Boston High School: Drew Oxley

D2 North: Winthrop, Saugus to meet in semi

March, 3, 2012
WOBURN, Mass. -- A trip to Woburn's O'Brien Arena for a pair of Div. 2 North quarterfinal round tilts told two very different tales and resulted in a pair of very familiar rivals setting up for a showdown in Tuesday's semifinals:

Enduring heavy pressure from a Boston Latin team well aware that it's season was on the line, Winthrop's senior goalie Steven Waites had to stare down the barrel of dangerous Wolfpack sniper Conal Lynch not once, but twice, with under a minute and a half to play.

Lynch managed to get a pair of great looks from the slot, one off a faceoff and the other at the end of a scramble for possession. Both times, Waites got himself in position to make the stops, letting each shot scream into his chest and securing the win for his Vikings in the process.

"It was nerve-wracking," Waites admitted afterward. "My team definitely played great in front of me and I just had to do the best I could and be solid out there and just try to win the game and we did."

Dan Eruzione staked the Vikings (14-6-2) to an early lead after linemate Chris Leblanc made a great hustle play to keep possession. Leblanc blocked a Boston Latin (15-3-4) clearing attempt just outside the blue line and worked the puck back into the zone along the left wing boards.

While battling with a pair of defenders, Leblanc spied Eruzione flying through the zone and pushed a soft pass forward to the sophomore. Eruzione turned and fired a shot from a tough angle, but the puck snuck through just inside the far post at 2:32 of the first.

"It was communication," Leblanc explained. "I heard Danny call for a chip and we’re good with that. We communicate well. I just tried to throw it in the middle and I got it to him and he did the rest."

Added Eruzione, "Chris did a real nice job down low, forechecked the hell out of their defenseman and found me really nice off the wall and I just found the back of the net. More luck than anything but I found it."

From there, the Vikings settled into their trap and the four-man defensive corps led by Mike Paulson teamed up with Waites to shut down several strong scoring chances for the Wolfpack.

"Defense wins championships. I know its cliche but its true and we pride ourselves on team defense," Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. "I think our goals against is maybe under two and it’s been like that for a long time because we pride ourselves on knowing that, if you want to be a playoff team, you have to play good in your own end. Offense comes from defense and I thought we got away from it in the second period so I wanted to make sure our mindset was five in the house, make sure we’re sacrificing our body, chip pucks out, and just be on the right side of pucks and we did."

While goals were hard to come by in the early game, the Sachems had little trouble putting the pedal to the metal. Saugus scored five times in the first period, twice shorthanded, and were able to maintain its lead for the win.

"We've got our edge back a little bit," Sachems head coach Jeff Natalucci said. "Last year at this time of the year, we were playing with an edge and I really feel like we've got it back. We could have easily packed it in the other night down 3-1 and quit [an eventual 5-4 overtime win over Beverly]. The other night was a huge win for us to build off. We're playing together. All three lines are going hard, our D are playing hard and we're just playing well as a group."

Given the fact that these two teams met 11 days ago and battled to a 0-0 tie in the Newburyport Bank Classic, with Saugus winning in a shootout, the first-period offensive eruption would seem a bit surprising. Natalucci has been imploring his team to get out of the gates quicker, and was hoping the comeback against Beverly would carry over.

Kurt Rodrigues notched a hat trick and added a pair of assists, Saige Tait score twice and Drew Oxley had a goal and two helpers. Rodrigues and Tait each scored twice in the first period, and both had shorthanded tallies on the same penalty kill. Nick Taylor scored the other Saugus goal.

In particular, it's been the Sachems top line of Rodrigues, Oxley and freshman Anthony Cieri leading the way in a stretch of four wins over the team's last five games.

"I've played with Drew my whole life," Rodrigues said when asked about his line. "He's one of the best passers in the league and we always connect on those two-on-ones. Our freshman Anthony Cieri's playing real well. He's come along good in the playoffs. It's just clicking for us at the right time."

Recap: Saugus 4, Danvers 1

February, 12, 2012
SAUGUS, Mass. -- For 30 minutes, two-thirds through their heavyweight bout with Saugus, the Danvers Falcons appeared poised to put a stranglehold on the Northeastern North crown. Kevin Brown's Falcons swarmed Saugus netminder Nicholas Hegarty, badly outshooting and outhustling Jeff Natalucci's Sachems at Kasabuski Arena.

