Boston High School: Dan Petrick

Recap: No. 2 Cathedral 4, No. 3 BC High 2

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5

BOSTON – In recent weeks, No. 2 Springfield Cathedral has been so dominant in its victories, the Panthers have hardly had to break a sweat past any point of the second period.

Of course, with a visit to UMass-Boston’s Clark Center and No. 3 BC High on tap Wednesday, the Panthers knew they’d been in for a 45-minute battle. While Cathedral was unable to keep up its lofty margin of victory, which has averaged eight goals a game through its last four tilts, the Panthers turned in a equally impressive three-zone performance, shutting down the Eagles in a 4-2 win.

Cathedral (15-0-2) jumped on the Eagles (10-3-1) early, scoring twice within the first five minutes of the game. After taking a 3-1 lead to the first intermission, the Panthers went about stymieing the Eagles’ rush through the greater portion of the final two periods.

“We came out of the first with a two-goal lead, and the last thing you want to do is to let them back into it in the second,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “So I thought we did a good job there keeping them off the scoreboard. They pressed hard and they’re a great team, but Keith [Petruzzelli] played well.”

In front of a sizeable contingent of Panthers fans who bussed across the Mass Pike, Cathedral seized the lead on Peter Crinella’s breakaway goal at 2:36, taking an outlet pass from Dan Petrick and racing down the right wing.

Despite falling behind early, the Eagles controlled early territorial play and headed on the power play for the first time at 3:20. That wouldn’t stop BC High falling behind by two goals with Zach Prattson leading the rush on his own. Skating into the teeth of a 1-on-2, Prattson sidestepped his way around two Eagles defensemen to close on goaltender Brandon Payzant. Prattson used a third deke to beat Payzant five-hole at 4:41 while short-handed.

“He’s relentless on the puck,” Foley said of Prattson. “I thought all of those goals in the first period just gave us a lot of life, a lot of energy there.”

BC High cashed in on its second power play chance of the period at 6:51 with sophomore forward Ian Murphy dragged across the slot from left to right and shot across Petruzzelli’s body to find daylight on the far side inside the post.

The Eagles’ presumed surge of momentum didn’t hold out till the end of the period, however, as Johnny Leonard his Division 1 state-leading 33rd goal of the season, letting off a wrist shot with 33.7 seconds remaining on a 5-on-3 advantage.

“You can’t go man-down with Springfield,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “If you go two men down, they’re definitely going to score. And they’ve got guys that, even when they’re killing penalties, they’ve got skills and they can score. That really made the difference in the first period.

Play slowed and chances were at a premium in the second period, but the Eagles made a final charge in the third period, outshooting Cathedral 11-4.

But once again, despite carrying play, the Eagles weren’t able to find the back of the net while Cathedral maximized its chances. Leonard collected an outlet pass from Cam Peritz in front of the Panthers bench. Skating the remaining half of the ice sheet, Leonard pulled off the half-wing boards and cut back to a high percentage shooting area before getting off another wrist shot.

The Eagles closed the final margin to two goals with Jack Duffey’s tally at 13:13.

Mr. Hockey beckons?: With his second goal of the game, Leonard upped his season goal tally to 34, and no team across state lines or in the Commonwealth seems to have an answer for the UMass-Amherst commit.

So while it’s no secret that Leonard has been a big part of Cathedral’s 17-game unbeaten streak to start the season, what might not be apparent what has allowed Leonard to break out among a roster which boasts six Division 1 commits.

“He’s dynamic for sure,” Foley said of Leonard, “but the good thing about this team is I think a big part of John’s improvement has been the other kids on this team pushing him every day in practice. He doesn’t have an easy time against them in practice.”

Don’t forget the defense: While Cathedral’s gaudy offensive numbers have garnered many of the headlines of late, Wednesday’s victory was very much a function of the Panthers’ defensive unit.

Their top defensive pairings were able to shut out BC High’s top line from the score sheet, including senior Merrimack commit Patrick Kramer.

“Danny [Petrick] and Bryce [Peritz] did a great job as a pairing, and Cam Griffin and Matt Cieboter did a great job, too,” Foley said. “They were both out there with [BC High’s top line] and did the job.”

Recap: No. 2 Cathedral 9, Mt. St. Charles (R.I.) 2

February, 1, 2015
Feb 1

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – This is what’s really scary about No. 2 Springfield Cathedral -- only five players on the Panthers roster are seniors.

“Lack” of seniors notwithstanding, the Panthers still mauled perennial Rhode Island Division I state champion Mount St. Charles, 9-2, Saturday night at Adelard Arena.

“Last year we had one (senior),” said Panthers coach Brian Foley. “I think those five seniors (Pete Crinella, Zach Prattson, D.J. Petruzzelli, Bryce Peritz and Matt Cieboter) are all great kids and great leaders. They work really hard in the off-season to get stronger and it’s paying off for us right now.”

How true.

Cathedral’s victory improved the team’s record to a gaudy 14-0-2. In the process the Panthers scored three short-handed goals, two power-play goals and three goals off Mount turnovers.

“We’ve got some guys that know what to do with the puck in the offensive end,” said Foley. “They’ve been finishing. We’ve been pretty consistent with that all year. We’ve just got to keep working hard.

