Boston High School: Chris McLeod

Marblehead claims first-ever D3 hockey title

March, 20, 2011
3/20/11
7:17
PM ET


BOSTON -- A flurry of goals in the second period from the Marblehead Magicians was the turning point of the Division 3 boys' hockey championship Sunday at the TD Garden, a 6-3 victory over the Westfield Bombers, for their first ever D-3 Title.

“Indescribable,” Marblehead senior Ryan Dempsey said, “Everybody was so happy, we’ve lost is such big games, so to win a game like this is indescribable, the best.”

The first five minutes of the game were played inside Westfield’s blue line. Marblehead forced five early saves out of Bombers goalie Nick Liberto (21 saves total). But it was Westfield who got on the scoreboard first at 5:12 on their first shot of the game. Nick Sibilia stole the puck just inside the Marblehead blue line and beat Magician’s goalie Tony Cuzner (8 saves) one on one.

Austin Haley evened the score at one all at 7:37, knocking in a rebound from point blank, seniors Chris McLeod and Tyler Gelineau assisting. Westfield took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to Conner Laraway who added a rebound goal of his own with exactly one minute remaining in the period. Bombers forward Matt Gagnon had sent junior Kyle Levere in on a breakaway with a tape to tape pass from inside his defensive end. Levere’s shot was saved but Laraway couldn’t miss.
In the second period Marblehead seized control of the game for good with a flurry of goals, two on the power play.

“We wanted to just go out and win the second period, and play as well as we could,” Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson of his first intermission team talk, “And we went out and scored four goals, so we were happy.”

Westfield’s Nate Barnes picked up the games first penalty 2:36 into the second and the Magicians made the man advantage count. Senior Ryan Dempsey made a highlight reel backhand pass from behind the goal to McLeod who one-timed the finish tying the game at tow a piece. Thirty two seconds later the Magicians took the lead for good, Ben Koopmen blasted home a slap shot from just inside the blue line after Gelineau won the faceoff.

Jake Kulevich scored twice in the second period, his first on a rebound (4:40) and his second a shot that trickled through the Liberto’s 5-hole at 9:09.
Gagnon cut Westfield’s deficit to just two goals after his shot from a tough angle found the back of the net. But Hunter Graves scored the final goal of the game just 58 seconds into the third sniping his shot into the top corner for a 6-3 final.

After the game Marblehead talked about the hard work of the upperclassmen. “We have nine guys that have been here for four years, and I can’t begin to tell you the dedication, commitment and enthusiasm they brought with them everyday” Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson said of his seniors.

“We had a nice little moment after the game,” Kulevich said of the locker room celebration, “ We brought it in [after the game] one last time, there’s a lot of guys leaving this team, the coaches were great, and the coaches broke it down.”

All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA title games. We'll have you covered all day long, but until then, we provide to you a breakdown of each of the game and our predictions:

GIRLS’ TOURNAMENTS
Division 2

No. 4 Fontbonne Academy (16-2-5) vs. No. 2 Duxbury (20-3-0), 9 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: The Ducks’ Taylor Shepherd can hold her own against the very best the state has to offer and along with linemates Liz Coleman and Erin McLoughlin, they’ve created one of the state’s most potent pairings. Make no mistake, the Green Dragons can also score with the best of them — with prolific sister duo Brianna and Lily Connolly leading the way—but Duxbury is strong from the net out with freshman Rachel Myette turning in a strong first season between the pipes.
The Pick: While the Dragons might be the deeper team, Shepherd is perhaps the most dynamic player in the state, and talent goes a long way this deep in the tournament. We like the Ducks to win their second title in three seasons. Fontbonne, 3-2.

Division 1
No. 8 Hingham (19-4-2) vs. No. 3 Acton-Boxborough (19-3-1), 8:15 p.m.

The Breakdown: Jane Freda scored a rather historic goal during the Harborwomen’s overtime upset of top-seeded St. Mary’s. Not only did she catapult Hingham forward on its march to the finals, she also ended the Lady Spartans’ 100-game unbeaten streak. Katie Walsh and Sarah Schwenzfeier have contributed a consistent scoring punch all season for Tom Findley’s team, while Beth Findley has been stellar in nets with a 1.30 goals against average to go along with nine shutouts. While it might not have as historic, Kati Goguen’s third-period goal lifted the Colonials in their upset win over Woburn in the semifinals. A-B boasts a staunch defense led by one of the best in the state in Caleigh LaBossiere and seventh-grader Cali Loblundo (90.6 save percentage) has been a revelation in goal.
The Pick: Instant karma’s going to get you, and we feel that Hingham has it on their side after toppling the state’s undisputed No. 1 team. Hingham, 2-1.

