Boston High School: Dale Dunbar

D2 North: Lincoln-Sudbury 2, Winthrop 1

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
WOBURN, Mass. -- Sometimes the best laid plans can often be whittled down to a certain hunch one might have. On Thursday night, Tom Pare had one and the Lincoln-Sudbury head coach decided to go with it.

Less than 24 hours before the Warriors' Division 2 North quarterfinal contest against Winthrop, Pare let his intuition take over. He adhered to a belief that his junior goaltender Derek Ashe was the right man for the job to start, what L-S hopes will be a long and magical playoff ride.

As it turned out, Pare's presumption was right on. On Friday night, Ashe was marvelously between the pipes, stopping 25 of 26 shots to lift the Warriors to a 2-1 triumph over the Vikings at Ned O'Brien Ice Rink.

No. 4 L-S (13-3-5) moves into Monday's semifinal round against top seed Beverly (a 2-1 winner over Danvers) at Chelmsford Forum at a time yet to be determined.

The victory over the Vikings marks the second in as many years for L-S in the postseason. Last year, in quarterfinal action, the Warriors won in a shootout.

"The guys stepped up and that is what it really came down to," said Pare. "We came into this rink with an attitude and everyone was ready to go. The senior leadership really stood out tonight. One player in particular is Matt Barker. He was planting kids all over the ice. He's just a top, gritty leader for us. He's just one of those kids you love having on your team. If it wasn't for guys like him we don't win this game because Winthrop is physical and have some snipers on their team."

Trailing by a goal after two periods, No. 5 Winthrop (15-6) threw everything it could on Ashe over the final frame. The Vikings fired 13 shots his way in the period but failed to notch the equalizer. With just four seconds remaining and goalie Raymond Feeley (25 saves) pulled for the extra attacker, Winthrop made a final desperation attempt on net. Defenseman Stephen Goddard positioned himself inside the blue line. As the senior waiting for traffic to convert around the crease, he then unleashed a rocket through a plethora of legs, skates and sticks. Yet somehow Ashe was able to find the puck through all the chaos, snatching it in mid-air to preserve the victory.

"After I make one save it's all about making the next save," Ashe said. "That last one was more a reaction save for me. I knew he would shoot it high because most guys shoot the puck high in high school I just kept my position and was able to tie it up."

As this one played out, the Warriors needed every ounce of energy from Ashe to pull this one out. Winthrop started this game off extremely flat. Turnovers, several in fact, inside its own zone as well as the neutral zone had the Vikings playing back on their heels for a large portion of the opening period.

In addition, the Warriors came out of the blocks looking to be physical and bounce Winthrop off its anticipated lanes.

Adding to Winthrop's misery, the Warriors jumped ahead 1-0 at 4:30 of the first after sophomore Drew Baker put back his own rebound from the short side. A few minutes later, L-S was called for a couple of penalties. However, Winthrop could not convert on either man-advantage opportunity. The Vikings were handed another power play opportunity early in the third but could not capitalize.

"We talked about coming out the gate and having a fast start but I didn't think we did that," said Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar. "But when we started getting our feet going then the body I felt things were going the other way for us. Our power play looked good but we just couldn't beat [Ashe]. Give him credit because he made some big-time saves. We had our chances but didn't capitalize and it's a tough one to swallow right now."

The Warriors went up by a pair at 3:57 of the middle period. Baker, standing inside the left circle, hoisted a shot which caromed off of Feeley's chest. The puck rolled out in front where defenseman Aiden Maron was waiting and the sophomore put his shot into the back of the net.

To the Vikings credit, the lackadaisical play witnessed early on was now behind them. Midway through the second, Winthrop was doing a much-better job getting to loose pucks, hitting their opponent back and effectively transitioning into the L-S zone. Things would finally pay off for them at 8:15 as junior Zach Deeb poked in a rebound glove-side bringing the Vikings to within a goal.

The intensity seen during the final minutes of the second by Winthrop carried into the third. Then, it was the Vikings playing the role of aggressor as they were finding open spaces to shoot the puck from. Meanwhile, L-S was playing not to lose as it tried to nurse its lead by tossing the puck into the Vikings zone on every opportunity.

With time winding down, Winthrop left nothing on the table in search for that elusive tying goal which never came.

"That was a great goaltending effort by him," Pare said. "Literally it came down to Thursday night after practice when I announced who would be the starter. Derek just mentally prepares for these type of games. We scrimmaged Wachusett Regional on Wednesday and then we had a great practice on Thursday and I just felt he earned the start tonight and I'm glad he did because he played great."

