Boston High School: Bryan Hunt

PEABODY, Mass. – Both sides were prepared for the photo finish. It’s how they got there that came as a surprise.

Catholic Central League lacrosse rivals Austin Prep and Arlington Catholic play each other twice during the regular season and a third installment came Monday at Bishop Fenwick High in a second-round matchup of the Division 3 tournament. For the fourth time in the teams’ last five meetings, they played to a carbon copy 9-8 result. And, while they split the season series, Austin Prep saved the best for last, coming back from a two-goal, fourth-quarter deficit to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.

“We were luck to have the run at the end,” said a relieved AP head coach Peter Smyth.

Holding on to a 6-3 lead early in the third quarter, AP (18-2) watched its lead turn into a deficit by the fourth, as AC (12-8) rattled off a string of five straight goals in the next 11 minutes.

Then, AP got on a run of its own, rallying to score two quick goals within 18 seconds and tie the game, 8-8, with 4:05 remaining. Justin Demichaelis tallied the game-winner with 2:50 remaining.

“Bobo Carpenter’s done a great job cutting from the top of the box all year, so I thought they thought he’d probably do the same thing,” the senior attackman said. “But I saw the open lane, he put it on my stick and that’s really all it was.”

While AC had taken the only “blow-out” decision in the teams’ recent history (an 8-3 win in April), the Cougars started slow on Monday.

“When it was 4-1, I said, ‘I think we’re in trouble,’” AC head coach Dan Brothers said. “We didn’t seem to have much. There were breakdowns, we were missing passes, missing slides, missed a couple shots here and there.”

After Carpenter tallied his game-high fourth of game at 8:53 of the third quarter, AC closed with three goals, including two from Billy Barrett (hat trick) to tie the game, 6-6, at the end of the period. Bryan Hunt provided the go-ahead goal at 9:26 of the fourth before Bryan Daly made it a two-goal game.

Charley Shippee and Sam Morgan brought AP back even before Demichaelis’ eventual game-winner.

AP finished the comeback victory with an impressive possession display after winning the final faceoff. They cycled through the box for more than two minutes to ensure AC would not touch the ball again.

“We work on that every practice, our two-minute drill, we call it,” Smyth said. “I have a stopwatch, set it to two minutes and they have to keep it in the box for two minutes against our defense, which is throwing everything at them. Sometimes we’ll put seven guys out there trying to kill it.”

AP advances to host No. 10 seed Hanover Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Brothers hoped for a better ending for his senior-laden group, but considered the larger picture

“They’ve been a big part of the program, a lot of them have been with us for four years,” he said. “This will hurt them for a while, but tomorrow we’ll all wake up, put our feet on the ground and realize this was a great four years.”

Recap: No. 15 AC 1, No. 16 Archies 1

January, 13, 2013
CANTON, Mass. -- When the first period ended and the score was only 1-0, it felt as though No. 15 Arlington Catholic has missed a golden opportunity to put away its Catholic Central League rival and claim two points.

Archbishop Williams relied on goalie Joe Vinay’s 16 first-period saves to stay in Saturday night’s physical encounter at the Canton Sportsplex and finished with a strong couple of periods to earn a 1-1 tie.

In fact, Archies (4-2-3) had the best chances to win the game in the third period.

On a quick transition off a Vinay save, junior Mike Jessman paused to allow a defender to slide by before ringing a shot off the crossbar. With 1:46 remaining in the game, the Bishops (4-2-3, 1-0-2) were awarded a power play, but were stymied by aggressive Arlington Catholic defending and a great kick save by goaltender Bryan Hunt.

Cougars head coach Dan Shine credited his penalty kill unit for being able to hold on to the point in the final moments and noted that his team practices blocking shots to be prepared for those situations.

“It’s been a strength of ours all season,” he said. “It’s nice when you know that you have guys that specialize in something and they specialize in that. They love it and they thrive on it and they love to block shots. We keep track of those stats and I’m sure someone has taken the lead tonight.”

Sophomore forward Ryan Spagnoli wasted no time giving Arlington Catholic (4-1-3, 2-0-2) the lead when he took hold of a rebound and roofed the opening goal inside the opening 30 seconds. The first period was a shooting gallery for AC, which outshot Archies 17-5, but could not find a way past an inspired Vinay (29 saves overall).

Archies head coach Derackk Curtis spoke afterwards about how important the play of his senior goalie was in keeping the team in the game.

“To be honest with you, he has been playing awesome this year,” Curtis said. “He kept us in the game. That’s what a good goalie does. He gave us an opportunity to get back in the game and maybe even win it.”

After the intermission, Archies stormed back into the game with a strong second period. They outshot AC 9-5 in the period and took the initiative to keep the puck in the Arlington Catholic zone. The pressure paid off when sophomore Tyler Bradford stole the puck at the blue line and slid a shot under the pad of Hunt to tie the game at one apiece.

Curtis admitted to having some choice words for his team at the break and was pleased to see a reaction in the final two periods.

“You look at the maturation process of the players and sometimes the kids come into the game not fully committed to playing the game,” he explained. “I want to be clear with the kids that if they go out and play to their full potential, they have the opportunity to do great things. We have a good hockey club and we had to figure it out.”

Shine also praised the Archies goaltender and credited his opponents for making it a great league game.

“I thought that it might come back to bite us that we didn’t pop another one,” he said of Vinay. “Give credit to their goalie, I think he played terrific. I thought we played very, very well. It was a great game between two real good hockey teams. We’ll both be in the mix come the end of the season.”

Arlington Catholic will travel to Worcester on Monday to face off against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) and Archbishop Williams will host St. Mary’s (Lynn) on Wednesday.