Boston High School: Bryana Harron

ESPN Boston MIAA girls' hockey All-State team

March, 23, 2012
First Team:
All-StateF- Alison Butler, Jr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Perhaps no player in the state made bigger strides this season than the Spartans junior. The Danvers resident finished with 17 goals and 44 assists for 61 points, good for third in the state.

All-StateF – Kati Goguen, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
One of the state’s top perennial scorers, the Holy Cross commit and captain was again among the MIAA’s leading scorers, tallying 17 goals along with 26 assists. Goguen also plays with the prestigious Assabet Valley travel league squad.

All-StateF – Kayla Smith, Jr., Woburn
A pure sniper in the truest sense, Smith finished fourth in the state in scoring, with 57 points, and finished tied for fourth in goals with 31. This year marks Smith’s second straight ESPN Boston All-State First Team appearance, improving upon her 53-point performance from a year ago.

All-StateD – Martha Findley, Sr., Duxbury
This year’s ESPN Boston Miss Hockey Award winner, Findley is a two-time All-Stater to go along with the Dragons’ second straight Div. 2 state championship. The Duxbury captain had five goals and 21 assists for 26 points this season. Findley plans on attending Cushing Academy for a postgraduate year next year.

D – Rachel Donahoe, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Spartans captain was among the top-scoring blue-liners in the state with 22 points (two goals, 20 assists). The Wakefield resident highlighted a deep defensive corps that boosted St. Mary’s to another Division 1 state final appearance.

All-StateG – Courtney Davis, Soph., Woburn
The second-year starter tied for second in the state with seven shutouts this season while posting a measly 1.25 goals against average and a 94.3 save percentage.

Second Team:
All-StateF – Natalie Flynn, Sr., Arlington Catholic
The Cougars captain lifted her squad to a victory over a heavily favored St. Mary’s squad and a Division 1 state championship. Flynn tallied 19 goals and 15 assists for 34 points.

All-StateF – Jane Freda, Jr., Hingham
It wasn’t too long ago that the Harbormen junior captain was moved up from the blue to add a scoring punch. This season, Freda went crazy, finishing second in the state in scoring with 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points.

F – Erika Kelly, Sr., Watertown/Melrose
The pride of Watertown led the state in scoring this season with a state-best 49 goals for 70 points. Not only a dynamic scorer on the ice, Kelly is a highly decorated field hockey talent, in addition to playing softball in the spring.

All-StateD – Cassandra Connolly, Jr., Woburn
A true two-way defenseman, Connolly was among the state’s scoring leaders among blue-liners with six goals and 20 assists for 26 points, while helping a Tanners unit that allowed just 28 goals in 22 games.

All-StateD – Emily Loebs, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
The senior captain has been a rock on defense on some deep, defensive Colonials teams. Loebs finished second on A-B in goal scoring — her 14 goals fells just off the pace of fellow All-Stater Kati Goguen—and her 26 points ranked among the state’s top defensemen.

All-StateG – Rachel Myette, Soph., Duxbury
After turning in a dominant freshman year, Myette returned with an outstanding second-year effort, including another Div. 2 title. Her 0.90 goals against average was the best in the state, as were her eight shutouts. Myette’s 93.2 save percentage also ranked among the best in the MIAA.

“Best of the Rest”
Molly Connolly, F, Wellesley
Mackenzie Clark, F, Winthrop/Lynn
Lily Connolly, F, Duxbury
Colleen Doucette, F, Wakefield
Kaleigh Finigan, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Samantha Girard, F, Dedham
Bryana Harron, F, Woburn
Brittani Lanzilli, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Sara Lehman, F, Lexington
Kim Lizotte, F, Westford Academy
Caroline McCarthy, F, Belmont
Hannah Murphy, F, Duxbury
Danielle Phalon, F, Stoneham
Adrieana Rossini, F, Arlington Catholic
Sarah Schwenzfeier, F, Hingham
Brenna Callahan, D, Falmouth
Jackie Denning, D, Lexington
Alexandria Gong, D, Hingham
Britta Marden, D, Belmont
Brooke Matherson, D, Walpole
Caroline Shaunessy, D, Duxbury
Kaitlin Spillane, D, Franklin
Rebecca Zappalla, D, Arlington Catholic
Cali Loblundo, G, Acton-Boxborough
Megan Messuri, G, Arlington Catholic
Shannon O’Neil, G, Austin Prep
Maddie Scavotto, G, Falmouth
Casey Schaejbe, G, Arlington
Lauren Skinnion, G, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Bethany Welch, G, Walpole