D2 North: Wilmington 4, Winthrop 2

March, 13, 2012

LOWELL, Mass. – Four years later, they’re getting another chance.

The Wilmington High boys hockey team – state finalists in 2008 – are going back to the TD Garden Sunday after defeating Winthrop, 4-2, in Monday night’s MIAA Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Arena.

Wildcat senior Dalton Rolli broke a 2-2 tie with 2:08 to play, breaking in on goal after a terrific pass from junior line-mate Cam Owens from the red line. Rolli sped past Winthrop’s last defenseman and went backhand past Viking senior goalie Steven Waites.

The Vikings (15-7-2) pulled Waites with 1:20 to play after senior Chris Leblanc got a couple good shots on Wilmington sophomore goaltender Drew Foley. But Wildcat sophomore Brendan McDonough had the last laugh, scoring on the empty net with 1:08 to play, also assisted by Owens.

Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said getting Owens – the team’s leading scorer I the regular season – room to operate and create plays was imperative to his team’s third period play.

“I thought they did a good job on him early, banging him around every time he touched the puck,” Scanlon said. “We just tried to get him to focus more on shooting the puck and moving the puck.”

For Rolli, it was the biggest moment in a long career for the high-scoring duo.

“I moved here in the fourth grade, and me and Cam have been playing together since we were in the sixth grade,” Rolli said. “Every time I play with him, it’s electric.”

Wilmington (15-4-5) took its first lead of the final period with 9:05 to play, as junior defenseman Brian Pickett found junior Jake Rogers streaking down the left wing. Rogers cut in and put a backhand behind Waites for the 2-1 lead.

Winthrop came right back, however, as senior Bobby Clewer scored just 28 seconds later. Senior Mitch Paulson ringed the far post with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, but Clewer was right there to finish off the rebound.

“I thought the character of our team came out – we answered the bell right away,” Viking head coach Dale Dunbar said.

Winthrop had its best chance to go ahead with 2:45 to play, as Clewer set up senior Drayton Chasteen for a 10-foot shot to Foley’s left. Foley made the stop, and 37 seconds later, the Wildcats were ahead for good.

Despite being out-shot 10-6 in the first period, Winthrop went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead at the first intermission thanks to a goal by Leblanc. Sophomore Dan Eruzione kept an attempted clearance in the attacking zone and got the puck to Leblanc, who beat a Wildcat defenseman and lifted a backhander past Foley for the 1-0 lead.

The finish, and his performance throughout the night, showed why Leblanc will be missed by Winthrop next season.

“Chris Leblanc’s a real special player,” Dunbar said. “He’s a great leader. He’s a great kid, very well respected. His skill set is very high, and if he continues to commit himself on and off the ice, he can have a nice career in front of him.”

The Wildcats finally broke through at 10:16 of the second. Senior Frank Cerbone’s shot from the point was blocked, but sophomore Luke Foley was in the right spot at the edge of the right circle to shovel the loose puck past Waites.

Wilmington kept up the pressure for the rest of the period, but a couple fine defensive plays by Viking senior Adam Lundberg kept the Wildcats at bay.

Scanlon admitted that Winthrop’s trap gave his team some trouble in the early going.

“It took us a while to unlock it, but once we did, I thought we played pretty good. We got some good chances,” Scanlon said. “Our goal was to get pucks to the net. They hadn’t been scored on the whole tournament.”

Indeed, Waites had gone 160 minutes in the postseason without allowing a goal before Luke Foley struck.

“You don’t get here without goaltending,” Dunbar said. “That’s the position you have to have on the back end, and Waitesy was there for us. He shut the door an awful lot during this (tournament); he hadn’t even given up a goal until this game.”

But it is Wilmington that is moving on to try and get the trophy that eluded its grasp four years ago (the Wildcats lost to Sandwich, 1-0). To do so, they will have to beat a Franklin (19-2-3) team that looked impressive in Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Mansfield in the Division 2 South championship.

The Panthers played in the Division 2 state championship game last year as well, losing to Wilmington’s arch rival Tewksbury, 2-1.

“I’m sure it left a bad taste in their mouth, and to come back again is quite an accomplishment,” Scanlon said.

D2 North: Winthrop, Wilmington to meet in final

March, 7, 2012
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The fans who head to the Tsongas Center for the Division 2 North finals on Monday night might want to be prepared to be there for a while. And for good reason because the goaltending matchup that is now set to happen has the potential to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Winthrop’s Steven Waites pitched his third shutout in as many games on Tuesday, this one propelling his Vikings to a dominating 6-0 win
over NEC North rival Saugus at the Chelmsford Forum.

