Boston High School: Brian Pinho

Prep duo team up to win USHL Clark Cup

May, 22, 2014
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Sam Kurker and Brian Pinho’s bid to win a Super 8 title together two seasons ago at St. John’s Prep fell short, but the local duo finally tasted victory together Tuesday night.

Pinho’s third period tally broke a 2-2 tie to give the Indiana Ice the 3-2 win in the decisive Game 5 of the USHL Clark Cup Finals.

Pinho, a Providence College recruit and 2013 graduate of St. John’s Prep, was the second leading scorer on the Ice during the regular season with 28 goals and 28 assists in 59 games played.

A sixth round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 2013 NHL Draft, Pinho collected two goals and four assists during his team’s playoff run.

Kurker joined the Ice midseason after leaving Boston University. A 2012 graduate of St. John’s Prep, the 2012 draft pick of the St. Louis Blues had three goals and three assists in the postseason.

Waterloo, the team Indiana beat in the finals, had a 3-1 lead entering the third period, but couldn’t hold on with the trophy in its grasp.

Canton native and Maine recruit Liam Pecararo was one of the top scoring forwards on the Black Hawks. He had four goals and 10 assists during the postseason to go along with his 61 points during the regular season.
For the third straight year, St. John’s Prep hockey produced an NHL Draft pick.

Following in the footsteps of former ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey Colin Blackwell (Harvard) and current BU Terrier Sam Kurker before him, recent Prep grad Brian Pinho became the most recent of head coach Kristian Hanson's players to hear his name on Draft day, selected by the Washington Captials in the sixth round (174th overall) on Sunday.

We caught up with the North Andover resident and Providence College commit on Monday to get his Draft night experience:

On whether he thought Washington would be destination: “I had a feeling. They were one of the teams that I had an interview and a meeting with them. I had a hunch that it might be Vancouver, Anaheim or Boston though. So I kept watching those teams as their picks came up through the rounds. But I really didn’t have a good sense where I’d go.”

On the Draft process: “There were a lot of different types of meeting. With Washington, we actually just met up at a Dunkin’ Donuts. In the meetings, you just go over your strengths and weaknesses, but the key is to be honest with them. They want you to be honest. You don’t want to say you’re the strongest skater in the world when you’re not because they already know. When I went to meet with the Bruins, it was at the Garden. I worked out, had lunch with them. Looking back on Washington, it was pretty basic. They asked me questions about my game, how I saw myself as a player and it was a background check on family, my parents, siblings, what they do. Basic stuff like that.”

On how he watched the Draft: “We stayed at home. My brother had a couple of his friends over, had a couple of my buddies over, hanging out by pool. We had a TV set up by the shed. When it got later and the bugs were out, we moved inside and watched the TV.”

On how he might fit into Washington’s system: “I think I can fit in there, being a two-way player, playing my game. Obviously, they have a lot of big scorers like [Alex] Ovechkin, [Mike] Ribeiro, but I think it would be more a two-way, defensive forward, being able to move the puck and see the ice well.”

On his offseason regimen: “Actually, I just got back in Boyle’s [gym]. I’m there at 7 a.m. with a group that has Chris Kreider in it, the Rangers forward. It’s good motivation having a guy like that around. It pushes you. Then, from 2-4, I’ll head to Ristuccia and work on my skating with Paul Vincent. I’ve been doing that for the past several years. We do a lot of edge work there, and before I started there, I’d never really don that. I was horrible at it initially, but then you get really strong on your edges and that’s really what you need at the next level. You have to be able to skate, it’s the most important part of hockey. I love Mr. Vincent, I think that I owe a lot to him.”
St. John's Prep center Brian Pinho was selected by the Washington Capitals 174th overall (sixth round) in tonight's NHL Draft.

The North Andover native and Providence College commit becomes the third Prep player to be drafted in as many years, joining Colin Blackwell (San Jose Sharks in 2011) and Sam Kurker (St. Louis Blues in '12).

An ESPN Boston All-State selection last season, Pinho tallied 12-24-36 totals last season for the Eagles, who were the No. 1 seed in the MIAA's Super 8 tournament.

Pinho was ranked No. 109 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting entering the Draft.

Scouts dish on local NHL Draft class

June, 29, 2013
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The NHL Draft commences Sunday in Newark, N.J., and there is a crop of New England-raised players hoping to hear their name called.

So we took the task to the Northeast regional scouts of an Eastern and a Western Conference team to give their evaluations of some of the region’s best and brightest.

So here’s a look at some of the local skaters to watch out for and their scouting evaluation heading into the Draft:

(Editor’s note: Players appear by NHL Central Scouting rankings among North American skaters.)

Ryan Fitzgerald, C, Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL)
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Hometown: North Reading, Mass. (Malden Catholic H.S.)
College commitment: Boston College
Central Scouting final ranking: 56

Scout's take: “He has tremendous hockey sense, with great vision and quick hands. He’s an undersized player, but has tremendous balance and is solid on the puck. He thinks the game at a high level.”

Zach Sanford, LW, Middlesex Islanders (EJHL)
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Auburn, N.H. (Pinkerton Academy)
College commitment: Boston College
Central Scouting final ranking: 60

Scout's take: “He’s still very raw and a little unpolished, but he’s got the frame. He’s rangy and you know he has some weight to put on. He’s can play a pretty physical game, but he has to add to his frame. He had a tough start to the season in the E.J., but then averaged a point per game down the stretch.”

