Boston High School: Christopher Surrette

BILLERICA, Mass. -- Wakefield boys’ hockey head coach Derek Edgerly couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he knew he had something special with this year’s team. Granted, having just five seniors and 12 sophomores on a varsity team doesn’t often inspire visions of postseason glory, but he knew they had it.

“I knew these kids had it from day one,” Edgerly said. “I don’t know what it was about them.”

The Warriors proved their coach to be right, toppling top-seeded St. Mary’s of Lynn, 4-3, completing a surprising run to the Division 1 North championship Saturday night at Chelmsford Forum.

And it was one of its younger members that put Wakefield (14-6-4) over the top. Second-year forward Kyle Leone, who had two goals in the entirety of the regular season, had a career game with a hat trick, including the game-winning tally in the third period.

However, it was not done without another stellar performance between the pipes from junior Joe Cerulo. St. Mary’s outshot Wakefield, 38-20, for the game, but the Warriors netminder repeatedly frustrated the Spartans’ snipers with highlight reel stop after the next.

“I thought all our guys played well tonight,” St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said. “They were tenacious and, most of the game, they dominated.

“The story of the game was their goaltender, but I think we did everything we need to do to be successful to win today. They got it done when they had to and when we had to put the puck in the net, they didn’t let us.”

Wakefield was out of the gate first, scoring 3:12 in with Brett Buckley tipping in Kevin Doherty’s point shot in front. The Warriors were on the board again just 35 seconds later with Leone tallying his first of the night, putting back a rebound off of a John Sartell shot.

The Spartans (14-5-3) regained a degree of momentum, carrying play for the final half of the period and outshooting the Warriors, 12-9. St. Mary’s cut the lead to one on Christopher Surrette’s first of the game with 6:08 remaining in the first.

Surrette tied the game two minutes into the second, squeezing one through Cerulo’s arm, for his second goal of the game.

Wakefield came back to answer with 3:33 remaining in the period, with Leone netting his second of the game, again coming off a rebound. Alec Brown and Andrew Finocchio had the assists.

Once again, St. Mary’s responded when Julian Yourawski snuck one in from the behind the net on a wraparound with 1:24 to play in the second.

However, the night belonged to Leone and he put Wakefield on top for good 38 seconds into the third, with Spartans netminder Donald Hesse experiencing déjà vu all over again, on a rebound put back.

“I just saw it, hit it and it was in the net,” Leone said of the game-winner.

While the Warriors shocked the hockey world, they also may have surprised themselves.

“Coming into this season I knew we were a very young team, but I never thought we’d make it this far,” Cerulo said. “But I’m very proud of my team because it was a good overall team effort.”
HINGHAM, Mass. -- If the Hingham boys’ hockey team is to make another run at a Super Eight title when the 2010-11 season is said and done, you can go ahead and circle Feb. 5 as the date the Harbormen turned things around.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup at Pilgrim Skating Arena against No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn, Hingham was trying to regain measure of momentum. Ever since their upset of Malden Catholic on Jan. 15, the seventh-ranked Harbormen had hit a rough patch, going 0-3-1 in their last four contests.

Again, Hingham fell behind against St. Mary’s and, despite battling back twice to tie the game, trailed with less than five minutes remaining. That’s when they regained their scoring touch, tying the score once again on Ryan Linehan’s power play strike, then potting the game-winner with 49 seconds to go on Alex Pompeo’s wrister, his second of the game. Tim Driscoll’s empty-net, short-handed goal iced it, giving a Hingham an emotional 5-3 win.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Pompeo, a senior defenseman and team co-captain. “We’ve been in a little bit of a slump and they’re definitely a Super Eight team, or close to it. This was just absolutely huge for us.”

Hingham (7-4-4) stopped their skid with a little help from their power play unit. The Harbormen took advantage on three of seven man-advantage situations.

“We’d been struggling on the power play lately and we’ve been struggling all season to score goal,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “Every game’s been a grind.”

Their latest battle was no different as St. Mary’s (9-2-3), which returned to game action after a 10-day layoff, pressed play in the first period. Bobby Mullins picked up where he left off, tallying his 12th goal of the season with 7:11 remaining in the first. Hingham tied the game 7:21 into the second period with their first of three power play goals on Matt Hughes’ wraparound.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 until a wild third period.

The Spartans regained the lead on Cam Kennedy’s slapper through a screen with 7:20 remaining. Pompeo drew the Harbormen even once again on a goal assisted by Steve Bellew and Linehan via a 5-on-3 power play chance with 5:07 left.

Once again, St. Mary’s forged ahead with Tommy Braswell’s goal off an offensive zone face-off win by Christopher Surrette with the teams playing 4-on-4. Linehan tied the game, 3-3, while falling backward and depositing the rebound from Hughes’ wrist shot.

Pompeo tallied the game-winner with 49.4 seconds on the clock with assists from Bellew and Linehan.

Predictably, the Spartans didn’t go quietly with several quality chances in the waning seconds. With goaltender Donald Hesse pulled, St. Mary’s was playing 6-on-4 with an attack zone face off after a Hingham player was sent to the box with 10 seconds remaining. The draw came to the left of Harbormen netminder Kevin Granatino (who also stopped a St. Mary's penalty shot try by Connor Parent in the second) with Driscoll inside the circle. Messina entrusted the winger to take the face off, citing his strong hands. The senior co-captain and Holy Cross commit won the draw cleanly, lofting the puck on the backhand toward the vacated St. Mary’s goal. The puck trickled past the goal line with 4.3 to go.

Then and only then could the Harbormen celebrate an important victory.

“This type of game, coming from behind, even though they were power plays goals, it’s got to give them some confidence,” Messina said. “We’ve been trying to find something to grab onto while we’ve been struggling.”

He continued: “To come out and pull out a win in this situation, maybe that’s something we can build upon going down the road, at least I hope so.”

With power plays a factor (the Spartans were 0-for-4 on their chances), St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said it was only a matter of time before the Harbormen took off.

“What hurt us today was taking some penalties, you can’t beat a team like that short-handed. We just took a couple too many, especially at the end of the game.

“The odds are against you, they’re bound to score in those situations.”

Or maybe luck had finally just swung Hingham’s way.

“We haven’t had in the longest time,” Messina said, “but you also make your own luck in this game. We tell the kids that you’ve got to take and off-angle shot, you’ve got to look for rebounds, tough goals. We like dirty goals as much as the pretty ones, but we hadn’t been getting either. Today we did.”