Boston High School: Derackk Curtis
This will be the first of four installments I plan to bring you through and at the conclusion of the tournaments. I’ll also be bringing you my weekend picks on some of that week’s most anticipated matchups:
Optimism through disappointment: By this point, you’ve likely seen and formulated a definitive opinion on the controversial “no goal” call during Monday’s Super 8 play-in game between Braintree and Catholic Memorial. While the Wamps have to be letdown by the turn of events earlier this week, Braintree can still embark on a championship quest of a different kind.
The Wamps, now the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 South tournament following their Super 8 exit, open sectional play Saturday against No. 8 seed Falmouth. It’s always interesting to watch how teams who are jettisoned from the Super 8 play-ins are able to readjust after falling short of an ultimate goal.
However, I think there’s hope for both Braintree and Archbishop Williams – which was also dealt a crushing blow in a double-overtime classic in its play-in tilt against Xaverian – and they might just cross paths down the line.
Undoubtedly, the Wamps played their best hockey of the season in its final month. They played their way into the Top 10 with wins over Super 8 No. 6 seed Duxbury and on the final day of the regular season against CM. I liked what I saw from a steady defensive corps, led by Joe Harrington and Kevin Howard, and Nick Anson has been a reliable presence in net.
For the Bishops, I don’t think there are many teams – statewide – that can match their depth and offensive skill of their top six forwards, in addition to Ryan Dunn’s emergence as a legitimate All-State candidate in the late season. Head coach Derackk Curtis characterized Steve Jenner as a “hot and cold” goaltender earlier this year, but in the final weeks of the season, Jenner has become a dependable puck-stopper.
If both teams can refocus quickly, I’d expect them to meet up at Gallo for the D1 South championship game.
A nod to a great: Think about some of the most famous headwear in sports history -- Tom Landry’s legendary fedora, Trot Nixon’s pine tar-stained hat, Craig MacTavish’s noteworthy lack of a bucket and compensation with some serious flow on top -- among those, in local hockey circles, the late Ed Burns' own fedora has to be included.
The Arlington hockey coaching legend died earlier this month and, as a nod to his mentor, Spy Ponders head coach John Messuri sported Burns’ trademark hat behind the bench during their surprising 1-0 win over Catholic Conference power St. John’s Prep. While Messuri paid homage to Burns’ legacy, the Spy Ponders honored it with their performance, playing their tough-minded brand of defensive hockey, buttressed with the unusual in-game tandem goalie rotation of Ryan Cote and Mike Schiller.
It marked a bumper crop of wins for the Middlesex League on Wednesday, which was a combined 5-1. Surprisingly, the one team to lose on the night was two-time defending Division 1 state champion Burlington, which was shut out by St. John’s of Shrewsbury.
Three Stars of the Week:
3. Sam D’Antuono, Jr. F, Dexter – The former Hingham Harborman put his team on his back during the third period of their 3-2 comeback win over Canterbury School in the first round of the NEPSAC Piatelli/Simmons tournament. D’Antuono scored the tying goal, before netting his second with the game-winner, all in the third period.
2. Al Lynch, Sr. G, Framingham – The Flyers’ netminder earned his first career playoff win with a 42-save performance in a 5-2 win over defending Division 1 South champion Marshfield on Wednesday.
1. Joe Marella, Sr. F, Abington – Marella single-handedly put a hurting on Division 3 South No. 1 seed Cape Cod Tech, scoring six goals in the Green Wave’s 7-1 thrashing Wednesday at Gallo.
This weekend’s picks du jour:
(Note: I’ll have full Super 8 breakdown and picks later this weekend.)
D1 North boys: ST. MARY’S over Winchester; MELROSE over Reading; ST. JOHN’S (SHREWSBURY) over Arlington; WILMINGTON over Medford.
D1 South boys: BRAINTREE over Falmouth; FRAMINGHAM over Franklin; ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS over Norwood; BARNSTABLE over Milton.
D2 North boys: BEVERLY over Danvers; LINCOLN-SUDBURY over Winthrop.
D2 South boys: CANTON over Medway.
D1 girls: READING over Austin Prep.
Bracket-buster upset special: D2 boys – OLIVER AMES over Westwood.
STONEHAM, Mass. -- The level of pressure just partaking in a Super 8 tournament play-in game can be excruciating enough. But when that game needs to exceed regulation to decide a winner, well, let's just say it is not for the faint of heart.
Monday night, inside Stoneham Arena, No. 8 seed Xaverian and No. 9 Archbishop Williams laid down the gauntlet to decide which of them would earn the right to play top-seed BC High in Sunday's opening round of the state's most-coveted high school hockey tournament.
In a wide-open offensive contest from beginning to end, a second overtime was needed before Ricky Smith, flying down the right boards, ripped a shot from the circle past goaltender Steve Jenner at 1:15 of the second overtime period to send the Hawks to the Super 8 tournament at TD Garden with a 6-5 victory.
"I had a good feeling coming onto the ice during that shift," said Smith, a senior defenseman, who missed the last two seasons due to injury. "I just felt that I needed to step up and do my job as a senior captain and step up for the team. We were pretty nervous but we could never get down. We needed to stay positive throughout. We just came out and played Xaverian hockey."
The Bishops (12-6-3) season still continues as they move into the Division 1 South tournament.
New rules this season indicate that during the first six minute overtime period, both teams play 5-on-5. In the second overtime, still six minutes in length, the number of players is reduced to 4-on-4.
Given a little more freedom to move the puck around the ice with one less player seemed to benefit the Hawks (12-3-6). While both teams were showing signs of fatigue both physically and mentally, this contest eventually would come down to which club would be the strongest inside the attacking zone. With this triumph, that nod goes to Xaverian, which finished the evening with 47 shots.
Late in the third period, the Bishops were desperately clinging to a 5-4 lead. But at 11:10, junior Jack Cook deadlocked things with a shot from the left wing that trickled through the pads of Jenner. It marked Cook's third goal of the night. During the first overtime frame, the Hawks managed six shots on Jenner but to no avail. Except for the opening period, when it registered 13 shots, Archbishop Williams' offense was experiencing difficulty trying to match Xaverian's. Yet, despite all that, the Bishops were still even after 51 minutes and change.
"I felt like we got better and better throughout the game," Hawks coach Dave Spinale said. "They had a fast start and are a very dangerous team. I give them a ton of credit. Their top six is as good as anyone we've seen all year. But I just felt after each period our team was gaining more confidence and more momentum. We really started pressuring them and they seemed to be sitting back more in that third period as if they were playing not to lose and I was telling my guys to keep going after them. We certainly got a good bounce to tie it up in that period."
In spite the Bishops dictating the play for much of the opening period it was the Hawks who converted a score on their first attempt to grab the lead. Senior forward Tony Marini took a well-placed behind-the-net pass from Tim Sweeney and one-timed it past Jenner (41 saves). The score was initially set up by Marini, who intercepted the puck along the right half wall before moving himself to the slot as he awaited Sweeney's feed.
Three minutes later, the Bishops tallied for two goals in a span of only five seconds to move in front. Ryan Dunn, a senior, beat Aidan Murphy (22 stops) with a hard wrist shot from the left circle. Then, off the face-off, senior Mike Davis moved into the right circle and lofted a shot into the top right corner. But with just 37 seconds remaining in the period, Xaverian answered. Cook notched his first, showing a burst of speed down the right wing, before letting go of a hard wrist shot into the net and send both teams into the first intermission tied at 2 apiece.