The Vikings, the No. 10 seed, will meet Wilmington as the Wildcats rode their own hot goaltender – Drew Foley – to a 2-0 win over North Andover in the first semifinal tilt on Tuesday.

For Winthrop, it was their second win in three tries over the Sachems this season and showed that they are playing perhaps their best hockey of the season.

“The thing is that we’re just now hitting our stride and getting better,” Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We were able to get everyone in and to let them feel a part of a win like this is nice.”

The Vikings have now beaten Tewksbury, Boston Latin and the Sachems by a combined 11-0 score as Waites has not allowed a goal in 125 minutes of tournament play.

“When he’s on and focused, Steve is as good as anyone,” Dunbar said. “And to go three games in the tournament without giving up a goal says a lot about our defense. We pride ourself on how we play in our own end of the ice.”

This one really wasn’t as close as the 6-0 score as the Vikings forced Saugus into mistake after mistake with the puck, many of them turning into odd-man rushes and goals on Sachem keeper Nick Hegarty.

“We simply turned the puck over way too much,” Saugus head coach Jeff Natalucci said. “And Winthrop will make you pay for every mistake that you make. And they made us pay every time.”

It took only four and a half minutes for the Vikings to get on the scoreboard as Jake McKinnon followed a Mike Paulson shot and slid the rebound home before he went crashing feet first into the boards.

Moments later, Winthrop was on the power play and looking for more offense. And they got it when Chris LeBlanc fed Mitch Paulson for the senior’s 10th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead after one.

“We wanted to come out fast and when you score that first goal, you get your legs under you and it gets the confidence up,” Dunbar said.

Saugus showed some flashes of its offense early in the second and it resulted in an interference penalty on Adam Lundberg at the 1:22 mark. Instead of it beign a chance for Saugus to make things interesting, the next 62 seconds turned the game into a rout.

Jimmy Barker forced a turnover along the left halfwall, sending LeBlanc and Dan Eruzione on a 2-on-1 against Hegarty. LeBlanc made a perfect pass and Eruzione slid the puck home for a 3-0 lead just 100 seconds into the middle stanza.

Less than a minute later, Matt Todisco picked off a pass and beat HEgarty clean on a break and the Vikings were suddenly up 4-0.

“Those two shorthanded goals were just a killer,” Natalucci said. “We had some chances there at the start of the second and then we made mistakes that cost us.”

Waites then went about snuffing out Saugus’ hopes as he made three stellar saves late in the period to keep it a 4-0 game after two.

The Vikings put the game away at 2:52 of the third when Chris Page snapped a shot over Hegarty’s shoulder. Just 55 seconds later, LeBlanc tipped home Lundberg’s shot on a power play to cap the scoring.

“We have talent and chemistry and that’s something that’s hard to find,” Dunbar said. “We have a lot of unselfish guys.”

For the second time in as many games, Drew Foley shut down one of the top offenses in the Cape Ann League as the Wildcats earned a third straight win over former rivals from the CAL.

The game was scoreless until the final minutes of the first period when Cam Owens blew a shot past Joel Daccord on a power play for a 1-0 Wilmington lead.

Foley then zoned in and snuffed out the Scarlet Knights offense. He stopped 25 shots in all, including nine in the third period when North Andover was pressing for the equalizer.

Jake Rogers’ empty net goal with under 20 seconds left put the game away for the Wildcats.

D2 North: Winthrop, Saugus to meet in semi

March, 3, 2012
WOBURN, Mass. -- A trip to Woburn's O'Brien Arena for a pair of Div. 2 North quarterfinal round tilts told two very different tales and resulted in a pair of very familiar rivals setting up for a showdown in Tuesday's semifinals:

Enduring heavy pressure from a Boston Latin team well aware that it's season was on the line, Winthrop's senior goalie Steven Waites had to stare down the barrel of dangerous Wolfpack sniper Conal Lynch not once, but twice, with under a minute and a half to play.

Lynch managed to get a pair of great looks from the slot, one off a faceoff and the other at the end of a scramble for possession. Both times, Waites got himself in position to make the stops, letting each shot scream into his chest and securing the win for his Vikings in the process.

"It was nerve-wracking," Waites admitted afterward. "My team definitely played great in front of me and I just had to do the best I could and be solid out there and just try to win the game and we did."

Dan Eruzione staked the Vikings (14-6-2) to an early lead after linemate Chris Leblanc made a great hustle play to keep possession. Leblanc blocked a Boston Latin (15-3-4) clearing attempt just outside the blue line and worked the puck back into the zone along the left wing boards.

