Boston High School: Connor Frazier

Recap: No. 16 Reading 8, Winchester 2

May, 15, 2013

READING, Mass. -- At 6-foot-4 and 280-pounds, Matt Comerford is obviously physically intimidating in net, but the Rockets' senior keeper is equally impressively in his ability to be a powerful vocal leader all over the field.

Instructing his fellow Rockets on and off the ball, Comerford made 16 saves to help push the defending Middlesex (Liberty) champions (14-1, 9-0) to an easy 8-2 home win over division rival Winchester (10-5, 5-5) yesterday afternoon.

“We like to make sure we are talking all the time on the field,” Comerford said. “Today we were all talking and forcing a lot of low percentage shots. I do a lot of a goalie drills in practice to work on that, but when you get in the game it is just more reaction.”

Mark Dente and Greg Connery fronted the Rockets with two goals, while teammate Conor Frazier also netted one goal and assisted three. Dente assisted an additional effort.

“We go through our reads in practice,” Frazier said. “Progressing through the reads and looking for who is open. You have to look where the first slide is coming from.”

Reading cruised away from an early second-quarter 1-1 tie prompted off an assist from Dente to teammate Andrew Bourque.

Dente eyed the offense from behind the crease and reacted quickly to a group of Rockets' cutters hitting the net to set up the 2-1 score at 10:38 in the second quarter. Dente lobbed the ball in front of Winchester goalie Henry Gjesteby, where Borque leapt into the air and swatted in the score.

Frazier drew the defense to the side of the net and worked a pass across the front of the goalie to set up a 6-1 tally by teammate Charles Colvin with 35.5 seconds left in the third-quarter. Seconds later, Colvin grabbed the next face off and worked the ball to Dente for a streak-finishing goal and a 7-1 lead.

“We have played some really tough teams and we are maturing,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said. “[Learning from] those college games over the weekend, we moved the ball well and pass pass dodged.”

The Sachems struggled to score consistently and were unable to assist a single effort.

Winchester's Gerald Nvule won the first draw of the second half and broke through two defenders to score the 1-1 equalizer at 11:38. The junior placed a heavy bounce shot underneath Comerford where it slowly rolled off him and into the back of the net.

The Sachems took 30:58 to score again, while finally tallying off an unassisted effort by Mike McGee. The sophomore ran an isolated chance from behind the net, where he reached his stick out just far enough around Comerford to finished a 7-2 tally despite being pushed down from behind.

Reading has now beaten last years' Middlesex (Liberty) co-champs three straight times, including a 9-7 road victory in April.

“Finally to be back on top with a full league win is a good feeling,” said Comerford. “I still have nightmares of the losses sophomore year and we kind of blew it last year.”

Recap: No. 13 Reading 4, No. 5 BC High 2

February, 17, 2012
READING, Mass. -- Whether they needed it or not, the Reading boys' hockey team made a rather loud statement Thursday night.

The 13th-ranked Rockets got two goals from Derek Galante, 21 saves from Evan Morelli and went a perfect 5-for-5 killing penalties to claim a 4-2 victory over No. 7 BC High at Burbank Arena.

Reading's top line of Galante, Andrew Narahara and Pat Manzi produced a terrific effort with Naraha and Manzi each collecting a pair of assists and the trio leading all four Rockets lines in an aggressive forechecking style that disrupted any offensive flow the Eagles tried to maintain, especially in the first and third periods.

"Derek just drives to the net," Reading head coach Mark Doherty said. "He's a junior and his productivity will get better and better but he's got some of the best hands on our team. If he's around the net, chances are he can capitalize as well. Narahara's just a dog. He works hard, always kills himself and is just a stable, hard-nosed kid. Manzi played with a lot of energy. He can be a little high and low but he had a lot of energy tonight. He's so important for us if he and Derek are playing north-south, its a huge asset for us."

Galante notched his first as the rebound of a Manzi shot landed right on his stick for an easy laser into an open net just 4:10 into the game. Narahara also set up the second Rockets tally, springing Mike Thomson loose at center ice seconds after Reading (12-3-5) killed off its third straight penalty. Thomson beat one defenseman and walked in for a wrist shot that gave his team a 2-0 lead.

BC High (9-5-3) came storming back in the second, matching their opponents intensity and being rewarded with goals from P.J. Johnson and Tom Besinger.

Rather than wilt under pressure, the young Rockets responded as Narahara fed Galante from behind the net for a perfect one-timer in the slot to regain the lead with 1:20 left in the second. Mike Thomson added the clincher with 5:50 to go in the game, taking a long pass off the side wall from Connor Frazier and zipping a wrist shot inside the far post.

"We usually work together really hard and when we dump it down low, we get two guys on them and always keep a third guy high and just crash the net," Galante said of his line. "That's how we get goals, we get rebounds. Both the other kids like shoot the puck and I just go to the net and get the rebounds."

