Boston High School: Cody Crocker

MIAA hockey championships primer, picks

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
7:24
PM ET
All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA hockey 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 prediction:

GIRLS’ FINALS Division 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-0-1) vs. No. 7 Falmouth (16-4-1), 11 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: If the Dragons win this game, they make a strong argument that they were the strongest girls’ hockey team in the state, regardless of division, with the potential for an undefeated season. As any strong hockey squad goes, the Dragons are built from goal out with sophomore goaltender Rachel Myette (0.91 GAA) looks for her second state title in as many seasons as starter. Duxbury’s blue line corps is regarded as the deepest in the state, led by ESPN Boston Ms. Hockey contender Martha Findley (4-19-23). Of course, Duxbury has plenty of offensive firepower to go along with their strong defensive play with junior forwards Hannah Murphy (18-27-45) and Lily Connolly (18-20-38) as leading scorers. Falmouth has been one of the stories of the tournament, making a run behind first-year head coach Erin Blood. The Clippers have also received strong play from a young goaltender in freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.26 GAA). Falmouth is also deep and experienced on the blue line with senior captain Brenna Callahan and junior Alexx Good. The Clippers have received scoring punch from a pair of freshman forwards in Kelly Ferreira (13-9-22) and Madison Haberl (11-12-23).

The Pick: The defending Division 2 champion Dragons spent half the season as the No. 1 team in our poll. We’re not about to go against them now. Duxbury, 4-1.

Division 1 No. 3 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (21-3-1) vs. No. 4 Arlington Catholic (20-3-1), 9 a.m.
The Breakdown: If two regular season meetings between these Central Catholic powers weren’t enough, we get a rubber match for all the marbles on Sunday. The Lady Spartans came away with two wins in the teams’ regular season series, including a defining 5-2 decision by St. Mary’s on Feb. 1 after they’d been upset by crosstown rival Winthrop/Lynn. Can’t underscore the coaching in this game enough, as Frank Pagliuca has turned in perhaps his finest performance behind the bench and Maggie Taverna has vaulted the Cougars back onto the state’s biggest stage in Year One. Taverna has been helped by one of the state’s most dynamic scorers in senior Natalie Flynn (19-15-34). Adrieana Rossini (8-14-22) has also come up with some huge postseason goals. On the blue line, AC has one of the state’s best in senior Rebecca Zappala. First-year transfers Kaleigh Finigan (30-goal season) and Brittani Lanzilli (25-28-53) have not disappointed while Alison Butler (team-leading 61 points) has taken a huge step forward. The Spartans blue line is airtight with preseason All-Stater Rachel Donahoe leading the group. Lauren Skinnion (7 SO) has been strong as a first-year starter in nets.

The Pick: Third time’s a charm? Not so. Spartans are too strong. St. Mary’s, 4-2.

BOYS’ FINALS Division 3
Medway (19-6-1) vs. Hudson (21-1-1), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: This marks the return of one of the state’s great public hockey programs to its biggest stage in Hudson (seriously, look it up), with the Hawks making their first state finals appearance since 1978, when they took the Div. 1 title from Burlington. The Central sectional champions are strong up front with a trio of 30-point scorers in seniors Tyler Kirby, Tim Murphy and Blake Seymour. The Mustangs are paced by one of the state’s top snipers in Jake O’Rourke (43-13-56). This matchup will also feature two of most dominant D3 goalies in the state with Hudson junior Shane Barry and Medway junior Mike Narducci facing off with sub-2.00 goals against averages.

The Pick: We’re going with the storyline and perhaps the most consistent D3 team throughout the season. Hudson, 3-2.

Division 2 Wilmington (15-4-5) vs. No. 1 Franklin (19-2-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Breakdown: This might be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Both of these teams were among four Division 2 teams on the Mass. Hockey Coaches Association’s initial Super 8 Watch list a month ago and haven’t disappointed in the tournament. Franklin was here a year ago, when they had their hearts broken by Tewksbury in an overtime stunner. Many observers, including us, had last season pegged as the Panthers’ opportunity to break a nearly three-decade long drought, but Chris Spillane has showed why he’s one of the state’s premier coaches. It also hasn’t hurt that Franklin has received tremendous senior seasons from Adam Hall (17-25-42) and Nick Bertoni (25-15-40). Sophomore netminder Mike Donadio (1.64 GAA) has been a revelation. The Wildcats offense has taken off since Cam Owens’ (14-19-33) return to the lineup, while senior captain Dalton Rolli (9-16-25) is an underrated two-way presence. Junior forward Jake Rogers (12-6-20) has come up with some timely goals in the postseason. Sophomore netminder Drew Foley (1.69 GAA) has played his best when it’s counted most, carrying a three-plus game shutout streak into the Wildcats’ North sectional final with Winthrop.

The Pick: The last time the Panthers hoisted the trophy Coach Spillane skated. Unfortunately for the hockey hotbed, this isn’t the year either. Wilmington, 2-1 (OT).



Division 1 Burlington (17-2-6) vs. Milton (19-3-3), 8:15 p.m.
The Breakdown: The Red Devils pulled off a tough feat, bouncing back from a Super 8 play-in game loss (and a very competitive one at that) to pull themselves into the D1 championship. The Middlesex League champions have plenty of speed to burn, and senior assistant captain Trevor Cimino (17-22-39) is about as good a two-way forward as you’ll find. Along with Joe Berardi (22-13-35), Brett Romkey (17-3-20) and C.J. Grinnell (6-14-20), Burlington can score in piles. We’ve also come away impressed by their defensive corps led by Steve Mattos, in addition to Cody Crocker, Adam Crowley and Brien Diffley. The Wildcats ran the Bay State League gauntlet in the South sectional tournament to get to the Garden. Paul Curran (26-33-59) is one of the best pure scorers in the state, and along with top-liners Brian Higgins (23-29-52) and Terrance Walsh (16-33-49), Milton provides matchup problems. Blue-liner John Murtagh is a rock, logging boatloads of ice time, and senior netminder Jay Hankard is peaking at the right time

The Pick: Red Devils are simply too potent, but they’re the pick mostly because of the way they’re playing defensively right now in front of Derek DeCastro. Burlington, 6-3.

