Boston High School: Chris Ross

Recap: Medfield 2, Medway 2

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Whenever Medfield and Medway share the same sheet of ice, the intensity follows.

In front of a raucous crowd at Pirelli Veterans Rink on Thursday, the Warriors and Mustangs again turned in a riveting 45 minutes of play. But in a 2-2 tie full of gasps, near-misses and spellbinding play, nothing compared to its final 10 seconds.

With Medfield (11-2-2, 8-1-1 Tri-Valley League) humming in the Mustangs’ zone, the Warriors had the advantage of a delayed penalty coming against Medway (10-3-2, 8-2-2). The Warriors’ bench gave the signal to goaltender Dan Graham to leave the net with possession in Medway’s end.

However, as Graham reached the bench, an intended pass from one of Medfield’s forwards broke through center ice and back toward the Warriors’ vacated net.

Medfield defenseman Matt Crowell chased in vain as the puck continued on between the faceoff dots.

“He’s one of our fastest skaters trying to catch it and it was just moving way too fast … That’s the kind of stuff that will kill you,” Medfield head coach Toby Carlow said.

As improbable as the scenario leading up to it, the only fitting conclusion for the two evenly-matched teams is where the loose puck ended up – bouncing harmlessly off the left side post.

Crowell, in hot pursuit, then cleanly played the puck off the goal line.

Time expired. All remained even.

“When I saw it hit the post, I actually laughed,” Mustangs head coach Chris Ross said. “I’ve personally never seen that happen as a coach.”

For the Warriors, who dropped their lone league game to Medway (a 3-2 loss on Jan. 11), the draw enables them to win the league title outright with a victory against Hopkinton on Saturday.

League title implications aside, Medway hit its stride first, claiming a 1-0 lead at 3:33 on Josh O’Toole’s goal assisted by Cam Fisher and Mike Boldy.

The Warriors tied the score before intermission, with Matt Dressens’ seventh goal of the year. Ben Ruzzo and John MacLean contributed assists.

Ruzzo picked up his second point of the game, knocking home a rebound for the go-ahead goal at 7:05 of the second period.

“They made adjustments to our breakout, they figured some stuff out when they made changes and it bottled us up some for sure,” Carlow said. “We fully expected that, if we expected any other kind of game today, you haven’t seen us play each other.”

The Warriors took a one-goal lead to the room between periods, but just 47 seconds into the third the Mustangs found the equalizer on a booming slap shot by senior defenseman Andrew Karlin from the right point.

Recap: Medway 3, Medfield 2

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12

FRANKLIN, Mass. – Sophomore goaltender Mike Purnell made 31 saves to help Medway beat Medfield, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Veterans Skating Arena and, in the process, ended its Tri-Valley League rival’s unbeaten start to the season.

Medway head coach Chris Ross was full of praise for his young goalie, who made 11 saves in a hectic first period and went on to stop 13 in the third, as the Mustangs were clinging to a one-goal lead.

He commented, “One of my favorite hockey quotes by Jack Parker, he said, ‘They should rename the game goalie.’ I fell very blessed that we have a good goalie.”

Purnell gave much of the credit to his communication with his defensemen, as Medfield controlled most of the possession in the attacking zone and outshot the Mustangs 33-15.

“There was a lot of talk from the goaltender to the defense to the wings,” Purnell said. “That’s a big part of hockey. If you can communicate it makes the play flow better and we were able to do that. It’s a good win.”

The Mustangs (5-2-1, 3-1-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 39 seconds into the game. Josh O’Toole, shooting from the right circle, had his shot slip past Medfield’s sophomore goalie Matt Malvese.

Medfield head coach Toby Carlow admitted that an early goal like that can change a team’s whole approach to the game.

“The first period was a terrible period,” he said. “It’s tough because these guys are young kids and they sometimes get off their game plan really easy, especially when that happens, and then it struggles to get back on track and that’s exactly what happened.”