The Rockets were nothing short of spectacular when it came to the task of killing penalties. Five penalties in all, two of which were strung together for a two-man down situation in the first period, all went by the boards as Reading limited to the Eagles to five total shots on net with the extra man.

All told, eight penalty killers did the dirty work for the Rockets. The quartet of Mark Dente, Robert Devaney, Matt Hagan and Andrew Lawrence handled the entire 5-on-3, while the work of Ryan Thomson, Peter Nugent, Narahara and Connor Frazier not only killed off the third but also led directly to Thomson's first-period goal.

"(The penalty kill) was successful tonight. We've been working on it a lot," Doherty said. "We've got a real good goalie as well. When he's on he's tough to beat. They all have pretty good hockey instincts and they're all gritty."

Thursday night was something of a no-lose situation for Reading. The tilt with the Eagles was listed as an exclusion game, meaning a loss wouldn't count against their record when it comes time for postseason play.

The fact that the Rockets got the win is an even bigger positive, because while it won't count toward their record, it will be in the minds of the Super 8 selection committee and will undoubtedly become a point of discussion in the Rockets favor should the need arise.

One other point Reading already had in its pocket - a Middlesex League large division championship. That is supposed to mean something, given the historic success the league's members have had in postseason play, including Reading's Super 8 championship in 2007-08.

When asked if his team merited inclusion in the prestigious tournament, Doherty felt the Rockets resume should be enough to get them in while noting that there are still plenty of games remaining that could impact a number of teams, his included.

"I hope it is (enough). I think we came back after a tough game with Arlington and we played very well. Yeah, I think it should give us some credence," he said.

"If anyone was at the Hingham game, in my eyes, it was an equal game and we missed two or three breakaways," he continued, referring to a 2-1 loss to the Harbormen on Jan. 16. "I just tell my guys to keep playing. I don’t really like getting into these discussions this early. I’d rather wait because there’s still games left to be played. But, we’ll see what they want to do in another week."

Recap: No. 23 Billerica 5, Reading 2

December, 30, 2011

READING, Mass. -- It’s been a while since No. 23 Billerica won the Ed Burns Hockey Classic, but on Thursday, the Indians finally earned the tournament crown, as they defeated the Reading Rockets, 5-2.

“This has been like the tale of two cites [because] we either play well or we play bad, and tonight we played well, so I’m happy for them,” Billerica head coach Mike Mastrullo said.

The Indians were led by junior defensemen Russ Tedford (1 G, 1 A) and senior Arthur Raposo (1 G, 1 A) as well as senior Jack Jenkins, who was responsible for setting up his team’s first three goals.

“We had a line that started as sophomores as third line, and then last year they played as a second line, and then I broke them up because we had some new talent that I thought they’d be able to compliment each other," Mastrullo said. "We did a lot more thinking then we did doing in that combination, so we switched back to Arty Raposo, Jack Jenkins and Brandon Kuzmich, and that was the difference in the game."

Despite trailing Reading by one goal in the opening period, Jenkins connected with Raposo, who netted Billerica’s first score of the evening before senior Nicholas Scarpaci beat the Rockets junior goaltender Evan Morelli (19 saves) in the second period.

The Indians extended their lead on their first shot of the third period when Tedford sailed the puck from Reading’s blue line, which bounced off the far side wall before reaching the back of the net.

“I was just trying to get it up the glass in their zone, and by the dividers, [and somehow it made it to net],” said Tedford when asked to describe his third period goal.

Reading responded nearly three minutes later when junior Connor Frazier cut right in front of the Billerica net, and beat the Indians senior goaltender Bob Bourgeois (22 saves). However, the Indians stormed back during the final eight minutes, and scored two more goals, which came off the sticks of freshman Matthew Culot and Kuzmuch to secure their third win of the season.

“Five [goals] is more than we’ve scored in the last previous four [contests],” Mastrullo said. “We changed some lines, changed things up, but I think it’s about hard work. If you followed us last year, we worked hard, and we worked as a team, and each night, someone new is going to step up, and I think that’s the story of our success. And sometimes, I think it takes them a little bit longer to get there, but it took a year and a half the last time we started to play well, so now it’s a little bit sooner.”

The Rockets Will Learn From Their Mistakes: After Thursday’s loss, Reading head coach Mark Doherty admitted that while his young team has taken their lumps, he’s confident that the Rockets will bounce back and become a better unit by season’s end.

“We’re young, [and] I think we’re going to be a lot better at the end of the year than we are right now, and again, we just have to get healthy, in my opinion," Doherty said. "We have to jam the net front to score. As you saw, they had a couple goals where kids got in tight, and just picked top corners. We’re not as adept as that as them, and could have something to do with age [because we’re a young team], but again, Billerica’s good, [and] I thought it was a pretty good hockey game overall.”

Thursday’s loss also marked the end of a three-game winning streak, which featured victories against Arlington, Wilmington and Xaverian.

“For the New Year, I just want to get healthy, try to play with a full team, and see what can happen,” Doherty said. “We know what we have to work on, and we’re going to work on it.”