While battling with a pair of defenders, Leblanc spied Eruzione flying through the zone and pushed a soft pass forward to the sophomore. Eruzione turned and fired a shot from a tough angle, but the puck snuck through just inside the far post at 2:32 of the first.

"It was communication," Leblanc explained. "I heard Danny call for a chip and we’re good with that. We communicate well. I just tried to throw it in the middle and I got it to him and he did the rest."

Added Eruzione, "Chris did a real nice job down low, forechecked the hell out of their defenseman and found me really nice off the wall and I just found the back of the net. More luck than anything but I found it."

From there, the Vikings settled into their trap and the four-man defensive corps led by Mike Paulson teamed up with Waites to shut down several strong scoring chances for the Wolfpack.

"Defense wins championships. I know its cliche but its true and we pride ourselves on team defense," Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. "I think our goals against is maybe under two and it’s been like that for a long time because we pride ourselves on knowing that, if you want to be a playoff team, you have to play good in your own end. Offense comes from defense and I thought we got away from it in the second period so I wanted to make sure our mindset was five in the house, make sure we’re sacrificing our body, chip pucks out, and just be on the right side of pucks and we did."

While goals were hard to come by in the early game, the Sachems had little trouble putting the pedal to the metal. Saugus scored five times in the first period, twice shorthanded, and were able to maintain its lead for the win.

"We've got our edge back a little bit," Sachems head coach Jeff Natalucci said. "Last year at this time of the year, we were playing with an edge and I really feel like we've got it back. We could have easily packed it in the other night down 3-1 and quit [an eventual 5-4 overtime win over Beverly]. The other night was a huge win for us to build off. We're playing together. All three lines are going hard, our D are playing hard and we're just playing well as a group."

Given the fact that these two teams met 11 days ago and battled to a 0-0 tie in the Newburyport Bank Classic, with Saugus winning in a shootout, the first-period offensive eruption would seem a bit surprising. Natalucci has been imploring his team to get out of the gates quicker, and was hoping the comeback against Beverly would carry over.

Kurt Rodrigues notched a hat trick and added a pair of assists, Saige Tait score twice and Drew Oxley had a goal and two helpers. Rodrigues and Tait each scored twice in the first period, and both had shorthanded tallies on the same penalty kill. Nick Taylor scored the other Saugus goal.

In particular, it's been the Sachems top line of Rodrigues, Oxley and freshman Anthony Cieri leading the way in a stretch of four wins over the team's last five games.

"I've played with Drew my whole life," Rodrigues said when asked about his line. "He's one of the best passers in the league and we always connect on those two-on-ones. Our freshman Anthony Cieri's playing real well. He's come along good in the playoffs. It's just clicking for us at the right time."

LeBlanc, Scarfo lead Winthrop in rout

February, 10, 2011
WINTHROP, Mass. -- Dale Dunbar and his Winthrop Vikings might not have been trying to send a message with its 9-0 win over Peabody (9-3-3) on Wednesday night at Larsen Rink, but the rest of the Northeastern Conference North division is probably paying very close attention to it.

The Vikings (9-2-4) scored two or more goals in every period and extended their unbeaten streak to 11, as they have gone 9-0-2 in that span.

“I don’t know if we are looking to be sending messages as much as we want to make sure that we are not getting ahead of ourselves,” said Dunbar, whose team has already cinched a tournament spot. “We just want to make sure we are focused on each opponent.”

Chris LeBlanc and Joseph Scarfo each had two goals and an assist, while five other Vikings notched a goal in the game.

The Tanners were without their No. 1 goalie Derek Savage because of disciplinary reasons, and the Vikings made sure to pepper the inexperience in between the pipes. The Vikings outshot the Tanners, 12-4, in the period and LeBlanc scooped up a loose puck, turned and wristed a shot past Joe Powers five minutes into the first period.

Scarfo would get his first on the power-play 1:01 later off a nice series of passes from Ryan McKinnon and LeBlanc.

The Tanners picked up the hitting in the period to try and slow down the Winthrop rushes, but the Vikings struck right back and kept the dominant play moving into the second period.

Bobby Clewer made a strong rush to the net and Chris Page made a heads up move to trail the play and collect the loose puck to push the lead to 3-0 at 9:35 of the second.

Matt Todisco’s first attempt at a break up the right side was stoned by Powers, but his persistence on the next trip down the ice resulted differently as he snapped a shot by the sophomore with 2:14 left in the period.

The two goals were a nice addition to the scoreboard, but it was the Vikings ability to force the Tanners into mistakes in their own end and immediately fire shots back on net that helped them keep control of the game.