The offensive fireworks seen during the first 15 minutes carried into the middle period. Just 4:19 in, Eric Keefe put Archbishop Williams back in front with a rebound goal. It only took 20 seconds for the Hawks to grab the equalizer. Andrew Durkin, standing just outside the crease, poked in a pass from Connor McCarthy to make it 3-3.
A few moments later, the Bishops were whistled for back-to-back penalties. After a 20 second 5-on-3 advantage went by the boards, Xaverian still continued to play with a man up. However, a costly turnover at mid ice led to a 2-on-1 break for Archbishop Williams. On the play, Dunn hit Garrett Foley in stride with a centering pass. The senior capped things off with a shot between Murphy's pads coming at 7:37 to put the Bishops back on top by a goal. They would extend the advantage to 5-3 thanks to Colin Boyle's power play marker at 10:20. But with just over two minutes left in the period, Cook was able to re-direct Smith's long-range shot off the post and into the net, sending Xaverian into the break trailing by one.
"I thought we were the better team and things came down to some key saves at key moments," said Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis. "Tough way to lose in overtime because I think Steve makes that save most of the time. I thought my team played well all the way through and we were in it to win it. I think the goaltending dictated why this game was so wide-open. I think shots that most of time these guys would save. That opened things up at both ends. Take nothing away from Xaverian, they played very well but I thought my team played great too."
The Hawks dominated the third period in all facets. The offense continued to attack the Bishops end of the ice on every shift. But all of their shots were off-line. That was before Cook delivered with his tying goal late and Smith closing things out later on.
"Ricky has been a great leader for us," said Spinale. "I'm really happy and proud of him to be able to get that goal for us tonight. Jack is probably the fastest guy on our team so we like to use his speed and try to play fast. That's been our system to play fast, be physical and pressure the puck."
In the consolation game at the Buddy Ferreira Classic on Thursday, Archbishop Williams was looking to a final stamp on its season with a 3-1 win over Waltham.
It was a performance that Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis found to be a little uneven.
“We were never really able to get on track, but we’ll take the win,” he said. “We just had way too many penalties and there was just no momentum.”
Archies (12-5-3) never trailed, but never found its rhythm either, giving the Hawks (8-8-5) the benefit of seven power-play chances.
All-tournament team selection Mike Jessman opened scoring at 9:05 of the first, with assists from Mike Sorrenti.
Ryan Dunn netted his first of two goals on the evening at 11:07 of the second on a beautiful end-to-end rush.
Waltham interrupted Steve Jenner’s shut-out bid at 6:04 of the third on a Ben Macewen goal.
Now, all the Bishops can do is wait and see which tournament they will enter next week.
“We should have beat HIngham, but we won the next two games,” Curtis said of his team’s performance on the Cape this week. “That’s the way it can be sometimes, but I’m happy.”
FALMOUTH, Mass. – Archbishop Williams certainly loves their props. When the Bishops win, the game’s top player gets to wear the ugly jacket, a piece of clothing that would make Macklemore pause at the thrift shop.
The Bishops’ hardest worker in the game dons the hard hat, which has more dents in it than a sheet of ice before the Zamboni gets to it.
At the Falmouth Ice Arena on Monday, hometown boy Mike Jessman got to wear the mint green paisley jacket after he scored twice against Arlington Catholic to pace the Bishops to a 4-1 win at the Buddy Ferreira Classic.
Nick Menzel also scored and Kyle Leonard added an empty-netter as the No. 11 Bishops (11-5-3) earned a key victory over the ninth-ranked Cougars (12-6-1) in the teams’ third meeting of the season.
Senior goalie Steve Jenner left the locker room with the beat up hard hat and a smile. Jenner stopped 29 of the 30 Arlington Catholic shots on net and kept his team in the game over the first two periods before his team exploded for three goals in the early part of the third period to turn a 1-0 deficit after two stanzas into a victory.
“When he’s played, he’s either really hot, or not,” Archies head coach Derackk Curtis said. “He was hot, and he was real good.”
Jenner’s teammates meandered through portions of the first two frames, but brought their “A” game for the third period. Jessman popped a pair past John Richard over a span of about three minutes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. On both occasions, Mike Sorrenti played a key role in his linemate’s success.
With Super 8 implications for both teams, Jessman said that Curtis asserted the importance of his team playing well in the third period during the second intermission.
“Coach basically told us that if you want to have a shot at the Super 8 it’s going to come down to them and us in the rubber match,” Jessman said.
Just 50 seconds into the third, Sorenti forced an Arlington Catholic turnover in the right wing corner, came away with the puck and sent it to the slot. Jessman one-timed the feed low to the far side to tie the game.
On that same line’s next shift, they gave the Bishops the lead. Michael Davis’ hard work down low created a turnover for the Bishops and he found Sorenti near the net. Rather than shoot at the squared-up Richard, Sorenti slipped a pass to his right where Jessman roofed a shot to make it 2-1 at the four minute mark.
The two markers for the senior gave Jessman three goals in two games here in Falmouth, the town in which he resides full-time. He said to be able to play well in front of his loved ones was special.
“It means a lot, this is where I grew up playing, not in this rink, but in the old Falmouth rink,” he said. “A lot of my family comes down for these ones.”
Just 82 seconds later, the Bishops scored again to go up by a pair. From the right wing wall, Eric Keefe delivered a great diagonal pass to the far post for Pat Twombley, whose attempt to tip the puck in sent the puck through the crease to the far side. Menzel was on the other side and slammed in the loose puck for some insurance at 5:22.
Jenner faced 10 shots by Arlington Catholic in each period. The only one of those bids that got past him came off the stick of Ryan Smith late in the first period with a hard-nosed effort in front of the Williams net. With AC bringing pressure, defenseman Jack Rogers fluttered a wrister to the cage from the right point through some traffic. Jenner got his right leg pad down in time to halt the initial bid, but Smith raked out the rebound, from a prone position on the ice to put his team on the scoreboard.
Obviously his team felt differently. St. John's converted three first-period turnovers into goals and added two more scores in the middle frame to come away with a 5-2 triumph over the Bishops at the SportsPlex.
"The kids played very well tonight," said Mead, his club improving to 4-1-1. "All four lines played well together, [goaltender] Mario Pizzeri and all of our defense played well also. We were aggressive. We had our legs underneath us and we jumped on the puck well. We hadn't played since last Saturday so we were fresh."
The Pioneers stuck to an up-tempo style for the first two periods before converting back to a slow-down, defensive-minded final 15 minutes in an effort to maintain their lead. St. John's dictated the action from the opening face off, displaying an aggressive, in-your-face style that seemed to catch Archbishop Williams a little off-guard.
With the forwards causing all kinds of chaos inside the Bishops' defensive zone, that would eventually lead to turnovers – something uncharacteristic from the Bishops. At 6:14 of the opening period, the first of many turnovers, led to the Pioneers' first score. Junior forward Pat Storer stole the puck and broke in on Archbishop Williams netminder Matt McCaughey, beating the junior with a shot over his left shoulder.
But a little more than a minute later, forward Eric Keefe tied matters, pushing in a rebound past Pizzeri (30 saves).