Anthony Florentino, D, South Kent / Selects
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 220 lbs.
Hometown: West Roxbury, Mass. (Xaverian Brothers)
College commitment: Providence College
Central Scouting final ranking: 75
Scout's Take: “He’s the top [defensive] prospect in the draft locally. He’s got a heavy shot and skates well. Plus, you get a four-year projection on him as a true freshman headed to college. He’s got a chance. He’s the youngest of four boys, so he’s been pushed around a bit and that’s made him tough to play against. He’s gone a little under the radar.”

Jason Salvaggio, C/LW, South Kent / Selects / Indiana Ice (USHL)
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Hanson, Mass. (Xaverian Brothers)
College: UNH
Central Scouting final ranking: 97

Scout's Take: “He’s got a little edge to his game. Good hands, good shot. His size is OK, but big enough to play. I think the question is whether he can process the game at a high level. I think UNH will help him. He has skill and can skate, but can he process when it’s moving really fast?”

Wiley Sherman, D, Hotchkiss School
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 210 lbs.
Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
College: Harvard
Central Scouting final ranking: 104

Scout's Take: “He’s obviously a big frame at 6-6, and hecan defend. He’s an excellent skater for someone so tall. He has a great base and foundation to play on. Has a little meanness, too, and he’ll do whatever has to to protect the house. I think of him along the lines of a Hal Gill.”

Brian Pinho, C, St. John’s Prep
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 171 lbs.
Hometown: North Andover, Mass.
College: Providence College
Central Scouting final ranking: 109

Scout's Take: “He’s an excellent skater, a natural skater and a high-energy guy. I think he projects as a good energy line guy, a good solid two-way player.”

Ryan Segalla, D, Salisbury School
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 194 lbs.
Hometown: Hanover, Mass.
College: UConn
Central Scouting final ranking: 169

Scout's Take: “He has an over-the-top compete level. It’s second to none for kids around New England. He might play a little out of control at time, but he’s very strong, extremely physical. He’s tenacious.”

Shane Starrett, G, South Kent / Selects
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Bellingham, Mass. (Catholic Memorial)
College: Boston University
Central Scouting final goaltenders ranking: 15

Scout's Take: “Goalies are hard to predict, it’s the one [position] that’s probably hardest to predict. He’s got the size to play — the way goaltenders are going now. The only question is the level of hockey that he’s played at.”
St. John's Prep standout and soon-to-be NHL Draft hopeful Brian Pinho led a deep pool of local skaters selected in Tuesday's "Phase 2" of the United States Hockey League's Draft.

Pinho was one of 13 skaters with ties to MIAA hockey who were taken on the day, including 10 who played for member schools last season.

Here's a list of players with New England ties who were selected Tuesday, listed by overall selection:

6. Brian Pinho (North Andover), C, St. John's Prep - Indiana

15. Ryan Segalla (Hanover), D, Salisbury - Dubuque

18. Merrick Madsen, G, Proctor - Des Moines

22. Connor Light (Sudbury), D, Phillips Andover - Omaha

25. Anthony Petruzzelli, LW, Brooks - Green Bay

28. Zach Sanford (Auburn, N.H.), LW, Islanders (EJHL) - Waterloo

30. Liam Coughlin (South Boston), C, Catholic Memorial - Dubuque

34. Danny Tirone (Trumbull, Conn.),G , Loomis-Chaffee - Cedar Rapids

37. James Winkler (York, Maine), RW, Berwick - Muskegon

53. Jake McCarthy (Dedham), D, St. Sebastian's - Muskegon

56. Garrett Hehir (Auburn, Mass.), C, Cushing Acacdemy - Lincoln

59. Shane Starrett (Bellingham), G, Selects Academy (Catholic Memorial) - Sioux Falls

66. A.J. Greer, LW, Kimball Union - Des Moines

93. Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Conn.), RW, Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) - Des Moines

94. Terence Amarossa, D, Holderness - Sioux City

100. Aaron Titcomb (Charlestown), D, Salisbury - Cedar Rapids

105. Shane Kavanaugh (E. Providence, R.I.), RW, Cushing Academy - Dubuque

111. Connor Brassard (Fitchburg), D, Cushing Academy - Chicago

120. Mark Hamilton (Winthrop), D, Salisbury - Dubuque

140. Mark Dufour (Winthrop), RW, Kents Hill - Cedar Rapids

165. David Belluche (Andover), D, Phillips Andover - Dubuque

177. Carl Hesler (Boxborough), F, Belmont Hill - Waterloo

191. Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury), C, Rivers - Lincoln

192. Shane Bennett, C, Milton Academy - Waterloo

210. Evan Smith, C/LW, Salisbury - Dubuque

211. Ryan Collins (Newton), C, Ottawa (CJHL) - Indiana

213. Brendan Shane, C, The Gunnery - Des Moines

220. Niko Rufo (Stoneham), LW, Kimball Union - Green Bay

225. Mitchell Smith, C/LW, Salisbury - Dubuque

226. Michael Turner, LW, Cushing Academy - Indiana

230. Tyler Sifferlen (North Andover), F, Malden Catholic - Cedar Rapids

237. Mason Krueger (Nashua, N.H.), LW, Avon Old Farms - Waterloo

246. Vincent Ditmore, D, Choate Rosemary Hall - Chicago

257. Tyler Bird (Andover), RW, St. John's Prep - Tri-City

266. Nick Rutigliano (Shrewsbury), D, Boston Advantage AAA - Lincoln

272. Andrew Cross (Saugus), D, Austin Prep - Tri-City

274. Tyler Drevitch (Middleborough), RW, Boston Bandits (EJHL) - Sioux City

279. Colin MacGillivray (Peabody - Malden Catholic), D, N.H. Junior Monarchs (EJHL) - Youngstown

285. Will D'Orsi (Sudbury), F, St. Sebastian's - Dubuque

300. Nolan Vesey (North Reading), F, Austin Prep - Dubuque

307. Joel Daccord (North Andover - North Andover), G, Cushing Academy - Chicago

309. Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.), G, Choate Rosemary Hall - Youngstown