Medfield (6-1-1, 5-1-0) responded a little more than two minutes after the opening goal. Justin Hirschfeld knocked in a loose puck just two seconds after a Mustangs penalty ended. The Warriors gained momentum from the goal and controlled play, but with 3:53 left in the period Medway struck again when Mark Bittrolff’s shot from the point somehow found the top corner for a shorthanded goal to make it 2-1.

The Medway penalty kill would get plenty of work in the opening period. Although it went down as just two power play opportunities for the Warriors, Medway took four penalties in the first period and, at one point, were on the kill for a stretch of more than three minutes that included a pair of 5-on-3 situations.

“We had two 5-on-3’s in a row and those guys just did a great job,” said Ross. “We dedicate a lot of time in practice to special teams because these things pop up all the time in high school hockey. Those guys just executed perfectly tonight.”

Regarding his team’s power play, Carlow noted, “We just didn’t shoot. We didn’t do enough to get the puck to the net. Their guys did a good job keeping the puck outside, but we didn’t make them make mistakes, which you have to do on a power play.”

The Mustangs extended their lead four minutes into the second period. After a Medfield turnover in the defensive zone, Jared Reynolds slipped a pass across the crease to freshman Adam Dwyer, who knocked it past Dan Graham (who had taken over in goal for the Warriors) for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Medfield cut the lead to one with 9:18 left in the second. As a Medway power play ended, a loose puck found sophomore Matt Treiber charging up ice and Patrick Lawler came out of the penalty box to make it a 2-on-1. Treiber did not need his teammate but instead ripped a wrist shot into the roof of the net to make it 3-2.

In the final 10 seconds of the second period, Medway nearly doubled the lead, but Mike Boldy could not finish a breakaway chance and Graham smothered a pair of shots from close range.

In the third period, Medfield was desperate to find a game-tying goal and put 13 shots on Purnell, but the sophomore held firm and the Mustangs continually cleared the puck from the front of the net.

The win was clearly important to Medway, as the players stormed the ice on the final whistle and surrounded Purnell behind his net.

The goalie remarked, “It’s a confidence boost, you know. We weren’t playing that well in the past couple of games, but we stepped our game up here and hopefully we can just move on from here.”

Ross added, “I told the boys in there that this is one of my proudest moments as a coach…I thought it was a whole team effort. I’m beyond thrilled right now.”

Recap: Westwood 2, Medway 1

December, 18, 2013
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Westwood knows it caught a break. But in the world of competitive sports, no one is about to complain, especially if you happen to be on the winning side.

In tonight's Tri-Valley League early-season showdown, it appeared as though the Wolverines would have to settle for a tie against rival Medway at the Staff Sgt. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink. Westwood was nursing a one goal lead through much of the final period until Mustang junior Kevin Kaufman ripped a shot from the left circle that eluded all-everything goaltender Will Ribas to knot things up.

As the clock ticked down to a few precious seconds, the Wolverines made one final rush into the Medway zone. Junior captain Ken Mackin let go of a shot from about 20 feet out. The puck hit the stick of Mustang goalie Mike Purnell and soared into the air. Kaufman, standing alongside Purnell, tried to swat the puck mid-air away from the net but instead, the puck deflected off his stick and went backwards into the net with 16 seconds remaining giving the Wolverines an unexpected 2-1 triumph.

"We kept skating but I don't think this was our best game and it wasn't Medway's best game either," Wolverines head coach Mike Welby said. "We tried to keep skating with those guys and put pucks deep and tried to work the puck to the net. We knew their goalie was good so we knew a second goal would be tough to come by. It's tough to see a game end like that where it goes off their own player's stick but that's the way it goes sometimes."

With the victory, Westwood improves to 2-0-0 while Medway drops to 0-1-0.

The Mustangs controlled most of the action. The Wolverines had trouble containing the puck at both ends of the ice due in large part to a solid mix of fore and back checking by the Medway defense. That, in turn, led to some quality chances offensively.