BOYS’ TOURNAMENTS
Division 3
Westfield (15-5-4) vs. Marblehead (20-4-3), 11:15 a.m.

The Breakdown: Defenseman Colin Arnold and forward Matt Gagnon were just freshmen when the Bombers won their last state title in 2008. This year, the pair were a major driving force behind Westfield’s run to the state title game, which included an upset over Central champion Hudson in the state semifinals. Marblehead’s seniors are trying to win their first state title as a group, despite having won three of the last four North sectional titles. Forwards Chris McLeod and Ryan Dempsey lead a dynamic offense, while you’d be hard pressed to find a better blue-liner in all of D3 than captain Jake Kulevich.
The Pick: We’re going with the emotional pick here and siding with the Magicians, but it’s also a reflection of their skill. This is a very talented and deep hockey team. Marblehead, 4-2.

Division 2
Tewksbury (18-5-1) vs. Franklin (17-4-2), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: The Redmen won their first D2 North title since 1995, while the Panthers haven’t won a state title since 1983 – that’s a year after somebody named Laviolette moved onto bigger and brighter things and when current head coach Chris Spillane was playing. Something has to give and one of the hockey-rich towns will come away with a long-awaited title. Tewksbury is led by explosive forward Ryan Doherty, who leads the Redmen in scoring, along with Frank Mazzei and Derek and Mark Petti. The Panthers are very strong on the back end with defensemen Alex Taddeo, who’s among the state’s best, and netminder Billy Spillane, who’s been solid all year.
The Pick: It’s usually a safe bet to take defense over offense this time of year and we’ve always been a fan of the Panthers’ team defensive philosophy. Franklin, 3-2.

Division 1
Wakefield (14-6-4) vs. Marshfield (18-3-5), 3:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: Both of these teams had to defeat the No. 1 seeds, who also happened to be Super Eight tournament participants to win their respective sectional tournaments. The Warriors slipped by St. Mary’s in a one-goal decision while the Rams took a hammer to Springfield Cathedral in the South. Wakefield (No. 7 seed in the North) has been led on its Cinderella run by goaltender Joe Centrella, who’s big and plays high (think Martin Brodeur) while playing his angles well. The potent Marshfield offense is led by 100-point scorer Ryan Connors and Chris Perry.
The Pick: This game might be the hardest of the day to forecast. We went back and forth on this one before settling with the Rams. Marshfield, 2-1.

Division 1A
No. 2 St. John’s Prep (18-5-1) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (20-2-2), 6 p.m.

The Breakdown: This is the matchup everyone’s been waiting for, simply put, they truly are the two best teams in the state this season. Both are skilled. Both play fast. Both have the type of talent that draws attention from scouts. The Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Vecchione hasn’t seen a parallel in this state in quite some time. MC’s second isn’t far behind with Mike Iovanna, Nick Roberto and Garrett White stepping up their play in the tournament. The Lancers have plenty of talent along the blue line as well with playmaker Connor Evangelista and rising star Colin MacGillivray. Pat Young is a stalwart in net. The Eagles have perhaps the best player in the state in center Colin Blackwell, who’s put on an offensive display along with linemates John Farrow and Shane Eiserman. Winger Sam Kurker provides a power-forward presence on the Eagles’ second line. Junior netminder David Letarte has been steady all season long.
The Pick: We wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one turns into a barnburner, however, the most encouraging thing the Lancers might have going for them is the defensive clinic they put on during the second period of their crossover round win over BC High. If the Lancers forecheck like they did against BC High, they will be very hard to beat. Malden Catholic, 5-3.


ALLSTON, Mass. -- The Eastern Mass Division 3 final was by no means uncharted waters for the Headers. It’s everything beyond it that was unknown.

In three of the last four years, Marblehead boys’ hockey advanced out of the North bracket to earn a chance at the state title game. In their previous two attempts, they fell short, getting beaten by South champion Scituate in both turns.

“That loss last year was devastating,” Magicians senior captain Ryan Dempsey said of last year’s 5-2 defeat to the Sailors.

