Boston High School: Dan Curran

D1 boys' final: Burlington 6, Milton 2

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
3:00
AM ET


BOSTON – Dirty is a beautiful word.

At least it was to Burlington.

The Red Devils kept their game on the gritty side – in a clean sort of way – and wound up with their first Division 1 state championship, following their 6-2 triumph over Milton, Sunday, at TD Garden.

“It's the best,” said Burlington junior goalie Derek DeCastro. “We just won Division I state championship. I wouldn't ask for anything more, right now. And it's the best group of guys to do it with, too.”

Senior defenseman Steve Mattos agreed wholeheartedly.

“It means everything,” he said. “There's nothing better than a Division I state championship. It's a great program. Great people. We do the right thing.”

What they did best against Milton was keep it hard and simple.

Skate the lane, crash hard to the cage, finish the chance.

The Red Devils did all of the above and reaped the reward.

“With all shots,” said senior forward Brian Hood, who scored twice for Burlington, “keep them low and just drive the net. See if you can get some rebounds. Games like this are always dirty. Both teams going as hard as they can.”

The Red Devils led 1-0 after the first period and 3-1 after the second.

Hood struck for Burlington at the 1:31 mark, after jetted down the right wing in search of his own rebound, then and popped it past Milton goalie Jay Hankard (25 stops).

“It came off the goalie's pad,” said Hood. “I had to finish that. Right on the doorstep.”

The Wildcats missed out on a chance to tie the game at 10:31, when Dan Curran blew past a pair of defenders, but was thwarted by DeCastro (25 saves).

Brett Romkey made it 2-0 at 3:13 of the second, when he drove hard to the net down the right side, then sliced a backhander inside the near post.

The Red Devils seemed ready to pull away when, at 8:24, Adam Crowley took Joe Moran's right side centering feed and parked a 12-footer.

“We get to be a little too finesse at times,” Burlington head coach Bob Conceison said. “I felt like in a hot rink, if you can beat the guys to the
outside and get the pucks to the net, things can happen. And it happened.”



However, Milton began creating scoring chances of itself, and was able to work itself back into contention.

At 11:45, Mike Davis stole the puck in the Burlington zone but was beaten by DeCastro from point blank range.

But at 12:57, the Wildcats finally broke through, when Brendan Kelley's centering feed from behind the net found Lloyd Hill in the slot. Hill pulled the trigger and his tally gave Milton new life heading into the third period.

“I told our team,” said Milton senior defenseman Dan Curran, “'there's plenty of time.”

Hankard kept the Wildcats within reach with a huge glove save on Trevor Cimino on a power play just 40 seconds into the final stanza.

However, Burlington soon scored twice more, beginning with Dan McMahon's tally at 1:16, to put the game away.

“I don't want to say that took the wind out of our sails,” said Curran, “because we scored again. But that hurt the most.”

Milton's Brian Higgins made the margin closer, 5-2, when he deposited a wraparound at 3:47.

However, with the state title within their grasp, Burlington buckled down the rest of the way.

“To go out with your friends at the Garden,” Mattos said, “it's unexplainable how it feels.”

D1 South final: Milton 3, Natick 1

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
12:25
AM ET
BOURNE, Mass. -- Milton senior defenseman Dan Curran screamed to the rafters, which were teeming with his team’s supporters, “the Red Army is moving on, the Red Army is moving on.”

Indeed the Wildcats from Milton High School are moving on, to the TD Garden next weekend where they will play for the Division I state title.

Third-seeded Milton (19-3-2) got two goals in the first period and held back a feisty Natick (10-9-4) team yesterday at Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne, taking a 3-1 decision to capture the Division 1 south sectional title.

Curran’s twin brother Paul Curran was a big reason that Milton’s boots are still walking. The senior forward factored in all three of his team’s goals, scoring one just 10 seconds into the game and then assisting on the next two.

“It’s just something that you’ve always wanted, something you’ve dreamed about since youth hockey, senior year to be going to the Boston Garden to play for the state championship. Having all of these fans behind you, having the whole town behind, it just makes it that much better,” Paul Curran said after posing for a celebratory photograph at center ice with his teammates.

Wildcats head coach Paul Noonan said that booking the trip to the Garden is a happy surprise for his Wildcats. “I knew that we had a good team with some talent, and a lot of seniors (when the season started),” Noonan said. “It’s the best team we’ve had in a while, so I knew that we’d make at least a half decent run. But if I told you that I knew we’d be going to the Garden, I’d be a liar.”