However, in spite of holding a 24-13 advantage in shots through two periods, the Mustangs trailed 1-0. At 12:50 of the middle frame, Wolverine forward Mike Riley gained possession of the puck after it caromed off the back dasher and onto his stick. The junior, left all alone in front, slipped a shot by Purnell.

"We tell our kids all the time to get the puck to the net and get bodies to the net," Welby said. "Good things will happen. Fortunately, tonight something good happened for us."

Throughout this contest, Medway was left wondering if it would catch a break as easily as Westwood did. For the first time all game, the Wolverines opened the third period the aggressor. Looking to add to its lead, Westwood put up a couple of quality chances on Purnell (18 saves) but came away with nothing to show for it.

With just under nine minutes remaining, Medway freshman Andrew Diebus had his team's best chance of the evening after rifling a hard wrist shot at Ribas.

But the netminder reacted quickly by sticking his left pad out and turning the shot aside. Ribas, who last year maintained a productive 1.50 goals-against-average, looks to be on track for another stellar season between the pipes.

"A lot of our success has to do with the way our defense plays," said Ribas, finishing with 31 stops. "If I do let up a rebound it's always going in the corners. I think our team is extremely deep this year and I think we're going to give everyone we play a good run. We hadn't beaten Medway in five years so it feels pretty good. I felt we all played very well tonight."

With the clock showing less than six minutes to play, the Mustangs finally caught a break after Medway defenseman Joe Reissfelder was sent to the penalty box for interference -- the first and only penalty charged to the Wolverines all night. It took but eight seconds for Medway to capitalize on the man-advantage thanks to Kaufman's tally coming at 9:12.

During the final four minutes, both teams worked feverishly in their attempts to score the go-ahead goal only to come away empty. That is until the fluke score in the waning seconds which left the Mustangs a bit stunned.

"I told our kids how proud I was in the way they fought back," Medway head coach Chris Ross said. "Westwood has a very good goaltender and we knew we had to throw a lot of pucks toward the net and jump on rebounds. We just couldn't bury our chances when we had them. We weren't getting there for any loose rebounds. We were getting some good first shots but not getting good second opportunities off the rebounds.”

Ross continued, “In the third period we started doing that a little more and were able to tie things up. But sometimes when you put yourself in a situation late where anything can happen, sometimes anything does happen."

Boys All-Star: South 9, North 2

March, 31, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Several times during Saturday’s Fourth Annual Aleppo Shriners MSHCA High School Classic, South All-Star head coach Chris Ross commented to his assistant coaches Karl Infanger (Natick) and Derek Harrington (Medway) how amazing it was to be able to coach so many talented hockey players in one setting.

Ross was right. The level of talent he had at is disposal was eye-popping and certainly lived up to its billing inside the DCU Center.

Catholic Memorial’s Liam Coughlin, Natick’s Matt Kustra and Barnstable’s Max Wilman each netted a pair of goals in leading South to a 9-2 demolition of the North All-Stars.

“All of us coaches were remarking on the bench about the amount of great talent that was out there on the ice today,” said Ross, who serves as head coach at Medway High. “Our overall skill level was tremendous and it was a lot of fun to watch and coach these kids. I joked with our other coaches saying ‘don’t you wish you had this kind of talent during a regular high school season?’ For me personally, this event is great and it is a lot of fun to be a part of.”

South left little doubt as to who was the stronger team on this day. Four goals in a span of 5:26 of the opening period made believers out of everyone, including North. Xaverian’s Eddie Pratt got things started with a long-range goal from the high right slot coming at 5:31. Four minutes later Wilman bagged his first with a nifty right-to-left cross over in front of Burlington High goalie Derek Decastro, beating him with a back hand for a two-goal lead. South was not done by a long shot. A Coughlin laser low glove side was followed up by a Kustra marker just 14 seconds apart giving South a commanding 4-0 lead.

