Boston High School: Daniel Holland

Top 5: The quest for the Super 8 title

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
6:06
PM ET
With a good number of team's kicking off their hockey schedules on Wednesday night, we thought we'd take a closer look at our Top 5 preseason teams, handicapping the field of could-be Super 8 contenders this season:

(All records and stats from 2010-11)

1. Malden Catholic (21-1-2)
Players to watch: Brendan Collier, Sr. F, 24-39--63; Ryan Fitzgerald, Jr. F, 24-42-66; Mike Iovanna, Jr. F, 10-18--28; Tyler Sifferlen, So. F, 4-7--11; Brendan White, Jr. D, 2-7--9; Colin MacGillivray, Jr. D, 1-7--8.

Key losses: F Mike Vecchione, D Connor Evangelista, F Nick Roberto, G Pat Young.

The skinny: The returning Super 8 champions now have the bull's-eye on their backs, and they're OK with that. The Lancers finally finished the season on top, in no small part thanks to the leadership of Vecchione. Now the torch has been passed to Collier, who inherits the "C' this season. The Charlestown native and BU commit leads a re-tooled lineup. However, MC isn't without its questions. Top-line center Ryan Fitzgerald is on the shelf until around New Year's with a seperated shoulder. Catholic Conference All-Star Connor Evangelista is among the offseason defections and leaves a hole at the top of the Lancers' blue line corps. MC will also breaking in junior goaltender Connor Maloney after the graduation of Pat Young (1.33 GAA). On top of that, the Lancers have a new head coach in John McLean, who's filling in for Chris Serino, who's taken a medical leave. Still, for all those questions, there's still an awful lot of talent around with Iovanna figuring to make a big leap, playing the wing spot vacated by Vecchione. Freshman Ara Nazarian is a name that will be mentioned around the state for quite some time.

X-factor: White and MacGillivray. For all the attention paid to MC's front-line offensive talent, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of playoff time, teams need the horses on the blue line to take control of games. Both are more-than-capable defenders. Fitzgerald's younger sib, Casey, a freshman blue-liner is also a name to watch in the coming seasons.

2. St. John’s Prep (18-6-1)
Players to watch: Sam Kurker, Sr. F, 15-10--25; David Letarte, Sr. G, 2.52 GAA; Nick Pandalena, Sr. D, 2-10--12; Dillon Gargano, Jr. D, 1-1--2; Tyler Bird, So. F, 3-3--6.

Key losses: F Colin Blackwell, F Shane Eiserman, F John Farrow, D Joe Currie.

The skinny: Perhaps none of last year's Super 8 field lost more front-line talent than the Eagles. ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey Colin Blackwell matriculated to Harvard and is now tearing up the ECAC. Also, talented freshman Shane Eiserman left for the prep schools. What the Prep returns, however, could also be envy of most teams. It all starts up front with BU-commit Kurker, who's a true power forward in the old sense of the word; the Eagles will lean on Kurker to improve upon his 15-goal campaign last season. The Eagles also lost most of the blue line, with Nick Pandalena the only returner from their top 5. But the Prep is still built from the net out with Letarte returning between the pipes.

X-factor: Letarte. With a young defense in front of him and possible dip in scoring, it will take an even larger effort from the senior netminder to return Prep to a Super 8 title game.

3. BC High (15-6-3)
Players to watch: Matt Sullivan, Sr. F; Tom Besinger, So. F; Brian Furey, Sr. D; Peter Cronin, Jr. G.

Key losses: F Mike Cashman, F Terence Durkin, F Andrew White,

The skinny: Last year was about the Eagles' return to prominence. Now, this year is all about taking that next step. Still, the roster is young, but they're also battle-tested. "The guys we had last year were excellent leaders," BC High head coach John Flaherty said," now we're asking this group to build upon that moving forward, being leaders on and off the ice." That leadership now falls to Sullivan and Furey. Still, for a unit that's relatively young, there's some talent to be had, including Besinger who was among our Top 5 rookies to watch from last season.

