Boston High School: David Fasano Sr.

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.

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