Before the ice had finished drying from its pre-game cleaning the Wildcats were on the scoreboard. Paul Curran was sent in by Brian Higgins and punched it by Derek Kwok to set the tone for the afternoon.

“He’s a special player,” Noonan said. “He plays with his heart. He’s all passion, and he’s our leader. He makes things happen.”

The 'Cats flew around the ice and dominated the opening 15 minutes of the game, outshooting the Red & Blue by an 8-1 count. Ryan McDougall doubled the lead at 6:32 on a Frisbee from the right point that sailed through a ton of traffic and right by a completely screened Kwok. Terrence Walsh, who also assisted on the first goal, and Curran picked up the helpers.

Natick was lucky not to be down by another goal or two when they were finally able to regroup in the locker room after the period had ended. Curran just missed making it a 3-0 game with a backhander on a power play chance with 4:18 left in the stanza.

“We got an early goal there, and then we got a second one just a little while later and it’s easier to play with a two-goal lead, that made it a lot easier for us,” Noonan said.

It was during that late power play that Natick finally got a shot on goal when Andrew Newis stole the puck in the neutral zone and streaked in alone against Jay Hankard. Newis was unable to get solid wood on his shorthanded bid and the Milton keeper made the save to keep his team ahead by a pair after one.

“I can’t say enough about [Hankard],” Noonan said. “To go the whole period without seeing a shot and then the first one to be a shorthanded breakaway…he’s been awesome. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Hankard stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced in the game. During the south tourney he allowed just two goals in the three the Wildcats played.

“It’s so much better as a forward knowing you’ve got that wall behind you,” Paul Curran said. “He’s just been so good, especially in the playoffs.”

Each team scored a second period goal. Natick, which came out with much better energy after the break, cut the deficit in half at 4:17 of the second when the puck left a scrum near Hankard and found the blade of Mike Perry in the slot. The Red and Blue forward wasted no time delivering a wrister towards the net that sailed over Hankard’s left leg pad and sneaked inside the nearside post to make it 2-1.

Three minutes later Milton reclaimed the two-goal advantage. The high-scoring Higgins finished off a quick strike by the Wildcats. Milton won a faceoff outside the zone and zig-zagged the puck up the right side with Walsh feeding Curran, who slid it to Higgins in the middle. Higgins crossed over and beat Derek Kwok through the five-hole for the Cats’ third strike of the afternoon.

Neither team scored in the third period and each spent the bulk of stanza switching between their power play and penalty kill units. The game itself was riddled with penalties as 23 total infractions were cited against the teams.

One team’s dream come true was another’s nightmare. Natick had an impressive run just to be in the south title game come to a close, finishing off a season that had some very high highs and extremely low lows. Early in the season the Red and Blue were shocked when freshman Justin Bailey passed away unexpectedly. The team had an emotional season and rallied to qualify on the last day of the regular season, beginning a storybook run that had a tough ending.

“I knew that we had the talent to be here. We have the goaltender, one or two solid lines. We had suspensions, injuries, Justin dying, we had some adversity throughout the year,” Red & Blue head coach Karl Infanger said. “We definitely had the talent to be here, with a little emotional punch to get over the top. But I think it all kind of caught up with us today.”

“I give a lot of credit to Natick. That’s a good team over there and they had to take the long road to get here. They had to win their last game of the year to get into the tourney, they had to beat the same team again in the tourney, they had beat Needham, a Super 8 team. Then they had to beat Norwood, the best team in the Bay State League. I tell you, that’s a high mountain to climb. We’re fortunate to be here,” Noonan said.

D1 South: Milton 2, Braintree 0

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
11:58
PM ET


BOURNE, Mass. -- Milton punched its ticket to the MIAA Division I South regional championship game Thursday night at Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne.

Behind a 26-save effort by senior goalie Jay Hankard, the Wildcats held back a feisty Braintree team 2-0 to claim their spot in the sectional final. Milton will return to Gallo in an attempt to end Cinderella’s time at the ball on Sunday when they meet No. 9 Natick in the south finals, 1-0 winners earlier in the night over Norwood.

The second-seeded Wildcats (18-3-3) overcame a slow start to finish strongly and march on to the last line on the south bracket. Despite Braintree (14-7-3) taking it to them for most of the first two periods, the higher seed proved to be the more opportunistic of the clubs. Milton cashed in a power play chance late in the second period and then got some insurance on a transition play midway through the third, posting the only tallies on the scoreboard for the night.