X-factor: Cronin. The then-sophomore netminder turned some heads during the Super 8 tournament last season, as the Eagles went toe-to-toe with MC in the crossover round. If he can repeat that kind of performance, the Eagles are in good hands.

4. Catholic Memorial (8-10-2)
Players to watch: Liam Coughlin, Jr. F, 10-11--21; Jared Beckwith, Sr. D, 4-10--14; Shane Starrett, Jr. G, 1.77 GAA; Jack O'Hear, Jr. F.

Key losses: D Marc Hetnick, F Dan O'Hear, F Chris Stathopoulos, G Tommy Knox.

The skinny: By far the best team in the state not involved in the playoffs last season. With that said, the Knights were fairly green on the blue line last year and took their lumps. The hope is that they'll learn from those experiences. carrying into this season. CM figures to turn a weakness into a strength this year with a deep D corps led by Beckwith, in addition to returners Kevin Bletzer, Dennis Medeiros, Justin Ryder, Ryan Sullivan and John Allaire. The Knights also figure to be strong in net with Starrett after posting a .968 save percentage last year in nine games.

X-factor: Coughlin. An ESPN Boston All-Stater, bears watching in his second year with the Knights and could be the breakout performer of the year. He has the talent and size to change the complexion of game. If he applies himself physically, there's no defense in the state who can match him.

5. Woburn (18-5-2)
Players to watch: Casey Shea, Sr. F, 21-28--49; Danny Holland, Sr. F, 10-14--24; Jake Secatore, Sr. D, 1-12--13.

Key losses: F Alex Holland, D Brian Dulong, G Cam McGlashing, D Brian Smith.

The skinny: A year later, we still find ourselves wondering what could've been in the Super 8 tournament -- had the Tanners gotten a couple of bounces here and there. But, as Woburn head coach Jim Duran told us at the time, "Teams make their own luck in hockey." This year, the Tanners hope the luck breaks their way because they don't lack on talent. UMass-Lowell commit Casey Shea will be perhaps the most dynamic offensive threat in the state (save for the top-liners at MC), and Holland isn't far behind. This group can skate and make plays in tight spaces. In a word, they're fun to watch. The Tanners also return one of the steadiest D-men in the state in Secatore.

X-factor: Sophomore goaltender Jeremy Flibotte. He's tabbed to be McGlashing's replacement in net and saw time sparingly during last season. Can the netminder hold up to the rigors of postseason play? We'll find out.

Super 8 ends in tie for Needham, Woburn

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
2:03
PM ET
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. –- It wasn’t the experience either team envisioned when the Super Eight tournament field was announced.

Sixth-seeded Needham and seventh-seeded Woburn each entered Sunday’s third-round game with an 0-2 record in pool play and no chance of advancing to the semifinals. Each team completed the tournament without a victory as well, as the teams skated to a 2-2 tie at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena.

“Very proud of the way our kids played,” Woburn coach Jim Duran said. “It’s such a difficult game to come back and play when you’re not really playing for anything except for pride. There was no bologna out there. It was a good showing by both teams.”

Needham was trying to protect a 2-1 lead, but Woburn’s John Concannon capped the scoring with 5:28 to play. Because St. John’s Prep (2-0) and BC High (2-0) had already secured spots in the semifinals from Group 2, there was no overtime period.

Following the game, Needham coach Bill Giusti suggested it might benefit everyone if the tournament format is changed.

“It’s a tough game to play when you have two 0-2 teams,” he said. “I think maybe the format should be changed and maybe go to a Hockey East format (best-of-three series) and the winner moves on. Really I don’t think there’s gonna be any more games or any more time. Not only that, it makes the first and second seeds that much more important.

“I think it’s a better way. Unfortunately we’ve been involved in this game two years in a row. Last year with Winchester 0-2 and us 0-2. No one is in the stands either.”

Junior forward Daniel Holland also scored for Woburn, which completed its season with an 18-5-2 record. Junior defenseman Jake Secatore assisted on both Woburn goals.