The pace remained fast and furious throughout the period. With St. John's playing a man down, once again Archbishop Williams got careless with the puck resulting in Pioneer junior Kevin Quinlivan taking it just outside the right circle and beating McCaughey to go up 2-1 at 7:46.
"St. John's came out and played hard," Bishops coach Derackk Curtis said. "They back-checked and there were times when we got the puck to their blue line and they'd have all five guys back. They worked hard, blocked a lot of shots and were physical. The first period we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by not executing."
Once again, Archbishop Williams was able to answer the St. John's score with one of its own after Pizzeri couldn't snag a rebound that ended up on the stick of Nick Menzel, who pushed it into the back of the net at 13:58 knotting this contest at 2-2. But any momentum gained was gone in an instant. With just 40 seconds remaining in the period, Danny Barlok, another junior, stole an errant pass deep in the Bishops zone and slipped a shot past a shell shocked McCaughey to send St. John's into the first break ahead 3-2.
The Pioneers refused to take their foot off the gas pedal during the second. At times, Archbishop Williams (3-2-1) was seen standing around and watching St. John's make crisp passes around them without putting much pressure on the forwards. That was clearly evident midway through the frame when Chris Stalmok, a sophomore forward, was allowed two attempts just in front of the crease without being pushed out. Stalmok's second try found its way underneath McCaughey's pads giving the Pioneers a two goal advantage.
"We felt we let (Archbishop Williams) hang around in the first period so we wanted to come out and make sure we were ready for the second period," Mead said. "The boys responded and played very well in that second period. One of the things we focus on the fore-check and focus on cycling the puck down low and it seemed to work tonight."
With Archbishop Williams still playing back on its heels, another St. John's rush up the ice proved costly. A shot by Storer was stopped by McCaughey (30 saves) but the puck rolled off to his right to forward Mike McGillicuddy, who promptly backhanded it top-shelf to extend the Pioneers margin to three goals at 1:58.
"This is a huge win against a team like that," said McGillicuddy, a senior. "They are a Super 8 contender every couple of years and it was good to have that kind of lead on them going into the third period. It's nice to have a gap like that. In the third period we were focused on playing defense and not let them come back. A lot of goals do come off mistakes and if we can keep getting turnovers like we did tonight hopefully it will lead to a few more goals for us."
For the remainder of the game, as McGillicuddy stated, St. John's game plan was to blanket the defensive zone and force Archbishop Williams to shoot from the outside for the most part. The Bishops did send 12 shots Pizzeri's way in the period, but the senior stopped all to preserve the victory.
"We never really got going," said Curtis, his club having now lost two straight. "Sometimes when you are in those types of games one or two mistakes can really cost you. Tonight we made more mistakes then they did."
Fifth-ranked Archbishop Williams got four goals from senior Ryan Dunn en route to a 9-3 shellacking of Chelmsford in the day’s second game. In the earlier contest, Westford Academy rode a hat trick by Anthony Gulliver to a 7-2 victory over the host team from Falmouth.
The night before, head coach Derackk Curtis’s squad needed a final-minute miracle provided by Nick Menzel to earn a draw against WA. There was no need for such dramatics against Chelmsford as the Bishops scored multiple goals in every period to run away and hide from the Lions.
“We wanted to make a statement, because the team as a whole didn’t feel like we performed well yesterday,” Curtis said. “I though overall we played pretty well.”
Leading 2-1 after one, Archbishop Williams took charge in the second period with three quick goals that opened up some breathing room.
Mike Sorrenti bore down the right side and tucked one past Tim Huggins just 36 seconds into the second, scoring on his team’s first shot of the period. Just 30 seconds later Dunn blasted in a set-up by Eric Keefe that made it 4-1. Then, at 5:16, a Chelmsford turnover found Sorrenti in the low slot and he let it rip instantaneously to give his team a three-goal cushion.
The rest of the second period was all Lions, but Archies goalie Matt McCaughey (30 saves) prevented things from getting too close. McCaughey stopped 16 of 17 Lions shots on net during the middle frame, including three during a 5-on-3 power play late in the stanza.
His lone mistake in the second period came at 10:19 when Mike DeDenato slipped through a check on the left wing wall at the blue line and whistled a shot inside the near post to make it 5-2. Chelmsford had plenty of chances after that to close the gap late in the period, but McCaughey was extra sharp.
“Coming into it we didn’t really have Matt pegged in as the number one guy, but he’s come in and played with an air of confidence. He’s very calm, cool and collected back there,” Curtis said.
Chelmsford head coach Mike McGrath said that McCaughey’s stand-out play in the second period was a big reason for the outcome. “He made three or four really big saves there, and then we came out in the third and gave one up right away, and end of story.”
The Bishops kept it up in the third. Goals by Michael Davis and Cullen Lyne in the first five minutes increased the lead to 7-2. Danny Ferri closed the gap a little with a spectacular shorthanded goal at 5:06, but that was the last of the scoring for the Lions. Dunn capped the festivities with goals three and four later in the period, his first coming off of a funny bounce out of the corner, and then his last of the night on a clean breakaway.
AW opened the game by building a 2-0 lead, with Chelmsford making it a one-goal game late in the period. Dylan O’Brien got the game’s first one, tipping a Kyle Leonard wrist shot at 4:45. Dunn then snapped one in on a break up the middle at 9:16 to double his team’s advantage. Danny Ferri popped in his own rebound for Chelmsford at 14:24 to make it a one-goal game after the opening period.
Westford Academy 7, Falmouth 2
In the first game, Westford Academy (1-1-1) exploded in the second period to net a half-dozen goals in 15 minutes and turn a competitive contest into a laugher.
Grey Ghosts head coach Bob Carpenter was pleased to see his club travel South to the Cape Cod Cup and leave with three points in tow, after having played No. 5 Archbishop Williams to a draw the previous night.
“You don’t plan on that to come down here and get three points, it’s nice,” he said with a smile following his team’s rollicking win over the host team.
After a very competitive first 15 minutes, Westford Academy found another gear in the second period, striking early and often. Goals by Anthony Gulliver and Ryan Hesseltine less than a minute apart turned a 1-0 differential into a 3-0 contest in a matter of moments. Gulliver, who missed most of the previous day’s game with a severe headache, gave the Clippers pains by scoring a hat trick in the game. His second of the night, at 2:39 of the second, saw him camp on the edge of the crease and put home an Andrew Gounaris rebound. Just 51 seconds later Cam MacDonald dragged a defender on his hip up the left wing and centered a feed to the wide-open Hesseltine for a tip-in past Nick Cline to make it a three-goal differential.
Westford Academy was just getting started, though. The Ghosts went on to add four more before the second period concluded. Jay Drapeau’s power play goal, which came with 10 seconds left on a major against the Clippers, was the shot of the day as he sniped one just under the crossbar on the near side to make it 4-0.
Joe Schultz, Gulliver and Jack Conway each added to the tally late in the period as they bunched their strikes over a span of just 2:26, pushing their lead to a robust 7-0 differential after 30 minutes.
“I thought (Falmouth) played very well in that first period, and really took us out of our game. In the second period we kind of settled in better,” Carpenter said. “We worked harder in the second period. I thought we were trying to be a little too cute in the first period, and we were falling right into Falmouth’s trap, I think. We got back into our game, putting the puck on net and crashing the net.”