310. Charlie Corcoran (New Canaan, Conn.), C, Berkshire School - Green Bay

366. Jack Adams (Boxford), F, Malden Catholic - Chicago

367. Luke Stevens, F, Duxbury - Omaha

382. J.J. Layton (Peabody), D, Austin Prep - Omaha

384. Charley Borek (Durham, N.H.), F, Choate Rosemary Hall - Youngstown
The NHL Central Scouting service released its final rankings of North American skaters and goaltenders ahead of the NHL Draft Wednesday morning.

Former Malden Catholic standout and Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL) product Ryan Fitzgerald leads the New England skaters, checking in at No. 56.

Here's the list of skaters with local ties who made the cut:

(The full list can be found here):

SKATERS:
56. C Ryan Fitzgerald, Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL - Malden Catholic, North Reading), Previous Ranking - 46
60. LW Zach Sanford, Islanders (EJHL - Pinkerton Academy, Auburn, N.H.), Previous Ranking - 83
75. D Anthony Florentino, South Kent School, Previous Ranking - 79
94. C Nick Huthinson, Avon Old Farms, Previous Ranking - 133
97. LW/C Jason Salvaggio, South Kent School, Previous Ranking - 90
104. D Wiley Sherman, Hotchkiss School, Previous Ranking - 125
109. C Brian Pinho, St. John's Prep, Previous Ranking - 117
138. LW Miles Wood, Noble and Greenough, Previous Ranking - 163
169. D Ryan Segalla, Salisbury School, Previous Ranking - 136
182. C John Stevens, Salisbury School, Previous Ranking - 162
185. D Connor Light, Phillips Andover, Previous Ranking - 178
186. RW Ross Olsson, Cedar Rapids (USHL - Billerica Memorial), Previous Ranking - 121
187. LW Tyler Hill, Chicago (USHL - Hotchkiss), Previous Ranking - 85
195. C Daniel LaFontaine, Avon Old Farms, Previous Ranking - 172
198. D Quin Pompi, Berkshire, Previous Ranking - 160
201. RW Thomas Aldworth, Cushing Academy, Previous Ranking - Unranked
206. D Tyler Wood, Noble and Greenough, Previous Ranking - 197

GOALTENDERS:
15. Shane Starrett, South Kent School (Catholic Memorial), Previous Ranking - 35
26. Merrick Madsen, Proctor Academy, Previous Ranking - 34

Our MIAA boys' hockey All-State Team

March, 28, 2013
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FIRST LINE
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.

SECOND LINE
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
Forwards
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

Defense
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

Goaltenders
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

Some parting thoughts on the hockey season

March, 25, 2013
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Flanked by a swarm of reporters, Sean Murphy’s eyes darted about as he searched for the words to say. The Burlington senior forward was never the center of attention during his high school career, so he didn’t have much experience in such a setting. He scored two goals at the TD Garden last week as the Red Devils’ repeated as Division 1 state champions. It was his first time playing at the Garden, having watched last year’s final unfold from the perspective of a fan. This was the first year Murphy made Burlington’s varsity hockey squad.

As Murphy responded to questions, teammates and members of the Red Devils’ coaching staff ribbed him. Their good-natured jabs caused Murphy periodically to break down and smile while he tried to maintain focus on the interview. They all knew the circumstances surrounding Murphy’s accomplishment. He’d done from off the team outright to hero.

During freshman year, Burlington didn’t host a freshman team. Murphy failed to make the junior varsity squad, so he went a year without playing for his high school. In sophomore year, Murphy earned a spot on the J.V. team, but it was the Red Devils’ lower team (the J.V. had been split into two teams). The next year, he moved up to the higher J.V. team, as many of his classmates won their first state crown. Finally, as a senior, Murphy made the varsity team.

He only scored one goal during the regular season, but Murphy broke out in the tournament, scoring five goals in the postseason, including two in the championship game.

When Murphy attracted the attention in the postgame following the Red Devils’ 4-2 victory over Marshfield on Sunday, Burlington head coach Bob Conceison watched a few paces away. He beamed and was eager to tell of Murphy’s story of stick-to-itiveness.

“That’s the kind of story that makes high school hockey great,” Conceison said.

A SORT OF CHANGING OF THE GUARD
As Malden Catholic won its third straight Super 8 championship, it would seem as though the Lancers simply picked up where they left off. But anybody who watched the defending champions’ season unfold would tell you this most recent run was anything but a sure thing.

In many years, this year’s MC model was uncharacteristic from the previous. Yes, the Lancers still had more top-end talent than anyone, with three Division 1 college recruits (and counting). But this was in broad strokes a young team and, more so, one that lacked experience in a Super 8 environment. Building on the contributions of talented senior leaders (Mike Vecchione in 2011 and Brendan Collier in ’12) in the last two years, the Lancers had to learn to do it on their own this year.

Helping to bridge the gap was senior captain Mike Iovanna, one of a handful of seniors on MC’s roster this year. Iovanna is self-described as someone who leads by example. The soft-spoken UMass commit has been a key cog in the Lancers’ run all along, but took on a greater role this year, inheriting the “C” on his sweater.

“You know what the expectations are,” Iovanna said of taking on the role of captain. “Knowing what Mike [Vecchione] and Brendan [Collier] meant in the room, I was able to learn from them.