The Tanners won a play-in game against Springfield Cathedral, and then lost one-goal games against St. John’s Prep (4-3 in overtime) and BC High (1-0) before Sunday’s contest.

Needham received goals from junior forwards D.J. Walsh and Timmy Parlato. The Rockets completed their season 12-8-5. The Rockets lost to BC High (2-0) and to St. John’s Prep (5-1) in its other tournament games.

“A tie was probably just for both of these teams,” Guisti said. “Luckily both teams were pretty disciplined.”

Woburn opened the scoring when Holland converted a rebound from close range at 4:46 of the second period.

Needham answered quickly. Walsh tied the contest 32 seconds later, and Needham took its first lead when Parlato beat goaltender Cam McGlashing on a shot from the right point at 7:12 of the second. Parlato’s goal came with one second left on a Needham power play.

“We talked before the game, not only did we want to play this for the seniors but also we wanted to play it for next year,” Duran said. “We showed we can play in the tournament. If we came here and had lost 5-0 they might have said we were just lucky to hang in there against those two teams [BC High and St. John’s Prep].

“I think we had a good effort tonight, and I think this gives us a lot of experience for next year. It gives us an idea do of what to expect and what it takes to get to that next level.”

St. John's Prep prevails in OT over Woburn

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
8:55
PM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- St. John’s Prep’s 4-3 triumph over Woburn in Saturday night’s Super 8 tournament game required some extra effort.

There was no celebration at the end of regulation. The game didn’t end until senior forward John Farrow scored his second goal of the game 6:13 into overtime.

After Woburn goaltender Cam McGlashing stopped Colin Blackwell’s initial shot, Farrow swept in the rebound during a scramble in front of the Woburn goal.

“A fortunate bounce went pretty much right to my stick,” Farrow said. “I just swung at it and my teammates jumped on me, so I knew it went it. I just tried to swing at the rebound after Colin took it hard to the net and luckily it went in for us.”

Farrow scored nine goals in St. John’s Prep’s previous 20 games.

“Either team could have won it,” St John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “I thought David [goaltender David Letarte] played great in the overtime and we were fortunate to get the goal.”

Blackwell, a senior forward, and junior forward Sam Kurker also scored for second-seeded St. John’s Prep, which improved its record to 15-5-1. Blackwell, who will play at Harvard, leads the team in goals (25), assists (22) and points (47).

Freshman forward Shane Eiserman assisted on two of his team’s four goals.

The Eagles, who beat Woburn 6-0 during the regular season, are 10-1-0 in their last 11 games.

The loss dropped seventh-seeded Woburn’s record to 18-4-1. The Tanners, who played their way into the field by beating Springfield Cathedral 5-2 in a play-in game, received goals from Dan Holland, his brother Alex Holland and Casey Shea.

“We had a lot of chances in overtime, we just couldn’t finish,” Woburn coach Jim Duran said. “We thought we could hang in there and maybe steal one. It’s only one game and we’re in a three-game tournament here.”

Shea’s goal, a backhanded shot while he was cutting through the slot, came with 6:41 remaining in the third period. Shea scored all five goals in the victory over Springfield Cathedral. He has a team-high 22 goals this season.

“That kid Shea is a heckuva player,” Hanson said. “He was dangerous the whole game.”

St. John’s Prep led 2-1 after one period.

Woburn opened the scoring at 5:32, when Dan Holland circled the net and beat Letarte from a tough angle in the right faceoff circle. The goal, which was unassisted, was Holland’s 11th of the season.

The Eagles responded by scoring twice in 93 seconds. First Blackwell tied the game when he received a centering pass from Eiserman and tipped the puck past McGlashing at 9:00.

St. John’s Prep took a 2-1 lead at 10:33, when Kurker’s soft shot from the right circle found room between McGlashing and the left post. It was Kurker’s 16th goal of the season. Defenseman Nick Pandelena collected the only assist.

The Eagles extended their lead to 3-1 44 seconds into the second period. Farrow beat McGlashing with a shot between his pads.