Coach of the Year
Maggie Taverna, Arlington Catholic
Third time's a charm, right? In just her second year behind the Cougars' bench, Taverna lifted AC back to the top of the MIAA hockey world with a Division 1 state title, beating Catholic Central Conference rival St. Mary's of Lynn after suffering two regular-season losses to the Spartans.

Erin Blood, Falmouth
Mark Haley, Belmont
Frank Pagliuca, St. Mary's (Lynn)

D1 girls: Woburn 1, Lexington 0

March, 4, 2012

WOBURN, Mass. -- Playoff hockey often comes down to which team has the hottest goaltender. Right now, there might be no one more in the zone than Woburn's Courtney Davis.

The sophomore showed why she was named to first-team on ESPN Boston's preseason All-State team, stopping 31 shots (18 in the second period alone) and guiding the fifth-seeded Tanners to a 1-0 shutout of Middlesex League rival and No. 12 seed Lexington Saturday night at O'Brien Arena.

"It was a season-saving performance," said Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain, mincing no words when asked about the importance of his sophomore's performance. "In the second period, we really bent and she allowed us not to break. Lexington played terrific. They had so many chances, one on the back door that she just slid across and made a great save."

After a fairly even and scoreless first period, the Minutemaids (14-7-1) came out like gangbusters, taking control of the game and forcing to make four difficult stops in the first few minutes alone. That was a harbinger of what was to come, as Lexington kept the heat on and continued to get tremendous scoring opportunities, only to see them glance off Davis' blocker and leg pads or disappear into glove.

When asked about hr mindset during the onslaught, Davis simply replied, "I don’t know really. I was just kind was do or die so I was trying to not let let the puck go in. It was all over the place. I don’t think, I just do it I guess. I think they just came out really strong and played their hearts out that period. They tried to get as many shots on net as possible."

At the other end of the ice, Lexington goalie Katie Legnard more than held her own against the dangerous Tanners attack, making 19 tough saves of her own, and the two netminders kept things scoreless until the third period.

That's when Woburn's other preseason first-team All-State selection, forward Kayla Smith, broke through. Ashley Moran got off a shot from the Lexington blue line that was blocked by a defender. Smith chased down the puck in the high slot and fired past Legnard at 4:07.

"It was one of the few times that we actually had a really good possession in the offensive zone," Smith explained. "Coach said to get a lot of pucks to the net and it was a good opportunity so I just shot it."

Following the Tanners' 3-2 loss to Belmont back in January, MacCurtain decided to change things around. He dropped Moran, who had been playing on the first line with Smith and Bryana Harron, back to play defense with veteran standout Cassandra Connolly while bumping sophomore Emily Lissner (the team's fourth-leading scorer) up in her place.

The move is reminiscent of the change the Hingham girls made toward the end of last season, moving Jane Freda up from defense to the top line, a change that helped propel the Harborwomen to the Div. 1 state championship.

With Lissner up top, Woburn loses nothing offensively. Moran has taken to the defensive role naturally, and along with Connolly, provides an aggressive, offensive minded approach from the back as well. That tactic came in handy Friday with Moran getting the assist on Smith's tally.

"I thought she did a great job," MacCurtain said of Moran. "I thought her and Cassandra were real solid up top and that was a great play on the goal. She’s a goal scorer who is playing back at the blue line so its been a good change for us."