“One of our adjustments was making sure the third man high was back,” said Dunbar, whose team outshot the Tanners, 35-10. “Peabody likes to stretch the zone wide. They like to switch ice and spring a guy, but they weren’t able to do it tonight. Every pass that was coming towards the middle we were there in position.”

The Vikings popped home five goals on 13 shots in the final period, while holding the Tanners — mostly reserves — to one shot in the period.

Tyler Pettee, Clewer and Mitch Paulson all recorded goals in the third period.

The loss of Savage came at a bad time for Mark Leonard against a hot Vikings team, and the Tanners’ chances of a repeat North division crown could be dwindling, as the top-goalie will miss the next game against Beverly.

However, the Tanners have already clinched a tournament spot, so the pressures of missing Savage won’t be detrimental to a postseason run.

“It’s just one of those nights,” said Leonard, whose team beat the Vikings 3-1 earlier in the year. “Winthrop was on from the start tonight.

“You really need a full team to compete against a team like that.”

No. 23 Peabody opens title defense with win

December, 16, 2010

PEABODY, Mass. -- After raising their 2009-10 Northeastern Conference championship banner to the rafters, it took a while for Peabody High hockey’s title defense to swing into full gear Tuesday night.

The No. 23 Tanners were out-shot (14-5) and out-played through the first period by league rival Winthrop. However, Peabody goaltender Derek Savage rode out the storm and his team went to the break in a scoreless tie.

Although the Vikings got on the board first during the second period, the Tanners stepped up their forecheck and asserted their physical brand of play while scoring the next three goals and taking a 3-1 win in a chippy season-opener.

“They definitely had us back on our heels to start there,” Peabody head coach Mark Leonard said. “But as the game wore on, our forecheck picked up and I thought we had the better of the play in the third.

“I challenged them after the first period. I wasn’t happy and neither were they.”

Winthrop (0-1-1, 0-1-0) broke the stalemate midway through the second period when Chris Leblanc fired a one-timer that trickled through Savage’s pads and barely snuck past the goal line. Joseph Scarfo had the assist.

The Tanners (1-0-0) responded little more than a minute later on Ryan Noftle’s goal set up by Tom Marmiani and Tommy Burns.

“That’s been our problem, we’re not capitalizing on our chances, especially early in the game,” Vikings head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We’re letting teams hang around. I thought they did a nice job with their physical presence, taking us off pucks and changing the momentum of the game.”

Marmiani got on the score sheet again, netting what would prove the game-winning goal 2:36 into the third period. He banged home the rebound off a shot from the point by defenseman Eric Muise.

“He told us to keep working hard, get everything to the net, play the body and play physical,” Marmiani said of Leonard’s message to the team at the first intermission.

Peabody added an insurance marker later in the third on the power play. Connor Purcell knocked home a rebound with assists going to Nico Manganiello and Muise, who picked up his second point of the night while contributing steady play on the Tanners’ specialty units.

Meanwhile, the defense tightened in front of Savage, limiting chances. The senior netminder finished with 25 saves while earning the win.

“It was a great game, as it always is against those guys,” Leonard said. “We’re very evenly matched and we knew that one play here or there could make the difference in the game. There weren’t many mistakes, it was just a hard-fought game both ways.”

  • Winthrop caused fits for Peabody in its own end early on with an aggressive and effective forecheck. The Vikings swarmed to Tanners puckcarriers, flooding one side of the ice. “When we swung the puck around, they almost had three guys there,” Leonard explained. “So we made an adjustment to bring our winger down lower and that really got them chasing us deep. That helped us a little bit. We really just picked up our intensity and we got some momentum.”
  • The Tanners ventured onto the ice for the first time in 2010-11, a new look team without last year’s potent top line of Andrew Bucci, Matt Rodgers and Derrik Pereira, who scored more than two-thirds of their goals last year. While Leonard realizes his team might not have a plethora of pretty goals like last year, he’s been preaching for his players to take care of business in front of the net to pick up the slack. “There aren’t a lot of goals left in that locker room,” Leonard quipped. “We work a lot on rebounds and crashing the net. That’s how we got a couple of our goals today.” Through one game, mission accomplished.
  • Winthrop, which opened with a 3-3 tie against No. 16 Wilmington on Monday, saw much of the same in game No. 2. Had the Vikings cashed in on some of their opportunities, they might be sitting pretty with two wins right now. It’s clear the Vikings are a talented team with Leblanc and defenseman Jake Rand exhibiting some eye-popping talent against Peabody. It just comes down to execution. “I don’t want to keep saying it’s early in the year,” Dunbar said. “These are huge games, in my eyes, they’re four-point games, especially early in the season.” Odds are they’ll be right there with Peabody in the thick of the Northeastern race.