Woburn’s Alex Holland made it a one-goal game when he scored from a tough angle to Letarte’s left. The goal, Holland’s 18th of the season, came at 2:59 of the second.

“After we made it 3-1 they got a goal pretty quick,” Hanson said. “I really felt [the third goal] was going to be kind of a momentum swing for us. Then when they made it 3-2 I think it let the wind out of our sails a bit.”

Woburn failed to score on two power-play opportunities in the second.

Each team will be back in action Wednesday. St. John’s Prep will face Needham, and Woburn will meet BC High. Both games will be played at Merrimack College.

“The first game is always huge” Farrow said. “We knew it was going to be a different game than when we played them the first time. That was real important for us to come out with a win going forward.”

10's a crowd: A Super 8 primer

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
3:28
PM ET
We’re hours away from dropping the puck in the postseason with tonight’s Super Eight play-in games.

But we took a little time to sort out the Super Eight field, providing a primer on the teams.

Take a peek:

1. Malden Catholic (16-2-2)
Marquee wins: Lancers had wins over five of the 10 Super Eight teams and that doesn’t even include what might have been their most impressive win, an early season triumph over New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Mike Vecchione, F Ryan Fitzgerald, F Brendan Collier, D Connor Evangelista, F Nick Roberto.

The skinny: Wire to wire, unquestionably the top-ranked team in the state. As in the last couple of seasons, the Lancers enter the Super Eight with lofty expectations and seemingly nothing short of a title will satisfy. MC’s depth reaches far beyond its top line of three Division 1 college recruits (Collier, Fitzgerald and Vecchione) and its team speed and passing ability are without parallel. Not only can they score, they can defend as well, led by top defensive pairing of Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray.

X-factor: It’s funny how the postseason seems to shave away certain goals into missed chances and oftentimes it due to a hot netminder. So if those once plentiful goals start to ebb away, it will be left to senior goaltender Pat Young to shine. Young is capable between the pipes and he might just show that he’s been the most overlooked element to MC’s success.

2. St. John’s Prep (14-5-1)
Marquee wins: As the runners up in the Catholic Conference, the Eagles nabbed a pair of league wins against both BC High and Catholic Memorial, but it might have been Prep’s win against the Knights on Friday that showed they can truly be a threat in the Super Eight. Playing against a CM team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Eagles ratcheted up the D in a playoff-like atmosphere.

Players to watch: F Colin Blackwell, F Shane Eiserman, F Sam Kurker, G David Letarte, D Joe Currie.

The skinny: Outside of MC, the Eagles have the deepest collection of eye-popping offensive talent. Blackwell, a Harvard commit, is equally adept as a playmaker as he is a sniper. Eiserman is wise and mature beyond his years as a freshman while Kurker provides grit and a nice scoring complement. The blue line was the perceived weakness of the squad, but they’ve come a long way with Currie providing veteran leadership, in addition to Scott Derrickson who played a strong second half.

X-factor: Kurker. When the junior winger gets hot, he’s hard to stop and creates a dynamism to Prep’s offense.

3. BC High (13-4-3)
Marquee wins: The Eagles finished strong, winning their final six games in addition to the Cape Cod Classic tournament to end the season. Their 5-4 shootout with Catholic Memorial was also a classic, as usual. Does a tie against Malden Catholic count as well? Sure.

Players to watch: F Mike Cashman, F Terence Durkin, F Andrew White, D Jack Buckley, D Brendan O’Malley.

The skinny: The Eagles play with plenty of speed, a point of emphasis for first-year head coach John Flaherty when assembling this year’s varsity roster, and the young roster has gelled together quickly. More than anything, BC High has taken play to their opponents. They’re aggressive on the forecheck and know how to use their speed to their advantage.

X-factor: Experience. The Eagles haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, so a good portion of their roster hasn’t experienced playoff hockey. How long will it take them to acclimate? A period? A shift? “Hopefully, not even that,” Flaherty said. “At the end of the day, it’s just another hockey game. It’s not different from any others.”

