Boston High School: Christian Simeone

Recap: No. 4 BC High 6, No. 6 St. John's Prep 0

January, 17, 2015
Jan 17
BOSTON -- Even before the team’s recent two-game slump, BC High was in somewhat of a funk. The team was searching for an identity for the new season and was unable to put together a complete game. On Saturday, the Eagles might have turned the corner and found the identity they were intently looking for.

BC High scored a goal in the first 80 seconds of each period en route to a dominating 6-0 win over St. John’s Prep in a Catholic Conference game at UMass-Boston’s Beacon Arena.

“We wanted to get on top first, get an early one and get the momentum going our way. It was an early morning game so the momentum was big for us,” said Merrimack recruit Pat Kramer, who had two goals and an assist.

“You want to jump on a team, especially playing in your own building. We know they’re a good team and they’re going to work hard. We knew we had to capitalize and get out on top early if we were going to have a chance today,” added BC High coach John Flaherty.

The strong effort didn’t just stop after the first few minutes of each period. It was a dominant win for the Eagles from start to finish as they pulled back to 500 in the league at 2-2.

“Today was our best effort front to back. We played a complete 45-minute hockey game for the first time in a long time," said Flaherty. "From the drop of the puck until the final buzzer we played hard and we played smart. We protected pucks when we needed to and made good decisions."

Picked almost unanimously to win the Catholic Conference, the Eagles stumbled to two consecutive league losses against Malden Catholic and Xaverian before snapping the losing streak against Arlington Catholic Thursday night.

“We took a couple days there to refocus, watch some film and figure out what it is we need to do to be a better hockey team,” explained Flaherty. “We took one step forward with Arlington Catholic and another step forward today. We still have a ways to go, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Big Game Players: There was no question who the two best players on the ice were Saturday morning. Kramer, the team’s first line center, had two goals and added an assist while Northeastern recruit Ryan Shea picked up a pair of assists and played very well defensively.

“You need your best guys to be their best, and I think our guys were today,” said Flaherty.

The first line was on the ice for five of the team’s six goals. It only took 1:10 into the game for the trio of Kramer, Jack Nisbet and Christian Simeone to assert their dominance. Nisbet sprung Kramer through the neutral zone after picking up a breakout pass from Shea. Kramer quickly buzzed right between two Prep defenders and deked goaltender Kyle Martin before tucking a backhand into the net.

BC High made it 2-0 with 3:19 to play in the opening period when Nisbet tipped home a Billy Roche blast from the point.

The Eagles struck early again to start the second period, needing just 1:16 to gain a 3-0 advantage. Kramer and Simeone connected on a pretty give-and-go, but it was an unselfish play by Simeone that allowed Kramer an easy tap home goal.

“That goal was all [Simeone]. He could have selfishly shot the puck, but he drew the defenseman to him and he kicked it back to Pat. All Pat had to do was tap it in,” said Flaherty.

Just a few minutes later Kramer showed off his immense vision and passing skills. On the right boards he sent a cross-ice pass to Roche who was cheating in the backdoor. Roche quickly sent a wrist shot past Martin for the 4-0 lead that chased the Prep goaltender from the game.

“Billy Roche had a strong game today, both offensively and defensively,” said Flaherty.

“These are the games that you need Patrick Kramer to be himself and be the elite player that he is. You need your best guys to be your best and I think our guys were today,” Flaherty commented.

Nisbet scored his second goal of the game in garbage time after collecting a saucer lead pass from defenseman Alec Flynn.

“[Nisbet] is a younger guy, but he plays strong on pucks. He’s tough and he can skate with [Kramer and Simeone]. He compliments those guys great. He’s the next big name from BC High hockey. He’s going to step out of the shadows of the guys here now and be a Division I player at some point,” Flaherty said.

As has been the case for most BC High games this season, there were several NHL scouts in the building, all of whom were treated to another strong performance from the defenseman they came to watch.

“Ryan Shea just dictates the play from the back end all the way up. His gaps were strong. His stick was very good. He didn’t give anybody any room,” said Flaherty.