“But I also know that I’m a different person from them. I’m a pretty quiet guy, but I knew I could set an example for the younger players as they had done for me.”

Iovanna combined with junior left wing Tyler Sifferlen and sophomore center Ara Nazarian to tally nearly half (113) of MC’s points on the season (245) on its top line. Aside from creating the Lancers’ scoring punch, Iovanna also contributed intangibles on MC’s top penalty killing forward unit beside Nazarian — who changed the face of the tournament with his four short-handed goals.

But aside from the first line, the Lancers relied on a new wave for contributions.

“They have their own identity, but it’s a new core,” Lancers head coach John McLean said. “It’s young, very talented players, with [Austin] Goldstein, [Matt] Filipe, [Jake] Witkowski and [Will] Lawrence on D, I thought John [McLean III] played well.”

Nothing was handed to this MC group; it was earned. Sitting a 5-6-3 as the calendar was about to flip to February, the Lancers had to learn on the fly.

“Right around Central Catholic, that was a big win for us and the kid’s became a team,” McLean said. “We went out to Springfield and, for whatever reason, Springfield always worked for us. We went on a roll.

Of course, none of that reflects the emotional component that followed MC hockey this year. Former head coach and athletic director Chris Serino succumbed after a long fight with cancer shortly before the season began.

His imprint remained in MC’s three-peat.

“It’s still Chris’s team a little bit,” McLean said.

COMINGS AND GOINGS
Here’s a look at some recent updates in where some of the state’s top players are headed next year:
  • One of our favorite players to watch during the last couple of years was Burlington forward C.J. Grinnell. Grinnell led the Red Devils again in scoring (13-19-32) and is considering prep and junior options for next year, with Connecticut’s Canterbury School as a leading candidate. Just a thought that some college coach out there is going to get one heck of a player in a couple years.
  • Springfield Cathedral wasn’t able to get over the MC hump in the Super 8, but will more than likely have several of its graduating players skating on past this year. First-line winger Dominic Blad is heading to South Kent while defenseman Matt Foley is weighing options between Phillips Exeter, Choate Rosemary Hall and Berkshire School, along with college choices for the following year. All-State-caliber defenseman Jack Williams and center Artie Potter are also exploring options for next year.
  • The Woburn girls’ hockey program had perhaps the greatest collection of talent in the state this year. Case and point were made last week as two of the Tanners’ top skaters announced their college plans. Forward Kayla Smith gave her commitment to Salve Regina while defenseman Cassandra Connolly will be headed to the University of New England.
MR. AND MISS HOCKEY AWARD FINALISTS
We’ll be handing out our awards Monday when we name our Mr. and Miss Hockey Award winners, as the best players in MIAA hockey this year. Here’s a look at our four finalists for the honors, in alphabetical order:

Mr. Hockey:
  • Liam Coughlin, Sr. C, Catholic Memorial: The rangy pivot helped lift the Knights to the Super 8 semifinals, leading the team with 28 goals and 20 assists for 48 points.
  • Peter Cronin, Sr., G BC High: Undoubtedly, the state’s best goaltender for two years running. The three-year starter posted a 94.6 save percentage along with seven shutouts this year.
  • Ara Nazarian, Soph. C, Malden Catholic: Led the Lancers in scoring (26-20-46) during the regular season in addition to leading all players in Super 8 scoring, while tallying an unheard of four short-handed goals for the three-time defending champions.
  • Brian Pinho, Sr. C, St. John’s Prep: A natural playmaker with vision, the Providence College commit led the Catholic Conference champions with 12-24-36 totals.
Miss Hockey:
  • Alison Butler, Sr. F, St. Mary’s (Lynn): Among the leading scorers in the state (37-25-62), Butler saved her best for last, netting the game-winning goal in the state championship game.
  • Hannah Murphy, Sr. F, Duxbury: The Dragons captain capped her prolific career with the program’s third straight state championship win, scoring 29 goals and adding 24 assists.
  • Shannon O’Neil, Sr. G, Austin Prep: Led all Division 1 starting goaltenders with a 1.08 GAA and eye-popping 96.8 save percentage to go along with 10 shutouts.
  • Kayla Smith, Sr. F, Woburn: Perhaps the most feared scorer in the state, Smith finished with 34-29-64 totals for the Tanners.

Super 8: St. John's Prep 4, Central Catholic 2

March, 10, 2013
3/10/13
11:16
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STONEHAM, Mass. -- Central Catholic didn’t make its Super 8 series easy against No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep. But as the Eagles faced elimination for the second game in a row, Prep star forward Brian Pinho finally beat Colin Soucy sending his squad past the Raiders, 4-2, in Sunday’s deciding Game 3 of their quarterfinal series at Stoneham Arena.

St. John’s Prep will play Austin Prep next in the semi-finals. The Eagles won a previous game earlier this season against the Cougars, but that was along time ago.

“You can forget about the fact that we beat them in January because it’s March now,” Eagles head coach Kristian Hanson said. “What we did during a game in January means nothing. Elijah Harris is playing very well for them. He is one of the best goalies in the state, and we anticipate that he will be tough to beat.”

Pinho struggled to finish throughout the series against the Central Catholic goalie, but he rose to the occasion when his team needed him. Late in the third period, seconds after Central Catholic had tied the game; the Providence College commit finally beat Soucy.

“Brian’s a great player, but he was starting to get a little frustrated because Soucy has had his number,” Hanson said. “We talked to Brian about it, but you can’t tell a kid how to score a goal. They have to just seize the opportunity and do what they do. He had that opportunity, and he buried it.”

