everything holds true, they’ll be in the picture come tournament time.

8. St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

Last year’s record: 7-11-4

Last year’s final ranking: N/A

Key returners: D Bryan Nelson, G Mario Pizzeri.

Why they’re here: Hey, what would a preseason picks segment be without a dark horse? Last year was a bumpy season at best for the Pioneers, but after a one-year absence from the Super 8 (and tournament play for that matter), St. John’s could be dangerous behind first-year head coach Mike Mead. The Pioneers are built from the net out, with Mario Pizzeri in goal – a holdover and standout in St. John’s Super 8 appearance two years ago.

Our MIAA boys' hockey All-State Team

March, 28, 2013
All-StateF - Liam Coughlin, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Finished third among all Division 1 players in scoring, while leading the Knights back to the Super 8 for the first time since 2009-10. The South Boston native put up 28-20-48 totals, tied for first among Catholic Conference scorers this season.

All-StateF - Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
ESPN Boston’s Mr. Hockey award winner this season, Nazarian had 26-22-48 totals for the regular season, along with nine goals and five assists during the Super 8 tournament for the three-time defending champions. The Boxford resident and center is the first underclassman to win the Mr. Hockey award.

All-StateF – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The Providence College commit led the Eagles to a No. 1 seed in this year’s Super 8 tournament. The North Andover resident compiled 12-24-36 totals this season and, in January, was ranked No. 117 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.

All-StateD – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph., Malden Catholic
The North Reading resident earned his second Super 8 title with the Lancers, playing on all defensive units and is one of two players making a second-straight appearance on our All-State team. The Boston College commit had 5-17-22 totals on the season and recently was accepted in the United States National Team Development Program’s U-17 team.

All-StateD – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
The two-way blue-liner finished third on the Panthers in scoring with 10-16-26 totals this year while leading them to another Super 8 apperance. A Longmeadow resident, the captain is deciding among prep schools for next year, as well as offers to play in college.

All-StateG – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High
The only repeating First-Team All-Stater this year, Cronin finished in the top five among Division 1 netminders in both goals against average (1.40) and save percentage (94.6) while starting all 23 of the Eagles’ games. He is currently considering colleges among playing opportunities at the prep school and junior levels.

All-StateF – Tom Besinger, Jr., BC High
The Eagles’ top center and captain was force to reckon with in the circle, in addition to leading the Eagles with 35 points (10 goals and a team-best 25 assists).
All-StateF – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
Finished his high school career with back-to-back Division 2 state championships. Owens racked up 30 points, playing alongside All-State honorable mention Brendan McDonough. Owens is currently weighing prep and junior options for next year.
All-StateF – Nolan Vesey, Sr., Austin Prep
The senior captain led the Cougars back to the Super 8 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and all the way to a finals appearance at the Garden. Vesey led AP in goals (18) and points (31) while kicking in 13 assists.
All-StateD – Nick Gorski, Sr., Central Catholic
A player who head coach Mike Jankowski repeatedly called his “most improved player” since freshman year, the Raiders captain played on all units, leading Central to another Super 8 appearance.
All-StateD – Jack Williams, Sr. Springfield Cathedral
A major component to perhaps the state’s best blue-line core, Williams did a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including playing forward on power-play units. The Suffield, Conn. resident tallied four goals and 19 assists for 23 points. He is currently weighing his playing options for next season.

All-StateG – Colin Soucy, Jr., Central Catholic
The break-out star of this year’s Super 8 tournament, Soucy nearly delivered the Raiders to a quarterfinal-round upset of No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in his first year as Central’s starting netminder.

Best of the Rest – Honorable Mention
Tyler Bird, Jr., St. John’s Prep
Tommy Bishop, Sr., Chelmsford
Matt Brazel, Jr., Hingham
Brian Brooks, Jr., Canton
Mike Carbone, Sr., Marshfield
Bobo Carpenter, Soph., Austin Prep
A.J. Couto, Sr., Danvers
Ben Cox, Sr., Medfield
Peter Crinella, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
Cam Curley, Sr., Franklin
Sam D’Antuono, Jr., Hingham
Jordan Dow, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Josh Edwards, Sr., Blue Hills
Brendan Greene, Jr., Winchester
C.J. Grinnell, Sr., Burlington
Marc Happy, Jr., Wachusett
Lloyd Hayes, Jr., Central Catholic
Kevin Hock, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Mike Iovanna, Sr., Malden Catholic
Andrew Irving, Sr., Beverly
Connor Irving, Jr., Beverly
Ryan Jones, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
Jack Kilty, Sr., Medway
Pat Kramer, Soph., BC High
Tom Koopman, Jr., Marblehead
Matt Kustra, Sr., Natick
Brendan McDounough, Jr., Wilmington
Anthony Lespasio, Sr., Bedford
Jack O’Hear, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Derek Petti, Sr., Tewksbury
Eddie Pratt, Sr., Xaverian
Nolan Redler, Jr., Winchester
Tyler Sifferlen, Jr., Malden Catholic
Mike Sorenti, Jr., Archbishop Williams
Sean Spohr, Sr., Westfield
Max Turcotte, Sr., Holliston
Max Willman, Sr., Barnstable