“To play in a game like is pretty awesome," said Coughlin, who scored 26 goals this past season for the Knights. “It was kind of weird though playing on the same side with some guys who were our main competitors and rivals during the season. We didn’t talk much but overall it was a lot of fun.”

North finally broke its offensive drought early in the second as the Chelmsford High duo of Tommy Bishop and Drew Dawson joined forces. From behind the South goal, Bishop lifted a perfect feed to Dawson, out in front, who one-timed his shot past Duxbury goaltender Chris Johnson to make it a 4-1.

But any thoughts of a comeback were short-lived. Kustra made it 5-1 late in the period to send South into the intermission on top by four goals.

“At the end of this season I sprained my ankle so this was the first time I had been on the ice since then," said Kustra. “I expected to play a few shifts but to score two goals is something I never expected to have a game like this."

As if leading by four goals wasn’t enough. South came out for the final period looking for more and got it.Wilman, voted the game’s MVP, and Medway’s Jack Kilty each found the back of the net to continue South’s lamp-lighting ceremony.

“Since we hadn’t practiced together prior to this game it took a little time for all of us to get use to one another on the ice but once we did we started to click,” Wilman said. “For me, it’s an honor to be named the MVP. I never expected to win it especially with (Liam) and a bunch of other guys who deserved it as well.”

Bishop got one back for North but Dennis Medeiros (Catholic Memorial) and Coughlin closed this one out with a late goal each.

D3 South: Medway 6, Pembroke 2

March, 12, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- Medway came into the D3 South Sectional finals looking to defend its title but also in search of some offense as the Mustangs could only muster five goals in their first three playoff games.

Mission accomplished on both ends of the stick.

Medway (19-2-3) doubled their offensive playoff totals and then some scoring three times in the first period alone to defeat Pembroke (14-8-5) for the third time this season in a 6-2 rout to capture back-to-back Division 3 South Sectional titles at Gallo Ice Arena.

Most of the offense came from the line of Josh O'Toole, Cam Fisher, and Mike Boldy. Medway head coach Chris Ross refers to the line as the "gray line" as they wear gray jerseys to signify they are underclassmen but there was nothing gray about their output.

O'Toole finished with the hat trick and assisted on two others while Fisher and Boldy, both sophomores, each added a goal and two assists apiece to account for all but two of the 14 points the offense accumulated.

The two-time Division 3 South champions now move on to face North champion Swampscott at the Chelmsford Forum tomorrow night (8 p.m.) for the right to advance to the TD Garden to play for the D3 state title.

"Our offense came alive tonight but we are still built on good solid defensive hockey," Ross said. "When a game gets very open like that it is tough to slow the pace of the game down and the game just stayed fast the whole time."

Ross' squad came into the night with three consecutive playoff shutouts behind senior netminder Mike Narducci (20 saves) but Medway didn't need much from Narducci as the three first period goals put thing out of reach.

Fisher scored 18 seconds into the first shift down the ice off the opening face off. Nick DeCristoforo fired one on net just inside the blue line and Fisher tipped it past Titans goalie Bobby McElligott (23 saves) for the first Mustangs tally.

"The first goal really caught us off guard and out intent was to attack early and try to get up and get that head start, but certainly and obviously it backfired on us and they came at us," Pembroke head coach Mark Duffy said.

Senior Jack Kilty, the team's leading scorer, picked up an unassisted tally on a slow roller under McElligott's left pad to give Medway the 2-0 lead at 9:54. After Kilty scored on an excellent solo effort, he could have taken the rest of the night off as the "gray line" took care of the rest.

Just under a minute later, it was Boldy with a wrister after getting a solid cross-crease, right-to-left pass from Fisher as the sophomore forward picked the far top corner for three unanswered goals in the first period alone.