St. John’s (19-3-1) loses 15 seniors after this season, so losing was simply not the way the leaders of the Eagles wanted to go out. Although the group helped get the win, there is still a lot of work to do.

“None of [the seniors] wanted this to be their last game especially [since it is only] the first round. It is satisfying that we won, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Hanson said.

Billy Price locked down the Eagles’ net, as the St. John’s goalie stopped 23-of-25 Central shots.

“Billy [Price] was great today, he looked very calm and poised out there,” Hanson said. “Even when they got that goal to tie the game [in the third] he stood tall.”

Soucy (20 saves) had an incredible run in the series, and the Raiders net-minder gave his squad a legitimate shot at knocking off the top seed.

“Colin [Soucy] stepped up his play, and everyone started to believe because of his play,” Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski said.

After a scoreless first period, Eagles forward James Currier made a nifty spin-o-rama move before firing the puck into the twine.

The Raiders (15-7-3) came right back though as Lloyd Hayes scored the Raiders first goal for the third game in a row to even things, 1-1.

“It’s just the character of Hayes because he just goes out there and competes for us,” Jankowski said.

Before the period could end, Paul Crehan picked up a rebound that came out to him in the slot. The forward rifled a wrist shot off the crossbar and into the goal.

“We hate to put a number on it because technically that is our [fourth line], but they certainly don’t play like a [fourth line],” Hanson said. “They are very comfortable playing together, they are very effective playing together, and that was evident by the goal that Paul [Crehan] had.”

Halfway through the third period, Christian Thompson tied things up by beating Price through the five-hole, but the deadlock only lasted only 26 seconds.

Pinho finally beat Soucy as a deflected shot went straight to him. Pinho was waiting on the backdoor, and he fired the puck into the goal as Soucy could not get over in time.

“It’s the best goal I have scored in my life,” Pinho said. “Soucy probably robbed me about five times this tournament, so it felt so good to get that goal. I can’t even describe it.”

Later in the third, Tyler Bird scored on the power play to extend the Eagles. Bird picked up a rebound and he made no mistakes firing the puck past Soucy.

“At that point we were just playing regular because we were trying to [prevent] a shorthanded goal, so we just had our first line out there,” Hanson said. “They had the man advantage, so it was just a benefit to us.”

Central Catholic pulled Soucy late, but the Raiders failed to put much pressure on Price as the St. John’s defense locked down.

Super 8: St. John's Prep 3, Central Catholic 1

March, 9, 2013
3/09/13
1:42
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. - St. John's Prep had five days to stew over what it felt was a lackluster performance in the opener of the best of three series against Central Catholic. From the opening faceoff of game two, it was obvious that the Eagles no intention of allowing such a dismal showing to rear up again.

Justin Longo, Nic Gianelli and Jack McCarthy had the goals as the top-seeded Prep unleashed a 42-shot barrage and forced a deciding game three with a 3-1 victory over the Raiders at Stoneham Arena Friday night.

The two teams will return to Stoneham once more on Sunday to decide who will advance to take on Austin Prep in the semifinals.

"Coach [Kristian Hanson] decided we'd watch film the day after after the game instead of practicing, which was a great idea," explained Prep star Brian Pinho. "We got to see how bad we looked. We learned from that and next practice, everyone was focused on moving their feet and getting pucks to the net. I think [Thursday], getting the game canceled, it was another day for us to get the Sunday night game off our mind and focus on tonight.

The first period ended in a scoreless draw but it wasn't from a lack of effort on behalf of St. John's Prep (18-3-1), who swarmed the puck, the neutral zone, the defensive zone - you name it - and piled up 15 shots over the first 15 minutes.

The barrage continued in the second, but Central Catholic (15-6-3) goalie Colin Soucy almost singlehandedly fended off the onslaught by himself, making a number of highlight reel stops in the face of relentless Eagles' pressure. The junior would finish with 39 saves.

"At least 39, a couple of those you might want to count two or three times," laughed Raiders coach Mike Jankowski, only half joking. "He made some unbelievable stops and gave us every chance to win. Fantastic. Can't really say...I mean...you had to actually see some of the stops. The backdoor in the second period...just amazing. He gave us every opportunity to win the game as poorly as we played."

Despite a massive disparity in shots and time of possession, it was Central who got on the board first. Lloyd Hayes pounced on a careless giveaway deep in the Eagles' zone and sniped a shot to the upper right corner for a shorthanded goal at 8:07.

Backs clearly against the wall and facing elimination, the Prep wasted little time in responding as Longo went screaming through the middle of the Raiders zone and buried his chance to tie the game just 22 seconds later.

St. John's Prep kept the pressure on, desperately looking for any way of breaking through Soucy, who was in the midst of another magnificent performance. On one hand, you had to wonder if the Prep would ever get anything past Soucy, but on the other, it seemed like it had to be a matter of time before they did given the quantity and quality of their chances.

Break through the Prep finally did as Gianelli hustled down the rebound of his own initial shot and pushed his team in front for the first time in the postseason with 5:20 left to play. Soucy continued to keep his team alive, stoning Pinho on a breakaway bid and turning aside several other quality looks but Central pulled him for an extra skater with 1:31 remaining, McCarthy iced the win with an empty-netter at 13:54.

"I think we were a little bit embarrassed by our performance on Sunday," admitted Prep head coach Kristian Hanson. "We certainly didn't give our best effort on Sunday. You can blame it on a number of different factors but we didn't come out, we didn't play well. That's on us. All we wanted to do tonight, win or lose, was come out here, give our best effort and at least say we left it all out on the ice if we didn't win. Fortunately we did."