Heart of Fein: When talking about BC High Justin Fein rarely gets mentioned with guys like Kramer, Shea and Nisbet garnering much of the attention. Fein doesn’t have the size or puck skills that some of his teammates possess, but he has as big a heart as anyone.

“Justin is a leader. He’s not big in stature, but he’s big in heart. He makes little plays. He just doesn’t stop. He’s the heartbeat of our team. When he’s going we’re going,” explained Flaherty.

Fein did a terrific job on face-offs, on penalty kills and in creating energy for his team to feed off.

“He’s strong. He makes the right decisions, he kills penalties and he wins face-offs. He does all the little things,” said Flaherty.

On St. John’s Prep’s first power play, it appeared as if BC High was the team with the man advantage. That was mainly due to Fein buzzing all over the ice and playing keep away from Prep defenders chasing after him.

“He can flat out fly,” said Flaherty.

Punctual Payzant: In a game that was so thoroughly dominated by BC High, it might seem to be a stretch to say that junior goaltender Brandon Payzant played his best game of the season. However, he was solid when he faced the minimal rubber that he did see Saturday, including a miraculous glove save in the second period.

“There’s a timeliness to his saves. We had a couple breakdowns early on and he made two or three big saves. He made a highlight reel save down there when it was just him. Their guy was alone and put a great move on him and he somehow got back and made that great save,” said Flaherty.

Payzant and the Eagles return to action Wednesday night with a non-conference game against defending Division 1 State Champion Reading.

No. 1 Cathedral takes Frates championship in shootout

December, 29, 2014
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — If high school hockey fans across the state are lucky, Sunday’s Pete Frates Classic championship game between Springfield Cathedral and BC High will be a preview of a great playoff matchup in March at the TD Garden.

“Absolutely,” said Cathedral coach Brian Foley when asked if he thought his team might see BC High again in the postseason. “They’re going to be there. They’re a really talented team. Hopefully we’re both there.”

Players, coaches, referees, fans, scouts and members of the media all seemed to be in unanimous agreement that it was a terrific high school hockey game. The top two teams in the state battled toe-for-toe to a 2-2 draw at Merrimack’s Lawler Rink.

“It was a great environment, a great tournament. Both coaches feel good about it. It was a really fun game,” said Foley. “It was two very even teams. We outplayed them at times. They outplayed us at times. It was back and forth. Both teams just went at each other. No one was trapping. It was just a good wide open hockey game.”

“It’s great that it’s a tie. That game deserved to be a tie. It was exciting to watch. Our boys enjoyed playing in it. I’m proud of my guys,” concurred BC High coach John Flaherty.

Fittingly the game will go in the books as a 2-2 tie, but Cathedral was able to capture the trophy with a shootout victory. UMass commit John Leonard was the only player to sneak the puck into the back of the net in the three-man shootout following a scoreless four-on-four overtime.

“He’s an elite goal-scorer,” Foley said. “He sees the net. A lot of guys see the goalie, but he sees the net. Everyone on the bench knew he was going five-hole in that shootout. He waited, got the goalie’s legs open and slid it in.”

The intensity was apparent from the get-go as both teams came out flying, hitting hard and skating with purpose. It was easy to see that players on each side really enjoyed competing for a trophy in a regular season game.

“I love playing these guys,” said Cathedral senior captain Peter Crinella, a Holy Cross commit. “They’re always one of the top teams in the state. Given the circumstances, being the championship game, it’s always a fun game to play in.”

Crinella drew first blood as he put the Panthers up 1-0 with 1:40 to play in the opening period. With precision timing he skated right past the goal mouth in stride to tip home a low point shot from defenseman Cam Griffin.

“I made a little eye contact with Cam Griffin. He made a great, low, hard shot. We work on that a lot in practice – getting in front and getting in those dirty areas. I had my stick in the right place at the right time,” said Crinella.

The Eagles knotted the score at one just more than five minutes into the second period. Merrimack recruit Pat Kramer, playing in his future home rink, scored the goal after receiving a really pretty pass from defenseman Jayson Dobay at the blue line. Kramer skated in from the left side and patiently waited for Cathedral goaltender Keith Petruzzelli to go down. Once Kramer had the goaltender down he took two more strides before backhanding it into the empty net.