4. Weymouth (17-3-2)
Marquee wins: The Wildcats’ 5-2 win over fellow Super Eight entrant and longtime rival Hingham at Pilgrim was about as good as it gets for the Weymouth seniors who’d never beaten the Harbormen before. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs,” head coach Matt Cataldo told ESPN Boston after the game.

Players to watch: F Tyler Piacentini, F Riley Flanagan, G Brian Brady, F/D Trevor King, D Andy Sheridan.

The skinny: When are people finally going to stop saying that Piancentini is too small to play on the big stage? He can flat out score. Hey, it worked for Nathan Gerbe, right? Not only does Weymouth have scoring punch, they’re well suited for a long postseason run with Brady, a senior, in nets. Outside of MC, the Wildcats were perhaps the state’s most consistent team from start to finish and that means something coming in a year of great parity.

X-factor: King has played on the blue line and stepped up front to play center as well this season. Whether it’s moving the puck out of his own end, or stepping in to win a faceoff, versatility always comes in handy this time of year.

5. Hingham (13-5-4)
Marquee wins: It might not look as impressive as their upset over Malden Catholic on paper, but the Harbormen’s 5-3 win over St. Mary’s of Lynn on Feb. 5 got them going. After upsetting the Lancers, Hingham went through a tough 0-3-1 stretch before turning things around with a comeback win that had the intensity of Super Eight matchup.

Players to watch: F Tim Driscoll, D Alex Pompeo, F Matt Hughes, F Austin O’Connor, D Steven Bellew.

The skinny: Let’s call spades a spade: the Harbormen are the defending champions, so that has to count for something. Simply put, they’ve been there and done that, so nerves won’t be an issue. Although there was a good amount of turnover from last year’s roster, a few of their stalwarts remain in Holy Cross commit Driscoll and Pompeo, who is among the best defensemen in the state. They are terrific building blocks to a Super Eight champion-caliber squad.

X-factor: Derek McInnis was superb during last year’s run to the title, but head coach Tony Messina likes to roll his goaltenders and senior Kevin Granatino has been solid in the second half of the season. That gives the Harbormen perhaps the greatest depth in goal in the tournament.

6. Needham (12-6-4)
Marquee wins: Where would the Rockets have been without their 3-2 win over Weymouth on Feb. 9? It was a season-turner. Their 4-3 win over Springfield Cathedral was their raison d’Ítre to the tournament.

Players to watch: D Chris Joyce, F Tom Coleman, F Jeff Rosata, D Scott Atkinson.

The skinny: Who’d have thought the Rockets would end up with the sixth seed after (literally) being left off the table in the first round of Super Eight voting. Of course, head coach Bill Guisti has built Needham into one of the state’s premier public school programs and is evidenced by their tough out-of-conference schedule which includes several Catholic Conference teams. So the Rockets are used to playing the best. Joyce is in the conversation when it comes to the state’s best defensemen and we’ve always loved the jam Needham’s forward play with. They’re truly a tough team to play.

X-factor: Akin to the Harbormen, it will be interesting to see how Needham’s goaltending tandem of Evan MacDonald and Connor Murray shapes up. They’re both talented and capable of carrying the load.

7. Woburn (17-3-1)
Marquee wins: Life in the Middlesex League night in and night out is no easy thing, so we take the fact that the Tanners were 14-2-0 against league competition as a marquee accomplishment.

Players to watch: F Casey Shea, F Alex Holland, F Daniel Holland, F Eddie Aprile, D Brian Dulong.

The skinny: We had the Tanners pegged for the top six, which means they would have avoided playing Cathedral in tonight’s play-in game. But so is life and Woburn enters the tournament as one of the most consistent teams throughout the season …

X-factor: … However, the Tanners haven’t played much in the way of their out-of-conference schedule (a Their 6-0 thumping at the hands of St. John’s Prep was a good harbinger.

8. Central Catholic (16-5-1)
Marquee wins: It was early, but the Raiders’ 4-3 win over St. John’s Prep is about as good as it gets.

Players to watch: F Tommy Evangelista, G Kyle Williams, F Nick Pelrine, F/D Nick Leonard, D Ricky Sheehan.