Division 1A No. 5 BC High (13-6-5) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (19-1-4), 6 p.m.
The Breakdown: After beating another Catholic Conference rival, St. John’s Prep, to advance to the final, Eagles head coach John Flaherty said he’s had a special feeling about this group. That feeling might have developed after BC High skated to a 2-2 tie with MC on Jan. 25, a game in which the Eagles in some regards out-played the Lancers. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with MC taking two wins, including a 3-1 win in the Super 8’s round robin last week. The crucible for BC High is which of their defensive units shows up: The out-of-sorts group that surrendered a 7-spot earlier this season to MC, or the cohesive group that bounced Prep and its top line? Of course, that all starts with junior goaltender Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA), who has turned in another solid tournament. Brian Furey leads a much improved blue-line group. The Eagles are also disciplined in their own zone, with Matt Sullivan (12-16-28) providing as much defensively as he does offensively. Everyone knows of the Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, but freshman center Ara Nazarian has been the breakout star of the tournament, filling the scoresheet in every game and tallying five goals. It’s not just offense with MC, however, as you’d be hard pressed to find a deeper, more dynamic top three than Casey Fitzgerald, Colin MacGillivray and Brendan White. If netminder Connor Maloney plays as he did against Central Catholic in the crossover round, that’s game, set, and match.

The Pick: Doin’ it for CS5. MC, 5-3.

D1 North final: Burlington 4, Wakefield 2

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
2:00
AM ET


LOWELL, Mass. -- The quandary for Burlington entering Monday’s Division 1 North sectional title game was how to yet again beat Wakefield senior goaltender Joe Cerulo.

So Red Devils head coach Bob Conceison took a novel approach to the problem. To simulate the lack of holes into against the Warriors’ big netminder, Conceison had two goaltenders in net during practice in each of the last three days.

“Cerulo’s a big boy and a great goalie,” Burlington senior forward Trevor Cimino said. “We got him moving side-to-side, which is exactly what we wanted to do.”

The Red Devils’ unconventional target practice, along with their blazing team speed and some power-play production, helped them to a 4-2 victory over Wakefield. It was Burlington’s first victory of the season over their Middlesex League rivals after the teams skated to a pair of ties in the regular season.

“We knew we could outskate them,” said Cimino, who finished with a goal and two assists. “The two first two matchup we played were in smaller rinks, but this is a huge ice surface, a college ice surface, so we knew we could use our speed to go around them.”

Burlington (17-2-6) dominated play from the get-go, outshooting the Warriors, 14-2.

The Red Devils also took a 1-0 lead to the room at the first intermission after sophomore Joe Scali popped in his first goal of the season. Joe Moran and Dan Metzdorf picked up helpers as Burlington got production out of its third line.

“We’re a three- line team and all three lines contributed tonight,” Conceison added.

Cimino, who had a strong game in all three zones, then had a hand in each of the Red Devils’ next three goals.

First, the assistant captain set up linemate Brett Romkey for his 18th of the season. Cimino then lent an assist to C.J. Grinnell’s wrist shot snipe, which came from inside the left wing circle and found a sliver of daylight above Cerulo’s shoulder and underneath the crossbar at 12:38 of the season.

Cimino finished his three-point night by getting a stick on Grinnell’s point blast on the power play. It was Burlington’s second goal on the man-advantage of the evening while going 2-for-5 overall.

FROM YOUR OWN END OUT
Wakefield (12-7-6) showed some late life, however, nixing Derek DeCastro’s shutout bid in the third. Eddie Matthews stuck on the power play at 9:37 of the third before Kevin Doherty picked up his second point of the game with a goal at 13:11.

But Burlington had simply controlled too much of the play, in addition to strong effort from the Red Devils’ defensemen in front of DeCastro.

“I thought our defense played really well,” Conceison said. “[Steve] Mattos and [Adam] Crowley and [Cody] Crocker, they were all really, really solid.”

END OF THE ROAD
Warriors head coach Derek Edgerly was effusive in praise of his squad.

While admitting that he thought last season might have been the Warriors’ prime chance at a state championship (losing to Marshfield, which came from behind in last year’s title game), Edgerly’s third trip to a section final game in six years as Wakefield’s boss was an accomplishment in itself.

And it was in no small part due to the efforts of a couple of his senior leaders.

“Joe [Cerulo] is one of the best kids I’ve ever had and Kevin Doherty is one of the nicest kids and one of the best forwards I’ve ever seen.”

RE-FOCUSING
It’s often easy for Super 8 play-in game losers to fall victim to early-round upsets, but credit the Red Devils for collecting themselves and making a run to the Garden regardless.

Cimino gave credit to his teammates in their renewed conviction.

“Who wouldn’t want to be in the Super 8, you know?” Cimino said of the experience. “But, after that, we took a pact with each other that we’ll go all the way now. We said we’re the best team in this tournament and we’re going to the Garden. And now we did it.”

And now the Red Devils have the biggest game of their season ahead with a matchup with South sectional champion Milton at the TD Garden on Sunday.

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