“But we’ve been working a lot on special teams in practice and it’s been paying off for us.”

Leonard on a tear: Ironically it was a junior, Johnny Leonard (who’s given a verbal commitment to UMass-Amherst), who led the onslaught by recording a hat trick plus two assists.

Through 16 games, Leonard has 32-20-52 totals.

“He’s an elite goal scorer and he’s having a great year,” said Foley. “He’s playing with two great linemates (Petruzzelli and Cam Peritz). We have a lot of good players on the team that challenge him every day in practice. The team’s working real hard and he’s improving along with the rest of the boys.”

Despite the uncharacteristic nature of this loss for Mount (9-5-2), coach Dave Belisle still was able to take away some positives.

“I think after getting out-played in the second period (Cathedral out-shot Mount 33-15 and out-scored Mount 5-0 in that period) I thought we came back and played a good third at the end,” said Belisle, whose team received two power-play goals from Keith Phaneuf to avoid a shutout. “I thought we played a good first. But if you don’t skate against a team like this … we stood around a lot.

“It’s not like we weren’t trying. We just totally broke down. Our power play gave up three short-handed goals. They’re too skilled to fool around with the puck at the top or be lazy in neutral ice and make lazy passes.

“They’re a skilled team. I thought we did a really nice job in the first but we made two mistakes and it cost us.”

Mount was on a power play when Petruzzelli (two goals and two assists) stole the puck in the neutral zone and poked it to Leonard who skated in on a breakaway and beat starting goalie Ryan Hanaway (12 saves on 15 shots) at 3:54.

Then, at 11:11, Leonard scooped up a loose puck around Mount’s blue line and beat Hanaway 5-hole for a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers added their second short-handed goal at 3:59 of the second. Leonard stole the puck and fed Petruzzelli who snapped home a shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Belisle removed Hanaway in favor of Zach Vanasse at that point but he received minimal support from his teammates since the Panthers scored consecutive power-play goals – by Petruzzelli who buried the rebound of a Crinella shot at 10:07 and Leonard who scored top shelf at 11:16.

After Kyle Kazeroid scored on a wrist shot from just outside the crease at 13:58, Dan Petrick accounted for Cathedral’s third short-handed goal with 30 ticks of the clock let in the middle period.

At the opposite end, Cathedral goalie Keith Petruzzelli, who began the game with a 94.8 save percentage, made 23 saves for the victory.

Learning experience: “I thought Mount St. Charles worked really hard which was great for us,” said Foley. “It was a game where we worked hard for three periods. I didn’t think we came out great in the first period but I thought our work ethic got getter as the game went on. I thought they brought that out of us so I thought we learned a lot tonight.

“We learned how hard you need to work each and every night on every shift. I think Mount’s got a great tradition and a great coach. They always work hard no matter what talent they have. “

Belisle subscribed to the adage that in order to be the best a team must play the best.

“That’s what I told my kids,” he said. “We can take something from this. We can’t make mistakes against good teams. You can’t take foolish penalties.

“I mentioned that before the game. Stay out of the box (because) they’re too skilled. They’re going to make you pay. They’re just as offensive minded short-handed as they are on the power play. Five-on-five it was pretty close. But special teams it wasn’t a contest.”

Recap: No. 2 Cathedral 10, No. 7 Central Catholic 1

January, 25, 2015
Jan 25
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Their numbers have become fantasy-like over the first half of the season.

Springfield Cathedral has been tallying up goals as swiftly as the stock market takes in shares on a good day.

Through 12 games, the No. 2 Panthers have lighted the lamp 102 times as they continue to make easy work of the opposition. The latest team to get butchered was No. 7 Central Catholic on Saturday.

The Raiders were left in a daze after being blown out 10-1 at the Olympia Ice Center -- the most goals Central has surrendered since allowing eight to Malden Catholic a year ago.

Cathedral (having now scored 47 goals in its last five games) jumped on the Raiders (10-4-1) for three first-period scores and never looked back.

D.J. Petruzelli, Johnny Leonard and Riley Prattson each scored a pair of goals to improve the Panthers record to 12-0-2. This meeting was the second of the season between the two hockey powers. Back in December, Cathedral handed the Raiders a 6-0 defeat in the opening round of the Pete Frates Winter Classic.

"This year we have really stressed the little things more than anything else," said Petruzelli, a Quinnipiac commit. "In the past we have gotten beat because we haven't played with the intensity that we need to. Our team focus this year is to do those things correctly and I think that is what has made us so successful this year."

Right away, Petruzelli set tempo in this one by scoring just 52 seconds in for a 1-0 lead. Later in the first period, on the power play, Prattson was left unattended in the left circle. After taking a nice feed from Petruzelli, the sophomore fired a point blank shot over Raider goaltender Kyle Thing's shoulder putting Cathedral up by two goals. In the waning moments of the frame, Zac Prattson, from a sharp angle inside the right circle, banked a shot off of Thing's left leg pad and into the net making it a three-goal advantage.

