Boston High School: Framingham

Marshfield's Cataldo leads South in romp of All-Star Classic

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
11:56
PM ET
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Team members of Saturday's 5th annual Aleppo Shriners/Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association All-Star Classic show up knowing little about the strengths and weakness of their fellow linemates. Having not practiced together, the only thing to do is learn on the fly.

The South stars were the quick learners, as all of its lines meshed brilliantly en route to a one-sided 7-1 triumph at the DCU Center.

"You don't really see an all star game finish 7-1," said South and Braintree head coach David Fasano. "It's usually 8-7 or 9-8. But all of our goaltenders played great. We were putting lines together an hour before the game so to come out and move the puck around the way we did was pretty incredible. There was some very good play making out there. There is no system in place so to speak and the goaltenders know they are going to see a lot of shots so to their credit they made some great stops. The way our kids were moving the puck around they looked like they had been playing together for a very long time."

After racing out to a 4-1 lead after the first period, this game was never in doubt. Despite facing 43 shots, South's three goaltenders (St. John's of Shrewsbury’s Mario Pizzeri, Framingham's Al Lynch and Brookline's Jake Paul) were outstanding between the pipes.

"We got an early goal on them and I think that sort of set the momentum for us," said Pizzeri, who will play at Assumption College next year. "This was certainly a fun way to go out and a great way to end my high school career."

Offensively, Marshfield forward David Cataldo led the attack as he found the back of net twice. His rebound goal coming at 6:46 of the opening period set the gears in motion for the South squad. Three minutes later, Braintree's Nick Ward made it a two-goal affair after taking a diagonal pass from Trevor O'Brien and beating Springfield Cathedral goaltender John Liquori low glove side.

Wachusett Regional's Marc Happy, taking a well-executed behind the net feed from Jim Currier, ripped a one-timer past Pizzeri to bring his team to within a goal at 10:21 but that is as close as the North stars would get.

"I'm disappointed in regards to the final outcome but this is truly a great event and the fact that it is helping a great cause with Shriners Hospitals," said North and Winchester forward Brendan Greene.

Just 32 seconds after Happy's score, Duxbury's Nick Marrocco, standing in front of the crease, back-handed a shot by Liquori to give South back its two-goal advantage.

Things seemed to snowball from there. With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Cataldo, off a well-timed pass from Robbie Souza, ripped a shot into the back of the net from the left slot to send South into the first intermission leading by three goals.

"Surprisingly we had some very good chemistry among all of us despite having never played together," Cataldo said. "All of the lines seemed to be clicking today. You are going to develop chemistry with all of these kids coming to this game. All of them can play hockey, they can adjust and they learn to play with other kids very quickly. That is why they are here.

“It's cool to play with all of these guys because you read about them during the season."

Early in the middle frame, South picked up right where it left off to end the first. Just 2:21 into the period, Archbishop Williams forward Mike Sorenti, taking a pass from Xaverian's Antonio Marini down low, skated across the front of the crease and patiently waited for St. Mary's of Lynn goalie Bailey MacBurnie to commit before sending a shot beyond the senior's out-stretched right leg pad to make it 5-1.

With North seeing its opportunities being stoned regularly, South continued to maintain its offensive charge. Xaverian's Ricky Smith padded the lead to five at 13:56 with a laser from 20 feet out that MacBurnie never saw.

"It was fun to go out there and play with a bunch of new guys," said South defenseman and St. John's (Shrewsbury) standout Bryan Nelson. "A lot of the guys I knew from playing with or against in squirts and pee-wees. It was nice to see them and catch up on things with them. This felt more like a summer tournament game. It was a lot of fun."

To its credit, North wasn't about to go down easily during the final period. Opening up the offense a bit more, they sent 19 shots toward Paul but none got past him. Meanwhile, Dartmouth's Joseph Correia added to North's misery by tallying an unassisted goal at 13:10. South also finished with 43 shots.

"The real surprise in all of this is the one goal by them on the other end," Fasano said. "That is unheard of in these types of games whether it be high school, college or the NHL. Usually those kinds of games have some pretty-big numbers. This was a lot of fun to be apart of and was a great show put on by both the Shriners and the Worcester Sharks."

D1 South: Braintree 2, Framingham 0

March, 5, 2014
Mar 5
9:30
PM ET
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – When the state tournament began a last week, Braintree head coach Dave Fasano said that to go far his club would need to stay healthy and “get a little puck luck.”

While the Wamps lacked that good fortune in the Super 8 play-in round, they certainly found some Wednesday night at the Gallo Ice Arena.

Other than an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play, the contest’s only goal was the direct result of a fortuitous hop. South sectional top-seed Braintree (15-5-3) rode that potted shot by senior Brian Gallagher to a 2-0 win over their Bay State League rivals from Framingham (13-11-1) in the Division 1 south semifinals.