O'Toole collected his second assist on Boldy's tally to hand Medway the 3-0 lead and then proceed to score the next three goals for the Mustangs in less then 16 minutes of ice time.

"They are all underclassmen but they just move the puck real well, they skate real well together and I'm psyched for the future when I think of that line," said Ross, about Fisher, Boldy, and O'Toole. "Kilty is a bona fide Division 1 type player and I don't think he gets the recognition that he deserves but that was a great individual effort."

O'Toole gave Medway a 4-0 lead at 6:12 of the second with the first of this three tallies, but Pembroke was not in quit mode as Josh Golden fired one in off the pads of Narducci 27 seconds later to match O'Toole's goal.

The main problem for Pembroke was they came out with a strong forecheck but it was extremely high in the zone, which allowed the Mustangs to cycle through under the net and pick the corners low of the slot and near the crease all game long.

O'Toole scored bookend goals in the third while Mike Ruxton was credited with the Titans second goal off a pretty feed out front from C.J. Buckingham to finish off the scoring for Pembroke.

This was the third loss in as many games for the Titans against Medway this season. In fact, the Mustangs ended the Titans' season in 2012 in the South Sectional semifinals in a 2-1 overtime win, giving Medway four consecutive victories against Pembroke.

"They beat us up pretty good this year...they are on a four game win streak right now against us and we'll have to reflect on that in the off-season certainly," Duffy said. "We didn't make that step tonight, and that is something we need to think about in the off-season about what we have to do differently but you have to give [Medway] credit."

Recap: Medfield 5, No. 22 Medway 2

February, 6, 2013
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Medfield needed some sort of spark after giving up a shorthanded goal late in the first period and senior captain Ben Cox delivered it during the intermission between the first and second periods.

His message was about staying calm and composed in the face of a potential onslaught by rival Medway, and from the seniors down to a group of talented freshmen, the Warriors heeded his words.

Medfield strung together four straight goals in the second period and put themselves in the driver's seat for the Tri-Valley League championship with a 5-2 victory over the Mustangs at Sgt. Pirelli Rink Wednesday afternoon.

"What really turned us around was our captain, Ben Cox," explained Warriors freshman Matt Treiber, who had two goals and an assist in the win. "He got us really fired up during the first intermission. He just told us to go out there and do our job and that we can beat this team like we did today if we play our game."

With the memory of a 6-2 thrashing by Medway (12-1-3 overall; 9-1-2 TVL) earlier in the season still stinging, Medfield (16-1-0; 11-1-0) found itself on its heels as the Mustangs scored a pair of shorthanded goals. Jack Kilty got the first one, scoring on a breakaway with 2:11 left in the first, and Bobby Schindler scored in similar fashion just 11 seconds into the second.

Penalties would be an issue all night long, and with Cox's intermission speech eventually taking hold, Medfield made some adjustments to its extra-man strategy that paid immediate dividends. Rather than cycling the puck up high, the Warriors elected to move deeper in the zone and cashed in as freshman John MacLean fired a perfect pass to Justin Hirschfeld for a one-timer just 18 seconds after Schindler's goal.

Treiber continued the roll, burying a nice feed from Tyler Etzkorn at 3:44 to tie the game at 2-2. MacLean then put Medfield ahead for good, pouncing on the rebound of a shot by sophomore Will Murphy with 3:46 to go in the frame.

The Warriors added one more power play marker by Matt Crowell and a third-period score by Treiber for the final margin.

Undisciplined play did Medway no favors as the team took 13 penalties and had two players ejected in the third period.

"I thought we came out relatively well in the first period but once we started getting the penalties in the second period it obviously changed the whole momentum of the game to Medfield's favor," Medway head coach Chris Ross admitted. "Once we had those few penalties in a row we never recovered. We stopped moving our feet, we were undisciplined. I was not happy with how we played at all.

The atmosphere was electric as fans from both towns filled the rink and made to make their presence felt. A potential league title was on the line, not to mention the heated rivalry between two towns who regularly battle one another for the TVL title.