Matt Burchill, Sr., Marshfield
Derek Butler, Jr., Natick
John Carlson, Jr., Hingham
Adam Crowley, Jr., Burlington
Nick Edwards, Jr., Blue Hills
Sean Heelan, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Kurt Leavitt, Sr., Canton
Bryan Nelson, Soph., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Nick Rolli, Jr., Malden Catholic
Ryan Shea, Frosh, BC High
Sam Topham, Sr., BC High

Tim Birarelli, Soph., Beverly
Alex Buckley, Sr., Newburyport
Brandon Collett, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Jordan Davis, Sr., Norwood
Derek DeCastro, Sr., Burlington
Drew Foley, Jr., Wilmington
Nolan Greene, Jr., North Quincy
Elijah Harris, Soph., Austin Prep
John Liquori, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
Al Lynch, Jr., Framingham
Evan Morelli, Sr., Reading
James Offner, Soph., Winchester
Nick Russo, Sr., Waltham
Jimmy Tierney, Soph., Oliver Ames

D1 North: Winchester 4, Waltham 2

March, 8, 2013

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The crowd was even and the student sections were equally loud, but only Winchester had Nolan Redler and Brendan Greene.

The junior duo combined five points to power Winchester past Waltham, 4-2, and into Monday’s Division 1 North final.

Redler had a pair of goals and an assist while Greene scored a goal and had a helper.

“They see the ice so well,” Winchester head coach Matt Spang said. “I’d be lying if I told you I was teaching that to them. They just see the ice so well and do a good job.”

Waltham (13-9-2) struck first when junior Justin Provencher shot across his body and tucked the puck into the top corner.

Winchester (16-5-3) responded less than three minutes later when Redler found Danny Marx on the power play to tie it heading into the break.

“It took us a little bit to get our legs, but once we did and we settled in I thought we played we played well,” Spang said. “I’ve got a young team, so it just takes them a little while to get settled in. We knew that coming in. We thought the first five minutes would be tough on us. We handled it, we got out of the first period 1-1, and then we just played from there.”

The Sachems controlled the second period and Redler and Greene each had their moments. Greene stuffed a rebound home less than three minutes into the period to put the Sachems ahead for good. Greene later found Redler with a perfect tape-to-tape pass that Redler easily guided into the goal.

Waltham pressed physically and — with a bigger team — was able to dole out some impressive hits.

However, the Hawks’ attack had trouble cracking netminder James Offner. The sophomore had 19 saves for the Sachems.

“Part of it is a credit to them, but part of it we have to play better puck possession,” Waltham head coach John Maguire said. “They took advantage of our mistakes.

“They have some skilled kids. It’s unfortunate that we made it even easier for those skilled kids in turning the puck over. It’s tournament hockey. [It] could have went either way for a little while.”

Redler added his second after an incredible one-man effort early in the third period to put Winchester up three. Waltham’s Sean Kelley scored three minutes later to cut the deficit, but that’s how the game would end.

In sports consistency is king. Playing with the same people, over time, will develop a sense of timing and awareness that’s almost instinctual.

That’s how it is for Redler and Greene.

“We’ve been playing together since we were eight years old,” Greene said. “We have such good chemistry.

“We’re always with each other in school, out of school, always hanging out. So it just shows on the ice. We always know where each other are. We love each other on and off the ice.”

Coming into the tournament, the duo had combined nearly 40 percent of Winchester’s points, and there’s still more hockey left in 2013 for Redler and Greene.

Monday’s North sectional final will pit the Sachems against league-rival Burlington. The teams met in Burlington on Jan. 19, when the Red Devils coming away with a 3-0 win.

Recap: No. 6 Hingham 3, No. 13 Winchester 1

February, 11, 2013

HINGHAM, Mass. -- Hingham outshot Winchester, 35-15, Monday night at Pilgrim Rink. If quantifying the Harbormen’s time of possession, it would have approached approximately 70 percent in their favor. They were fast, strong, and in control.

