Boston High School: Eric Rogorzenski

D1 South: Barnstable 5, Weymouth 2

March, 4, 2013
BOURNE – It was like the tortoise and the hare except that the hare won.

Three third-period goals powered Barnstable past Weymouth 5-2 Saturday at a packed Gallo Arena. The Red Raiders advance to take on Hingham in the Division 1 South semifinals Wednesday night at Gallo.

“This team here has fought hard,” Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson said. “We played well. I think we’ve overachieved to get where we’re at. I thought we played well.”

Barnstable senior Max Willman turned the game into his own personal highlight reel. Willman scored three goals, including an empty-netter to seal the deal, but both he and Nickerson said he could have done even more.

“On the score sheet it looked like he had a fantastic game, but I thought he could have had three or four more,” Nickerson said. “It sounds crazy, the kid had a hat trick and I’m knocking him, but we’re going to be successful because of him. If he had a couple early that he missed it could have been a little bit different.”

“I had a couple of breakaways that I missed, but that happens,” Willman said. “All that matters is that we picked up the W.”

The Red Raiders assaulted Weymouth goalie Kurt Gutting early with 17 first-period shots, but Gutting turned aside 16 of them. Willman’s first goal was answered by Weymouth’s Kevin Morrissey just over two minutes later to tie the game after one.

Weymouth had a much stronger period in the second. The Wildcats were able to dictate tempo and make Barnstable junior Kevin Huska work between the pipes.

Willman scored his second of the game midway through the period, but junior forward Steve Ganley put one past Huska just 75 seconds later to tie it at two.

After that Huska locked it down and turned aside Weymouth’s final nine shots. He had 17 saves during the game.

“I expect him to make saves,” Nickerson said. “He’s got us here. He played well tonight.”

Weymouth pressed during the third period, but the attack, led by juniors Pat Coleman and Joe Flanagan, couldn’t solve Huska in the final frame.

A rocket from Chris Fowler at 6:33 of the third period put the Red Raiders ahead for good. Eric Rogerzenski added the dagger for Barnstable 2:10 later.

“We had a lot of chances; lot of breakaways that we didn’t capitalize on,” Weymouth head coach Marty King said. “They’re a real good team. We never gave up though and that’s why I’m proud of them.”

With a date against perennial power Hingham looming, Willman said that there was still much work for him, and the Red Raiders, to do.

“This is huge,” Willman said. “It’s farther than we got last year, so it’s a bonus. But we’ve got still got to work hard to get to where we need.”

Barnstable wins, era ends in Falmouth

March, 1, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. – All Buddy wanted to talk about was his opponent.

After seeing his 33-season coaching career behind the bench of Falmouth High boys’ hockey come to a close in a playoff defeat to archrival Barnstable, the Clippers’ head coach spent a good portion of his postgame talk recollecting the finer points of one of Massachusetts’ great public school rivalries.

The Red Raiders beat Falmouth, 4-2, Thursday night at the Gallo Arena in their Division 1 South first-round tournament game. It marked the third time this season that Barnstable beat its Cape adversary.

After the game’s conclusion, a misty-eyed Buddy Ferreira told his team that it was his last. He walked down the corridor to the Red Raiders’ room, congratulating them on the victory and wishing them luck in their playoff journey. He shared a long embrace with longtime counterpart, Barnstable head coach, Scott Nickerson.

He then sat alone for a time in contemplation, as a cavalcade of well-wishers offered handshakes and pats on the back, before meeting with the assembled media. He fought back tears with each step.

While it wasn’t a fairytale ending, Ferreira maintained afterward that it couldn’t have been scripted any other way. He talked about how difficult it is to step away from something he did every day for so long. But everything he’d built led to this very moment.

“It’s not that I want to,” said Ferreira, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Sunday, “but it’s time to.”

In his career, Ferreira joined the state hockey coaching legends and exclusive company in the 400-win fraternity. He guided the Clippers to four state championships, the most recent in 1995-96. Under Ferreira, Falmouth hockey won 16 of its 22 all-time league titles.

But until the bitter end, Ferreira found teaching moments.

The Clippers found themselves in a deep hole. Goals by Eric Rogorzenski, Frank Oakley and Pat Besse built a 3-0 lead for the sixth-seeded Red Raiders (13-4-4) at the tail end of the second period. In the third, Falmouth (10-8-5) clawed their way back, making it a one-goal game with 2:21 to play on Storm Fotiu’s goal after Durham Ghelfi opened the period with the Clippers’ first.