Young players who may not be fully used to such situations are excused if they don't handle the elements well, but such was not the case for Medfield.

Freshmen Matt Treiber and MacLean combined for three goals and two assists while sophomore blue-liners Murphy and Hirschfeld made strong contributions as well.

"It's great to have kids who can come in here and play at this level and be very relaxed and handle the situation," Medfield head coach Toby Carlow praised. "I think this being the second time we've done this - big crowd, loud, great atmosphere - they were more relaxed this time, thats for sure and it showed. They're a good group of little players and I'm happy to have them, thats for sure."

Added Cox, ""We had some of the younger guys like Matt, who really stepped up, and John MacLean. It was really huge when they take some of the weight off the older guys. We just told them to keep their heads. Medway gets a little chippy sometimes, and so do we in big games, but we had to keep our composure and I think we did that."

Both teams came into the game tied atop the Tri-Valley League with 20 points, and the Mustangs had a chance to clinch at least a share of the title. Medfield changed all that with the win, and can now claim the crown if they can take down Dover-Sherborn next Wednesday.

"The kids knew if they they wanted to have a chance at the league title we had to come here and do this," Carlow said. "They did it and now it's one of those things where you control your own destiny."

Ross explained why the league race is now in Medfield's control, despite the fact that the two teams could end up tied in points once league play is complete.

"I don't forsee Medfield losing out any games. It's a weird situation. There's a rule that a team can opt out and Hopkinton opted out of playing Medfield so it will go by winning percentage. So if they win their next game they clinch the TVL title no matter what we do, even if the points end up even."

Recap: Medway 6, No. 21 Medfield 2

January, 10, 2013
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Medway hockey’s seniors have done a lot in their high school careers to date, including skating on the Garden ice last year as the Division 3 Eastern Mass. champions.

But there was one thing that eluded them in the previous two seasons heading into Wednesday night: a win over Tri-Valley League rival Medfield.

“They’ve been our kryptonite, so to speak,” Mustangs head coach Chris Ross said.

Medway bucked the trend, jumping on the previously undefeated No. 21 Warriors early and often en route to a 6-2 win at Sgt. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink.

Mustangs senior forward Jack Kilty tallied a hat trick and added an assist for a four-point game

“This is the first game that we’ve played three, complete periods,” Ross said. “It’s the first time we’ve scored six goals, our previous high was five, and to do it against a ranked Medfield team, I’m proud of these guys.”

Kilty got Medway (5-0-2, 4-0-1 TVL) started with his first of the game at 1:40 of the first. No. 2 came midway through the first before Kevin Kaufman’s backdoor stuff in off a terrific cross-ice pass from Kilty gave the Mustangs a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

Medway opened up with a two-goal second period, with junior forward John Guerrero taking a ricochet off the end wall for a 4-1 lead before Kilty capped his hat trick with 2:10 remaining in the second.

The Mustangs added another insurance marker in the third on Tim King’s blast, assisted by Bobby Schindler and Andrew DeCristoforo.

Both Warriors (7-1-0, 4-1-0) goals were scored by Matt Dresens, who raised his season goal total to 14.

Medway’s Mike Boldy and Medfield’s Ben Cox both had two-point games with a pair of assists, respectively.

“Everybody came out and played their role, nobody didn’t play good,” Kilty said. “We took the game to them and came out with the W.”

D3 boys' final: Hudson 5, Medway 1

March, 19, 2012

BOSTON -- It’s been roughly three decades since Hudson boys' hockey hoisted some MIAA hardware, as the Hawks snapped their 34-year drought by defeating Medway, 5-1 in Sunday's Division 3 state final at TD Garden.

“The kids took me on a magical ride,” Hudson head coach Mike Nanartowich said. “It’s like a dream come true right now.”