"We knew they had a long bus ride so we felt if we could jump on them early then we would have a good chance of winning this game," Petruzelli said. "We played four lines and, for the most part, we all rolled pretty well. This year is a different team than I've ever been apart of here. We have a lot of great core guys in the room and we are going to continue to do whatever it takes to keep our level of play up."

The aggressiveness from the Panthers never heeded entering the middle period. After killing off a 31 second 5-on-3 opportunity early, Cathedral proceeded to attack the Central zone at will. Within a span of 10 seconds midway through the frame, Cam Griffin and Prattson each found the back of the net to increase the Panthers lead to 5-0. A few minutes later, with Cathedral freshman Devan Tongue in the penalty box for a leg check, Leonard broke in alone on new netminder Ben Zargaj, beating the junior with a backhand.

Leonard would make his presence felt again shortly thereafter. With Dan Petrick finishing up his minute and a half tripping infraction, the sophomore defenseman returned to the ice and back checked Raider defenseman David Sheehan off of the puck just inside the offensive zone. Leonard alertly gained control of it and flew down the ice unscathed before flipping a shot over Zargaj's glove for a 7-0 advantage.

Leonard, a junior and future UMass-Amherst product, leads the team with 27 goals.

"When these kids move the puck they are a really good team," Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. "They are all playing unselfishly which is the biggest thing. There is a lot of positive energy on this team so hopefully we can just keep it going, keep working hard and play good defense. Johnny has been pretty automatic for us. He is a very good goal scorer. You feel good whenever he is moving in on the goalie like that. Overall we have some good balance and depth on this team and getting production from a lot of kids."

Later in the period, the Raiders finally got on the board courtesy of Billy Stahley's hard wrist shot from the right circle. But with only 29 seconds showing before the second intermission, Petruzelli notched his second goal, firing a shot past Zargaj from the slot for an 8-1 advantage.

Central will come away from this game knowing it put up some quality shots on net, yet were stoned throughout thanks to the solid play of goaltender Keith Petruzelli. The sophomore, who is committed to Quinipiac University, stopped 33 of 34 attempts.

"Obviously we didn't get the goaltending we were looking for," said Central head coach Mike Jankowski. "I thought our energy was good but our ability to finish wasn't very strong. Their goalie made some big saves when he needed to. I really can't come away too disappointed in how we played today. The effort was there and we out-shot them (34-30). Hopefully it is onward and upward from here. Other than the score sheet, it was a good game. When Cathedral had their chances they capitalized. They are a very good team."

With this one well in hand, all Cathedral wanted to do was run out the final 15 minutes and move on. But before they did, the Panthers were able to notch a couple of more markers with Peter Crinella and Kyle Kazeroid adding insult to injury.

"I feel our strength as a team is a lot better than last year," Foley said. "All of these kids have worked very hard in the off-season and it is paying off for us."

Recap: No. 2 Cathedral 5, Hendricken (R.I.) 0

January, 18, 2015
Jan 18
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Maybe it is time of accepting the fact that not all of the state's best high school hockey talent resides within the I-95 corridor.

Saturday afternoon Bishop Hendricken, a top echelon team from Rhode Island, discovered early and often just how lethal a team the Springfield Cathedral can be. The Hawks offered up little resistance and, in the process, were stomped 5-0 at the Olympia.

"That is a very good hockey team that plays unselfish," said Hawks head coach Jim Creamer, who has guided Hendricken to three state titles since taking over in 2002. "They have a lot of skilled kids. Clearly, we are not going to see a better team than them the rest of the year. I would imagine they are going to have a lot of success the rest of the way."

Leading by a goal after the opening period, Cathedral poured in on in the middle stanza, striking for three goals to put this border battle in the bank.

Junior forward Johnny Leonard scored a pair of goals for the Panthers, who improve to 10-0-2. Sophomore goaltender Keith Petruzzelli was hardly tested, stopping all 14 shots he faced to earn the shutout. Petruzzelli, who will play for Quinnipiac University once his high school career is finished, has allowed a paltry eight goals against 391 scoring opportunities this season.

Leonard, who has accepted a scholarship to play for UMass-Amherst, put Cathedral ahead 1-0 after whipping a hard wrist shot past Matt Kenneally in the closing minute of the first. The Panthers would undoubtedly carry the momentum from that goal into the middle frame. Early in the period, with Hawks' defenseman Matt Rickard sitting in the box for tripping, sophomore defenseman Dan Petrick capitalize on the man-advantage opportunity by sending a laser which eluded Kenneally (who entered with a 1.59 goals-against average) just 1:53 in to increase Cathedral's advantage to two goals.

Not since an overtime victory over BC High in late December in the final of the Pete Frates Classic have the Panthers faced formidable competition before Hendricken came calling.

"I thought this was our most-complete game of the year," Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. "It was good for us to face a team that good and play as well as we did. All four lines played well, our six defensemen played well as well as our goalie. I think these kids feed off of one another shift after shift. I was really happy with our full-game performance.

“Sometimes it is hard with high school kids to get a consistent performance from start to finish. But today, I thought they did a very good job of that. I could sense over the last three weeks that we were improving. We have come a long way in the past couple of weeks and I felt today confirmed that. Hendricken is a high-quality team so this was a solid win by us."