Gallagher’s pretty crossover through the slot did not result in his goal early in the second period. The forward lost his handle of the puck and his bid went wide to the back wall, which is where things got interesting. Gallagher followed his miss and was the first to the puck, flinging it quickly to the front.

It ended up in the back of the net. All-star keeper Al Lynch of Framingham attempted to come off the left post to square up to threats in front of him, but the puck hit off of his left leg, from behind, and found twine.

“It was a broken play behind the net, and it just kind of bounced around,” Framingham head coach Paul Spear said. “Somebody was going to get a lucky break, and Braintree got a lucky break. It wasn’t like [Nick] Ward went around one of defensemen and dangled our goalie. They shot it towards the net, it bounced around and went in.”

The Wamps made that one stand up, thanks in large part to a superb effort by goalie Nick Anson, who stopped all 28 shots he saw in the game, including 12 in the third period.

Anson’s best stop of the game came with just under five minutes to play. Framingham forward Tyler Anes worked his way through the left circle and crossed one to the far post for a wide-open Scott Swennes, who snapped one off for the high top corner. Anson flung his glove upward and deflected the bid. Anson also had to make a big stop on an effort by Joe Gilbert with two minutes to play, just before the Flyers pulled Lynch out of the net for an extra attacker.

“The goalie made a great save," Spear said. "[Swennes] has a wicked shot. That’s his shot. You couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than that. If you give me one kid that could break a target in the top corner, it’d be Scott Swennes. That’s the story of our season…we lost 11 games this season, we were probably shut out in seven of them,”

Fasano said that his goalie may be overlooked by some, but it is obvious to the Wamps what a difference-maker he can be.

“In fairness to Nick Anson, [Lynch] is one of the best goalies in the state, MVP of the league last year, but [the saves Anson made] didn’t go unnoticed. Everyone talks about the Framingham goalie, but we’ve got a good goaltender right here. He shut out CM last week, he shut out Framingham today and he only gave up one to Falmouth. I’ll take him any day of the week.”

Framingham pulled the keeper with 1:31 left, but could not find an answer to Anson. Gino LaRossa then ended the drama with 48 seconds remaining, snapping a wrister from the blue line to sew up the Wamps trip to the south finals, which will be Sunday at 1:45 p.m. at Gallo.

D1 South: Framingham, Braintree to meet in semis

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
7:38
PM ET


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Familiar foes will meet up in the Division 1 South semifinals after today’s action at Gallo Ice Arena. Top-seeded Braintree advanced to the next round with a methodical takedown of No. 8 Falmouth, 4-1, in the second game of the day.

In day’s opener, the region’s Cinderella, No. 13 Framingham, took down No. 4 Franklin, also by a 4-1 count.

The Wamps (14-5-3) showed no ill effects from their disappointing loss in the Super 8 play-in round. Braintree bounced back by taking apart the Clippers, as they dominated every facet of the game. The Wamps outshot Falmouth by a 35-7 margin and played hard through all three periods.

“If we were worried about a hangover, we took care of that … I couldn’t keep bringing back up Monday night, but in their heads, I know it was there,” Braintree Head Coach Dave Fasano said.

The Wamps swamped the Clippers early, scoring twice in the first nine minutes of the game. Kyle Weslie got the first one, on a pretty snipe from down low, and then at 8:32 Chris Googins connected from a tough angle, snapping one just under the crossbar. Had Falmouth goalie Jake Beaton not come up with a few big stops, and the pipe not helped him on another, things might have gotten out of hand early.

“That set the tone on our bench. I told the kids that the first five minutes were crucial. It’s always interesting to see how you respond from a tough loss, and they responded. They put 15 shots on net in the first period,” Fasano said.

Braintree got two more in the second to put it away, both by Dylan Casserly. The first was a pretty tip-in on the doorstep that saw Casserly change the puck’s direction after a shot from up high at 4:05. A few moments later Casserly got another, thanks to some adept passing by Googins. The set-up man took the puck deep against Beaton, and the goalie kept coming with him. Googins had Beaton way out of position and fed the puck out front for Casserly, who had the hockey equivalent of a lay-up to make it a 4-0 game.

The Clippers’ lone goal followed at 12:39 on a great individual effort by Robbie Souza, who chased down a clear out by Andrew Parkinson and won the race along the boards at the red line. With a burst of speed, the second leading goal-scorer in Division 1 picked the far post with a rocket of a wrister.

There would be no more highlight for Falmouth, though, thanks to the suffocating Braintree defense.

The Wamps did not allow Falmouth to get a single shot on goalie Nick Anson until the final minute of play with 38 seconds remaining in the game.

FRAMINGHAM 4, FRANKLIN 1

In the earlier game, the Jolly Roger flew high as the Flyers left the ice and should serve as a warning to teams that will be sharing the ice with them going forward. The 13th seeded team has embraced the Pirate theme this season, and on Saturday afternoon they made fifth-seeded Franklin walk the plank. The Flyers scored twice in the first period and never looked back, skating to a 4-1 win at Gallo Ice Arena.