“It seemed like we were always missing something,” added Nanartowich. “We couldn’t get by that state semi-final game, and we finally got past that little hurdle [to get us to the TD Garden].”

Hudson’s “hurdle” began back in 2010, as the Hawks lost to Longmeadow by three goals, and then Westfield in the same round a year later. However, the Hawks eventually avenged their loss to the Lancers this past season, as they handed Longmeadow a 3-1 thrashing, which catapulted them to the title match.

“As a senior, I knew how it must have felt losing like the guys in the past did,” said Hudson senior Tyler Kirby, who finished the game with two goals and one assist. “We have a lot of returning guys, so everybody knew what it felt like, and we knew this was probably was our last year as a team to be able to get this far, and we knew what we had to do. We’ve been here so many times, so we know that one bad bounce can change the game."

Medway began the game with a quick strike, as senior Jake O’Rourke stole the puck from Hudson senior Tom Fahey in the Mustang zone, and then rushed down the ice to record the first goal of the afternoon.

“[The puck] hit my pads, just hit the board, and it was a blocked shot that I kind of got lucky, a lucky bounce, and it was off to the races and I was able to put it home,” O'Rourke said of his team’s only score.

The Mustangs attempted to extend their one-goal advantage a few minutes later when sophomore Josh O’Toole connected with freshman Mike Boldy, but Hawks junior netminder Shane Barry denied the opportunity.

Hudson then endured two consecutive power plays before they lit the lamp at 12:00, as junior Bryan Carter sent a back-handed pass to senior Tom Fahey, who deposited the puck past Mustangs goaltender junior Mike Narducci for the score.

That particular goal provided the Hawks with all the momentum for the remainder of the day, as Hudson registered four more strikes – one in the second and three in the third, which came off the sticks of Kirby, Carter and senior Blake Seymour.

“We wanted to throw the puck down, wanted create some chaos, as we talked about this the past couple of days – creating chaos in front of the net,” Nanartowich said. “I told these kids, they took me on an unbelievable ride, and I told them it was something that they’ll never forget, and I’ll never forget.”

“Obviously a disappointing result here tonight, but we knew going in that Hudson was an amazing team, and they showed it tonight,” Medway head coach Chris Ross said. “I’m extremely proud of my boys, and the whole coaching staff, and this is the furthest Medway’s has ever been and [I’m] just extremely proud of this year in general.”

Despite loss, it was an ‘Unbelievable Journey’
Sunday’s crushing loss was probably not exactly what the Mustangs envisioned once they punched their ticket to the state title match on Wednesday, Mar. 14, but according to senior captain Jake O’Rourke, it was certainly an “unbelievable” journey that he and his senior teammates won’t ever forget.

“It’s the best thing that I’ve ever been apart of [in] my high school career,” O'Rourke said. “[I’ve] played a few sports, been on a lot of teams, been around lot of guys and this is the best team by far, head and shoulders above anything. The journey has been unbelievable, and to get here is just unheard of and uncharted waters, which coach [said] and it was an unbelievable experience, and sucks it has to end like this, but that’s what it is [because] someone’s got to win, someone’s got to lose.”

Even head coach Chris Ross harped about his team, as well as the wonderful support by the community when he stated, “The town’s definitely been buzzing. Former players and parents and coaches and just people in the town really rallied around this team, and really came out, sent us off on the game [Sunday], but just showed their support all week long to these guys.”

Getting Past Longmeadow
Hudson senior Tom Fahey remembers quite vividly the night the Hawks lost to Longmeadow in the 2010 Div. 3 semi-finals.

“It’s very special [that we finally beat them],” he said. “I remember sophomore year, skating off the ice and I remember the minute I stepped off the nice, it was just like 'ugh.' So just to get over that hump was a big deal.”

Nanartowich said his team's recent struggles but eventual triumph over their Western Mass rivals provided Hudson with enough momentum to reach the Garden.