Cam Peritz, a sophomore, added to the Hawks' misery midway through the final period with a hard wrist shot from the right point, accounting for Cathedral's five goal margin of victory.

Throughout the contest, Bishop Hendricken (9-2-0) had much difficulty maneuvering the puck up ice due to a stellar effort from the Panther defense and the forwards who slid back to create havoc for the Hawks once they moved past the red line.

The Panthers, who since New Year’s Eve have out-scored the opposition 51-4, continued to press the issue on offense. Surprisingly, they were given space to work the puck around inside the offensive zone. Several minutes after Petrick's tally, Cathedral found the back again after Riley Prattson pushed in a rebound off of Kenneally's stick at 12:48 to make it 3-0.

Two minutes later, Leonard notched his second marker. After taking a pass from Peritz off the boards, the forward skated in alone on Kenneally, beating the senior stick side putting the Panthers in front by four goals after 30 minutes.

"The bottom line is we want to win," said Leonard, who leads the club with 24 goals. "You cannot be selfish if you want to win and need to be able to move the puck. That's what we did today and we were able to score goals off of it. There is great chemistry on this team and we know where each other is on the ice at all times.

“Everyone here is shooting for one goal and that is to win the Super 8. To do that, we have to continue to work hard and push each other during practice. When you do that you end up getting results like today."

Peritz would add to Hendricken's misery midway through the final period after scoring on a wrist shot from the right point thus accounting for Cathedral's five goal margin of victory.

"I thought we came out and mostly stayed with them in the third period," Creamer said. "So little things like that mean a lot for us. In our league (Championship-Cimini Division) we won't see anyone of Cathedral's caliber. So for us to stick with it I feel we can take a little successes out of it. Our kids could've easily rolled over, but didn't, so we take some pride in that.”

Our preseason MIAA boys' hockey All-State team

December, 21, 2014
Presenting our MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team:

1st Line
F – Peter Crinella, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Matt Filipe, Jr., Malden Catholic
F – Pat Kramer, Sr., BC High
D – Ryan Shea, Jr., BC High
D – Mike Seibold, Sr., Reading
G – Brandon Collett, Jr., Catholic Memorial

2nd Line
F – Johnny Leonard, Jr. Springfield Cathedral
F – D.J. Petruzzelli, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Riley Prattson, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
D – John McLean, Sr., Malden Catholic
D – Dan Petrick, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Keith Petruzzelli, Soph., Springfield Cathedral

3rd Line
F – Eric MacAdams, Jr., Austin Prep
F – Ryan Smith, Sr., Arlington Catholic
F – Tim Sweeney, Sr., Xaverian
D – Frank Cosolito, Jr., Catholic Memorial
D – Ryan Walsh, Sr., Xaverian
G – Aidan Murphy, Soph., Xaverian
Springfield Cathedral hockey freshman defenseman Dan Petrick gave his verbal commitment to Northeastern this afternoon.

The Wilbraham, Mass. native finished fourth on the Panthers in points this season with five goals and 32 assists for 37 points. It was Petrick’s second season with the Panthers, after seeing time as an eighth-grader.

““His growth and improvement has been tremendous,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said Thursday. “He came to us as an eighth-grader and that time allowed him to go into the offeseason knowing what he needed to do to improve his game as a freshman.”

News of Petrick’s commitment was first reported by Annie Maroon of

While other teams expressed interest in Petrick, Northeastern was Petrick’s top choice, giving his commitment after visiting campus on Thurdsday.

“I really like the city and being abel to be a part of the Beanpot had a big effect on my decision,” Petrick said. “I love the campus and me and the coaching staff clicked right away.”

Petrick logged major minutes for the Super 8 tournament semifinalists, which packed a potent offensive punch, featuring four of the top 11 ranked scorers in Division 1.

At the second week of the season, Petrick joined Cathedral’s power-play unit, allowing him to showcase his skill.

“It was a good fit for me being an offensive defensemen,” said Petrick, who added he’s considering architecture as his field of study. “Coach Foley gave me the chance to play in those situations and I tried to play my game.”

Given the opportunity, Petrick also seized the responsibility.

“The whole unit started to take off after the first month,” Foley said. “As a freshman, you would think that as a coach you wouldn’t put him out there, but from the first week, he showed he belonged.

“He has a lot of confidence for a kid that young and he took advantage of the chance given to him.”

Super 8 semifinals notes and picks

March, 13, 2014
Before the puck drops on tonight’s Super 8 semifinals matchups at Tsongas Center (6 and 8 p.m.), here’s a smattering of note from the tournament along with picks:

Panthers’ prowess: Springfield Cathedral flexed its offensive muscle in its close-out victory over Duxbury a week ago, scoring three goals on the power play in a 6-3 final.

The key to the Panthers’ near perfection on the man-advantage in the tournament is both in its scheme and its personnel.

Let’s start with the scheme. Brian Foley has implemented an umbrella-style power play – meaning there’s a single “blue-liner” -- in the case of Cathedral, that’s talented freshman defenseman Dan Petrick – who plays in the middle of the ice sheet. The pivot men are two players who play along the half-wing boards and have the choice of making passes into the slot, back to the point man, or across the sheet to the other wing.