A widely used cliche in sports is that it's difficult to beat the same team three times in the same season. Woburn and Lexington had already battled to a pair of one-goal, Tanner victories in the regular season so both teams were more than prepared for each other.

Lexington outshot Woburn in all three periods (31-20 for the game), and notably dominated the pace during the second. Even on the play that resulted in Woburn's lone goal, the Minutemaids made a good play to block the initial shot. It was, as another well-worn cliche goes, just one of those days.

"Our kids had worked hard all game and I think it was just an unlucky bounce," Lexington coach Mandy Ciarletta said. "The girl shot it through traffic and it just snuck in at the end there. My kids did everything in the 'D' zone and like I said, a one-goal game. 1-0 in the third, it's going to be anybody’s game. I knew going in it was going to be one goal one way or the other, whether we came out on top or they did. Woburn’s a great club and it was a great exciting game to be a part of today."

Recap: No. 2 A-B 4, No. 6 Woburn 3

February, 25, 2012
WOBURN, Mass. -- Acton-Boxborough clinched the first seed in the upcoming MIAA girls' hockey tournament with a 4-3 win over home-ice Woburn in a Friday night thriller at O’Brien Rink.

The Colonials controlled the first period shots-on-goal game by a 3-1 ratio, but were frustrated by the excellent play of Tanner goalie Courtney Davis.

Colonial forward Lauren Roche got one by Davis in a bang-bang, sprawling play just outside the crease with two seconds left in an A-B power play. The five-on-four was a result of a tripping penalty committed by Hannah Sullivan.

The Tanners answered back five minutes into period two. Woburn’s Emily Lissner scored after the puck ricocheted off a swatting Cali Loblundo save, became the center of corner scrum and was spit back out in front of net. The goal came on assists by Cassandra Connolly and Kayla Smith.

The tie was short-lived after a Lauren Roche unassisted breakaway score with 6:32 left in the second period.

In what became Woburn’s theme of the night, Bryana Harron evened up the score at two off her own rebound and an assist from Lissner to close out the second period.

Colonials defenseman and captain Emily Loebs sniped a 25-foot slapshot through an inches-wide space between Davis and the pipe to give A-B a 3-2 lead early in the third.

“Just at the spur of the moment I saw the puck was there,” said a modest Loebs. “I didn’t even expect it to go in, it just did.”

Probably re-scuffing the ice where she previously threaded the needle, Loebs netted a wobbly wristshot to put the Colonials up by two with 5:59 left in the third.

“That was a horrible shot, my second goal was a flutterbug,” said Loebs with a big smile. “I wasn’t even going toward the net.”

The ever-clutch Tanners responded 30 seconds later with a Harron goal assisted by Lissner.

Then the clock just ran out on Woburn.

“I thought it was a great game,” Tanner head coach Bob MacCurtain said. “We tightened things up defensively after that first period, but we came up a little short.”

This was a bounce-back game for the Colonials after suffering their first loss of season to St. Mary's on Wednesday.

“When we switch up our pre-game stuff, we play worse,” Loebs said. “We made a big deal about St. Mary’s and we got scared about it. So we just did our normal routine, got everyone pumped up, and came out every period ready to play.”

“It was just a great team hustle,” said Colonials head coach Brian Fontas, tipping his cap to Woburn. “There was great goal-tending in this game. There were seven goals in this game, there could have been 12 goals in the game.”

“Whoever ends up in our bracket ends up in our bracket,” Fontas said on the upcoming playoffs. “I’m very proud of them, they earned it (first seed), and let’s let the team come through us.”

Recap: No. 5 Belmont 3, No. 6 Woburn 3

February, 16, 2012

WOBURN, Mass. -- It’s an adage as old as hockey itself: Get pucks to the net and good things will happen.