Falmouth (3-2-1) saved some face by winning the third period, scoring a pair of goals, both of which came off the stick of sophomore Sam Walker. Nick Marston set up the first one, with a nice feed off the right wing wall to the doorstep for Walker. The first-year varsity player netted number two on his next shift, intercepting a pass at the red line before sniping one in to the lower right corner at 11:39.
Paul Moore said that his team will move on from the blowout loss. “You play this game with your hands, your head and your feet and we stopped playing with all three in some situations tonight,” he said. “It was an abomination, I told them to have amnesia and forget about it. We’ll learn from our mistakes and move on.”
Both Archbishop Williams and Chelmsford were deemed winners in overtime in their respective games. However, since the MIAA does not recognize overtime until postseason play, those clubs, along with their respective foes, Westford Academy and Falmouth, played to ties.
No. 5 Archbishop Williams and Westford Academy’s game will go into the record books as a 4-4 draw, while Chelmsford and host Falmouth counts as a 1-1 deadlock.
Of the four tying squads, the Bishops were the ones that had the most to feel good about at the end of the day as they rallied from two goals down in the final minute of regulation to tie the score.
Even so, head coach Derackk Curtis was hardly jumping for joy following a game that saw Bishops’ sniper Nick Menzel complete a hat trick with two goals in the final 48 seconds, both with the goalie pulled for an extra-attacker.
“I thought we should have been able to dominate the game a little bit more. Nothing against Westford Academy, but coming off the Springfield Cathedral game I thought we’d come in here and have a little more success, a little more confidence,” Curtis said. “We finished the game strong, so there is a positive, because last year we don’t win this game. Last year, we don’t come back from this, because we didn’t have the confidence, we didn’t have the leadership, and the determination to finish it off.”
Westford Academy (0-1-1) looked like it’d be finishing off a win as the game got down to crunch time. Riding a standout performance by sophomore goaltender Kyle Martin (31 saves), the Ghosts held a 4-2 lead through 44 minutes and needed to just survive the last 60 seconds to earn their first win of the year.
Archbishop Williams put that first win celebration on hold, though. The Bishops went on to win in overtime, on a goal by Mike Davis two minutes and three seconds into the extra session.
Menzel and the Bishops were the better team for much of the game, but Martin kept making big save after big save. With the extra attacker out in the last minute, the numbers game caught up to the netminder and the Ghosts. Menzel popped his second of the game with just 48 seconds to play, as he camped on the right pipe and waited for a pinpoint pass off the far side boards that found him unmarked.
Archies then controlled the ensuing faceoff, got Steve Jenner out of the goal again, and went back on the attack. In a matter of seconds the puck was on the ice in front of Martin being whacked at by a gaggle of sticks. It was the one held by Menzel that made solid contact, and slipped it through the maelstrom to knot the score and leave the Ghosts stunned and the Bishops on Cloud Nine.
In the meaningless overtime, Archies dominated the proceeding as it accounted for all six shots that found the net, the last of which Davis popped in to make it 5-4.
After a scoreless first period, the Ghosts got hot in the second and tickled the twine three times to take charge. They struck first just 34 seconds into the period when Ryan Hesseltine completed a cross by Jay Drapeau. At 3:27 Andrew Gounaris buried a rebound, after Jenner stoned Tim Curran, to make it a two-goal game.
The Bishops answered 17 seconds later as Sorenti got his first of three in the game on a break-in.
The back-and-forth third period continued with Westford going up 3-1 on a gal by Anthony Gulliver, who found himself in the right place at the right time. The Bishops attempted to clear the puck out of their own end, without looking up first and sent a pass right to Gulliver in the high slot, who skated a stride in and then snapped a wrister past Jenner to the glove side at 6:15.
Four minutes later the Bishops made it a one-goal game on the first varsity goal of Cullen Lyne’s career. The sophomore, who had not played with the big club before the Cape Cod Cup, stepped into a regular shift when Eric Keefe went down with a shoulder injury early in the game. He popped a rebound up and over Martin, finishing off a break-in by Ryan Dunn.
In the third period it looked like Westford had the game in hand after taking a two-goal lead with 5:42 left in regulation. Hesseltine set up the Ghosts’ final tally with a brilliant lead pass out of the defensive zone, splitting the middle and finding Cam MacDonald in stride for a 2-on-1 break with Drapeau, who buried a cross to make it 4-2.
That set the stage for the Bishops’ late-game dramatics, whose plan was to get Jenner out of the cage with 100 seconds to play and try to wreak havoc. They did just that, and rallied to earn the draw, which felt like a win, and unofficially was one.
“They made a lot of good plays at the end, you have to give them a lot of credit,” Westford head coach Bob Carpenter said. “They really hung in there and made a lot of great plays on both goals, I thought. They’re good.”
Chelmsford 1, Falmouth 1
In the nightcap, the goals did not flow as freely as in the opener. Chelmsford (1-2-2) and Falmouth (3-1-1) each netted a goal in the second period, just 71 seconds apart, and that was it, other than an overtime goal by Mike DeDonato, that was set up by Matt Calnan with 45 seconds left in the extra session.
Paul Moore, the Clippers’ new head coach who replaced Massachusetts legend Buddy Ferreira this year, was upbeat about his young team’s performance against an opponent he sees as high quality.
“I’m so proud of the way that they played,” Moore said. “That’s a huge point for us right there and the effort from top to bottom was unbelievable. Cody Bailey had the game of his career, he got the game puck. Isaiah Lineaweaver, he could have gotten the game puck, too. I’m just so proud of there effort, we hung in there.”
While they weren’t exactly lighting it up, the two teams did light one another up with plenty of solid hitting in the open ice and solid defense all-around on both sides. The goalies were good, too. Falmouth’s Jake Beaton stopped 16 of 17 shots that he saw during regulation and his counterpart from Chelmsford, Tim Huggins, halted 17 of 18.
Beaton stopped two late first period shots, by Wes Phillips and Derek Adamson, which were definite scoring opportunities. Phillips’ bid hit a skate on the way to the goal, but Beaton stayed with the deflection and covered it up. He then dove to the far post with just 20 seconds left in the period to deny a wraparound try by Adamson that would have crossed the line if not for the lunge.
Chelmsford head coach Mike McGrath said he felt like his team left Falmouth off the hook early in the game. “I’m disappointed. We had four two-on-ones in the first period, and we had an opportunity to put them away early and we let them hang around,” McGrath said. “Right now we’re just struggling to score. We’ve only got four goals in the last three games.”
Huggins came up biggest late in the game, with Falmouth flying around in the final five minutes looking to bring the hometown crowd to its feet. He robbed Bailey on a break-in with six minutes to go in the game and then answered the bell on an Arlin Moore chance with 5:05 to play.
As for the goals that were scored, they both came late in the second frame. Chelmsford took a brief 1-0 lead at the 11:53 mark of the second when Jack Olson roofed a rebound over Beaton after the keeper had stopped a shot by Jesse Lye, but was left prone on the ice.
Shortly after they fell behind, the Clippers drew even as their leading scorer, Robbie Souza, found the back of the net for the fourth game in a row. The senior co-captain blocked a shot by the Lions and beat everyone else up the ice in a mad dash for the loose puck. Souza tipped it ahead to himself in the neutral zone and bore down on Huggins, beating the goalie from the high slot with a wrister to the glove side for his ninth tally of the young season.
All four teams will be back at tomorrow afternoon. Falmouth will face Westford Academy at 1 p.m., followed by Archies against Chelmsford at 3 p.m.