“I thought that we deserved a little bit of a better fate. Obviously, Milton’s a great team, about as good as you’re going to see in the state. We knew that we had to contain them, and I believe that their first line got both of their goals,” Braintree head coach Dave Fasano said.

Indeed it was Milton’s heralded first line that did all of the damage. The unit struck first at 11:49 of the second with a power play goal. Derek Curley redirected a shot by Brian Higgins from the bottom of the left wing circle, tipping it through Dan Murphy’s 5-hole to finally end the double shutout.

Milton's first line then added some welcomed insurance when Higgins struck to double his team’s lead at 5:02 of the third. Just seconds after a huge save by Hankard the shifty forward got free and cut in from the right wing to the slot, sniping one past Murphy to double his team’s lead.

“That’s Higgy, he can skate and he can sneak up on you,” Milton head coach Paul Noonan said. “When he gets that puck in the slot, just him and the goalie, he’s pretty good.”



Hankard’s save that preceded the goal was a left pad stop on James Flaherty, who labeled a bomb for the far post on a rip from the right point. The keeper said he didn’t see it until the last second and that instincts took over.

“Those are reaction saves, see the puck, kick it out. It was through a screen, I couldn’t see it, then I saw it at the last second and just got my toe on it,” he said.

Fasano said that the stop by Hankard was a back-breaker.

“It could have been 1-1 right there,” he said.

To Noonan, it was just more of the same as he and his squad have come to expect great things from their keeper.

“Our goalie, he’s excellent. He’s been like that all year. I know a lot of people talk about our first line that we have, it’s pretty good. But (Hankard) and the defensemen, Danny Curran, Johnny Murtaugh, they’ve been awesome. They’ve been very good all year.”

Braintree, which had dominated the first period thoroughly, outshooting the Wildcats, 7-1, came painfully close to pulling within one, but it was not a night where the puck bounced the Wamps’ way. Tom Troy let one rip from between the hash marks that deflected to the left wing circle where Nick Ward was all alone. With half an empty goal to fire for Ward dented the nearside pipe.

“You’ve got to have some puck luck, and we just didn’t tonight,” Fasano said. “It didn’t bounce our way…credit Milton, they’re a heck of a team.”

Braintree did get a power play out of the flurry, a hooking call that went against Murtagh, but the extra-man scenario did not play out the way the Wamps would have liked. Braintree did not muster a shot on goal during the power play as they could not get anything set up at all.

From that point forward the Wildcats managed to keep their Bay State League rivals in check.

With 1:50 to go in the game Connor Fenton let a big slapper fly from the left point that Hankard punched away with his blocker. That was the last shot on net in the game for Braintree. Milton kept the puck in the neutral zone and beyond the rest of the way and never allowed Braintree to pull Murphy for an extra attacker.

D1 South sectional quarterfinal recaps

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
8:05
PM ET
BOURNE, Mass. -- The Bay State League stole the show during Saturday's Division 1 quarterfinals, played at Gallo Ice Arena.

The public school league will see four of its teams in the semifinal round, the notable exclusion being No. 1 seed Needham.

Here's the breakdown of the action from a long day of hockey, along with a couple nuggets of analysis:

NO. 4 NORWOOD 2, NO. 5 BARNSTABLE 1


First period: The Mustangs went on an early power play, getting just one shot off on the Barnstable kill. The Red Raiders took the first lead of the game at 8:35 on Max Willman's strike from Chris Harris and Eric Rogorzenski. Andrew Alty tied the game with 30 seconds remaining on a pretty cross-ice pass from Jake Ranalli. Brendan Cathcart picked up the second assist. Norwood took a 7-6 shot advantage in the stanza.

Second period: Scant scoring opportunities for either side. Norwood carried play for portions of the second, but the Raiders had the best of the latter stages. Still, Barnstable out-shot the Mustangs 9-7 in the period.

Third period: The Mustangs found the go-ahead goal with defenseman Kyle Dolan tallying his second of the season, with some good work down low from Cathcart (2 assists)and Tyler Gover. The Red Raiders were ham-strung by a late penalty (playing with a broken stick) that had them on the penalty kill with just 1:38 remaining. Despite having a couple of offensive zone face-off opportunities in the final minute, the Red Raiders weren't able to find the equalizer. Jordan Davis made 25 saves for the Mustangs in the win, as Barnstable outshot Norwood, 26-22, for the game.