No. 5 Belmont became proof positive for the saying once again, as they squeezed another point out of No. 6 Woburn, Wednesday night at O’Brien Rink. Marauders junior forward Alexandra Cellucci took a shot from the slot with 11 seconds remaining. The puck slithered through the pads of Tanners netminder Courtney Davis and into the net, tying the score, 3-3.

The tie gave Belmont (14-3-1) a 1-0-1 record on the season series with the Tanners, after knocking off Woburn by a 3-2 score on Jan. 14.

At the time, it was considered the upset of the season.

Now, it’s time to consider the Marauders as the real deal.

“[In the dressing room] they said, ‘We must be better than them, we beat them once and tied them once,” Belmont head coach Mark Haley’s team told him postgame.

Haley answered them with a rhetorical, “Yes.”

It’s not as though Haley would tempt fate again.

“Fortunately, we don’t see them again,” he said with a smile crossing his face.

Although the Middlesex small division Marauders will not see Woburn (14-2-1) in the upcoming Division 2 state tournament, they can extrapolate their game plan.

“Defensively, they do a good job,” Tanners head coach Bob MacCurtain said. “They kept us to the outside for the most part. They don’t quit. Obviously, they battled us hard.”

Playing a sticky forecheck, Belmont was able to bottle up the Tanners’ top line of Emily Lissner, Bryana Harron and Kayla Smith through the first period with no small contribution from their top blue line duo of senior captain Britta Marden and sophomore Kendal Brown. The teams went to the first intermission with no score.

Woburn chiseled away at the Marauders’ front in the second, however, with the first line setting up shop in front of netminder Megan Foley (15 saves). The Tanners used pressure down low to take a 2-0 lead on similar looking goals.

First, Harron collected a rebound in the crease at 1:20 of the second. The tally was set in motion by Lissner’s work behind the net, feeding Smith out front for a one-timer, with Foley making the initial save.

A little more than a minute later, Harron collected the puck along the back side boards and slid a pass over to Lissner for a scoring chance. Again, the Marauder defense was unable to clear away the rebound in time. Smith put back the rebound for a 2-0 lead at 2:51.

“They had their moments tonight,” MacCurtain said of his top line. “I just didn’t think they were consistent enough.”

Belmont whittled down the lead to a goal midway through the second with Shannon Reynolds banking a shot off a Tanner defenseman from below the goal line.

Woburn returned to the room with a two-goal cushion after junior defenseman Cassandra Connolly’s power-play tally with 41.4 seconds.

In the third, Belmont again applied the vice to the Tanners’ transition game while they continued throwing rubber on Davis at any given chance. The Marauders got a bounce in their favor with 6:43 remaining as Caroline McCarthy’s screen shot bounced into the net on the power play.

With Foley pulled in the final minute of play, the Marauders’ had a second brush with puck luck. Cellucci’s shot from the slot caromed off a Woburn blue-liners skate and then under the right leg of Davis.

It all goes back to that old saying, which Haley offered to his top line of Cellucci, McCarthy and Erin O’Donovan throughout the game.

“Take the shot and see what happens.”

Belmont likely will enter the Div. 2 tournament as a top four seed, along with a measure of confidence.

It wasn’t always that way.

“When these kids were freshmen, they didn’t win a game,” Haley said of the Marauders’ 2008-09 season.

Haley, who’s been behind the bench for all of Belmont’s 18 girls’ hockey seasons, has seen his team rise and fall, only to see them ascend again.

“They’ve worked hard for four years, and look what you have.”

Recap: No. 4 Woburn 5, No. 3 St. Mary's 0

December, 18, 2011
WOBURN, Mass. -- Keeping in mind that it is just the third game of the regular season, perhaps it's still fair to say that the Woburn girls hockey team made a rather loud statement Saturday night.

The Tanners top line of Kayla Smith, Bryana Harron and Ashley Moran put on a show, combining for 11 points while Courtney Davis stopped 17 shots as the fourth-ranked Tanners blanked No. 3 St. Mary's, 5-0, at O'Brien Arena.