Super 8: Central Catholic 4, St. John's Prep 1

March, 4, 2013
3/04/13
12:57
AM ET


LOWELL, Mass. -- In the final minute of the second period, Central Catholic goalie Colin Soucy found himself staring down the barrel of future Providence Friar Brian Pinho.

With the Raiders holding a 3-1 lead, the St. John's Prep standout had just forced a turnover at the Raiders blue line and walked in all alone. Pinho aimed for the high, glove side but Soucy flashed his mitt to nullify what could have a momentum - and game - changing goal.

Soucy made eight more stops in the third period, finishing with 22 for the game, and the eighth-seeded Raiders pulled the early shocker of the Super 8 by knocking off the top-seeded Eagles, 4-1.

"I knew what his moves were," said Soucy, drawing on the experience of playing the Prep back in December. "He came in, he was eyeing the glove side, and I just kicked out and made the save. I learned a lot on how his head moves, his stick fakes and everything like that. I knew that he shot glove a lot so i just wanted to make the big saves."

Raiders (15-5-3) coach Mike Jankowski not only felt that stop kept the Prep (17-3-1) from getting any spark of life, but it was also a huge confidence booster for his junior netminder, given who the shooter was.

"It was huge, especially with who we turned it over to," Jankowski admitted."You don't want to turn it over to anybody but if you turn it over to him...that's just a testament to [Soucy] and what he's able to do. Not looking at who it is but doing what he needs to do to shut him down and move forward."

Shots were even through the first two frames but Central seemed to more jump in its step while the Prep was surprisingly flat, something they weren't able to shake for the entire contest. The Raiders also cashed in the game's first goal as Lloyd Hayes fired a shot on Prep goalie Billy Price. Price made the initial stop but the rebound accidentally caromed off one of his defensemen and went right back into the net at 5:08.

The Eagles made amends on the power play just over five minutes later as Tyler Bird screamed a shot through the Central crease that got blocked but founds its way to Jimmy Currier, who stuck in a backhander to tie the game at 1-1.

Kevin Regan put CC back on top just one minute into the second, snapping off a beauty of a one-timer off a feed from Billy Stahley. Defenseman Nick Gorski, who also played a stellar game in his own end, contributed to the offense by rifling a shot into an open net off a long rebound with Price out of position. Central tacked on one final goal in the third, courtesy of Alex Lester.



"We had a lot of momentum from the Hingham game coming into this and we all knew that no one was giving us credit for what we can do," Gorski said. "We knew we could beat them, we already beat them this year. They’re a very strong program and we definitely knew we had a hard game coming. The first period really showed it. We came out flying and we just continued that for the rest of the game."

The two teams will meet again on Thursday (7:45 p.m.) for game two of the best-of-three series at Stoneham Arena.

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2013
3/02/13
4:52
PM ET
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at UMass-Lowell’s Tsongas Center.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. As the tournament takes on a best-of-three format for its first-round matchups this year, we’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 St. John’s Prep (17-2-1) vs. No. 8 Central Catholic (14-5-3)

Players to watch: Prep – F Brian Pinho, F Tyler Bird, F Andrew Brandano, F Jack McCarthy, F Cam Shaheen, D Brent Murray, G Billy Price; Central – F Lloyd Hayes, F Corey Webber; D Nick Gorski, D Alex Lester, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meeting: Central 2, Prep 1 on Dec. 26.

The skinny: Central fought its way into the eight-team field with an improbable comeback against Hingham in Monday’s play-in game. But they’ll have to be ready to go out of the gate against the top-seeded Eagles. Prep is deepest team in the field — from its forwards to its defensemen — and the Raiders will have to weather the Eagles’ ability to wear teams down by consistently rolling four lines (Claude Julien surely would love this Prep team). The goaltenders will also be under the spotlight in this series with both Price and Soucy making their debuts in taking over for tournament stalwarts David Letarte and Kyle Williams, respectively. The play of both goaltenders has been a strength for their teams this year.

X-factor: Can the Raiders parlay some momentum gained from their dramatic play-in game overtime victory into a Game 1 win against the Eagles? Also, what kind of a factor will Central winger Mike Kelleher be?

Prediction: Prep in two.

Series: No. 2 Springfield Cathedral (16-1-4) vs. No. 7 Malden Catholic (12-6-3)

Previous meeting: MC 2, Cathedral 1 on Feb. 21.

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Dominic Blad, F D.J. Petruzelli, F Johnny Leonard, D Matt Foley, D Jack Williams, G John Liqouri; MC – F Mike Iovanna, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Pat Wrenn, D Casey Fitzgerald, D Nick Rolli.

The skinny: While the Panthers enjoyed some down time this week, MC set about making a statement in its 9-1 dismantling of Archbishop Williams in Monday’s play-in game. Perhaps no team in the state has been hotter than the two-time defending Super 8 champion Lancers and they’d like to prove that, once again, this is their time of the year. There will be plenty of top-tier talent on the ice when the team’s top forward units face off with Cathedral’s line of Crinella-Artie Potter-Blad opposed by MC’s Iovanna-Nazarian-Sifferlen troika. The key to this series, however, will be which team’s second and third lines come to play.

X-factor: Cathedral goaltender John Liquori. As we saw in the Panthers’ game against St. John’s Prep in the final week of the regular season, he’s capable of stealing points and games for them. He’ll need to be at his best to curb the Lancers’ attack.

Prediction: Malden Catholic in three.

Series: No. 3 BC High (14-3-3) vs. No. 6 Catholic Memorial (12-6-2)

Previous meetings: BC High 5, CM 1 on Jan. 16; BC High 4, CM 3 on Feb. 2.