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When Peter Crinella knocked home his second goal of the afternoon very late into the third period to tie the game for Springfield Cathedral, there was more than a few heads bowing on the Archbishop Williams bench. The Bishops felt they played too hard and had come too far for them to earn just a measly point out of this contest.
With still a little time left, Archbishop Williams had a go-for-broke attitude. As the clock ticked down to under a minute, they conjured up one last rush down ice. With the puck on his stick, Eric Keefe let a shot fly which caromed off the left goal post. Fortunately for Keefe, the puck retreated directly back onto his stick and the junior was able slip it underneath Panther goaltender John Liquori for the game-winner with just 42 seconds left.
"After the first shot hit the post I was able to grab it,'' said Keefe, who also netted a second-period goal. "At that point I was just thinking I had to put it in. This is a huge win for us. We hadn't beaten [Cathedral] in my three years here. This certainly brings up our confidence to a high level. We have a solid goaltender and all three lines played their hearts out today and we were able to come away with the win."
Both programs lived up to the standards they've created for themselves over the years in this one. For the most part, things were evenly balanced.
No. 3 Cathedral (2-1-1) mustered 36 shots while the No. 7 Bishops (2-0-0) recorded 35. Archbishop Williams' defense throughout was solid led by Kenny Lofstrom, Colin Boyle, Kyle Leonard, Pat Wombly and Tyler Bradford. All played physical again the Panthers high-octane offense and sacrificed themselves on numerous occasions to dive in front of shots.
"We knew coming up here it was going to be a tough game for us," Bishops coach Derackk Curtis said. "This was an early test for us and the boys played real well. We've been putting a lot of work into this group. Tonight we started to see the fruits of our labor in terms of them being more physical, blocking shots, being aggressive and working their checks. I think all of those things are starting to come together and the kids are starting to identify what it takes to be successful."
Crinella, who leads the Panthers with eight goals, gave his club an early 1-0 lead at 10:09 of the opening period. Positioning himself just outside the crease, the junior took a pass from Devan Tongue and lifted a backhand past Matt McCaughey.
That lead lasted just four minutes. With Archbishop Williams on the powerplay, Ryan Dunn tied matters. The senior dragged the puck through traffic before slipping a shot between Liquori's pads.
Another power play midway through the middle period produced another goal for the Bishops. Archbishop Williams pressured the Cathedral zone. After two shots bounced off of Liquori's pads, Keefe made sure his didn't, finding an open left side of the net to slip the puck into giving his team a 2-1 advantage.
Things remained that way for the remainder of the frame. In the third, the Panthers showed much more aggressiveness on offense. A team literally made up of underclassmen, Cathedral didn't play like it for most of the final 15 minutes. The Panthers ambushed McCaughey (34 saves) with several shot early. But the junior blocked all of them. Then, after Cam Mariani was called for a hook, Cathedral had the opportunity it needed, working the puck methodically into the Bishops' zone, a couple of quick shots netted nothing. However, McCaughey couldn't control the rebound on one of them in which Crinella was in perfect position to poke it into the back of the net to knot this affair at 2-2.
"I thought this was a great game," Panthers coach Brian Foley said. "It was two good teams going at it. We're improving and we're young. Missing [forward] Zac Prattson (two game suspension) hurts us because they have a bunch of seniors, physically he brings a lot to the table for us. We felt his absence today. I thought [Liquori] had a great game in net as did their goalie. We came out on the wrong end today but we'll learn from it."
At this point, the Panthers probably would've settled for a tie and did everything they could defensively to block Archbishop Williams' passing lanes and breakaways. It seem to work until Keefe was able to squeeze through and finding himself in the right place once his initial shot bounced off the pipe and directly in front of him to slip his shot by Liquori (32 saves) for the game-winner.
"You get a little worried in those type of situations," Curtis said. "Cathedral seemed to keep missing the net high and we had some good, quality chances that were stopped. You get worried because you don't have a significant-enough lead in the dying seconds of the game. But we were able to bounce back late.
“Last year, I don't think we win this game. The other team would tie it up late and we might fold at that point. This year the boys are a lot more focused and you have to proud of the way they've played."
“I’m going to be straight forward, we haven’t been playing very good hockey down the stretch coming into this tournament, we just had to get the monkey off of our back,” Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis said. “We needed to find a way to win, dirty, scrappy, I didn’t care … Sometimes you just have to exorcise those demons, get the winning feeling, get that monkey off of your back.”
The Bishops scored two first period goals and then hung on for dear life, thanks in large part to the play of goalie Joe Vinay, who stopped 29 of the 30 shots that he saw in the game.
The day’s offense for the Bishops came within a short stretch in the first. In less than three minutes, the Bishops bolted ahead by a pair and then had to make that stand up the rest of the way.
Michael Sorrenti enjoyed his personal home ice advantage. The Archies forward, who hails from Bourne, grew up playing on the Gallo Ice Arena sheet and he was the first one to put a puck in the net for the Bishops. Sorrenti scored on a shot that Natick goalie Griffin Bailey wished he could have had back, as he didn’t cover up the near side pipe and Sorrenti sneaked a wrister inside of it to give his team a 1-0 lead at 8:21.
Shortly later, at 10:48, the Bishops doubled the lead. Colin Boyle snapped a wrister from the high slot that found its way behind Bailey, who was lifted in favor of Mike White for the latter two periods. White was excellent down the stretch, stopping all 14 shots that he saw, including a couple of breakaways.
Penalties were a bugaboo for the Bishops the rest of the way as Natick enjoyed six power plays in the game, and cashed in one. The Red Hawks would have loved to have had more, but Vinay and forward Ryan Dunn led a PK unit that got the job done effectively.
Matt Clifford’s second minor penalty of the second period led to Natick’s lone score. Just 19 seconds after the infraction, Natick junior captain Derek Butler planted himself in front of the cage and tipped in a feed from behind the cage by Max Plasker to cut the lead in half at 5:34, making it 2-1.
With Natick losing its best offensive weapon, Matt Kustra, in the first period with an ankle injury, head coach Karl Infanger said that his team’s power play unit lacked its usual cohesion. The Red Hawks had five power plays over the final two periods, including a four-minute advantage midway through the third, but were never able to find the equalizer, despite outshooting the Bishops, 21-14, over the final 30 minutes.
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Wednesday was supposed to be a night of consolation games at the Cape Cod Classic hockey tournament at the Falmouth Ice Arena. However, a few surprising results over the first two days meant that three teams in the ESPN Boston boys’ hockey Top 25 rankings, and one team in the Last 10 Out, wound up meeting in the losers’ bracket.
The night began with No. 6 Hingham (12-7-2) and No. 9 Archbishop Williams (12-4-4) in a game that meant far more than consolation. Both teams were looking for another critical win to bolster their resumes ahead of Saturday’s Super 8 vote.
Both teams struggled under the weight of the game’s importance, but Archies rode the stellar play of goaltender Joe Vinay (27 saves) to pull out a vital 2-0 win over the Harbormen.
Archbishop Williams head coach Derackk Curtis believed that his team needed to get back to hard work and its style of play. He admitted that the allure of playing in the Super 8 and the praise heaped on his team may have affected the Bishops.
“We just wanted to go out and play like we could play, show a little bit of pride and commitment to the team and I think that it was a good game,” Curtis said. “In this tournament, we didn’t play to our fullest potential, but we just wanted to go out there and play up to our opponent.”