Analysis: What made Norwood successful in this game were a lot of the little things that don't show up in scoresheets. The Mustangs did a terrific job on the back check, keeping pace with a speedy Barnstable roster. When the Red Raiders were able to enter the zone, Norwood collapsed down low and were able to throw sticks, bodies, whatever, in the passing a shooting lanes, limiting quality chances on Davis.

NO. 9 NATICK 3, NO. 1 NEEDHAM 2


First period: Most of the period's play was conducted in the neutral zone, with both teams playing a tight checking game. Natick had its best chance of the game, coming on a 2-on-1 during a late power play. However, Needham actually out-chanced the Red & Blue, 2-1, while a man down. Shots were 10-5 in the Rockets' favor in the first.

Second period: Needham earned its first power play of the game early on, but was unable to cash in with two shots against Red & Blue goaltender Derek Kwok. Natick opened scoring at 5:56 with Andrew Newis tallying his 13th of the season from Mike Pennett and Derek Butler. At 11:52, Butler added his second point with his 16th goal of the season. Just 1:08 later, Pennett picked up his second point of the game with a goal, giving the Red & Blue a 3-0 lead at the second intermission.

Third period: Needham got on the board 4:06 Joey Parsons entering on a partial break on an unassisted goal, his fifth of the season. Play continued on in Natick's end for the bulk of the period. Lucas Davis added an unassisted goal of his own, drawing the Rockets within one, but for the second time this week (after Monday's Super 8 play-in game) their third-period rally fell short.



Analysis: Once again, Needham's tendency to come out slow hurt them. As in their Super 8 play-in game against St. John's (Shrewsbury) on Monday, the Rockets dug themselves into a hole they weren't able to recoup.

NO. 3 MILTON 3, NO. 6 FALMOUTH 1


First period: There was little to speak of scoring chances between the two squads, save for Clipper forward Ben Taylor's shot off the post in the second minute. Not whole lot to say beyond that. Shots were 7-2 in favor of Falmouth.

Second period: After skating to a scoreless first period, Storm Foitu netted the first goal for Falmouth 1:11 into the period. Durham Ghelfi set up the goal with some nice work along the half boards, putting a pass back to Foitu on the left wing circle. Milton tied the game with 30 seconds remaining in the period, thanks to some slick passing in the offensive zone. Brian Higgins set up Paul Curran, skittering a pass across through a Falmouth defender with Curran directing the pass into the net from the goal mouth. Milton took an 11-4 shots advantage in the period.

Third period: Curran and Higgins continued their dazzling offensive show in the third, only to see Falmouth netminder Petey Negri make a couple of circus saves. The middle portion of the period was played predominately in the Clippers' end with the Wildcats sustaining offensive pressure. Curran scored his second of the game, his 21st of the season, the game-winner, with 43 seconds to play, with a shot deflected off a Falmouth defender's skate. Terrance Walsh and Dan Curran had the assists. Higgins notched his second point of the game with an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining. Hankard made 18 stops to earn the victory.



Analysis: Paul Curran showed why he was one of the most feared scorers in the Bay State Conference this season. His work, along with that of linemate, Higgins, was impressive throughout, creating a bulk of Milton's scoring chances.

NO. 7 BRAINTREE 2, NO. 2 MARSHFIELD 0
First period: The Wamps took a 7-6 shots advantage, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. Braintree went 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Rams were shut out in their only opportunity.

Second period: After being held to just one shot on their third power play opportunity, the Wamps took the first lead of the game on Cody Kingston's goal at 9-minute mark, with assists from James Flaherty and Tom Troy. Braintree claimed a 2-0 lead two minutes later on David Fasano's wrist shot from the right side circle. Troy picked up his second assist of the game with another handed out to Nick Ward. The Wamps claimed a 12-7 shots advantage in the period.

Third period: Marshfield upped its pressure in the offensize zone, but were unable to crack Wamps netminder Dan Murphy. Murphy made 20 saves in the shutout.

Analysis: Marshfield wasn't able to sustain pressure in Braintree's defensive zone throughout. Once Braintree takes a lead, as has become the custom under David Fasano, the Wamps become increasingly hard to play against, clogging up the neutral zone in a 1-2-2 and collapsing down low when set in the defensize zone. Murphy wasn't tested all that often, but when he was he was ready. Wamps all-star defenseman Conor Fenton (3-9-12) was his usual self, playing aggresively and mixing it up physically often drawing the assingment of shutting down the Rams' top line of Mike Carbone, Chris Perry and Connor McLean.