The comeback fell short, and Barnstable defenseman Drew Kaski’s 180-foot clearing attempt, which sailed into a vacated Clippers’ net clinched it.

That’s when the lesson began.

“I told them to carry what they did in that third period into the rest of their lives,” Ferreira said. “I told them if they do that in their lives, they will be successful.”

He continued, “These kids played so hard, I’m so proud of them. For me to go out with them playing this hard … I didn’t want to tell them until after, especially going out to a team that I respect more than anybody in Barnstable. It’s a good way for our seniors to go out.”

While the sting of a loss to a rival isn’t lessened, both sides were able to bury the hatchet this time.

Ferreira and Nickerson sat side-by-side on a bench as the newly retired Falmouth coach regaled anyone within earshot with the best stories he’d collected from the rivalry. Nickerson, who led the Red Raiders to a state championship win over Falmouth on the Boston Garden ice in 1980, listened intently as Ferreira told a story of two former football players — one from Barnstable, one from Falmouth — who ended up rooming together in college and became friends.

The rivalry is a tie that binds.

“You could sit down ten years later with any Barnstable kid, I don’t care if it’s football, or basketball, or hockey,” Ferreira said, “and they’re going to talk about the Falmouth game. With any other teams you play against, you don’t have that.”

Having lived another chapter, Nickerson resounded the sentiment.

“For our kids to play Falmouth at any time is a big game. With it being the state tournament, it’s an even bigger game.”

Despite the animosity, there’s still room for reconciliation. Ferreira confirmed that while heaping praise on the offensive skill of the Red Raiders’ forwards, calling them “the better team” at each turn.

With his hockey coaching career now in the past tense, Ferreira will not retire from the rivalry.

But every so often, even for a man who is as large a reason as anybody for the building of Falmouth’s sparking new ice arena, there’s reason to call a rival a friend.

“Are you kidding me?” Ferreira darted back when asked if he’s rooting for Barnstable to win the tournament. “The only time I’m not pulling for them is when we’re playing them.”

Recap: No. 18 Barnstable 6, B-R 3

February, 7, 2013

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – It looked as though Bridgewater-Raynham was going to scrap its way to an Old Colony League championship.

After the Trojans dealt No. 18 Barnstable a surprising 3-2 loss on Jan. 16 in Hyannis, B-R needed just a point out of Wednesday night’s rematch with the Red Raiders at the Bridgewater Ice Arena.

The Trojans started well, building a two-goal lead early in the second period. However, Barnstable struck back with a string of four straight goals in the second and into the early third to skate away with a 6-3 win and the OCL title.

The Red Raiders (10-3-3, 3-1-0) were lifted on the heels of a four-point game for senior captain Max Willman.

“Connor [Fries] got us going early, throwing a shot on net and finding a way in,” Willman said. “That just got the points going and got me going.”

Fries’ goal at 8:17 of the second ignited the string of Red Raiders’ goals, culminating with Willman’s second of the game, scored just 52 seconds into the third period.

Eric Rogorzenski potted his second point of the game with a goal 8:51 of the third, reestablishing a two-goal lead for Barnstable. Defenseman Chris Fowler added an empty-netter to give the Red Raiders their final margin of victory.

While Barnstable distanced itself in the later stages, the contest hinged on a pivotal sequence midway through the second.

Truman Daniels broke in on Barnstable goaltender Kevin Huska (19 saves) before being hauled down from behind on a breakaway with a hook. Daniels was awarded with a penalty shot on the play. On the penalty shot, Daniels dangled to try to create room for a back-hander stickside, but Huska didn’t budge and gave the shooter little to aim for. Daniels shot went wide to the boards.

It provided the Red Raiders with a much-needed lift.

“He’s been solid for us all year,” Willman said. “He just proved tonight that he’s one of the best in the state. He can get the job done.”

Liam Wholly, Owen Wholly and Daniels were the goal-scorers for B-R (3-10-5, 2-1-1).

Recap: No. 4 CM 2, No. 15 Barnstable 2

January, 20, 2013
HYANNIS, Mass. -- Officially they didn’t win the game, but try to tell that to the Barnstable Red Raiders.

The MIAA does not sanction overtime, so No. 15 Barnstable and No. 4 Catholic Memorial — by the books — played to a 2-2 draw tonight the Kennedy Rink in Hyannis in the first round of the Nate Nickerson Invitational. Unofficially, the Red Raiders (5-2-3) scored the only goal in a shootout, after a scoreless overtime period, to advance in the winner’s bracket of the Nate Nickerson Invitational, to win the game 3-2. They will play Falmouth (Maine) tomorrow for the tournament title.