"Last year we got so close that it was on us for 12 months," said Woburn defenseman Cassandra Connolly, referring to a regular season game a year ago where the Spartans scored in the final minute to force a 1-1 tie. "We're finally back here and we beat them and it feels good."

It looked pretty good, too. After a pretty even first period, Woburn (3-0) broke the game open in the second. Twice Smith -- an ESPN Boston preseason first-team All-State selection -- found herself uncovered just outside the crease, and twice she buried her feeds. Harron followed by popping in a rebound of a Connolly shot for a power play goal that put Woburn ahead, 3-0, with just under six minutes left in the second.

"In the first period we weren't really going to the net as hard as we should have and in the second, we started going to the net," explained Smith. "A lot of the shots we were taking were going in. We had a lot of rebounds that we were finishing so it worked out good."

Woburn quickly erased any fears of a Spartan (2-1) comeback, as Smith got her hat trick just eight seconds into the final frame on a perfect pass from Moran (four assists), who was stationed behind the St. Mary's net. The Tanners closed out the scoring as Smith fed Harron with a crossing pass on a 2-on-1 break that the senior captain buried.

"I think we're practicing good together and we work well together," said Harron, who had two goals and an assist. "Its not one person doing it all. We're working together as a team. We were moving the puck well and just getting open and talking to each other.

Added Moran, "We just work as a team. We know where each other is and we can see each other through the plays."

Tanners 'D' strong: While Woburn was clearly the better team on this night, the final score doesn't give an accurate picture of how the game played out.

St. Mary's started out very aggressively and challenged Davis early and often, forcing the first-team All-State netminder to make eight of 17 stops in the opening stanza. The biggest came right off the opening faceoff when Austin Prep transfer Kaleigh Finigan intercepted the first pass after Woburn won the faceoff and broke in alone on Davis, who covered the net well and made a huge stop.

She had help from her blue line corps, however, as fellow first-team All State defenseman Connolly, Kylee Maher and Jessica Thielsch limited the number of truly great chances the Spartans were able to muster. They also successfully killed off both power play chances St. Mary's had.

"We were really good on the penalty kills. They had good possession but they didn't really get a ton of good looks," said Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain. "I thought it could be 1-0 St. Mary's eight seconds into the game if not for Courtney making a great save.

How you play, not who you play: While it was obvious from the way the Tanners rushed off the bench to celebrate the win around Davis and from the comments of the players afterward that a win over St. Mary's had great meaning, to MacCurtain it was more important how they did than who it was they did it against.

"I think its more about how we played and not about who we played," he said. "I'm happy with how we played. Our kids played hard, made a lot of good decisions. First period I thought they kind of came at us a little but but we've been talking about being a mentally tougher team this year. After last year, we needed to be tougher this year. I think these kids are very determined and I thought we did a lot of good things tonight."

Count Spartans out at own risk: For a team that won three consecutive state championships during a 100-game win streak that ended during a quarterfinal round postseason loss to Hingham a year ago, this was assuredly a disappointing start to a new season. But, being just the third game, it's a loss to used as a learning experience.

"We're going to be alright," Spartans coach Frank Pagliuca said. "It's game three of the season. We're focusing on moving ahead. Obviously we know where we stand right now and what work we have to do."

St. Mary's opened the game with a first line consisting of first-team All State forward Alison Butler and Austin Prep transfer Finigan playing between Medford import Brittani Lanzilli. All three were very active and had quality scoring chances. Lanzilli brings a unique skating ability to the ice while Finigan showed early signs of being willing to get in and mix it up.

In all, the Spartans used at least five different line combinations as opposed to Woburn's two. The difference in the game from the Spartans point of view was a failure to cash in on chances when they arose.

"Obviously we had a lot of opportunities but the difference is they finished their chances and we didn't," surmised Pagliuca. "They have a very good team, excellent goaltending, they're well coached. You have to finish chances against good teams and if you don't you're going to put yourself behind the eight ball."