Lastly, in Foley’s unit, there are two forwards who are positioned in the slot, stacked on top of each other. The low man is tasked with setting the screen on the goaltender and creating traffic, while looking for rebounds and low-slot opportunities if the half-wings decide to move play down below the dots. The high-slot forward can either slide down on point shots, or look for deflection attempts, while providing the main outlet for half-wing passes.

What really makes Cathedral’s unit hum, however, is that the Panthers have the perfect personnel to run the umbrella.

In the Super 8, the responsibility of playing the half-wings have gone to UMass-Amherst commit Johnny Leonard and brother tandem Riley and Zac Prattson. Meanwhile, the Panthers have a pair of true “power forwards” in Quinnipiac recruit D.J. Petruzzelli (the low man) and Holy Cross commit Peter Crinella (high slot).

“We can really run any kind of power play and it’s going to be effective with the way they move the puck,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said of his unit last Thursday.

To beat three-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic in the teams’ semi-final tilt, the Panthers will have to have a vibrant power play once again.

However, there is recent precedent, as Cathedral knocked off MC, 5-2, in the championship game of its host February vacation tournament.

“It was a great game in our tournament,” Foley said, “but it’s a whole new ballgame. They’re the three-time champs, they’re the team to beat as far as I’m concerned.”

Get back: While finishing off its first-round series sweep of Central Catholic, Austin Prep was able to lull the Raiders to sleep in the third period of a 4-1 win.

Although the Raiders finished the game with 20 shots on goal, only six came in the final period, when AP constructed a virtual brick wall along its blue line.

Throughout their Game 2 win, and in particular the third period, the Cougars showed a killer’s instinct on defense, with their defense standing up to meet whatever Central could create on the rush through a sticky neutral zone.

“We did a nice job of holding the neutral zone and staying back, not falling back,” AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro said after last week’s win. “That’s what we’ve talked about, we don’t down want to sit on [a lead], they’re going to have to take chances and try to stretch the zone. You just have to make sure you stay back.”

Keeping a third man high to eliminate their opponents’ transition game, the Cougars forwards – to a man – were tremendous during their best-of-three series in snuffing out Central’s D-men from stepping up in the play and creating on the rush, with a robust backcheck.

Everything else was left to Elijah Harris was played with ease, as the junior goaltender has been on point throughout.

Now, the key for AP is replicating that performance against top seed BC High, which beat the Cougars, 6-2, during the final week of the season.

“They like to stretch it through center zone also,” Finocchiaro said of the Eagles, “so doing a good job with that here in the third period, and holding on to the lead, and playing with confidence, I think is important.”

Picks: Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for, here are my Super 8 semi-final picks.
BC HIGH 3, Austin Prep 1 – Pat Kramer’s return could be the difference here.
MALDEN CATHOLIC 5, Springfield Cathedral 4 – Did you really think I’d pick against the three-time defending champions? That being said, this one sure is going to be entertaining.

Super 8: No. 3 Cathedral 6, No. 6 Duxbury 3

March, 6, 2014

LOWELL, Mass. -- Springfield Cathedral's recent track record in the Super 8 tournament has been nothing to write home about.

Two years ago, the Panthers lost all three of their games in the state's most-renowned high school hockey event. Last year, Malden Catholic bounced them with back-to-back victories.

Cathedral was back for yet another try again this year and hoping for a different scenario.

Already holding a 1-0 edge over Duxbury in this best 2-out-of-3 opening round format, the Panthers had an opportunity to exorcise some of the demons of previous seasons in Thursday night's second meeting at Tsongas Arena. Refusing to leave anything up to chance, Cathedral struck early and often as it built a five goal lead before settling for a 6-3 triumph.

"To have that early lead was huge for us," Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. "Duxbury is a great team. I was really impressed with them and they are well-coached. They gave us a heck of a series and made us battle for everything."

The third-seeded Panthers (17-2-5) move on to the semifinal round against Malden Catholic beginning Wednesday night here at a time to be determined. The Lancers, the No. 2 seed, are 18-4 after knocking out Catholic Memorial in its opening-round tilt Wednesday night. Back on Feb. 20, Cathedral defeated MC 5-2 in the championship game of its own tournament.

"It is the first time in school history that we are advancing into the semifinals," said junior Pete Crinella, who scored a pair of goals (Nos. 30 & 31) and also added an assist. "Last year's loss really crushed us because we had a bunch of seniors. This year we only have one senior [goaltender John Liquori] so it's nice to get him to the final four of this tournament."

The Panthers, who defeated the Dragons in Sunday's first meeting 4-1, raced out to a 2-0 lead after the opening 15 minutes of Thursday night's contest. Cathedral began the scoring by forcing a Dragons turnover inside their own zone. That led to the first of two Johnny Leonard goals coming at 2:16. Later in the frame, Crinella bagged his first on the power play after D.J. Petruzzelli won the face off in the left circle and pushed the puck over to the center/forward who one-timed a shot past Duxbury goaltender Tucker Kelly.