Bay State Games: Day 6 Recap

July, 10, 2011
7/10/11
10:43
PM ET
Courtesy Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

ICE HOCKEY
New England Sports Center – Marlboro, MA

Boys Scholastic

Metro 4, Central 1
Metro defeated Central, 4-1, and advanced to the Gold Medal game for the second straight year. Metro grabbed the early 1-0 lead when Chris Maguire (Waltham, Waltham HS) scored midway through the first period. Central’s Justin Huard (Auburn, Auburn HS) punched in a backhander just over three minutes later to knot the score at 1-1. In the second period, Metro defenseman Brian Rowland (Waltham, BB & N) took a slap shot off the foot, went down, got right up and started the break out by launching a pass that sprung Brendan Kerrigan (South Boston, BB&N) free. Kerrigan flipped a nice backhander for the eventual game-winner. Rowland finished the game with a goal and an assist. Metro added an empty net goal, and will play Northeast in the gold medal game.

Northeast 6, Coastal 4
Coastal mounted a three-goal comeback, but fell short to Northeast, 6-4. Northeast forward Kevin Doherty (Wakefield, Wakefield HS) recorded a hat trick. Fellow linemate Blaise Heally (Melrose, Tilton School) contributed to the Northeast attack, and finished the game with two goals and an assist. Coastal at one point trailed 4-1, but was able to tie the score 4-4 with under two minutes to play. Coastal, in need of a win to advance, pulled their goaltender in an attempt to break the tie score, only to see Northeast score two empty net goals. Northeast advanced to the gold medal game with the win.

Southeast 5, West 4
Southeast scored two late goals to edge West, 5-4. Southeast’s attack was led by forward Thomas Troy (Braintree, Braintree HS) and by defenseman Dan Curran (Milton, Milton HS) who each registered a goal and an assist. West got stellar play from Conner Laraway (Westfield, Westfield HS) who recorded a hat trick. Laraway’s third goal gave West a 4-3 lead early in the second half. West’s goaltending duo of Tommy McCarthy (Longmeadow, Longmeadow HS) and Nick Stasack (West Springfield, Loomis-Chaffee Prep) turned away shot after shot and gave West a chance to win it late.

Bronze Medal Game
Central 1, Coastal 0
Central declared winner by forfeit.

Gold Medal Game
Metro 5, Northeast 3
Metro took home the gold medal behind a three goal second period and defeated Northeast, 5-3. Metro defenseman Brian Rowland (Waltham, BB & N) broke the scoreless game when he rocketed a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. Rowland added an assist on the first of two goals by Brendan Kerrigan (South Boston, BB & N). Northeast’s Blaise Heally (Melrose, Tilton School) continued his scoring tear and notched two goals in the game. Heally’s nine goals in six games led the team and all tournament scorers in the 2011 Summer Games. Northeast’s goaltending duo of Alex Buckley (Newburyport, Newburyport HS) and Andrew Loblundo (Boxboro, Acton Boxboro HS) had 17, and 21 saves, respectively.


Girls Scholastic

Central/West 7, Northeast/ Metro 1
Central/West pulled away in the second period to defeat Northeast/ Metro, 7-1. Leading the way for Central/West was Katie Lombardozzi (Leominster, Nashoba Regional HS) and Kayla O’Connor (Springfield, Deerfield Academy) who each chipped in with two goals and an assist. Jackie Tavella (East Longmeadow, Deerfield Academy) also grabbed a goal and an assist. Northeast/ Metro goaltender Hannah Insuik (Andover, Deerfield Academy) made 39 saves.

Southeast/Coastal 8, Metro/Northeast 0
Southeast/Coastal was dominant from the start and coasted to an 8-0 victory over Metro/Northeast. The win gave Southeast/Coastal the gold medal while Central/West took home silver. Emily Kelly (Norwood, Norwood HS) had a hat trick and Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Dexter) added two goals and an assist for the winners.


SOCCER
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA


Boys Scholastic

Gold Medal Game
West 2, Northeast 0

Bronze Medal Game
Southeast 3, Coastal 0

Girls Scholastic

Gold Medal Game
West 2, Central 1

Bronze Medal Game
Northeast 3, Southeast 0


SOFTBALL
Regis College – Weston, MA

Gold Medal Game
Coastal 4, Metro 3

Bronze Medal Game
Northeast 15, Central 1

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