Framingham broke out to an early 2-0 lead and never looked back as the top-scoring Flyer, Cory Gorowitz, got his team on the board with his first of two at 10:48 on a breakaway goal up the right side. With just 47 seconds left in the first Ryder Lessing popped in a power play rebound that doubled the lower-seeded team’s lead.

“When we score first, we’re pretty hard to play against because we have such good defensemen and our goaltender [Al Lynch] is so good,” Framingham Head Coach Paul Spear said.

Franklin’s Randy Gilbert shaved a goal off the lead for the Panthers early in the second period, which briefly had the Panthers back in the game. A shot by Kyle Powers from the left circle chipped high where Gilbert used his stick more like a bat to nudge it under the crossbar and behind Al Lynch. That would be the only one of the 21 shots that the Panthers put on the net that bested Lynch, who made the saves he had to and benefitted from a stifling effort in front of him by the Flyers’ staunch defense.

Framingham didn’t allow Franklin’s hope to float, though. The Flyers sunk it quickly with a third goal just six minutes later to go up 3-1 as Gorowitz – who forgot his road sweater at home and had to borrow the jersey of backup goalie Jason McCarthy – once again found separation from the Panthers’ defense and beat Devin Maloof with a pretty crossover move at 8:41.

Neither team did much in the third period, as most of the play was in neutral ice. Framingham assured themselves of a spot in the south with an empty-netter with 43 seconds to go. Despite drawing a penalty with five minutes to go, the Panthers were unable to generate a single shot on net at crunch time. In the last minute, Drew McKinnon blocked a shot in the defensive, raced down the ice and stole it away from the Panthers, tucking it in the vacated cage to assure that the Flyers will be breaking out the skull and crossbones at least one more time.

Spear, who captains a fishing charter during the summer, said that the pirate theme has been something that his team has rallied around this year. “I told them that during the summer I captain a fishing boat, but during the winter sometimes I feel like I run up a pirate boat,” Spear said. “I had them embrace the spirit of fighting to the death and playing for each other and being brothers out there. We were trying to find an identity for our team, and they’ve kind of rallied around that.

And now Cinderella wears an eye patch, and hopes to take down the top-seeded Wamps in the next round. The foes know one another well. Framingham won the first meeting, 4-0, and Braintree took the rematch, 4-2, to wrap up the Bay State Carey title.

“They beat us once, and we beat them once, so it’ll be a battle,” Fasano said.

Week 1 hockey tournament notes and picks

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
3:20
PM ET
Here are some thoughts from the first week or so of the high school hockey tournaments.

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.

Framingham, Falmouth advance in D1 South

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
3:18
AM ET


BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – During the last several seasons, Framingham goaltender Al Lynch has been among the state’s very best. But, at times, Lynch and his Flyers teammates have struggled to find consistency.

“We’re always shifting back and forth and we were hoping to hit our stride at the end of the year,” Lynch said. “We started off good. We knew we had the talent and we had some really nice wins, but we had some really bad losses. It’s just that when we don’t show up, it shows.”

And so, Lynch and Framingham’s seniors faced down what potentially could have been their final period of high school hockey. Tied, 2-2, against reigning Division 1 South champion Marshfield, Lynch knew they needed to come up with something special.

“We’ve been looking for this win, nothing was going to stop us tonight.”

Lynch continually slammed the door shut, making 42 saves. Meanwhile, junior forward Ryder Lessing chipped in a 2-goal game as the Flyers skated away with a 5-2 win over the Rams in Wednesday’s Division 1 South first-round game at Gallo Arena.

“Here we are against the defending Division 1 South champions and we’re tied 2-2 going on the third period,” Framingham head coach Paul Spear said. “[Lynch] made some absolutely amazing saves against some really talented and skilled players. He’s proven time and again he’s one of the best goaltenders in the state and he stole this one tonight.”

The Rams (15-8-0) got on the board first on Hunter McCauley’s one-timer set up on a pass across the top of the crease from Nevin Connors at 9:24 of the first.

Framingham (12-10-1) countered on the power play at 12:09, when Lessing played the puck between the pads of Rams netminder Connor Lemieux from below the goal line.

The Flyers claimed the lead before the period was out as defenseman Tim Tierney’s point shot through a screen, with Lemieux unable to see the rising half-slap.

Marshfield swung momentum in the second, outshooting the Flyers, 12-5, while tallying the lone goal of the period. Senior forward David Cataldo evened the score going bar-down with a power-play goal with less than a minute remaining in the second, beating Lynch to the high glove side.