“It’s Pat’s rink – this is where he’s going to be for the next four years,” Flaherty said. “That’s what Pat Kramer is capable of doing. He’s a big game player. You saw him do some things that are indicative of the college hockey player he’s going to be.”

Cathedral regained the lead with 6:26 to play in the middle frame. Leonard showed off his shooting accuracy with an absolute snipe from the left wall. He sent a laser into the top far corner of the net beating the outstretched glove of BC High goaltender Brandon Payzant.

BC High didn’t crumble and came out flying to start the third period.

It only took 43 seconds for the Eagles to even the score. The goal came after a furious scramble that saw the Eagles hit the post and then barely keep the puck in the zone. After receiving the puck from Christian Simeone down low Kramer skated out and sent a pass right to the stick of Jack Nisbet, who wasted no time depositing the puck into the back of the net.

With BC High charging, Petruzzelli stood tall. He stopped Ian Murphy on a partial breakaway with just over six minutes to go in regulation then fended off a huge flurry just a few minutes after that.

“It’s tough to rattle Keith, he’s so tough mentally,” Foley said. “He expects to save every shot. They had some nice goals. He’s a great goalie. He really picks us up when we break down.”

Despite not having the same physical stature or fanfare, Payzant had his own shining moments. He stoned Riley Prattson in each of the first two periods on two-on-ones and then made a gigantic save on a Leonard shot from the high slot in overtime.

It was the first annual tournament to benefit the Pete Frates #3 Fund.

This past summer the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on the internet after a few of Frates’ friends looked for a way to help the former St. John’s Prep and Boston College baseball star who is battling the awful disease. The cause of the tournament was not lost on the participants.

“It’s a great cause. I was watching the Patriots before we got on the road today. Seeing [Frates] at the game was really cool,” said Foley.

All-Tournament Team:

Forward: Patrick Kramer, Sr., BC High

Forward: D.J. Petruzzelli, Sr., Springfield Cathedral

Forward: Kyle Hentosh, Soph., St. John’s Prep

Defense: Ryan Shea, Jr., BC High

Defense: Bryce Peritz, Sr., Springfield Cathedral

Goaltender: Keith Petruzzelli, Soph., Springfield Cathedral

MVP: Keith Petruzzelli

Recap: Thayer Academy 6, St. Sebastian's 3

January, 24, 2014

CANTON, Mass. -- Tony Amonte, the third-year boys’ hockey coach at Thayer Academy, likes to offer up comparisons between the ISL's Keller Division to that of the Southeastern Conference in football. Both present major challenges and nothing ever comes easy.

Friday night, Amonte's Tigers learned that lesson all to well. After jumping out to a four-goal lead, Thayer watched in vain as divisional foe St. Sebastian's mounted a flurry to close to within a goal. But the Tigers had enough ammunition in the end to withstand the onslaught and pull out 6-3 victory in the 17th annual Arthur T. Valicenti Cup game at the Sportsplex.

"In high school hockey there are no guarantees,'' said Amonte, his team improving to 13-3-0. "There are so many swings and ups and downs in every game. St. Sebastian's always brings it and we didn't expect any less than that. In this league every game is battle. You lose one and you could be out of a championship. It's that important every game and it's the team that can maintain that level that always wins the league every year."

Fresh off a loss to St. Paul's School only 24 hours earlier, no one could blame Thayer if they began this tilt a bit flat. But it was quite the opposite. The Tigers opened strong, controlling the opening 18 minutes by working the puck inside the Arrows' zone and keeping St. Sebastian's out of theirs.

For its reward, Thayer scored three times in span of 4:32 during the opening stanza.

Defenseman Steve Cochrane got things started by ripping a shot just a few feet in front of his blue line to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 4:20. Less than two minutes later, Kyle Peterson, another defenseman, wristed a rebound to an open right side of the net to make it a two-goal advantage. Thayer had no intentions of slowing down. Catching St. Sebastian's back on its heels a bit, the Tigers continued to instigate their quick up-the-ice strategy. Forward Lincoln Griffin made it a 3-0 game with a re-direct in front of Arrows goaltender Teddy Loughborough (20 saves), coming at 8:52.