Ultimately, the tie could serve as a win for the Red Raiders, in a different way. Barnstable scheduled the game to increase the degree of difficulty on their ledger this year in hopes of impressing the Super 8 Selection Committee. Playing in the Old Colony League, the Raiders historically don’t have a very difficult road to the state tournament. But, this year, they’ve gone out of their way to play against tougher competition in hopes of getting to the toughest tournament at the end of the year.

“For us, it goes as a tie, but it feels like a win,” Barnstable head coach Scott Nickerson said. “In our minds, it’s a win, and it’s as big a win as we’ve had in this program maybe in 50 years, as long as it goes back.”

If Saturday night’s effort can be used as a measuring stick, the Raiders have made a pretty convincing case that they belong.

Behind a 38 save effort by junior goaltender Kevin Huska, Barnstable hung tough all night long. The home team survived a kitchen sink second period that saw Catholic Memorial (8-3-1) score twice, and outshoot them (17-2) to give themselves a chance at crunch time.

They made the most of that chance.

Seconds after Huska had skated for the bench, for an extra attacker, the Red Raiders struck to tie the game with just 1:27 left in regulation time. Senior center Max Willman forced a turnover just outside the CM blue line, stealing the puck away and sending it deep. Barnstable worked the puck around and it found the stick of junior winger Connor Fries, who flung a low wrister at the net from the right wing circle that circumvented traffic and found space between CM goalie Brandon Collett’s pads to tie the contest up at two aside.

“We fought back, we never gave up,” Nickerson said. “We pulled the goalie, we were able to get the equalizer and I thought we deserved that. I thought we deserved at least that. No doubt, they’re a great team, that’s a good program. We outworked them in the third period, which for us is where we wanted to be.”

Huska shone brightest in the shootout. After Willman collected the only goal by either team in the shootout, on a beautiful backhander that he lifted to the top shelf, the goaltender stopped three straight penalty shots, with each save prettier than the one before it. First, he used his leg pad to deny Jack O’Hear, then he slid right to left to stymie Liam Coughlin. Finally he ended the game with a brilliant glove save on a shake and shimmy move by Beau Starrett before being pig-piled on by the entire Barnstable bench.

“[Huska] isn’t a very good technical goalie, he absolutely isn’t, but he does whatever he has to do to stop the puck,” Nickerson said. “That’s what wins games. I thought he played great.”

Huska said it doesn’t matter if it looks pretty, as long as the puck isn’t behind him.

“I just go around and try to stop the puck any way I can,” Huska said. “I’m not really a butterfly goalie, I just try to stop it any way that I can.”

After a first period that saw Catholic Memorial carry most of the play, but leave the ice down 1-0 thanks to a nifty shorthanded goal by Eric Rogorzenski, the Knights took the ice with purpose in the second and dominated the action. CM came at Barnstable with purpose, and popped the tying goal just two minutes into the period when O’Hear flung one from the right wing circle that beat Huska to the glove side. The Barnstable goalie said after the game that that was the one shot that he wished he’d had a do-over on.

CM grabbed the lead a little over five minutes later, at the 7:40 mark of the second as they scored on a break-in. Huska made the initial save on a wrister by Starrett, but Tim Weinstein pushed in the rebound on the weak side pipe to put the Knights up 2-1.

CM had chances to pad their lead late in the period, but Huska made certain that they didn’t, and he also got a little bit lucky. The junior, who plays the position in a very unorthodox manner – he compares himself to Tim Thomas – made two great stops late in the second to keep his team within one. He stoned Starrett on a tip shot, sliding across the crease and then gloved a wrister by Aaron Clancy with 1:24 to go in the frame.

With 47 seconds left, fate intervened for the Raiders. Zach Sullivan flew past the defense up the right wing boards and let a rocket fly from 25 feet out, but his shot rung the pipe and flew to the corner.

CM head coach Bill Hanson said that, while his team piled up the shots – they held a 40-19 edge in that category – they weren’t the best kind.

“Never mind shots on goal … I think the number of quality scoring chances is the most important statistic,” Hanson said. “We had three two-on-ones, a three-on-one, with our best guys, and they didn’t get it done for us there. We didn’t put ourselves in position to really score, I mean the goaltender’s good, he played well, but any goalie can make a save when you shoot it right at his chest when you’re not making that extra pass with the open man situation. We didn’t make good decisions.”

Recap: No. 5 Cathedral 4, Barnstable 3 (SO)

December, 27, 2012

HYANNIS, Mass. – Matt Foley thinks there’s no better feeling in the road than being in a hostile rink, game placed on the blade of his stick.