“I thought we were focused and ready to get right back on the ice,” Rams head coach Dan Connolly said of his team’s effort in the second. “But credit to Lynch, the kid played phenomenal in net. They played hard, Paul [Spear] ran a great system, Lynch was amazing and they capitalized on their chances.”

Framingham regained the lead for good on Christian Seariac’s wrister from the slot with 7:24 remaining.

Lessing added an insurance goal with his second of the game – also on the power play – at 11:28.

Cory Gorovitz added an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play.

The Flyers advance to play No. 5 seed Franklin in the sectional quarterfinals on Saturday (time TBD), after the Panthers routed Weymouth, 7-2, on Wednesday.

Falmouth 2, Walpole 1 (2 OT)
A pair of freshmen led the way as the Clippers (13-8-2) walked away with a 2-1 victory in double overtime.

Patrick Coyne scored the game-winner on the power play, following a Rebels’ too-many-men penalty with 2:32 to play in the second overtime. It was Coyne’s second point of the game (1 G, 1 A).

Freshman defenseman Cam Tobey opened scoring for the No. 8 seed Clippers in the first period. Walpole (12-9-2) tied the game in the second period on a goal from junior defenseman Kevin Ivatts.

Falmouth advances to play Braintree, which returns to the South sectional tournament as the No. 1 seed, following the Wamps Super 8 play-in game loss, in a quarterfinal Saturday at Gallo.
Winthrop/Lynn made a late-season move in our statewide MIAA girls' hockey Top 25 poll this week, vaulting up to No. 11 this week.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Note: Records are as of Wednesday, Feb. 5.)

Hangin' with the big Dawgs: Winthrop/Lynn's ascent in this week's poll was marked by a couple of important Top 25 victories in recent play, with wins over Beverly/Danvers and St. Mary's, both of which were ranked in the Top 10 in our last update.

Also new to the poll this week is No. 25 Framingham. The Flyers also claimed a couple of Top 25 wins, having beaten Wellesley and formerly ranked Norwood while making the program's debut in the rankings.

Recap: Framingham 2, No. 6 Catholic Memorial 1

December, 28, 2013
12/28/13
4:39
AM ET
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- It is not an uncommon occurrence for one person's performance to lift an entire team.

Framingham goaltender Al Lynch proved it Friday night. The senior put forth a grand performance between the pipes, stopping 41 of 42 shots in leading the Flyers to a stunning 2-1 triumph over No. 6 Catholic Memorial in the opening round of the Silverback Hockey Classic inside Loring Arena.

With the victory, Framingham (2-2-0) will face St. John's (Shrewsbury) in the title game Saturday night beginning at 7:50 p.m. The Knights will play in the consolation game (5:50 p.m.) versus Marshfield.

"It all starts with our forwards to our defense then all the way back to me," Lynch said. "When your team is feeling it, it's easy to play well behind them."

You had an inkling that Lynch's evening would be special after he turned aside 17 CM shots in the opening period to keep the game scoreless. Often times, Framingham, playing without last year's top-scorer Corey Gorovitz (who is expected back for the title game), found itself limited once it was able to move the puck beyond the blue line. As is their nature, the Knights defense collapsed on any Flyer with the puck on his respective stick once inside their own zone. The Flyers mustered just one shot in the opening frame.

But because of Lynch's play, they remained upbeat.

"When it's a 0-0 game after one period and the goalie is feeling it then I think it's easy for the rest of the team to feel it as well and rally around him," said Lynch. "It was nice to get out of that first period feeling good. Once you get that first 15 minutes in, then the rest of the night the pucks begin to look like beach balls. Having everyone work their tails off all game, I think it proves something to us as a team as well as anyone watching."

Framingham's positive demeanor carried into the second period and was raised even highter after Chris McGinty's rebound goal at 4:25 to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

CM's frustration was evident. Numerous quality chances on net were swatted away by Lynch. Knight players could be seen often skating to their bench shaking their heads in dismay. With time ticking down in the period, CM, albeit briefly, was finally able to prove that Lynch was human afterall. Gunnar McKenzie, a sophomore forward, managed to direct a rebound shot by Eion Hurley past Lynch stick side at 13:13 to send the Knights into the second intermission tied 1-1.

The goal served as a much-needed lift for CM who believed it had out-played Framingham at both ends of the ice yet only had the one goal to show for it.

Any momentum gained following McKenzie's tally was diminished to begin the third. Just 13 seconds in, defenseman Joey Gilbert had the puck on his stick following a face off. Standing 20 feet to the left of CM goalie Brandon Collett (13 saves), the sophomore was able to skate in alone several feet before firing s shot into the upper left corner of the net, giving the Flyers a 2-1 advantage.

"For the most part I thought we played disciplined," Flyers head coach Paul Spear said. "You don't get to beat a team like that very often so tonight was very exciting. Our goaltender is outstanding and we feel he is a Division 1 prospect. He just played his heart out tonight. We've got to come back and play St. John's next but I told our kids we should be proud and happy but when we wake up in the morning lets put our focus on St. John's and try to win our own tournament."