The momentum Thayer had enjoyed during the opening frame carried into the second period. At 8:18, Neil Conway scored on a spin-around just to the right of Loughborough, upping the lead to 4-0. With their backs pushed firmly against the wall, the Arrows had a choice to make. They could either wave the towel or come back fighting. They chose the latter and, as a result, made things quite interesting.

"We did not play a good first period," Arrows coach Sean McCann said. "They were all over us and we couldn't do the things we wanted to do. We struggled moving the puck and just couldn't connect the dots going up the ice. In the second period we started to get some momentum and were making better decisions with the puck."

St. Sebastian's caught a huge break after a pair of TIgers were sent to the penalty box, giving them a 5-on-3 power play for 54 seconds. Working the puck inside Thayer's end, the Arrows sent two hard shots towards Tigers netminder Bob McGovern. The second one deflected off of McGovern's leg pad and out to junior forward Will D'Orsi, who quickly flipped a shot just under the crossbar at 13:55, putting the Arrows on the board.

"For a team as young as we are I think this was a great thing to battle like we did and compete the way we did," added McCann, whose team falls to 6-9-1 after starting the year 5-1-1. "We are a team that has to learn a lot. We have a lot of young kids playing crucial minutes for us. It's a good learning experience but I hate to use that term because nobody wants to hear about learning experiences, these kids want to win."

With time winding down in the middle frame, St. Sebastian's capitalize on a Thayer mental breakdown. With the Tigers trying to score another goal before intermission, they forgot to play defense. That allowed senior forward Corey Ronan to break out through the neutral zone and remain a full-step ahead of the defense. Skating in alone on McGovern, who opted to stay in the crease instead of coming out to challenge the puck-handler, Ronan was able to slip a shot past the senior just before the horn sounded and send the Arrows into the second intermission down by only two.

"We had a good first period," said Amonte, who played at Thayer in the late 1980s, prior to spending 16 solid seasons in the NHL. "There was a bit of lull in the second period. There was a coaching error on their second goal. We were thinking offense in the final seconds of the period when we should've been thinking protect that three-goal lead. But you are always looking for more. The way I coach, you really don't think about defense because I played forward and you are always thinking about getting that next goal.

“They made a great play and Corey Ronan is a tremendously fast player and made a great move. We also know you can't get into the box against good teams like St. Sebastian's. You have to be discipline, especially when you are already on the penalty kill and then you take another penalty. That's what hurts you."

Realizing it was now back in the hunt, St. Sebastian's drew a bit closer only a few minutes into the third. Nick Flanagan found the back of the net to cut the deficit to 4-3 at 11:01.

Suddenly, everything Thayer had built early on was now in jeopardy. Momentum had clearly shifted over to the side of the Arrows. Following Flanagan's marker, McGovern managed to fend off a couple more on-line assaults from St. Sebastian's.

But for how long?

"Our team has a good mixture of skill and work ethic," McGovern said. "Last year I don't think we won a game by more than two goals so we were dialed in the whole 54 minutes. This year we have been able to run away with some games so it is actually good for us to be in a tight game like this right up to the very end. Games like this will only help us."

The Tigers were then skating around in desperation mode, attempting to rediscover their scoring edge.

At 14:38, sophomore Christian Simeone provided it. The forward scored off a rebound to give the Tigers a little breathing space. Then, with a little less than three minutes remaining, Griffin sealed this one up with his second goal, slipping a shot between Loughborough's leg pads just before colliding with the senior. Officials awarded the goal to Griffin, stating the puck had crossed the goal line before there was impact.

"St. Sebastian's had a lot of momentum in the third period so we knew we needed to come back strong and finish," said Griffin. "The second period was probably our worst period by far. We knew we had to stick to our game plan, work hard and finish off checks. Once we started doing that again, we knew it would work out for us."