The sixth-seeded Dragons (16-4-3) tried to hang with the more-talented Panthers as best they could. But Cathedral's offensive firepower from all three of its lines won out and proved too much for them to handle. In addition, the chances on net the Dragons did have were snuffed out by Leonard, who finished with 21 saves, holding Duxbury scoreless over the first two periods.

Cathedral jumped out to a three goal cushion just 1:35 into the middle period. Leonard snatched an errant pass inside the Duxbury zone, skated in on Kelly and beat the senior with a quick wrist shot. With his two tallies, Leonard, a UMass-Amherst commit, now has 29 for the season. Two minutes later, with the Dragons again playing short-handed, freshman Riley Prattson put his name on the scoring sheet after wiring a shot from the left wing circle under the cross bar to make it 4-0.

"Duxbury is a good team and were coming in with a lot of confidence," Crinella said. "They're were desperate and those are the hardest teams to beat. We tried to crush their spirits early and were able to get off to a good start and keep it rolling."

Cathedral's offensive assault wasn't finished. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, another Dragons penalty led to another score for the Panthers.

This time, it was freshman Dan Petrick getting into the act. The winger, standing inside the left circle, fired a shot over Kelly's right shoulder and into the back of the net to send Cathedral into the second intermission in-control leading 5-0.

"I thought we moved the puck pretty well on our power play chances tonight," Foley said. "We had some nice opportunities and some good finishes. I think we still need to do a better job inside our own end moving the puck a little cleaner on the five-on-five. But any way you mix up our top six forwards we are going to have two lines that can score. We've also been getting great production from our third line as well. Our forwards are playing very good but I think our defense has improved a lot throughout the year. We also have gotten some great goaltending from John and Keith [Petruzzelli]."

The third period, for the Panthers, did not follow the same script as the previous two. Cathedral appeared somewhat listless to start the period, not showing the same kind of offensive aggressiveness witnessed during the first two frames. Duxbury took notice of this as well, and in the process, made a mild comeback bid to show for it. Goals from Tyler Powers and Matt Saia early in the frame had them trailing by three goals with still plenty of time remaining.

But Crinella, who is bound for Holy Cross, dashed Duxbury's comeback hopes with a breakaway before beating Kelly (19 saves) with a hard wrist shot at 9:23 to put Cathedral back in front by four goals. Matt Hammel, a sophomore, added a score late for the Dragons but by then their solid season was done.

"Springfield tonight showed what they can do when clicking on all cylinders," said Duxbury head coach John Blake. "When they're clicking on all cylinders they are a dangerous team. We gave them some power play and you can't do that against a team with that kind of ability and power they have. Our guys didn't quit and took us on a great ride. The puck bounced our way a lot this season but tonight it didn't bounce our way. The kids played a good third period and finished the year off the way the way it should've been finished off."

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 5, No. 1 MC 2

February, 21, 2014
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Before the opening face off, you could see it in their eyes.

There was no look of concern or intimidation on the faces of Springfield Cathedral Panthers. None. Zero.

Going up against the hockey behemoth otherwise known as Malden Catholic in the championship game of its own tournament, No. 6 Cathedral entered with a strong feeling of determination and the belief that it belonged among the state’s elite programs.

On Thursday night, both were put on display repeatedly as the Panthers were sparked by three second-period goals en route to a convincing 5-2 victory over the top-ranked Lancers in front of a packed house at the Olympia Ice Center in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The contest could very well be a preview for a later meeting between the state powers in the upcoming Super 8 tournament.

"This is the best possible way to end our regular season," said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley, his team likely to move up in the Super 8 seedings. "It's a real confidence boost heading into the (Super 8) tournament. Our team this season is probably the strongest team we've had entering the postseason tournament. Our overall skill level is higher than in years past."

After surrendering a late first period goal to MC senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, the remainder of this tilt belonged to the Panthers (15-2-5). Looking for a way to even up this contest quickly, center Peter Crinella answered Cathedral's hopes after taking a drop pass from freshman Dan Petrick and firing a missile past Alex Reissis just 34 seconds into the middle frame to knot things at 1-1.

Cathedral was doing a solid job on the defensive side by taking the Lancers forwards off their projected paths and pushing them into the boards. This, in turn, allowed the forwards to create space inside the MC zone. Johnny Leonard put the Panthers ahead at 6:06 of the period. Taking a centering pass from Riley Prattson, the sophomore waited patiently for Reissis to commit downward before firing a shot over the junior's right shoulder.

Three minutes later, D.J. Petruzzelli, a junior, flew down the right side, cut through a pair of defensemen and lifted a shot past Reissis (14 saves), sending Cathedral into the second intermission on top 3-1.

"This is a game we always look forward to from the first day of the season," said Leonard, a UMass-Amherst commit. "We wanted to make a statement that we do belong with Malden Catholic. We have such a great program here and great coaches. We pushed each other all year for games like this one and the Super 8 moving forward. We are still a very young team (one senior) but I feel we've got something pretty special going on here this year. Hopefully we can take momentum of this win into the Super 8 and do something there."

Over the course of the first 30 minutes, MC was given several clean looks at the net. But the Lancers failed to capitalize on those opportunities due in large part to the strong, physical play of the Panthers defense along with the steady play between the pipes by goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. The freshman played brilliantly, stopping 26 of 28 attempts, including a 12 shot barrage in the closing period. In spite of the loss, it still should have no bearing on MC (16-4) being the consensus No. 1 seed going into the Super 8 once the pairings are announced on Saturday.