Having regained the lead back, Framingham was consistent with its defensive effort. The Flyers played much tighter, allowing little space for the Knights to work in.

They also got a little more physical, pushing CM off its routes in its attempt to notch the tying score. With Lynch still working his magic, things got a bit more interesting after Framingham was called for a pair of penalties with under three minutes to go. However, both times the Flyers penalty unit did its job. Although the Knights (2-1) still managed to fire 14 shots at Lynch in the period, all were stopped giving Framingham one of its biggest victories in school history.

"We had a lot of scoring opportunities but their goaltender was up to the task," said CM head coach Bill Hanson. "But when we go back to watch this game, the little one-on-one battles especially in the last 1:15 their kids did a helluva’ job. We didn't have any open man situations or 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s. Our kids never let up and played hard throughout.

“There was no pity party inside our locker room. There is disappointment. But I still think we'll be a very good team. Paul [Spear] does a great job over there. He doesn't get enough credit being a real good X's and O's guy."

Recap: No. 11 St. John's (S) 2, No. 12 Marshfield 1

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
10:57
PM ET
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Clinging to a one-goal lead heading into the final period, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) knew full-well Marshfield would throw everything but the kitchen sink at them over those last 15 minutes.

The No. 11 Pioneers were dead on in terms of their prediction. The No. 12 Rams opened up their offense in the frame, attacking the Pioneer zone with reckless abandon.

But when he needed to step up, St. John’s goaltender Mario Pizzeri did – meeting the challenge head-on. Pizzeri, a senior, was nothing short of brilliant, especially over the closing period, stopping all 11 shots he faced to preserve the Pioneer’s 2-1 victory in the opening round of tonight’s Silverback Hockey Classic at Loring Arena.

“That was a complete 45 minute game out there by both teams,” said Pizzeri, finishing with 28 saves. “I thought Marshfield kept most of their shots to the outside. I was seeing them pretty-well, but I still need to work on my rebound control a little more.”

St. John’s (2-1-1) will face Framingham in tomorrow night’s championship game beginning at 7:50 p.m. Marshfield (2-2-0) will take on Catholic Memorial in the consolation tilt starting at 5:50.

“Mario played very well,” Pioneers head coach Mike Mead said. “He really stood tall. Marshfield kept coming at us. We bent a little but didn’t break. We’re still continuing to learn as we go. We just want to get a little better with each game and hopefully a little tougher as well.”

The Pioneers grabbed an early 2-0 lead after dominating all but the final 20 seconds of the opening period, putting up 14 shots to the Rams’ five. Mike McGillicuddy, skating all alone along the right boards, put St. John’s up 1-0, launching a laser beam past Marshfield goaltender Connor Lemiuex just 33 seconds in.

The Pioneers continued to set up camp inside the Rams’ defensive zone and would add to their lead five minutes later when senior defenseman Bryan Nelson sailed a hard wrist shot through traffic that Lemiuex (30 saves) never saw.

It appeared as though St. John’s would head into the first intermission with its two-goal lead intact. But with 20 seconds remaining, an errant Rams shot deflected off the glass behind Pizzeri and landed onto the stick of junior Will Cole just in front of Pizzeri. The forward easily slipped the puck into the net to narrow the deficit to 2-1.

“Our kids played hard,” Marshfield head coach Dan Connolly said. “Mario [Pizzeri] played unbelievable for them in net. He made some big saves but Connor made some big saves for us too. We never gave up and had a couple of chances to tie it in the third but overall I thought our whole team played well tonight. We just couldn’t get the win.”

Both teams played evenly over during the middle frame, with each landing 13 shots on net but nothing to show for it. Marshfield’s offensive effort certainly looked to be much better in the period, but the Pioneers did a nice job clogging up the neutral zone and slowing the Rams rush up the ice. Likewise, Marshfield was performing admirably by taking away some of the passing lanes St. John’s had used effectively in the initial frame.

“We need to play more even-keeled out there,” Pizzeri said. “When you score two goals you should want to score two more. You don’t want to sit back and play just defensive because the other team can just start piling it up. That’s what they started doing in the third.”

Recap: No. 10 Catholic Memorial 9, Natick 1

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
12:07
AM ET


BOSTON – Catholic Memorial doesn’t have a true superstar, but the Knights are a deep team that can run four lines and continuously attack their opponents. That was evident on Monday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University.

Junior captain Aaron Clancy, senior Michael Stathopolous and sophomore Paul Hardiman each scored two goals as the No. 10 Knights cruised past Natick, 9-1.

Hardiman and Stathopolous scored first period goals to take a 2-1 lead over Natick after 15 minutes. It was the only period that Natick mustered any offensive charge against CM and goaltender Brandon Collett.