“The real momentum ride was the courage that my kids showed against Wachusett Regional [and] being down 3-0 at the end of one, and coming into the locker room, I told them I believed in them, I told them I loved them and I told them from that point forward we’ve got to do this together, and we came all the way back, won it 45-seconds into overtime and I think that I kind of propelled us,” said the head coach. “I think that was the spark we kind of needed.”

Following the win against Wachusett, Hudson spouted off 12 consecutive wins, which helped them earn their first state championship since 1978.

“It’s been a long ride,” added Fahey. “Two state semi-games, which we lost, [and] we were down in the dumps the next day, so it’s like a weight being lifted off because we wanted this for so long.”

D3 South: Medway 4, Rockland 1

March, 11, 2012
BOURNE, Mass. –- Josh O’Toole was the easiest player to spot in the Medway locker room after Sunday’s Division 3-South championship game against Rockland.

O’Toole was the Mustang wearing the plastic cowboy hat with the name “MEDWAY” in capital letters on the front.

Turns out the hat is awarded to the Mustangs’ player of the game – an honor O’Toole earned by scoring 10th-seeded Medway’s first two goals in a 4-1 victory over fifth-seeded Rockland.

“At first we were a little nervous coming in,” O’Toole said referring to the fact Rockland (17-6-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead on John Mulready’s unassisted goal at 10:00 of the first period. “But we knew that they would be tired toward the end because they run two lines and we try to run three most of the time.

“We kind of gained the momentum and kept it going.”

O’Toole tied the game at 3:03 of the second.

Jake O’Rouke won a faceoff to Mike Boldy in Rockland’s end and, after Boldy passed to O’Toole, the sophomore forward snapped a shot by Trevor Trudeau (26 saves).

O’Toole scored what proved to be the game-winner at 6:42.

“Jake O’Rouke shot it from up top and it fell down,” O’Toole said. “I pretty much just whacked it in.”

Ironically, O’Toole’s goals upped his season total to a modest eight. But the fact Medway (18-6-1) held Rockland to a mere 13 shots was perhaps an even bigger factor in the outcome.

“Our game all year has been to play good, solid team defense,” Medway coach Chris Ross said. “I grew up playing for [perennial Rhode Island state champion] Mount St. Charles and I try to bring a little Mount St. Charles to Medway.

“It was my goal to play good team defense the whole season.”

Ross was quick to admit that wasn’t the case in the first period which ended with the Bulldogs leading 1-0.

“I thought we got away from our game of playing good, solid defense especially from our forechecking perspective,” Ross said. “I thought we started getting into a game where we were running around too much with them.

“The game was up-and-down in that first period and I wanted to slow down the pace and hold them in check. But I knew 7 (Kevin Sheehan) and 9 (Mulready) were out there two-thirds of the game."

Sheehan and Mulready each are 100-point career scorers.

“I knew we were in good condition,” Ross added, “and that come the second and third period they were going to start wearing down a little bit.”

Medway then scored what proved to be the proverbial back-breaker at 13:09 of the third when O’Rouke skated across the crease and stuffed a back-hander by Trudeau to give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead.

“All the coaches on the benches turned to each other and looked at each other and sighed because it was a big relief,” Ross said of O’Rouke’s goal.

Tim King then scored into an empty net with 1:43 left in regulation.

Even though Medway goalie Mike Narducci was called on to make only 12 saves, Ross heaped praise on his junior goalie who’s been a key Mustang all season.

“Mike Narducci is unbelievable,” Ross said. “I think he’s proven he’s one of the best goalies in the state. He’s so solid and I’m so glad we’ve got him coming back next year.”

What made the victory even more satisfying for Ross was that it came in his first season as Medway’s head coach and enabled the Mustangs to venture into unchartered territory.

“The quarterfinals were the farthest we’ve ever been,” Ross said. “They came in as the number one seed. But I thought we had a good chance because we’ve played tough teams all year.”