In fact, Hegarty and Saige Tait's slick breakaway goal in the first period were the only reasons why the Sachems were deadlocked, 1-1, heading into the final 15 minutes. And that's when the Sachems flipped the switch, finding an extra gear and potting three unanswered goals behind Danvers goaltender Seth Kamens to take a 4-1 victory before their home crowd.

The Sachems' victory left the Northeastern North standings a dead heat between Danvers (12-4-0, 10-3-0), Saugus (10-5-2, 9-2-2), and Winthrop (10-5-2, 9-2-2), all on 20 points heading into the season's home stretch. It was also the Sachems' first win over Danvers in three tries this season.

"That's what we've been waiting for, that third period," said Natalucci afterward. "We needed to just outwork them. You know what you're going to get when you face them. They're going to work for 45 minutes, and we needed to outwork them for 15. And that's what we did. That was huge for us."

For Danvers, it was an opportunity lost, as the Falcons have now lost two straight after a torrid 10-game winning streak that vaulted them to the top of the standings.

"We're just playing good enough, and you can't play good enough to win," Brown said. "You've got to be better than good. And come down the stretch, against quality teams. You've got to play great. And we didn't play great. We only played good."

Asked if he felt the game was one that got away, Brown replied: "I don't think it got away. It went their way. Credit them. They found a way to get it done, and we didn't."

In the opening period, though, the Falcons did play great, consistently outworking the Sachems and pelting shots at Hegarty. The senior netminder was up to the task, blunting several quality Danvers bids.

"He's a big kid, he covers a lot of the net," Natalucci said. "When he comes out and challenges (the shooter), he's tough to beat."

Saugus got its break at the 7:56 mark of the first. Sachem defenseman Nick Sweeney poked the puck to Tait, who broke in alone on Kamen before calmly firing his shot 5-hole to give Saugus a 1-0 lead on its second shot of the night.

"It was a spark for the team," Tait said. "We needed something to happen, and finally the chance came."

Danvers' Joe Strangie narrowly missed knotting the game moments later, but he scuffed his backdoor bid at the left post, sending the puck just wide on the Saugus net.

"It comes down to opportunities," Brown said. "You play a high school game, it's only 45 minutes. The opportunities are few and far between. They took advantage of them, and we didn't."

However, Danvers held an 11-3 shot advantage after the first 15, and finally tied the game at 4:07 of the middle stanza. After Paul D'Orlando kept the puck in play by the right face-off dot, Jay Calcagno got off a quick snap shot that beat Hegarty short side, glancing off the right post and into the net.

Danvers kept the pressure on, and Hegarty had to come up big on Kevin Hodgkins backhand bid, flashing out the left pad to keep the puck out of the net. The Falcons third line of Calcagno, D'Orlando and Hodgins were flying, but the Sachems kept throwing bodies in front of shots, and pucks that did get through kept hitting Hegarty.

With 10 minutes to go in the third, the Sachems went on a power play, and cashed in. Drew Oxley ripped a shot fro the point that Kamens stopped but couldn't control. Tait drove the net, and after taking two whacks at the puck, buried it past Kamens on his third attempt for a 2-1 Saugus lead at 6:28.

For Danvers, the walls caved in during an 11-second stretch four minutes later. Christopher Sanderson was Johnny on the Spot when Kamens deposited a gift on the goal line. Saugus 's Guy Carpillo snapped a shot that Kamens appeared to have cleanly in his glove, but the puck slipped out and knuckled over his shoulder, landing behind him. The opportunistic Sanderson wasted no time tapping it into the open net.

Eleven seconds later, Saugus converted on a terrific 2-on-1, when Kurt Rodrigues drove hard down the left wing before scorching a pass across the crease, which Anthony Cieri slipped under Kamens for the 4-1 final.

"The last couple of practices, we've been going really hard, and we showed it out there," Tait said. "We've just got to keep up what we've been doing, and hopefully make a run. We'll build off this game, and keep going."

His coach agreed. "We knew, down low, it was going to be real difficult to get shots, and it was all about second effort down there. That's what we did," said Natalucci. "Saige's goal on the power play was second effort. The third goal was second effort. We had to drive the net. They make it difficult."

"We knew in the last 15 minutes we were going to have to outwork them if we were going to win this hockey game tonight, and we did," he said. "We battled, all night. I've got a lot of seniors in there, and they knew if we wanted a shot at the conference, we needed two (points). If we want a shot at the conference, we needed this one."