The story of the night might have been the effectiveness of the second line for the Knights. Longtime Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson put Hardiman, Stathopolous and junior Anthony Pannagio together on the second line, and the trio displayed good chemistry and the ability to create offense.

“[Stathopolous] is a senior. It’s the first time he’s had a good night offensively. His engine, he’s playing hard and he’s getting after it,” Hanson said.

“Hardiman and Pannagio were our best penalty killers last year as freshmen. They played a ton for us last year. They weren’t good offensively as freshmen because it’s hard to play as freshmen. They’ve taken the next step. They’re good hockey players.”

The onslaught was on from there as CM scored seven times in the final 30 minutes to win going away. Zach Sullivan, Tim Weinstein and Will Conroy also added goals for Catholic Memorial.

The Knights improved to 2-0-0 on the young season, and are averaging 7.5 goals per game despite losing UMass recruit Liam Coughlin, one of the best offensive players in the state last season to graduation, and Cornell recruit Beau Starrett to juniors.

“We have a lot of the same cast of characters back from last year. My concern coming in was that they played so well last year making it to the [Super 8] Final Four, were they going to make that next step?” Hanson said. They really have exceeded my expectations. I’m pleasantly surprised. Their confidence factor is right where it should be.”

Hanson continued, “We don’t have Liam. We roll four lines. I firmly believe we have eight to nine guys who are 10, 12 goal scorers. The intensity and energy that we play with has to make up for Liam’s loss.”

Notes: Maine associate head coach Jay Leach and Los Angeles Kings scout Bob Crocker were both in attendance to take in the action at the former home of the Boston University Terriers … Clancy, the team’s top returning scorer, showed why with his quick release and ability to work well in traffic… Senior Will Conroy looked more like a skilled forward on his nifty breakaway goal to cap off the scoring… Catholic Memorial is off until Dec. 27 when it takes on Framingham in the Silverback Hockey Classic.

Soccer tourney roundup: Newton North girls advance

November, 3, 2013
11/03/13
10:57
PM ET
NEWTON, Mass. – Shannon Fitzgerald scored a brace and tacked on an assist as the No. 2 seed in Division 1 North (and No. 2 ranked team in the ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings) Newton North moved into the sectional semifinals with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 seed Andover on Sunday afternoon.

The final score was comfortable for the Tigers (15-0-2), but the start of the game was anything but easy, as the visitors stormed out of the gates and put pressure on the Newton North back line. Forward Veronica Alois, in particular, caused problems for the Tigers and helped the Warriors (11-5-4) earn three corner kicks in the opening five minutes.

There is a cliché in soccer that goals change games. In the 20th minute, Newton North proved it right again.

A long ball forward by Fitzgerald caught Tigers forward Angela Ward one-on-one with Andover senior defender Sarah Van Antwerp. The two players came together and van Antwerp went to ground, but the official waved play on and Ward took advantage of the breakaway to score what turned out to be the game winner.

Andover head coach Meghan Matson commented, “It stinks because we were dominating to start the game possession-wise and just our opportunities on goal. I think we did a really good job stepping up and winning the 50/50s and being a real defensive presence on the field.”

She added, “It was a non-call that from our perspective should have been a call but it is what it is and you kind of have to move on from there.”

The Warriors had to move on without Van Antwerp, who pulled her hamstring in the collision with Ward. Four minutes after her injury, with Andover still reshuffling its back line, Newton North struck again. Fitzgerald this time was the scorer. With a deft touch to take the ball inside a defender on the edge of the 18, she struck a shot inside the post to make it 2-0.

Newton North head coach James Hamblin remarked, “The first five minutes, I think we were all over the place. They were nervous, excited…I don’t know and to be fair Andover came at us. The first five minutes we couldn’t get out of our own half.”

He continued, “That old cliché - the goal turned the game and they had to take her out and we got the second while they got organized.”

After halftime, Newton North took control of the game with Andover keeper Emily Masterson forced into strong, diving saves at her near post to stop both Ward and Fitzgerald from finding the third goal. Matson acknowledged the improvement in her senior goalkeeper this season.

“This season our starting keeper was out with a concussion and she stepped in and she’s been incredible for us. She’s made some really clutch saves and it’s amazing to see the transformation in her confidence.”

Bay State Conference MVP Christina Callahan and fellow midfielder Amelia Williams started to get control of the center of the pitch in the second half and the Tigers grew increasingly willing to hit long diagonals to the forwards, as the clock ran down.

“We definitely have good power, strength, and speed up top,” noted Hamblin. “The front two of Ang and Shannon are excellent and we’ve had a rotating system on the other forward. We used our pace and power to get in behind them and it worked at times.”

Andover did create a couple of chances in the dying minutes as it grew increasing desperate to find a goal.