Players to watch: BC High – F Tom Besinger, F Pat Kramer, F Steve DeForge, F Chris LaLiberte, D Sam Topham, D Ryan Shea, G Peter Cronin; CM – F Liam Coughlin, F Jack O’Hear, F Kevin Hock, F Aaron Clancy, D Dennis Medeiros, D Sean Heelan, G Brandon Collett.

The skinny: Can’t get much better than this, right? Right up there with Bruins-Canadiens. The teams will add another chapter to their storied history in the 50th-anniversary year of their hockey rivalry. While the Eagles claimed both meetings against their Catholic Conference counterparts during the regular season, the play was largely even (minus one second-period outburst in BC High’s 5-1 win in January). So expect more of the same in this series.

X-factor: Liam Coughlin. The Eagles had success neutralizing the rangy center during their regular season appearance, both in the offensive zone and in the face-off circle. But we’ve seen Coughlin (25-16-41) take control at times this season, and he’ll have to do so for the Knights to advance.

Prediction: BC High in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-1-6) vs. No. 5 Reading (16-1-5)

Previous meeting: N/A.

Players to watch: AP – F Nolan Vesey, F Bobby Carpenter, F Jake McKenelley, F Eric MacAdams, F George Sennott, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton; Reading – F Rob Devaney, F Mike Thomson, F Jake Barbera, F Mark Dente, G Evan Morelli.

The skinny: The Battle of Reading is just one subplot to a group of first-round series rife with context. The high-flying Cougars attack will have to break through a sticky Reading forecheck that can give opponents fits. AP does enter tournament having played some of its best hockey of the year in the final week of the season, wrapping up a Cape Cod Classic championship. The Rockets, meanwhile, will gain the fan bases of the rest of the state as the lone remaining public school entrant in this year’s field.

X-factor: Nolan Vesey. Has the potential to be the best player in the tournament. For a young squad such as AP, however, Vesey’s leadership will be vital for their long-term Super 8 chances. He needs to set the tone.

Prediction: Austin Prep in three.

MIAA hockey midseason All-State teams

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
5:17
PM ET
BOYS
1st Team

F – Liam Coughlin, Sr., Catholic Memorial
F – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
F – Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High

2nd Team
F – Sam D’Antuono, Soph., Hingham
F – Mike Kelleher, Sr., Central Catholic
F – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
D – Bryan Nelson, Jr., St. John's (Shrewsbury)
D – Jack Williams, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Drew Foley, Jr., Wilmington

GIRLS
1st Team

F – Alison Butler, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
F – Jane Freda, Sr., Hingham
F – Kayla Smith, Sr., Woburn
D – Cassandra Connolly, Sr., Woburn
D – Annie Messuri, Jr., Acton-Boxborough
G – Courtney Davis, Jr., Woburn

2nd Team
F – Kaleigh Finigan, Sr., St. Mary's (Lynn)
F – Hannah Murphy, Sr., Duxbury
F - Adrieanna Rossini, Soph., Arlington Catholic
D – Tatiana Doucette, Jr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D – Alexx Good, Sr., Falmouth
G – Maddie Scavotto, Soph., Falmouth

WHO COULD BE THERE
Aside from those named to our first two teams, there are a plenty of deserving candidates across the state that made for some very hard decisions.

Here's a peak at few players who were on the cusp and who are worth keeping tabs on as we near tournament time:

Tom Besinger, Sr. F, BC High: His two-goal performance in Saturday night's comeback win over Catholic Memorial tells you everything you need to know about the shifty center.

Eddie Pratt, Sr. F, Xaverian: It wouldn't be too outlandish to say that you could make a strong case for the power forward (15-11-26) as the Catholic Conference MVP.

Jack Kilty, Sr. F, Medway: Don't let the fact that the Mustangs play in D3 detract from his resume (17-17-34); he could skate on any line in the state.

Nick Rolli, Sr. D, Malden Catholic: It's been an up-and-down year for the Lancers, but the blue-liner is a steadying force, playing on all units.

Alex Buckley, Sr. G, Newburyport: In terms of shots seen, it's hard to beat his 94.8 save percentage.

Tim Birarelli, Soph. G, Beverly: The Panthers' offense gets a lot of the pub, but the second-year backstop has been a revelation this year as they've surrendered just 10 goals on the season.

Brittani Lanzilli, Jr. F, Medford: After transferring back from St. Mary's, she'll lead the Mustangs as far as they can go.

Maggie Layo, Jr. F, Sandwich: Among the leading scorers in the state (11-33-44), she's a huge part why no one will want to cross paths with the Blue Knights in D2.

Hannah Wright, Sr. D, Arlington: As close to a shut-down blue-liner as you'll find in MIAA hockey this year.

Shannon O'Neil, Sr. G, Austin Prep: Perhaps the toughest decision to make among all of them in a particularly good year of goaltending in the girls' game. A 97.2 percentage and six shutouts is about as good as it gets.

Recap: No. 2 St. John's Prep 4, No. 8 CM 1

January, 31, 2013
1/31/13
1:22
AM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Andrew Brandano scored twice for St. John’s Prep as the Eagles shut down Liam Coughlin and Catholic Memorial’s lethal offensive weapons, 4-1, Wednesday night, in a Catholic Conference clash.

St. John’s Prep (12-2-0, 6-1-0 Catholic Conference) goalie Billy Price continued his stellar play turning away 18-of-19 shots. Price made several big saves, including robbing Coughlin from point blank on several scoring chances.