The first period was high on physical play but short on scoring opportunities as both teams focused on staying tight defensively. The second period was dominated by Hingham, but the Harbormen had no way past the Bishops’ senior goalie, who produced a series of highlight reel saves.
The best save of the night came at the expense of Hingham senior forward Justin Ryder. After holding strong to make two saves at his near post, Vinay swiveled and dove across the goalmouth to glove Ryder’s attempt to tap in at the far post.
It was a save that left the crowd in awe and added to the pressure that Hingham already felt. The Harbormen have hit a rough patch at the worst possible time and head coach Tony Messina rued his team’s missed chances.
“We’ve actually had a lot of those periods that we deserved a better fate, but you can only say that for so long,” Messina said. “Even the kids realize that. It’s frustrating, really frustrating.”
Archies came out strong in the third and finally broke the deadlock on a goal by Nick Menzel that was set up by fellow forwards Jake Reardon and Ryan Dunn. The Bishops held out against a late, desperate charge by Hingham and tacked on an empty-net goal just before the final buzzer.
Curtis remarked following the game that his team had done what it needed to do, but the team’s postseason destination was now in other people’s hands.
“I don’t think it was our perfect game, our best game, but it was good enough to win,” Curtis said. “I’ll take the win any day of the week, now you just got to hope that it was good enough to get someone to look at you.”
BC HIGH 2, WALTHAM 0
The nightcap held far less pressure as No. 3 BC High (13-3-3) faced off with Waltham (11-8-2) in a game that was dominated by the Eagles’ attack and the outstanding play of the Hawks senior goalie Nick Russo.
BC High outshot Waltham ,48-8, but, thanks to a heroic performance from Russo, only managed a 2-0 victory over the Hawks.
Waltham generally sits back and absorbs pressure, while hoping to catch a team with a lone goal that could win the game. The Eagles made that a difficult strategy with a goal just 1:24 into the game. Junior defenseman Sam Topham with a quick shot that snuck past Russo.
From that point on, a pattern emerged. The Eagles would attack, pepper the goal with shots, and Russo would do his best to repel everything that was thrown at him. He stopped one-timers, slap shots, and tips with a series of quick kick saves and solid positioning.
Despite Russo’s great game, the Eagles wrapped up the victory with 10:35 left in the second period. Sophomore Patrick Riley was on hand to tap into an empty net after Russo made three saves at his near post.
One player that epitomized the effort of BC High on Wednesday was junior captain Tom Besinger. The forward was battered for much of the game as the Waltham defense tried to limit his chances to find open ice. Still, Besinger created several great scoring opportunities, including three shots that rang off the post.
“When you’re as skilled as he is and you’re a difference maker like he is, you’re a target,” said Eagles head coach John Flaherty, who credited his playmaker for staying calm in the face of the constant hits. “Tommy’s got to come to expect that and know that’s going to happen.”
Flaherty was pleased with the effort and the team’s ability to bounce back after Monday’s loss to Austin Prep.
“Very happy with the effort,” he remarked. “The fact that we were able to play the way we played and to control the game against a very good team, I’m very happy with that. It’s a good bounce back from the misstep we took the other day and, going into St. John’s Shrewsbury. We needed a good game to close out the regular season.”
However, Wednesday night’s 4-4 draw between the teams at the Stoneham Arena was enough to net the Bishops their first Catholic Central Large crown since a share of the title in 2009-10.
It was all there for Archies (11-2-4, 7-0-3), which held a 4-1 lead early in the third period. But the Cougars (9-1-6, 6-0-4) came alive in the third period, scoring three goals in a span of two minutes, 25 seconds to pull into a tie.
“You have to be happy that you won the league, but it’s very disappointing,” Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis said.
He added, “Hopefully, we learn from it. You can’t get caught up in it.”
The teams traded goals in the first period (Nolan Vesey for AP and Mike Jessman for Archies), but the Bishops broke loose in the second. Archies claimed its first lead of the game at 2:22 of the second with a power-goal at Jake Reardon tipped home Kyle Leonard’s point shot. Ryan Dunn padded the Bishops’ lead with 22 seconds remaining in the period with Reardon picking up his second point of the game on the assist.
“In the second period, we got back to doing what we do well – taking the body, getting pucks in deep and cycling it,” Curtis said. “I though we carried the play.”
Archies was off to fast start in the third as well with Mike Davis stuffing a shot in shortside on a broken play 1:08 into the period.
AP took over from there. Just 36 seconds later, senior captain Frankie Candelino put the Cougars on the comeback trail and Jake McKenelley brought AP within a goal 24 seconds later.
George Sennott scored the equalizer with 10:52 remaining on a beautiful feed from Vesey (2 points) on the power play.
MINOR SETBACK, SUPER FUTURE?
While the Cougars ultimately couldn’t find the go-ahead and fell short of the league title, all wasn’t lost.
“I liked our effort in that there was no quit and we came back,” AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro said.
Finocchiaro admitted he’d considered pulling goaltender Elijah Harris in the game’s waning moments, searching for the go-ahead goal. But he was content to take the point and take his chances that his team’s resume to date will be enough to gain entry to the upcoming Super 8 tournament.
“We’ll take the point,” Finocchiaro said. “We have a very strong strength of schedule if that comes into effect when they look at us. …
“We have to finish. We have some games in front of us.”
SEE YOU SOON?
And with that, there’s also the possibility that the Bishops and Cougars could cross paths for the third time this season in next week’s crucial Cape Cod Classic in Falmouth. Both teams will play in the 8-team tournament which features six Top 25 teams and five teams featured on the Super 8 Watch List.
Archies opens the tournament with Waltham in a 5 p.m. faceoff on Saturday, while AP skates with Hingham in a potential Super 8 preview matchup at 3 p.m.
CANTON, Mass. – For what Cam Mariani might lack in stature, he makes up for in moxie.
After Wednesday night’s 5-1 non-league victory over Coyle-Cassidy at the Canton Sportsplex, the Archbishop Williams sophomore forward strutted around showing off the garment he earned after his two-point game.
“I bagged one [goal] tonight, and got an apple [an assist],” the Lilliputian-sized winger said casually. “I can’t complain.”
Mariani was wearing the sport coat handed out to the Bishops’ player of the game. The green paisley print on the jacket, which is an heirloom of Archies head coach Derackk Curtis, made it look as though it was plucked from Don Cherry’s wardrobe. Mariani’s teammates, who’ve given him the nickname “Nugget,” egged him on as he talked to reporters postgame. He was proudly wearing the blazer, which looked about six sizes too large for his frame.
“He’s a little guy, who we love,” Curtis added.
Mariani earned the right to wear the coat after pacing the Bishops to a fast start in a three-goal first period, dishing out an assist on their first goal and following with his first goal of the season at 9:18.
Mike Sorenti tallied Archies’ third goal, with assists from Mike Davis and Mike Jessman with 1:43 remaining in the period.
“I was happy that I had some playing time, I like getting out there early and getting in to the swing of things,” Mariani said. “My second shift of the game, got that goal, that really brought up the intensity for the whole game.”
Coyle (10-3-0) got back into the game in the second period on Frank Cambria’s slapshot and series of big saves from goaltender Brent Petrowski.
