Boston High School: Chris Page

D2 North: Winthrop, Wilmington to meet in final

March, 7, 2012
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The fans who head to the Tsongas Center for the Division 2 North finals on Monday night might want to be prepared to be there for a while. And for good reason because the goaltending matchup that is now set to happen has the potential to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Winthrop’s Steven Waites pitched his third shutout in as many games on Tuesday, this one propelling his Vikings to a dominating 6-0 win
over NEC North rival Saugus at the Chelmsford Forum.

The Vikings, the No. 10 seed, will meet Wilmington as the Wildcats rode their own hot goaltender – Drew Foley – to a 2-0 win over North Andover in the first semifinal tilt on Tuesday.

For Winthrop, it was their second win in three tries over the Sachems this season and showed that they are playing perhaps their best hockey of the season.

“The thing is that we’re just now hitting our stride and getting better,” Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We were able to get everyone in and to let them feel a part of a win like this is nice.”

The Vikings have now beaten Tewksbury, Boston Latin and the Sachems by a combined 11-0 score as Waites has not allowed a goal in 125 minutes of tournament play.

“When he’s on and focused, Steve is as good as anyone,” Dunbar said. “And to go three games in the tournament without giving up a goal says a lot about our defense. We pride ourself on how we play in our own end of the ice.”

This one really wasn’t as close as the 6-0 score as the Vikings forced Saugus into mistake after mistake with the puck, many of them turning into odd-man rushes and goals on Sachem keeper Nick Hegarty.

“We simply turned the puck over way too much,” Saugus head coach Jeff Natalucci said. “And Winthrop will make you pay for every mistake that you make. And they made us pay every time.”

It took only four and a half minutes for the Vikings to get on the scoreboard as Jake McKinnon followed a Mike Paulson shot and slid the rebound home before he went crashing feet first into the boards.

Moments later, Winthrop was on the power play and looking for more offense. And they got it when Chris LeBlanc fed Mitch Paulson for the senior’s 10th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead after one.

“We wanted to come out fast and when you score that first goal, you get your legs under you and it gets the confidence up,” Dunbar said.

Saugus showed some flashes of its offense early in the second and it resulted in an interference penalty on Adam Lundberg at the 1:22 mark. Instead of it beign a chance for Saugus to make things interesting, the next 62 seconds turned the game into a rout.

Jimmy Barker forced a turnover along the left halfwall, sending LeBlanc and Dan Eruzione on a 2-on-1 against Hegarty. LeBlanc made a perfect pass and Eruzione slid the puck home for a 3-0 lead just 100 seconds into the middle stanza.

Less than a minute later, Matt Todisco picked off a pass and beat HEgarty clean on a break and the Vikings were suddenly up 4-0.

“Those two shorthanded goals were just a killer,” Natalucci said. “We had some chances there at the start of the second and then we made mistakes that cost us.”

Waites then went about snuffing out Saugus’ hopes as he made three stellar saves late in the period to keep it a 4-0 game after two.

The Vikings put the game away at 2:52 of the third when Chris Page snapped a shot over Hegarty’s shoulder. Just 55 seconds later, LeBlanc tipped home Lundberg’s shot on a power play to cap the scoring.

“We have talent and chemistry and that’s something that’s hard to find,” Dunbar said. “We have a lot of unselfish guys.”

For the second time in as many games, Drew Foley shut down one of the top offenses in the Cape Ann League as the Wildcats earned a third straight win over former rivals from the CAL.

The game was scoreless until the final minutes of the first period when Cam Owens blew a shot past Joel Daccord on a power play for a 1-0 Wilmington lead.

Foley then zoned in and snuffed out the Scarlet Knights offense. He stopped 25 shots in all, including nine in the third period when North Andover was pressing for the equalizer.

Jake Rogers’ empty net goal with under 20 seconds left put the game away for the Wildcats.

LeBlanc, Scarfo lead Winthrop in rout

February, 10, 2011
WINTHROP, Mass. -- Dale Dunbar and his Winthrop Vikings might not have been trying to send a message with its 9-0 win over Peabody (9-3-3) on Wednesday night at Larsen Rink, but the rest of the Northeastern Conference North division is probably paying very close attention to it.

The Vikings (9-2-4) scored two or more goals in every period and extended their unbeaten streak to 11, as they have gone 9-0-2 in that span.

“I don’t know if we are looking to be sending messages as much as we want to make sure that we are not getting ahead of ourselves,” said Dunbar, whose team has already cinched a tournament spot. “We just want to make sure we are focused on each opponent.”

Chris LeBlanc and Joseph Scarfo each had two goals and an assist, while five other Vikings notched a goal in the game.

The Tanners were without their No. 1 goalie Derek Savage because of disciplinary reasons, and the Vikings made sure to pepper the inexperience in between the pipes. The Vikings outshot the Tanners, 12-4, in the period and LeBlanc scooped up a loose puck, turned and wristed a shot past Joe Powers five minutes into the first period.

Scarfo would get his first on the power-play 1:01 later off a nice series of passes from Ryan McKinnon and LeBlanc.

The Tanners picked up the hitting in the period to try and slow down the Winthrop rushes, but the Vikings struck right back and kept the dominant play moving into the second period.

Bobby Clewer made a strong rush to the net and Chris Page made a heads up move to trail the play and collect the loose puck to push the lead to 3-0 at 9:35 of the second.

Matt Todisco’s first attempt at a break up the right side was stoned by Powers, but his persistence on the next trip down the ice resulted differently as he snapped a shot by the sophomore with 2:14 left in the period.

The two goals were a nice addition to the scoreboard, but it was the Vikings ability to force the Tanners into mistakes in their own end and immediately fire shots back on net that helped them keep control of the game.

“One of our adjustments was making sure the third man high was back,” said Dunbar, whose team outshot the Tanners, 35-10. “Peabody likes to stretch the zone wide. They like to switch ice and spring a guy, but they weren’t able to do it tonight. Every pass that was coming towards the middle we were there in position.”

The Vikings popped home five goals on 13 shots in the final period, while holding the Tanners — mostly reserves — to one shot in the period.

Tyler Pettee, Clewer and Mitch Paulson all recorded goals in the third period.

The loss of Savage came at a bad time for Mark Leonard against a hot Vikings team, and the Tanners’ chances of a repeat North division crown could be dwindling, as the top-goalie will miss the next game against Beverly.

However, the Tanners have already clinched a tournament spot, so the pressures of missing Savage won’t be detrimental to a postseason run.

“It’s just one of those nights,” said Leonard, whose team beat the Vikings 3-1 earlier in the year. “Winthrop was on from the start tonight.

“You really need a full team to compete against a team like that.”