“A lot of his saves were quality stops,” St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “Billy has been solid for us all season, and that was no different tonight.”

Although Coughlin was held off the score sheet that didn’t mean he played poorly because he was still a force in the offensive zone.

“He is one of the best players in high school hockey, and I think he stood out there tonight because he did a terrific job,” Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson said. “It takes more than one player to win hockey games.”

Catholic Memorial (8-5-2, 2-4-0) has run into a bit of a rut going 0-4-2, but there is one thing it must do differently next game:

“Score more goals,” Bill Hanson said.

In the first period, both teams came out like a house of fire throwing bodies around on occasion. St. John’s Prep challenged Catholic Memorial goalie, Brandon Collett early and often. Collett turned away several one-time attempts from point blank, which included a sliding pad save on Justin Longo. Collett had 26 saves on the night.

“They have a young goalie [freshman], so we knew that we needed to get a lot of shots on goal (30),” St. John’s defenseman Ean Mendeszoon said.

In the second period, St. John’s Prep scored two early goals inside of the first three minutes. Brian Pinho started the scoring sliding the puck through Collett’s five-hole on a breakaway.

“[That goal] absolutely got us going because we had a poor first period,” Kristian Hanson said. “We needed something to get us going, so what was a big goal for us.”

Only 1:13 later, Cam Shaheen flung a perfect pass to Paul Crehan, who was waiting by the back post. Crehan buried the puck on a bang-bang play.

Catholic Memorial would answer on the power play though as Beau Starrett buried a rebound past Price, cutting the Eagles lead to only, 2-1.

“After they scored that power play goal it kind of put us in a little bit of a funk,” Kristian Hanson said.

Catholic Memorial’s Kevin Hock came right back on a breakaway following the Starrett goal. Hock fired a shot and followed his own rebound, but Price was able to turn away both shots.

In the final seconds of the third, Brandano tallied his first goal of the night on a play set up by Jimmy Currier. Brandano looked as if he was going to shoot as he charged the goal, but he went to the backhand.

“I thought about just shooting, but I went backhand because I saw the goalie sliding over,” Brandano said.

Brandano put the game out of reach midway through the third period, as he followed his down rebound and beat Collett.

“It was a really nice team play,” Kristian Hanson said. “We got the puck up to Currier, and he found Andrew [Brandano]. He was calm and patient with the puck because he didn’t just shoot out, and he buried it on his own rebound.

Recap: No. 3 St. John's Prep 3, No. 2 BC High 2

January, 27, 2013
1/27/13
12:05
AM ET


WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Jimmy Currier had scored but one goal all season for St. John's Prep entering Saturday's Catholic Conference showdown with league-leading BC High.

It's safe to say Currier is officially "off the schneide."

The junior delivered a pair of highlight reel goals in the second period, one to tie the game, the other serving as the eventual game-winner as the third-ranked Prep claimed a 3-2 victory over No. 2 BC High at in the Fifth Annual 1st Lt. Derek Hines Memorial Game at Ristuccia Arena.

"Jimmy's capable of that and we've felt that way all year," praised Prep coach Kristian Hanson. "He's a really talented offensive player. I see it in practice and sometimes it takes one out there to give a kid confidence to go out and do it again. After he got that first one today, you could see it in him - he was confident handling the puck. It was a beautiful shot on that third goal. Jimmy had a great offensive day today."

The victory pulls the Prep (11-2-0 overall; 5-1-0 CC) into a tie with BC High (9-2-2; 4-1-2) atop the league standings with ten points apiece with a game in hand. Thanks to Malden Catholic's 4-3 victory over Catholic Memorial Saturday evening, St. John's can clinch its first league title since 1994 outright with wins over the Knights and Xaverian next week.

Currier's work on both tallies was a thing of beauty. Just one minute after BC High took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Tom Besinger, Currier went end-to-end, weaving around a pair of defenders like pylons before switching back to his forehand just in time to stuff the puck inside the far post at 6:12.

"When I was coming down, I had my feet moving a lot and after I cut to the middle I saw [linemate Andrew] Brandano and I was like, 'I should have gave it to him' and I just ended up going around him and putting it in," Currier described.

Just under five minutes later, Currier found himself with the puck in the right wing corner deep in the BC High zone. He floated out high and left, all the way over the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot through traffic back to the right side to give his club a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.

"When I come out of the corner there it brings up so many options," the junior recalled. "I was coming across, moving left to right and the goalie was moving left to right. I just shot it far side and he didn't see the shot because there was a screen in front."

The Prep scored the game's first goal in equally spectacular fashion. Sprung loose up the right wing by one of his defensemen, Cam Shaheen worked his through the BC High zone, pushed the puck between the skates of his defender, then whirled around him and fired a wrist shot while dropping to one knee at 6:49 of the first.

BC High responded just over two minutes later as freshman defenseman Ryan Shea unleashed a rocket from the point for a power-play marker. BC High grabbed its first lead at 5:12 of the second when Besinger swooped in and buried the rebound of a shot by Sam Topham.

"They are a very good team and we knew that coming in and we skated with them," BC High head coach John Flaherty said. "They're a junior-senior team and they are very good. Brian Pinho, Jack McCarthy, Tyler Bird - those kids are as good as any kid around."

"You know they're coming at you and you know you've got to hang in there for the ride," he continued. "The fact that we skated with them for three periods and we were able to hang around and almost have a chance to tie the game at the end, that's a positive. It's an emotional game for them. A tribute to one of their all-time good players at St. John's Prep so its an emotional game for them. We knew that coming in and I'm proud of my guys for hanging in there for three periods and giving ourselves a chance at the end."

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