While neither side was able to capitalize on two power-play opportunities a side in the second, the Bishops (9-2-3) closed out the game with two goals in the third. Eric Keefe’s rising wristshot tucked underneath the crossbar at 9:12 of the third for Archies’ fourth before Nick Menzel rounded out scoring inside of four minutes.
MAKE SURE TO FINISH
Curtis emphasized his message to finish to his team, and the Bishops made good on that promise, coming out with a more spirited third.
It’s a trend that Curtis noticed earlier in the season, that his team would become complacent after taking an early lead. But the Bishops have responded of late, posting goal totals of seven, 10, seven and five in the last four wins, respectively.
“I think we still have a lot of work to do in keeping the competitiveness up,” Curtis said. “We have the ability to get on teams right away, but then we’ll ease up on the throttle because kids are trying to do too much.”
BATTLE TESTED, TOURNAMENT READY
For a Division 2 school like Coyle, Warriors head coach Dave Borges always makes sure his teams are prepped for the intensity level of the tournament. Borges schedules up to include many of the state’s premiere programs, such as Super 8 perennial contender Hingham, and Wednesday’s opponent.
While all three of the Warriors’ losses have come against D1 opponents, the longtime bench boss sees it as no worse for the wear.
“That’s why we play these games,” Borges said. “Hingham was a tough battle for us because they skate four lines and they keep coming at you in waves. [Archies] only skated three lines tonight, but this shows us the type of hockey that we have to play if we want to be successful in the tournament.”
Archbishop Williams relied on goalie Joe Vinay’s 16 first-period saves to stay in Saturday night’s physical encounter at the Canton Sportsplex and finished with a strong couple of periods to earn a 1-1 tie.
In fact, Archies (4-2-3) had the best chances to win the game in the third period.
On a quick transition off a Vinay save, junior Mike Jessman paused to allow a defender to slide by before ringing a shot off the crossbar. With 1:46 remaining in the game, the Bishops (4-2-3, 1-0-2) were awarded a power play, but were stymied by aggressive Arlington Catholic defending and a great kick save by goaltender Bryan Hunt.
Cougars head coach Dan Shine credited his penalty kill unit for being able to hold on to the point in the final moments and noted that his team practices blocking shots to be prepared for those situations.
“It’s been a strength of ours all season,” he said. “It’s nice when you know that you have guys that specialize in something and they specialize in that. They love it and they thrive on it and they love to block shots. We keep track of those stats and I’m sure someone has taken the lead tonight.”
Sophomore forward Ryan Spagnoli wasted no time giving Arlington Catholic (4-1-3, 2-0-2) the lead when he took hold of a rebound and roofed the opening goal inside the opening 30 seconds. The first period was a shooting gallery for AC, which outshot Archies 17-5, but could not find a way past an inspired Vinay (29 saves overall).
Archies head coach Derackk Curtis spoke afterwards about how important the play of his senior goalie was in keeping the team in the game.
“To be honest with you, he has been playing awesome this year,” Curtis said. “He kept us in the game. That’s what a good goalie does. He gave us an opportunity to get back in the game and maybe even win it.”
After the intermission, Archies stormed back into the game with a strong second period. They outshot AC 9-5 in the period and took the initiative to keep the puck in the Arlington Catholic zone. The pressure paid off when sophomore Tyler Bradford stole the puck at the blue line and slid a shot under the pad of Hunt to tie the game at one apiece.
Curtis admitted to having some choice words for his team at the break and was pleased to see a reaction in the final two periods.
“You look at the maturation process of the players and sometimes the kids come into the game not fully committed to playing the game,” he explained. “I want to be clear with the kids that if they go out and play to their full potential, they have the opportunity to do great things. We have a good hockey club and we had to figure it out.”
Shine also praised the Archies goaltender and credited his opponents for making it a great league game.
“I thought that it might come back to bite us that we didn’t pop another one,” he said of Vinay. “Give credit to their goalie, I think he played terrific. I thought we played very, very well. It was a great game between two real good hockey teams. We’ll both be in the mix come the end of the season.”
Arlington Catholic will travel to Worcester on Monday to face off against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) and Archbishop Williams will host St. Mary’s (Lynn) on Wednesday.
As Eagles head coach John Flaherty entered the building for the final night of boys’ high school hockey at the Falmouth Ice Arena (a new rink opens in town later this year) he said he was asked by a rink employee if she was going to get to see another shootout.
“I hope not,” he said with a laugh.
Flaherty got his wish as BC High warmed up for their impending trip to the Super 8 last night by squaring off against a team that was fighting for its playoff life, Archbishop Williams. Despite the Bishops needing to secure at least a tie against the Eagles to qualify for the state tournament, the Eagles prevailed 2-1 -- in regulation. The loss denied the Bishops a chance to play in the postseason as they finished at 8-9-3 for the year.
BC High senior assistant captain Bartley “Moe” Regan scored a pair of third period goals, one just after a power play expired and then another with the man-advantage, to power his team to the win as the fourth-ranked Eagles improved to 10-5-5.
Regan was just happy to be back on the ice in the third period after getting a bit of a scare earlier in the game when an errant stick caught him up under the chin and in the area of his Adam’s Apple. The tall forward said that he suffered a similar injury earlier in the season, one of a worse variety that had him thinking he had just died. That previous scare made dealing with this shot a tad easier as he shook things off and was back on the ice in minutes.
“I’m sure he’s a lot happier about the two goals than the scratch on his neck,” Flaherty joked after the game.
Two periods later he was the one delivering the pain to the Bishops, on the scoreboard. Just as Mike Sorenti was exiting the box for a hooking violation the Eagles’ Brian Furey let a bomb fly from the right point that Regan tipped on goal. Bishops keeper Joe Vinay (37 saves), who kept his team in the game with a number of highlight reel stops, halted the tip but couldn’t get a piece of the quick backhander that Regan flung at the net. The goal gave BC High a 1-0 lead at 3:01 of the third period.
“The puck was just coming out and I hit it with my stick and I was falling down. I didn’t even see it go in, but I heard everyone start cheering and I was pumped,” Regan said.
Regan struck again in similar fashion for a power play goal at 5:08 to double the lead on a goal he did see go in the net. Again Furey fired one on that Vinay stopped, but Regan cleaned things up in front and gave his team some breathing room.
Archies head coach Derackk Curtis said that he was perplexed by penalties that preceded the two Eagles’ tallies.
“It’s frustrating, it’s really frustrating, because they don’t call anything all game and then in the third period they’re call all these phantom calls…I can’t figure it out,” Curtis said. “Going into the third period, with 15 minutes to play, anything can happen and then to have back-to-back penalties suck the life out of you, it’s frustrating for the kids ya know. These kids played really hard.”
And they continued to play hard after falling behind. The Bishops sliced the Eagles’ lead in half just a little over two minutes later with their own power play goal off the stick of freshman forward Tyler Bradford. The rookie pounced on a rebound of a Mike Jessman shot to cut the deficit to 2-1 with a half period left to go.
But that would be the only mistake that BC High’s steady netminder Peter Cronin made. Cronin stopped the other 12 shots that reached him in the game and breathed sigh of relief when a Jessman bid from the doorstep with three minutes to go sailed a bit high. The Bishops got Vinay off the ice for an extra attacker inside the last minute, but couldn’t get a shot through to Cronin in the crunch.