Danvers could take some consolation in outshooting the Sachems, 26-12, and knowing that they carried the play for the majority of the game. But to make a difference in the post-season, they'll have to finish as well as they start.

"The message is we. We stick together. We do it together," said Brown. "We'll get back to where we need to be. We'll get back on track. We're a good hockey team. We've done good things all year long. We know we can attain those things."

ESPN Boston MIAA All-State boys' hockey team

March, 24, 2011
First Team
F - Colin Blackwell, St. John’s Prep
The senior center and captain led the Eagles with 45 points (24 G, 21A) while earning MVP honors from the Catholic Conference. Playing on Prep’s top lines, in addition to power play and penalty kill units, the Harvard commit was a +42 this season for the Super Eight finalists.

F - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic
Collier was perhaps the most versatile player in the state. The junior BU commit scored the game-winning goal in the Lancers’ Super Eight championship, but the winger was also a mainstay of MC’s penalty kill units, playing defense. The Charlestown native tallied 63 points (24 G, 39 A) during the regular season while guiding the Lancers to their first D1A title.

F - Mike Vecchione, Malden Catholic
The Lancers captain and UNH signee led their potent offense with 70 points (26G, 44A) during the regular season. The senior winger also broke the Catholic Conference’s all-time single-season scoring record during MC’s run in the Super Eight. The Saugus native is looking at playing in either the British Columbia Hockey League or the United State Hockey League next year.

D - Connor Evangelista, Malden Catholic
The junior blue liner was perhaps the most underrated element to the Lancers’ Super Eight title run. Whether it was through an outlet pass springing the rush or on the penalty kill, the Wakefield native did it all. Evangelista was among the state’s top-scoring defensemen and contributed 25 assists during the regular season for the D1A champion Lancers.

D - Marc Hetnik, Catholic Memorial
The Knights senior was like having a fourth forward out there, who also readily handled the opposing team’s top players night after night. The Chestnut Hill native is considering BU, Holy Cross and Merrimack among his college choices and is likely to play in the British Columbia Hockey League next year.

G - Kyle Williams, Central Catholic
The junior netminder spearheaded the Raiders’ run to the Super Eight. With Williams carrying a bulk of the load, Central Catholic surrendered just 43 goals this season while posting a goal differential of +45. He was also a driving force behind the Raiders’ Super Eight run and turned in a strong performance in a near upset bid against Malden Catholic.

“Line Change” Second Team
F - Tim Driscoll, Hingham
After scoring the winning goal in the Harbormen’s Super Eight championship in 2010, the Holy Cross commit captained Hingham to a D1A return in 2011. The senior winger led the Harbormen with 34 points (12 G, 22A) during the regular season and is exploring opportunities to play a prep postgraduate year of hockey before enrolling at Holy Cross.

F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic
The talented sophomore was the fulcrum the Lancers’ prolific top line, centering Collier and Vecchione. The BC recruit was MC’s second leading scorer during the regular season, netting 66 points (24 G, 42 A) for the Super Eight champions.

F - Tyler Piacentini, Weymouth
The senior captain was the sparkplug to the Wildcats’ Super Eight run. While he was often the smallest player on the ice, Piacentini was typically the most visible, letting his play to the talking. With a 61-point regular season (31 G, 30 A), he finished fourth in the state in scoring to MC’s dynamic first line.

D - Chris Joyce, Needham
The senior blue liner was the Rockets’ third leading scorer and a stalwart on defense who seldom left the ice. Joyce tallied 24 points in the regular season (7 G, 17 A) while leading Needham to yet another Super Eight appearance.

D - Alex Pompeo, Hingham
The senior was among the state’s leading point-getters among blue liners and finished second on the Harbormen in scoring to Driscoll. Pompeo was an integral part of the Harbormen’s Super Eight title run in 2010 and their repeat appearance in 2011.

G - Donald Hesse, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Spartans netminder was among the state’s leaders in all goaltending statistical categories, including a measly goals against average of 1.90 during the regular season. Hesse spurred St. Mary’s to its first Super Eight appearance this season. The Salem native is considering playing hockey at several postgraduate prep schools next season.