But heading into the final minutes of the third period, it was still just a one-goal game and the Sachems, led by sophomore goaltender James Offner (32 saves), were one chance away from stealing a point on the road.

Finally, with 1:47 remaining in the game, junior forward Sam D’Antuono tipped a shot through Offner’s 5-hole and Hingham (12-5-1) could celebrate a crucial 3-1 win, boosting its chances of earning a place in the Super 8.

“We’re just trying to win every shift, every period,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. “I know that sounds clichéd, but with our schedule it’s like this every night. Winchester is a very good team, but every other team we play seems to be good, too.”

He then added, “We have a little trouble scoring goals so every team seems to be tough for us. We’re used to these types of games.”

The way that the game started, it did not look like scoring would be an issue for the hosts. Hingham, riding the emotion of the pregame Senior Night ceremony, stormed out of the gates and outshot Winchester, 13-3, in the opening period. Stephen Hughes had already hit an early post when senior forward Jack Gordon flicked a shot past Offner to make it 1-0 at 6:22.

Winchester (11-4-2), which had turned the puck over in its defensive zone leading to the opening goal, was struggling to get any offense. Yet, 27 seconds into the second period, the game was tied. A scramble in front of Hingham goalie John Grenier was stabbed home by Bobby Keane on a feed by Brendan Greene.

Sachems head coach Matt Spang was proud of the way his team reacted to going behind and battled back against a strong opponent.

“They came at us hard, which we knew they would because they’re a very good team,” he said. “The first five minutes they were on us, but we weathered the storm and got right back in the game. In the third period we didn’t find another gear, which is unfortunate.”

After recording the first three shots of the second period, all within the opening 90 seconds, Winchester could not sustain the momentum and slowly Hingham got back the control of the game. After being repeatedly thwarted by Offner, the Harbormen finally regained the lead.

With the two teams skating 4-on-4, Hingham stole the puck in the neutral zone and junior defenseman John Carlson drove at the Sachems defense. He then fired a pass across to the far circle where junior captain Matt Brazel fired an unstoppable one-timer just inside the post to make it 2-1. It was the type of goal that comes from playing on the same line since juniors and, according to Messina, a much needed score for the team.

He remarked, “The second goal that they got just drives a coach crazy. We warned them about that, take their focus off what they’re doing and go out there thinking it’s going to happen by accident. They scored and I think that got them going pretty good. It was good to answer that pretty quickly.”

The Sachems went into the third period down only a goal, despite the gulf in shots and chances created. In the final 15 minutes, Winchester continued to struggle to create scoring opportunities and mustered only four shots on goal, several of which were from outside the blue line.

Hingham was the aggressor, despite the one-goal lead, and with 2:51 left had a goal wiped off the board because the net was dislodged. A little over a minute later, D’Antuono redirected Corbin Robichaud’s shot from the point and put the game away.

“In the third period, it’s a 2-1 game against a very good team,” Spang said, “that’s when we need our better players to step up and that wasn’t the case tonight and that’s unfortunate. I don’t think our ‘D’ zone was great tonight. We need to improve a lot.”

He added, “We had a lot of turnovers…way, way, way too many turnovers.”

Messina credited his team’s mentality for forcing the Sachems into giveaways. He noted, “Once we got the forecheck going, we were pretty good. We like to get our defense up in the play so that helps keep the puck in and we did, we turned a couple of those [turnovers] into good shots.”

WOBURN, Mass. – Nearing the halfway point of the hockey season, these are the times when teams begin to feel the grind.

Proof and point is No. 12 Winchester, which in Saturday night’s duel with fellow Middlesex League unbeaten No. 19 Arlington, was in the midst of a five-game stretch in the span of 10 days.

Instead of letting the grind get to them, the Sachems did what they did best – grinding their opponents down with a mix of opportunistic scoring chances and stifling defense. In doing so, Winchester dealt the Spy Ponders their second straight loss in a methodical 3-0 shut-out win.

“I thought across the board we skated well tonight,” Sachems head coach Matt Spang said. “We played within our system, overall, it was one of our better efforts this year.”

Winchester (6-0-2, 6-0-2) scored a goal in each period and saw it all stand up behind sophomore goaltender James Offner, who made 20 saves in the shutout.

The Sachems’ top line of Brendan Greene, Nolan Redler and David Troiano accounted for each of their goals. Both Greene and Redler had a goal and an assist.

But, as always, Winchester’s offense stems from their ability to play good team defense, rooted in a sticky 1-2-2 forechecking scheme.

“With Spanger [Spang], the emphasis is always on the D-zone,” Redler said. “We’re out there blocking shots, and taking bodies out front. And I think we’ve got the best goalie in the league.”