Alois took advantage of a slip to break into the box and rounded Tigers keeper Maddie Bledsoe only for right back Maya King to come across the field and make a last-ditch block. A minute later, Alois’ footwork created space at the top of the 18 for Meredith Van Antwerp, but her shot was right at Bledsoe.

As the game entered the final 30 seconds, the Tigers had one more flurry on offense, but Masterson made two sliding blocks in the 18 and one slide tackle well outside of the box. Despite the keeper’s best efforts, the ball fell to Fitzgerald who fired home her second and clinched the game.

Hamblin remarked,” I said to the girls at halftime that the next goal is huge. I said that if we get it, it’s game over. I would have liked for it to come early, not with 10 seconds left, but I thought the more we defended well then the more frustrated that they got and started hitting longer balls that we soaked up.”

Matson was disappointed that the final score was not indicative of how well Andover played against the still unbeaten Tigers.

You look at the score and see 3-0 and think that’s kind of a rough game, but it was definitely not indicative of how the game went,” she said. “To go down 2-0 like we did and keep attacking says a lot about their heart.”

Newton North will advance to Tuesday night’s semifinal at Manning Field in Lynn to take on Masconomet.

Tournament Notes:
  • The No. 1 seed in D1 North also advanced on Sunday, as Central Catholic (the No. 1 team in the final regular season, ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings) defeated Lincoln-Sudbury, 4-2. It was the second game in a row that the Raiders have won by that score, after giving up only a single goal in the first 17 games of the season. Central Catholic will take on another DCL Large team in the semifinals – No. 5 Acton-Boxborough.
  • On Sunday, several of the defending state champions advanced in the tournament: In D1, the Needham boys scored late to beat league rival Weymouth, 1-0, in a rematch of last year’s sectional final and the Franklin girls scored five goals to beat league rival Milford. In D2, the Medfield girls went on the road to beat Foxborough, 4-2. In D3 girls, Weston will take on Hamilton-Wenham on Monday.
  • There is guaranteed to be a new champion in D2 and D3 for the boys, although each of the state champions from 2012 is still alive in the postseason. Groton-Dunstable was moved from D2 to D1 in the Central (D2 no longer exists outside of Eastern Mass.), and pulled off an upset of No. 2 seed Doherty on Sunday. Sutton was also moved during realignment, from D3 to the newly created D4 in Central, and will take on Maynard as the No. 2 seed on Monday.
  • To this point (although to be fair not all of them have taken the pitch yet) each of the No. 1 seeds are still alive. The biggest upset to this point happened on Sunday evening as the Walpole girls, the No. 19 seed in D1 South, knocked off No. 3 seed Oliver Ames, the Hockomock’s Davenport division champ and 2012 sectional finalist, on penalties after 100 scoreless minutes. It was the second straight PK victory for the Rebels, who also beat No. 14 Plymouth South on Friday. Walpole advances to face No. 6 North Attleborough, which beat Whitman-Hanson, 3-2, in overtime on a goal by Hana Caster. The Rocketeers had their own penalty let off on Sunday when a Panthers PK struck the post in a tie game with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
  • The D1 South boys’ quarterfinals are set with four very intriguing match-ups. Top seed and top ranked Silver Lake crushed Milford on Sunday and will host another Hockomock League opponent, Mansfield, on Tuesday. The winner of that game will face the winner of New Bedford (beat Marshfield, 3-1), which spent several weeks ranked no. 1 this season, and Franklin (beat Taunton, 2-1), which took home a Kelley-Rex division title and has only lost once all season.* On the other side of the bracket, Needham will face Brockton (beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 2-0) in a rematch of last year’s first round meeting and the winner faces whichever team advances out of a Top 20 battle between Wellesley (beat Braintree, 4-0) and BC High (beat King Philip, 4-0).
  • In D1 North, there were a pair of upsets on the boys’ side with No. 13 Malden beating No. 4 Peabody, 1-0, in overtime and No. 12 Lowell advancing past No. 5 East Boston, 3-2, on penalties. Those two will face off in the quarterfinals. Top seed Somerville moved on with a comfortable 4-0 win and will take on a talented Bay State team, Brookline, which beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 1-0). Second seed Madison Park beat Chelmsford, 1-0, and will next face perennial power Acton-Boxborough, which beat Framingham, 1-0, in overtime. St. John’s Prep (beat Andover, 2-0), the No. 3 seed, will play No. 11 Lexington (beat Revere, 5-0) in the final second round match — all to be played on Tuesday.
*Franklin also lost, 2-0, to Attleboro, but the game was officially changed to a 1-0 win after Attleboro was forced to vacate its wins.

Recap: No. 2 Needham 0, No. 17 Framingham 0

October, 18, 2013
10/18/13
12:22
AM ET


NEEDHAM, Mass. -– The No. 17 Framingham Flyers went into Thursday afternoon’s game with No. 2 Needham at DeFazio Field needing a win to tie the Rockets at the top of the Bay State Conference’s Carey division.