Best of the Rest
F Garrett Allen, Dartmouth
F Mike Cashman, BC High
F Liam Centrella, Andover
F Tom Coleman, Needham
F Ryan Connors, Marshfield
F Liam Coughlin, Catholic Memorial
F Joe Czarnota, Reading
F Ryan Dempsey, Marblehead
F Ryan Doherty, Tewksbury
F Terence Durkin, BC High
F Kevin Emmerling, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Tommy Evangelista, Central Catholic
F Riley Flanagan, Weymouth
F Dan Graham, Arlington Catholic
F Anthony Hardy, Bridgewater-Raynham
F Mitch Hamor, Beverly
F Alex Holland, Woburn
F Jack Jenkins, Billerica
F Sam Kurker, St. John’s Prep
F Chris Leblanc, Winthrop
F Nick Leonard, Central Catholic
F Conal Lynch, Boston Latin
F Chris Maguire, Waltham
F Jim McGrath, Medfield
F Dan O’Hear, Catholic Memorial
F Ross Olsson, Billerica
F Cam Owens, Wilmington
F Drew Oxley, Saugus
F Kurt Roderigues, Saugus
F Nick Roberto, Malden Catholic
F Jason Salvaggio, Xaverian
F Joe Scarfo, Winthrop
F Casey Shea, Woburn
F Devin Smith, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Andrew Taylor, Oliver Ames
F Zach Wells, Barnstable
F Andrew White, BC High
F Garrett White, Malden Catholic
D Steven Bellew, Hingham
D Steven Bristol, Weymouth
D Sean Kavanagh, Springfield Cathedral
D Cam Kennedy, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D Jake Kulevich, Marblehead
D Ryley MacEachern, Austin Prep
D Eric Muise, Peabody
D Alex Taddeo, Franklin
G Joe Cerulo, Wakefield
G James Cox, Braintree
G Peter Cronin, BC High
G Zac Rondeau, Springfield Cathedral
G Kyle Jacobs, Pembroke
G Chris Treon, Westwood

All Rookie Team (Top 5 to Watch for Next Year)
  1. Shane Eiserman, F, St. John’s Prep
  2. Tyler Sifferlen, F, Malden Catholic
  3. Tom Besinger, F, BC High
  4. Sean Cleary, G, Barnstable
  5. Nolan Redler, F, Winchester
Coach of the Year
John Flaherty, BC High
It took just one season for Flaherty, who took over for legend Joe McCabe, to get the Eagles back to the Super Eight after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons. The BC High graduate guided the Eagles to a 15-6-3 record that included an appearance in the Super Eight crossover round. Flaherty also works at the school as its Director of the Fund.

Ice Hockey, BC High, St. John's Prep, Dartmouth, Arlington Catholic, Xaverian, Andover, Central Catholic, Billerica, Barnstable, Bridgewater-Raynham, Catholic Memorial, St. John's (Shrewsbury), Marshfield, Oliver Ames, Reading, Wakefield, Malden Catholic, Saugus, Westwood, Needham, Medfield, Tewksbury, Franklin, Weymouth, Braintree, Beverly, Winchester, Peabody, Pembroke, Boston Latin, Hingham, Springfield Cathedral, Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Prep, St. Mary's (Lynn), Dan Graham, Chris Leblanc, Eric Muise, Dan O'Hear, Liam Coughlin, Marc Hetnik, Chris Joyce, Tom Coleman, Mike Vecchione, Brendan Collier, Sam Kurker, Steven Bellew, Alex Pompeo, Colin Blackwell, Nick Roberto, Connor Evangelista, Kurt Roderigues, Drew Oxley, Sean Kavanagh, Tim Driscoll, Marblehead, John Flaherty, Woburn, Casey Shea, Mike Cashman, Andrew White, Tyler Sifferlen, Garrett White, Zach Wells, Donald Hesse, Riley Flanagan, Tyler Piacentini, Zac Rondeau, Waltham, Jack Jenkins, Chris Maguire, Ross Olsson, Sean Cleary, Nolan Redler, Joe Czarnota, Cam Kennedy, Shane Eiserman, Kyle Williams, Tommy Evangelista, Terence Durkin, Tom Besinger, Nick Leonard, James Cox, Peter Cronin, Anthony Hardy, Ryan Connors, Wilmington, Cam Owens, Alex Holland, Ryan Doherty, Joe Cerulo, Ryan Dempsey, Kyle Jacobs, Jake Kulevich, Alex Taddeo, Garrett Allen, Liam Centrella, Kevin Emmerling, Mitch Hamor, Wintrhop, Conal Lynch, Jim McGrath, Jason Salvaggion, Joe Scarfo, Devin Smith, Andrew Taylor, Steven Bristol, Ryley MacEachern, Chris Treon

Passing thoughts: Kasabuski Tournament

December, 30, 2010
SAUGUS, Mass. – No. 1 Malden Catholic hockey flexed its muscles throughout the Kasabuski Christmas Tournament. After throttling St. Bernard’s, 18-0, on Tuesday, the Lancers capped off the tournament championship with a convincing 8-0 win over No. 6 St. Mary’s of Lynn Wednesday night.