“You can’t play in a better atmosphere than on the road,” the Springfield Cathedral senior defenseman and preseason ESPN Boston All-Stater said.

With his shootout goal in Panthers’ first-round game in the Cape Cod Freeze Out against host Barnstable, Foley was able to silence an otherwise rowdy barn.

No. 5 Cathedral, although dropping their first point of the season in a 3-3 tie with the Red Raiders, won the shootout 3-2 on Foley’s game-clincher to advance to Thursday’s tournament championship game against Newburyport.

The shootout goal was Foley’s second of the evening, having knotted the score 2-2 late in the second period.

Barnstable (2-0-2) came back to grab a point from the contest as junior winger Connor Fries netted his second goal of the game at 9:53 of the third period.

The teams skated to a scoreless overtime period before heading to the shootout. Then, Barnstable and Cathedral volleyed goals back and forth through two rounds before Panthers goaltender Adam Mercer (who replaced starter John Liquori in the shootout) made the first and only stop of the shootout session. Foley then ended it with a pretty back-handed finish.

Eighth-grader Cam Peritz had the Panthers (3-0-1) to a 1-0 lead just 2:28 into the game on Artie Potter’s set up from the wing.

Barnstable countered with Fries potting his first of the game, coming on a partial break. Working the left wing boards, Red Raiders leading scorer Max Willman lofted a perfect pass through the neutral zone, settling near the Panthers’ blue line on the tape of Fries’ stick. Fries took care of the rest with a deke and a back-hander past Liquori.

The Red Raiders then took a 2-1 lead just before the first intermission with Christian Holmes banking in a shot from the right-wing boards near the goal line.

Cathedral pulled even on Foley’s goal in the second before netting the go-ahead with Dominic Blad’s wrister at 2:54 of the third, with assists from Johnny Leonard and Jack Williams.

With a talented returning group this season, Barnstable head coach Scott Nickerson has bulked up the Red Raiders’ schedule with some of the state’s top programs.

Considering his team’s performance in their first “Super 8” challenge of the season, Barnstable could be primed to make some noise this postseason.

“They’re a perennial powerhouse as far as I’m concerned,” Nickerson said of Cathedral. “We’ve had good years in the past, but we haven’t had the schedule too often. So we’ve loaded up our schedule and try to get games like this every night. I think it can only make us stronger. I thought it was a very good showing for us.”

Of course, a big part of any Red Raiders run this season will be galvanized by a talented troika on their top line.

Fries and his two-goal game is just the latest cog in Barnstable’s top group to rack up the goals. Willman (2 A) has come out of the gates charging with nine goals scored in the Red Raiders’ last three games. Senior Eric Rogorzenski centers the line and is an adept passer with good vision.

“I think our top line is as good as any line that we’ve seen so far,” Nickerson said. “I think they can control the game. We count on them a lot. But I think in a game like that, my first line matches up very well against everybody, but I thought they had a little bit more depth than us.”

Cathedral’s offense is rooted in its defense, in that the Panthers’ blue-liners (led by Foley and Williams) are comfortable stepping up into the rush and pushing play into their opponents’ zone.

Foley showed off his offensive acumen on his second-period goal. After gloving down a failed clearing attempt at Cathedral’s blue line, Foley coolly batted down the puck and started a slaloming run toward the Red Raiders’ crease. He also showed a strong finish on the backhand from low in the right side faceoff circle.

While natural ability takes care of so much, Foley credits Cathedral’s coaching staff with his development and comfort turning defense into offense.

“We’ve always had great defensive coaches, we have Coach [Mike] Rousseau, who was a great player at Holy Cross and a great coach. There’s Coach Mike Ashe, who played at Clarkson,” Foley said. “Offense has always been in our heads, Jack [Williams] and I, that’s the type of players we are. We’re not big bricks on the D end, we go both ways.”

Panthers head coach Brian Foley has seen a gradual progression through the years leading up to their senior season.

“They’re a big part of our offense, a big part of our team,” Brian Foley said of Matt Foley and Williams. “They’re veterans, they’re seniors and have been around for three years. They recognize when the play’s going up-ice that they can join in and maybe add some offensive opportunities. They’re hungry for points and they’re offensive-minded. I think that just comes through experience.”


Recap: Barnstable 5, No. 15 Falmouth 2

December, 22, 2012
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- The sounds of Bruno Mars musing about being “Locked Out of Heaven” escaped the Barnstable High locker room tonight at the Falmouth Ice Arena. His hit song was a remix, with the backing of 20 or so Red Raiders who felt exactly the opposite way.

