Boston High School: Eric Keefe

Recap: No. 11 Archies 4, No. 9 Arlington Catholic 1

February, 17, 2014

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.

Recap: St. John's (S) 5, Archbishop Williams 2

January, 5, 2014
CANTON, Mass. -- Prior to the start of Saturday night's non-conference tilt versus Archbishop Williams, Mike Mead, the first-year coach of St. John's (Shrewsbury), voiced his concern regarding the fact that his Pioneers had not played in a week and were about to square up against a highly-formidable opponent on the road.

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."

Archies, Chelmsford advance at Cape Cod Cup

December, 27, 2013
FALMOUTH, Mass. – Not one of the teams that participated in the Cape Cod Cup yesterday left the rink feeling all that satisfied.

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.

Five teams enter boys' hockey Top 25 poll

December, 27, 2013
It was a nearly unprecedented week, as five teams entered our MIAA boys' hockey Top 25 poll this week.

While little change, outside of reshuffling of order, came to our Top 10, the back half of the poll was full of upheaval.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

Here are a few notes from this week:

Welcome back: Of the five teams breaking and entering this week, three (No. 15 Melrose, No. 19 Barnstable and No. 21 Waltham) made the cut of the end of last season and were in the Last 10 Out to begin this season.

No. 22 Braintree returns after it's last appearance at the tail end of last season, while No. 17 Milton enters the poll for the first time since the postseason poll of the 2011-12 season.

High-water mark: For the first time in our poll's history, Archbishop Williams joined the Top 5. The No. 5 Bishops made a move this week after securing a hard-fought 3-2 win at previous No. 3 Springfield Cathedral. Archies was spurred on by a pair of goals from Eric Keefe, including the game-winner late in the third period.

Recap: No. 7 Archbishop Wiliams 3, No. 3 Cathedral 2

December, 22, 2013

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."

Recap: No. 12 Archies 5, No. 22 Coyle 1

January, 31, 2013

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.

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.”

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.”