Malden Catholic (5-0-0) had six players finish with multi-point games, including tournament MVP Brendan Collier (2 G, 2A) and Ryan Fitzgerald (2G, 2A), who led with four points apiece. Mike Vecchione and Mike Iovanna each had three-point games while Colin MacGillivray and Nick Roberto (2 G) each had two points.

St. Mary’s (2-1-2) endured a tough first period, when the Lancers scored five times. Malden Catholic struck for three goals within 32 seconds of each other midway through the first.

“In the first period, I thought we really only played seven or eight really good minutes,” Lancers head coach Chris Serino said. “Fortunately, we put four, five goals in during that time.”

While Malden Catholic’s is indeed potent offensively, Serino also reminded that you cannot overlook the efforts of his defensemen. The Lancer blue-liners, led by the top pair of Connor Evangelista and MacGillivray, were instrumental in limiting the Spartans to nine shots on goaltender Pat Young.

“I thought we did a pretty good job in our own end, getting the puck out,” Serino added.

“People look at our forwards and our top line, but we’ve got pretty good defensemen, too. I think especially our top four are as good as anybody.”

On a night when many things didn’t go well for the Spartans, bench boss Mark Lee was encouraged by the way his team competed in the third period, holding the Lancers off the board.

“Every mistake you make, they’re there to capitalize on it,” Lee said. “Each one of their goals was a breakdown by us. They’re one of the most talented teams I’ve seen in years.

“But I’m very proud of our third period, we came out and played like men. We skated up and down with them and we had some chances. I’m happy with how we finished the game, taking the score away.”

It was a banner day all-around for Serino as his alma mater captured the Division 2 championship earlier in the day.

Saugus blanked Lynnfield, 3-0, on the strength of a pair of two-point performances from Kurt Roderigues and Drew Oxley.

“We’ve had some games this year that we’ve learned from,” Sachems head coach Jeff Natalucci said. “We were up 3-0 against Winthrop and we let them back in because we stopped working, but tonight we didn’t stop working. Hopefully, we continue to grow and go from here.”

After Ralph Pagliucca put the Sachems (2-0-3) ahead 1-0 in the seond period, Roderigues added some cushion, beating talented Lynnfield netminder Craig Cataldo on a snipe from the circle. Roderigues was set in motion on the play by a laser cross-ice pass through the neutral zone form Oxley.

Roderigues later returned the favor, setting up Oxley’s goal three minutes into the third period.

Saugus showed some grit in the tournament, working back from a two-goal deficit against Pentucket on Tuesday to earn a 5-2 win and advance to Wednesday’s final. The Sachems also played with plenty of jam with an aggressive forecheck. And it would be hard to recall loose puck in the corner that wasn’t first fished out by a Saugus skater.

Even Roderigues’ goal was started by some dirty work done in the corner. Freshman Steven Kay snaked the puck out of the Sachems’ end, pushing the puck to Oxley who let Roderigues off to the races.

All encouraging signs for their first-year head coach.

Earlier in the day, No. 5 Austin Prep collected a 4-0 win over Catholic Central foe St. Bernard’s in the Division 1 consolation game.

However, the Kasabuski tournament just reinforced the fact that the Catholic Central is shaping up to be a very even three-horse race this season.

On Tuesday night, the Cougars skated to a 1-1 tie with St. Mary’s (the game is counted as a tie in MIAA standings), but the Spartans had the last laugh, scoring with 50 seconds remaining in the overtime period to set up their matchup with Malden Catholic. The tightly-battled game has been indicative of the early season meetings between the Catholic Central powers. Before Christmas, No. 4 Arlington Catholic skated to a 4-4 tie with St. Mary’s. So no definitive favorite has emerged in one of the state’s most tightly contested conferences.

“It’s nice to take three points away from the tournament, but we were still a little sloppy,” Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “There are still things we have to work on. We can be a little careless with the puck at times. But we’re a young team and you expect those things to happen.”