With a 5-2 upset of their rivals from Falmouth High School, behind a hat trick from sniper Max Willman, Barnstable (2-0-1) felt more like they’d entered the pearly gates and were having the time of their lives.

“When you’ve got a star player, and he plays like that, you’ve got a good chance of winning,” Barnstable head coach Scott Nickerson said following his team’s win in the first meeting between the old rivals in Falmouth’s beautiful new rink. “He’s a legitimate goal-scorer.”

“I was just trying to do the best for my team, and it just worked out in my favor,” Willman said after netting his second consecutive three-goal game for the Raiders.

Willman already has seven goals for the season.

His second of the game changed the game’s complexion entirely. After a high flying first period, the two clubs settled into a slugfest defensive battle in the second period. Barnstable did not allow the Clippers a shot on goal during the first 11 minutes of the second period, but Falmouth seemed to be gaining some late momentum as they went on a late power play and were hoping to pop one behind Kevin Huska to take the lead.

A shot by Durham Ghelfi, from the high slot, knuckled toward the net and struck Huska in the face, but the keeper kept it out. Barnstable skated the puck out on a 2-on-1 break up the left wing. Eric Rogorzenski brought up the left side and went deep, before crossing it to a wide-open Willman on the right side. The Barnstable forward unleashed a rocket for the top shelf that sizzled past Cody Garcia to push the Raiders into the lead at 13:35 of the second.

The goal gave Barnstable the lead for good, and sent them to the locker room with a 3-2 lead.

“It definitely did [change the game],” Willman said. “It was a great pass from my linemate Rogo [Rogorzenski], and I just put it in the back of the net. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really looking, I just kind of shot it, just found a way.

“That was huge. That really got the boys going and it showed in the third period, and we just capitalized on everything.”

Falmouth head coach Buddy Ferreira said that the short-handed goal turned things in Barnstable’s favor for good, as it deflated the Clippers.

“[Eighty-five seconds] left in the period and it turned the game around, and you could see it,” Ferreira said. “You try to let them know [there’s plenty of hockey left], but they’re kids. We didn’t recover from that right away…you can’t let a kid like that [have a chance]. He’s a sniper.”

In the third, the momentum carried over for Barnstable. The Raiders scored a dagger of a goal early in the final frame when Hayden Murphy smacked in the rebound of a Kyle Rood shot to make it 4-2 at 4:26.

Earlier in the game Rood had been glued to the bench for a while after a mistake had led to a Falmouth goal. Nickerson was pleased to see that the junior learned from the mistake and helped the third line capitalize with a huge goal.

“He got back out there, he fought and we got a goal off that effort. When you can get a goal from the third line in a big game like that, on something that they made a mistake on earlier in the game, they come back and correct it, that’s nice,” Nickerson said.

Less than three minutes later, Willman capped his hat trick on a penalty shot. With the Clippers killing off a penalty, defenseman Joe Meloni went down in front of the net to block a shot. He slid through the crease and the puck ended up underneath him and refs cited him for covering the puck in the crease.

Willman won his one-on-one battle with Garcia with a pretty move. He came up the right side of the slot, crossed over and backhanded a lazy slider off of a toe drag.

“I wasn’t actually trying to do that, it just worked in my favor. I was going to just shoot it, but then I saw an opening,” he said.

The first period was the definition of back-and-forth. Falmouth struck, and Barnstable answered. Then it happened again.

Falmouth netted the game’s first goal at 9:01 of the first as third line winger Ben Boudrot netted the first goal of his high school career for the Clippers, redirecting a shot from the right point by captain Zack Zaino.

Barnstable won the ensuing draw, skated right down and tied it 16 seconds later. Willman broke up the left wing and crossed a pretty feed for Connor Fries that the junior popped past Garcia to knot it at 1-1.

The teams then traded goals a second time a bit later in the frame. At 12:06, Falmouth tri-captain Cyrus Wickersham hustled into the right wing corner to take the puck away from the Raiders defense. As Wickersham broke for the curved boards, Storm Fotiu slid through the slot and was in position to tip in a great crossing feed from his linemate to make it 2-1.

Barnstable’s boisterous traveling fanbase wasn’t in the dumps for long after that one as Willman brought them to their feet just 27 seconds later with an electric play.

Rogorzenski let a shot rip from the right wing circle that flew over the goal to the rear boards. Willman was the first one to it and sped out front, circling to a shooting position and rifled a wrist shot under the crossbar to send the teams to the locker rooms tied.