The keeper said that the Eagles are happy to close out the season strongly. “We wanted to come out here and get (win) number 10. We didn’t want to let another point get away and we got two today thanks to a good effort from [Bartley] Regan and we beat a good team today,” Cronin said.
And going forward the competition will only get tougher. The Eagles believe that they’re ready.
“The way we’re playing right now, I feel really confident. Everyone’s working real hard and everyone’s playing for the team and that’s what you have to do to win,” Regan said.
Cronin echoed those thoughts. “We’re going to have to come out there with intensity, and the will to win, and I think we’ll be okay.”
CLOSING DOWN A GRAND OLE BARN
In the night’s other game, the Falmouth played the last ever boys’ varsity game at the Falmouth Ice Arena and closed up shop happily with a 2-1 win over Duxbury.
The game featured an on-ice ceremony celebrating Falmouth’s 1979 state championship team with 16 of the 19 players on the roster from that year, and one of the assistant coaches, lining up to recreated their team photograph that hangs in the lobby of the building.
Goalie Petey Negri, who took over the starting goaltender position a month ago, had his best game of the season. Negri made 22 saves in the victory, including a diving stab to rob Cam Daly in the third period of the game.
“That’s what we’ve been looking for from Petey,” Clippers head coach Buddy Ferreira said. “That was the game right there. If he doesn’t make that one it’s 1-1, but he came up big."
Also coming up big was junior blue-liner Zack Zaino, who Ferreira said was one of the best players on the ice. Zaino scored on a first period wrist shot to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. That lead held for most of the night until things got really exciting in the final three minutes.
With 3:01 to go junior forward Durham Ghelfi popped his own rebound behind Dragons goalie Conor Charland to give Falmouth some breathing room. The goal was the result of a nice back check by Storm Fotiu, who stole the puck from Duxbury as they tried to clear the zone and centered to Ghelfi, who crashed the net. The junior’s initial bid was stopped, but he poked the second try through the five-hole.
Duxbury, which outshot Falmouth 22-12 over the last two periods after FHS held a 10-1 advantage in the first, battled back to give themselves a chance seconds later. Greg Williams let one fly off the right wing boards that sailed through traffic and by Negri at 12:38 of the third.
That would be it for the Dragons though as the 21st-ranked Clippers improved to 12-5-5 for the year. Duxbury is now 9-9-4, and both teams now wait to see what the state tournament has in store for them.
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- One week from Saturday, the Super 8 hockey committee will convene and assemble the field of the state’s premier tournament. Both No. 4 Hingham and No. 7 BC High almost assuredly will be among the teams making the cut.
But if Saturday’s matchup between the two clubs to open the Cape Cod Classic tournament was any indication of what is to come, Bay State hockey fans in for one might fine tournament.
The Eagles and Harbormen skated to a 1-1 tie, as it will be entered in the MIAA’s scorebook. Hingham’s Ryan Linehan scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
After a five-minute overtime period, BC High netminder Peter Cronin and Hingham counterpart John Grenier continued trading saves. Finally, Eagles senior captain and defenseman Brian Furey sent BC High along to the winner’s bracket with the first and only goal of the shootout in its seventh round.
“[Grenier] was playing aggressive, so I figured I’d fake the shot and have some room stuff it in, and I did,” Furey said.
BC High (9-5-4) claimed the lead at 12:54 of the second period with defenseman Sam Topham rifling a slapshot past Grenier, glove side.
The Eagles appeared to be well on their way to two points in the third period, controlling play in Hingham’s end for the bulk of the stanza. BC High continued to hem the Harbormen, even in the minute. Hingham (14-4-2) had been unable to pull Grenier for an extra attacker when senior captain winger Matt Hughes made his way through the neutral zone with about 30 seconds remaining.
After the puck was chipped up the boards, Hughes gained the blue line and played a perfect cross-ice pass onto Linehan’s stick. Linehan’s one-timer slid past Cronin for the tying goal.
“We had an injury on that play, the guy jumped over the boards, he kind of got caught in no-man’s land,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “If he’d gotten a piece of him, maybe it doesn’t happen. It was just a good hockey play by Hingham. [Hughes] made a great pass, [Linehan] one-timed it and it ended up in the back of the net.”
HE’S A GAMER
Hughes missed part of the second period with a shoulder injury, after he was ridden into the boards awkwardly on a check. He returned later in the game, playing in pain. Although his status going forward is day-to-day, Hughes’ returned paid dividends.
“It was a nice pass, and it was a lot of guts coming back," Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. "I don’t know what the extent of his should injury is going to be, but he said he could play with the pain. And he did a great job.”
FINISH WITH A FUREY
With most of BC High’s forward options exhausted in the shootout, and with no end in sight, John Flaherty glanced down his bench at his available shooters. Furey nodded back toward the Eagles bench boss. Flaherty signaled back toward center ice.
After watching six of this teammates fail to convert against Grenier, Furey knew exactly what to do with the puck.
Although the thought of letting a Chara-like slapshot from the between the circles did cross his mind.
“I don’t quite have a 108-mile-per-hour slap shot though,” Furey added.
ARCHIES 4, NO. 20 FALMOUTH 1
In the Classic's nightcap, Archbishop Williams (8-8-1) completed half of the work they needed to accomplish on Cape Cod with a 4-1 win over the host Falmouth Clippers (12-4-5).
Archies head coach Derackk Curtis was not very pleased with his team’s overall effort, but the Bishops did enough to pull to within one win of qualifying for the MIAA state tournament.
“That wasn’t our best game…I thought that we’d come out with a little more urgency,” Curtis said.
AW was outshot by the Clippers 26-12 for the game, but did the most of with the pucks they did put on Falmouth’s Petey Negri as the scored goals on 3 of their first 5 shots on net in the contest.
With a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart in the first period AW took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after one. Mike Sorenti sniped one inside the near side post at the 6:42 mark of the first. Then, before the dust settled on that one, Sean Leblanc chopped one in from the doorstep to give the visitors at 2-0 lead.
Falmouth came out like gangbusters to start the second period and picked up the tempo, but AW held the fort as goalie Joe Vinay (25 saves) made a handful of big stops, the best of which was on a doorstep bid by Cyrus Wickersham at the five minute mark.
With a goal on their first shot of the second period, at 5:24 by Falmouth resident Mike Jessman, AW was in the driver’s seat.
FHS broke through at 13:36 of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1 when Nick Lineaweaver netted a power play goal off a nice feed across the crease from Ben Taylor. The air quickly left the Clippers’ balloon, though, as AW got a power play goal just 15 seconds later, off the stick of Bill Sweezey, that made it 4-1. AW scored its four goals all on their first eight shots on net.
AW will meet surprise winner Waltham, Monday at 7 p.m.. Falmouth squares off with Arlington Catholic at 3 p.m.
NO. 18 AUSTIN PREP 4, DUXBURY 1
BC High will face Austin Prep on Monday after the Cougars qualified for the Division 1 North tournament in a 4-1 win over Duxbury.
Cam Russo, Nolan Vesey and Scott Corcoran all scored in the first period, putting AP (9-6-3) in the driver's seat.
WALTHAM 3, NO. 17 ARLINGTON CATHOLIC 2
Although the Hawks are out of postseason contention, they put on an impressive display early on against the Cougars.
Waltham (4-11-3) ran out to a 3-0 lead by the second intermission, before the Cougars (9-6-4) scored twice in the third to make a game of it.
(Reporting from Rich Maclone was included in this story.)