The skinny: The Raiders looked like they might have been on the bubble with fellow DCL/MVC co-champion Billerica coming down the last couple weeks of the season, but Central showed what they are capable of with a huge 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Weymouth on the next to last day of the season. If that team shows up, the Raiders will be extremely dangerous. Evangelista is simply fun to watch.

X-factor: Williams is that type of goaltender who is capable of stealing games for his team.

9. St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-5-3)
Marquee wins: The Spartans had some tough luck in their out-of-conference schedule and had just a 7-5-3 record against fellow playoff teams. However, they were simply dominant in the Catholic Central (7-0-3), allowing just 12 goals in 10 games.

Players to watch: G Donald Hesse, D Cam Kennedy, F Bobby Mullins, F Christopher Surrette, F Tim Aylward.

The skinny: There’s no bones about why the Spartans are in the fold and that is their defense, which all starts in net with Hesse. Among the elite netminders in the state, Hesse is a game-changer and showed in last year’s Division 1 North tournament that he’s capable of putting a team on his back. Kennedy is an underrated blue-liner who is equally adept leading the breakout from his own end as he is clearing out the crease.

X-factor: It comes down to the ability for the Spartans to get those mucking-type goals in key situations and then shutting teams down.

10. Springfield Cathedral (12-9-1)
Marquee wins: All but one of the Panthers’ games was against a playoff opponent, so they’re battled tested and held their own against teams that were considered for the Super Eight, going 4-4-0.

Players to watch: G Zac Rondeau, D Sean Kavanagh, F Frank Crinella, F Dante Christofori.

The skinny: The Panthers always seem to find a way into the Super Eight field and play one of the toughest schedules in the state. They might not be as talented as their previous Super Eight predecessors, but they play good defense in front of Rondeau, who is capable of stealing games on his own.

X-factor: Kavanagh is one of the great hidden jewels in the state.

No. 10 Woburn claims key Middlesex test

February, 13, 2011
2/13/11
12:47
AM ET
WOBURN, Mass. -- No. 10 Woburn made sure that it will be in the Middlesex League race down to the wire with Reading and Winchester, as the host Tanners earned an impressive 4-1 win over ninth-ranked Reading last night at O’Brien Rink.

A relatively even first period ended with the teams tied at 1-1, but Woburn (12-2-1, 11-2-0) ran away with the contest in the final 30 minutes. The Tanners outshot Reading (11-4-1, 9-2-0) by counts of 19-1 and 14-5 in the second and third periods, and 48-15 overall.

Woburn’s forecheck dominated the offensive zone in the middle period and led directly to the game winner for Eddie Aprile at 7:17. Bobby Smith stole the puck with a hard check in the left corner and centered to Aprile for the finish.

“The forechecking is really working,” Aprile said. “ Everyone’s working hard and forechecking and we’re getting opportunities off of that.”

Casey Shea, who tied the game on a redirection at 13:49 of the first, pushed the lead to 3-1 just 1:10 later with a wrist shot inside the right post from the low slot. The onslaught continued in the third period, with Aprile adding the final goal from low in the right circle.

“They truly wanted it a lot more than us; that’s the reality of it,” Reading coach Mark Doherty said.

Reading goaltender Andrew Keen made 44 saves in a noble effort, but the constant pressure and deep turnovers simply gave the Tanners too many good scoring chances.

“We’re happy with the performance tonight because of the fact that we got a lot of chances,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said.

Zach Coughlin scored Reading’s only goal at 11:00 of the first, cleaning up a rebound off a shot by Tom Crowley. Daniel Holland and Smith each had two assists for the Tanners.

The win gives Woburn a season split with Reading and a good boost for the stretch run, but the race for the league crown is far from over. The Rockets have five games remaining on the league schedule over the next two weeks, while Woburn has three, including a crucial match-up with Winchester next Saturday.

Woburn suffered a 2-0 loss to Winchester on Jan. 15, while the Rockets and Sachems split their season series.

SPONSORED HEADLINES