This year, with a change of opponent, Marblehead finally found the winning combination, holding on for a 3-2 win Tuesday night over South champion Pembroke at Harvard University’s Bright Center. With the victory, the Magicians will move on to play in their first state title game since 1985, when they were part of the Division 1 field.

Marblehead (19-4-3) controlled the flow of play through the first two periods, outshooting the Titans 28-7 after 30 minutes.

The Magicians came out firing in the first, but were unable to crack Pembroke netminder Kyle Jacobs (33 saves).

“We knew [Jacobs] was going to be strong out there and it would be difficult to beat him on initial shots,” Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson said. “We knew we’d need some rebound goals and we knew we’d have to position ourselves to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Marblehead was given a prime scoring opportunity six minutes into the opening period with a 5-on-3 power play. Only two shots found their way to Jacobs, however, on a great number of scoring chances. On the two-man advantage, the Magicians twice hit the side of the net (with space to sneak one in short side) and hit a post.

“We just kept hitting posts with shots and everything,” Dempsey said. “We didn’t get frustrated though because we knew it was coming. They can’t stop them all. We just went hard and finally they started going in.”

The Magicians finally got on the board with 2:36 remaining in the first with Austin Haley putting back the rebound off a Chris McLeod shot. Ben Koopman also picked up an assist on the play.

Marblehead again carried play in the second, outshooting Pembroke (15-6-4) by a 14-3 margin.

Hunter Graves had the Magicians to a 2-0 lead with 7:50 to play in the second, again capitalizing on a rebound opportunity with Alex Whitmore and Dempsey adding assists.

However, the Titans had plenty of fight in the third and whittled the deficit to a goal with 9:04 to play on Matt Sheehan’s unassisted tally off a Marblehead turnover.

The Magicians reestablished a two-goal lead with Dempsey banking in another tally off a rebound, this time with Haley and McLeod on the assists.

Pembroke answered right back, making it a one-score game with 3:04 to play on Chris Waterfield’s tally. Although the Titans had a few more quality chances on Magicians netminder Tony Cuzner, the Marblehead defenses held.

Marblehead claims another D3 North title

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
12:45
AM ET


BILLERICA, Mass. -- Three out of four ain’t bad for the seniors of Marblehead boys’ hockey.

With a convincing 6-2 win over Shawsheen Valley Technical School in Saturday’s Division 3 North final at Chelmsford Forum, the Magicians capped a rather impressive run, capturing three of the last four sectional championships.

“Freshman year was amazing, and this one’s still amazing, but we want to get to that next level," Marblehead senior forward Chris McLeod said. "We want to get that state championship. It’s still a great feeling, but we’ve got a couple more games to go.”

Both teams boasted recent success in the sectional tournament, as the Rams had ousted Marblehead from tournament in the 2009 semifinals with a shootout victory.

“We talked about tradition earlier,” Magicians head coach Bob Jackson said. “We talked about the fact that Marblehead during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s was regarded with the tradition they had. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve gotten hundreds of e-mails from former past captains and players, asking us to do something they’d never done.”

However, this year’s matchup was all Marblehead (17-4-3) from the get go. The Magicians, who scored at least five goals in each of their three tournament games, took the first lead of the game three minutes into the first with Austin Haley putting back a rebound of McLeod’s shot.

Shawsheen (17-5-1) responded and tied the game about a minute later with Michael DiGiorgio letting go a wrister from the left wing boards. Thomas Price set up with the tally with a chip from the corner. The Rams then took a 2-1 lead with 2:43 remaining in the period with Joseph Sodergren turning a Magicians’ defensive zone turnover into a goal.

Marblehead tied the score before the period was out. McLeod earned his second point of the game, scoring on the power play with 53 seconds remaining. Hunter Graves had the assist.

The Magicians continued to dictate play in the second period, outshooting Shawsheen, 15-5. Marblehead also netted the go-ahead goal in the first minute of play with Ryan Dempsey finding the back of the net on a one-timer with a set up from Graves, who earned his second point of the game.

Things really opened up for Marblehead in the third. Ty Bates started an onslaught of three Magician goals in the third with 12:08 to play. Ben Koopman followed 18 seconds later, providing a three-goal Marblehead lead with 11:50 to play.

McLeod tallied his second goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play with 10:19 to play, rounding out scoring.

“We’ve been working on the power play in practice lately, it’s just been clicking,” McLeod said. “It’s been rolling, that’s great for us. We just need to keep it going for the rest of the playoffs.”

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