"I really liked the fact that we got punched in the face tonight," MC head coach John McLean said. "When you win games 11-0, 9-0 and 7-1 as we've done recently, the kids kind of get this mental thing where they can just show up and its automatically going to happen. Tonight was a good learning experience for us. We understand there are teams that can play with us and that's a good thing.

"Cathedral is a well-coached team and can really compete at a high level. Every time we play them it's always a good, tough game. We had a ton of chances tonight but I thought we tried to get a little to fancy with the puck. I thought Cathedral got in our face and didn't respect us. That's OK because why should they?"

Last year, the Lancers came into Cathedral Tournament a team in search of a direction.

After its two-game sweep in the event, there were many who believe that was the spring board MC needed in moving forward and capturing its third consecutive Super 8 crown. Now the Panthers are adhering to a similar premise hoping this triumph will catapult them through the tournament.

"Hopefully a game like this will have us come out stronger in the next game we play and not feel a team out," Foley said. "The last couple of years in the Super 8 we were just kind of feeling our way around. Enough of that now. It is time for us to take the game to our opponent. Hopefully this win will help prepare us mentally to do that."

Realizing MC was too good not to go down without a fight. Cathedral's objective entering the final period was to try and add to its total early on. The Panthers caught a huge break after Matt Filipe and John McLean were sent to the penalty box in succession, giving Cathedral a 5-on-3 advantage for 52 seconds. The Panthers didn't need all of that time to convert however. Leonard, standing just to the right of Reissis, found Crinella wide-open in the slot and the junior finished the play accordingly by slapping a one-timer past Reissis at 2:08 and push Cathedral's advantage to three goals.

With just over five minutes remaining, the Lancers were leaving everything out on the ice. They started becoming more-efficient at moving the puck through center ice while attacking the Cathedral zone at will. The Panthers, meanwhile, were just hoping to get through these last few minutes as they continuously tried to dump the puck away from their zone anyway they could. One time they couldn't. Defenseman Nick Rolli, standing inside the left circle, fired a point-blank laser past Petruzzelli at 9:05, narrowing the deficit to 4-2.

But time was not of the essence for the Lancers on this night. With Reissis pulled for the extra man, Leonard capped off this monumental evening by scoring an empty net goal from nearly the full-length of the ice in the final minute.

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 9, Needham 0

February, 19, 2014
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – High school hockey fans got their wish for a clash between Super 8 favorites in the championship game of Thursday’s Springfield Cathedral High School Tournament.

After Malden Catholic made quick work of St. Mary’s in the first semifinal, the host Panthers easily dispatched of Needham in the second semifinal, 9-0.

Cathedral scored four times in the first and five more times in the second period to allow the coach to rest some of his superstars in the third period.

“The kids worked hard and skated hard tonight. We had a game like yesterday [2-2 tie versus Bridgewater-Raynham] then today we put up nine,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “We have the ability to score goals, but you never know when it’s coming.”

Defenseman Bryce Peritz had a big night on the score sheet, including the opening goal of the game and three assists. The big junior defenseman tipped in a long point shot from Quinnipiac commit D.J. Petruzzelli just 1:46 into the game to start the scoring onslaught.

“Bryce is a big kid. He’s a junior, one of our older kids. He’s been a leader for us defensively,” said Foley, the bench boss of a team with just one senior. “He’s improved dramatically, just mentally, playing the game a lot simpler. He’s been blocking a lot of shots and playing tough in front of the goal for us. He’s been very effective the last two weeks, especially.”

Holy Cross recruit Peter Crinella extended the lead to 2-0 at the 7:04 mark of the opening period. He roofed a wrist shot into the top corner of the net as he streaked down the left side.

Freshman Riley Prattson scored his first of three goals on the night as he circled from behind the net. He beat Needham goaltender Mike McHale above his glove with a laser of a wrist shot.

UMass-Amherst commit John Leonard connected for a goal on a nice setup from Prattson and Petruzzelli at the 12:18 mark of the opening period to give the Panthers a 4-0 advantage heading to the first intermission.

Cathedral scored five more times in the second period, including shorthanded goals by Dan Petrick and Prattson on the same penalty kill. The shorthanded goal gave Prattson a hat trick after he had already picked up the first tally of the period.

Leonard and eighth grader Devon Tongue also found the back of the net in the middle frame.

Foley’s team is a very young group, as evidenced by the goal scorers in the second period, with all in eighth, ninth and 10th grades.

“At this point in the season, no one is still a rookie,” said Foley of his younger players. “They’re playing older than their years. They’re really getting comfortable.

“Devon Tongue, especially, he’s really come onto the scene. Devon has made steady progress the whole season. He’s playing really, really well for us right now.”

Foley chose to rest senior John Liquori for the second half of the game, giving sophomore Owen Mastroianni a chance to see some ice time to close out the second period. Freshman sensation and Quinnipiac recruit Keith Petruzzelli came in for the third period.

Springfield Cathedral has tied Austin Prep and BC High already this season, but the Panthers see Thursday’s clash against three-time defending champion Malden Catholic as a pivotal contest in the team’s quest for a high seed in the Super 8.

“Every game is an important game,” Foley said. “It’s the last game of the regular season. It’s our tournament that we haven’t won in years. Malden Catholic is a great opponent. We’re going to be real excited to play [Thursday] night and give it our all.”

“We’re just trying to focus on playing Malden Catholic.,” Liquori said. “It’s a huge game to determine our seeding for the Super 8. We really don’t want to play a play-in game.”

Needham will face St. Mary’s in the consolation game tomorrow, a contest with a lot riding on it for both clubs. Needham needs a win to qualify for the state tournament, while the Spartans are still making a push to be included in the Super 8.

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 10, No. 8 Prep 2

February, 15, 2014
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- This one was way too easy.

Following Springfield Cathedral's 10-2 dismantling of St. John's Prep Saturday at Ristuccia Memorial Arena, two things were learned. First and foremost, the sixth-ranked Panthers, a lock for Super 8 berth, have to be considered a legitimate threat for the state's most-esteemed high school hockey title. Secondly, whatever thread of hope the eight-rated Eagles had in securing an invite to the Super 8, are history. In fact, for a team on the verge of missing the postseason completely, this was hardly a performance to write home about.

Junior center Peter Crinella scored four goals and Devan Tongue, an eighth-grader, contributed three to lead Cathedral (13-2-4).

Leading by a goal after one period, the Panthers found the back of the net four times in the middle frame to run away with it.

"St. John's is obviously in desperation mode for a playoff," said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley. "They’re big and physical and came out hard. Coming out for the second period we hoped our speed and skill would take over as the game wore on. We've got some guys who can put some pucks into the net. The three lines we've settled in on just keep getting better and better. I think we are starting to gel at the right time."

The Panthers led 2-1 heading into the first intermission, as Crinella's power play redirect score at 12:58, as it turned out, put them ahead to stay.

Cathedral gained control during the middle period. Crinella bagged another at 6:27 with a short side wrist shot past freshman goaltender Zach Laramie. Two minutes later, Tongue got into the act after taking a clean pass from Johnny Leonard and finishing it off with a nifty back hand goal stick side, making it 4-1. Only 13 seconds later, D.J. Petruzzelli added to the Panthers' lead after sniping a 25-foot blast, thus extending the margin to four goals.

"St. John's is a very good team," Foley said. "As far as I'm concerned they're still a Super 8 caliber team. They can compete with anybody so coming into this game, this was big for us. Overall, I thought we got a complete team effort from everybody today."

At 10:12, freshman Dan Petrick managed to strip the puck away from new goaltender Brian Conry's catching glove and slip it into the net, giving the Panthers a commanding 6-1 advantage after 30 minutes.

Cathedral's offensive onslaught continued into the third period. An odd-man rush with Petrick and Tongue was finished with Tongue slipping a shot into the back of the net at 5:56. The Panthers weren't through. Petruzzelli, standing just outside the Prep goal crease, added his second tally, pushing the puck past Conry's reach. Less than a minute later, Crinella, conceivably the best player in the state, recorded his fourth marker on the afternoon after burying a hard wrist shot that Conry never saw. Tongue attained his first hat trick as a Panther moments later after stealing a pass inside the Eagles defensive zone and rifling a shot past Conry (3 saves), making it a 10-1 contest before Prep senior Zach Pearce managed a score in the game's final minute.

"We started moving the puck, especially in that second period and were getting some good shots on net," Tongue said. "For me, I just tried to get pucks on the net as best I could and fortunately some were able to bounce through. Our team chemistry is a lot better than at the start of the year. It is really showing and hopefully that will get us to the Super 8."

At the outset, Crinella (team-high 24 goals) wasted no time in getting the Panthers on the board. Just 2:02 in, the Holy Cross commit ripped a shot from just outside the left circle that sailed past Laramie.

Despite recent victories over Austin Prep and Arlington Catholic, Prep still had its back firmly are against the wall in its quest for a postseason bid. Late in the first, the Eagles (7-9-2) stormed back. Nick Latham, as part of a 2-on-1 break with Mark Etherington, beat freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli (20 saves) to tie things at 1-1.

However, just moments following the score, Prep was whistled for a questionable too many men on the ice infraction. As a result, it would lead to Crinella's go-ahead score late in the frame.

"(The officials) really had no explanation for that call," said puzzled Eagles head coach Kristian Hanson, whose club sits four points out of securing a Division 1 North playoff spot, and must now win its final two contests in order to qualify. "Our captain was out on the ice asking one of the referees regarding the circles and the other ref turns and calls us for too many men on the ice. I don't understand it.

"Was it the difference in this game? Probably not. But it certainly changed the complexion at that time because we had just scored to tie it. Obviously we got a little rattled after that and so did my goalie. We tried to compete today but we just weren't getting it. It was a bad match up for us. Now it is up to us to step up and play a better game on Wednesday (versus Winchester) and on Friday (versus Wakefield) to get into the playoffs. Hypothetically the tournament has already started for us starting this week."