Framingham dominated the first half, but after the break the defending state champions started to control play and finished as the stronger team. Despite a host of chances, neither team could find the back of the net and it ended 0-0, leaving Needham on top with just a few more league games left on the schedule.

“I thought we played good in the first half and in the second I thought they had us on our heels a little bit,” said Framingham head coach Dan Avery. “We had one stretch in the second where we applied pressure, but I can’t believe it was 0-0 at halftime.”

He added, “The way we played in the first half, we needed to have the lead.”

Needham came close early in the first half when junior captain Aram Ouligian took a ball on the half-volley but lifted it just a foot over the bar. That would be the last, solid chance for the Rockets in the opening 40 minutes as the Flyers attackers kept Needham back on their heels.

Midway through the first half, junior captain Brian Nardizzi and Joao Costa played a one-two on the edge of the box, before Costa slid the ball into the path of Vinny Matias. Matias took a touch but his shot was into the chest of Needham keeper Adam Lassman. A few minutes later, Nardizzi again found space on the left side of the box and drove to the byline, but his cross to the oncoming Matheus Correa was scrambled away by the Needham defense.

Just before halftime, junior Doug Ferreira hit a shot that no one on the Needham defense had any chance of stopping, including Lassman. But, unfortunately for the Flyers, the shot that seemed destined for the top corner, drifted off the far post, dribbled across the line, and slipped out the other side. It was inches from being a golazo, instead it was another opportunity missed.

“We knew they had great skills,” said Needham head coach Don Brock about the Flyers attackers. “[The defense was] getting bitten in the first half; guys were faking and they were diving in so we told them to stay away from that.”

When asked if he had made any halftime adjustments, Brock replied, “No we didn’t. We just told them to be more aggressive and to mark their men a little tighter.”

The instructions may seem simple, but the Rockets were a much different team after halftime and the hosts started to take control of the midfield. With Ouligian and junior Paul Kondratyev winning the ball back and distributing it out wide to attackers Matthew Brand, Jason Miller, and Don Igo, Needham started to create chances and force the Flyers back.

Ouligian missed a pair of headers from inside the box as the Rockets started to play dangerous crosses into the box. The best chance for either team came on a cross from left back Andres Pinto to Kondratyev, who had raced into the box but could not keep his volley under the bar.

“[We] just didn’t create enough opportunities in the second half and I don’t really have a good reason why that happened,” said Avery. Obviously, if I could have told you why, then I would’ve done something about it.”

The draw keeps Needham on top of the Carey division and keeps the defending champs unbeaten this season, despite losing nine starters from last year’s team. Brock, who is now in his 46th season as coach, credited the strength of the overall program for keeping the Rockets relevant again this year.

He said, “We obviously lost some key players, no question about it, but our JV squad and freshmen squad coaches and staff have done an outstanding job. We have a good system here in Needham and we’re proud of it.”

Brock added, “It’s a young squad; I only have two or three seniors that are contributing. I’m pleased with how the progress has gone this season.”

Framingham will be disappointed to not get the victory that would have brought it back to the top of the standings, but Avery is pleased with his team’s effort and has high expectations for the postseason.

“We have the skill to compete with anybody; it’s the mindset,” he remarked. “Just keeping composure and playing with poise, I think that’s the key for us.”

Needham on rise in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
7:10
PM ET
New Bedford holds on to the top spot in the boys' soccer Top 20 again this week after a draw against South Coast rival Dartmouth and a tough road win at Agawam.

Right behind the Whalers in second is Needham. Everyone keeps saying that the defending state champs are not as good as last year, but nobody has been able to beat the Rockets yet this season. Head coach Don Brock has his team heading towards another possible Bay State Conference title.

North Andover jumped up a couple of spots after extending its perfect start to 13-0. But the big move was former No. 1 Ludlow dropping from third to ninth after a loss to Chicopee and another draw with rival Amherst. The Lions have lost two and drawn two over the last two weeks.

Nauset continues to move up after clinching its third consecutive Atlantic Coast League title. The Warriors have improved throughout the season and are living up to the preseason hype.

A pair of unbeatens make their way into the Last 10 Out, as Martha's Vineyard improved to 12-0-2 and Norton sits at 9-0-4.At 9-1-3, Belmont also moved back into the Last 10 Out.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

The Road Ahead: Keep an eye on several huge games this week, including a Catholic Conference (and Top 10) showdown between St. John's Prep and BC High on Wednesday as well as a huge Bay State Conference clash between Needham and Framingham on Thursday. Prep also has another Top 10 matchup next Monday against Silver Lake.

Ludlow new No. 1 in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
5:45
PM ET
There are a lot more changes to our statewide MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll this week as some of the teams hit rough spots.

At the top is Ludlow, after the Lions made it a perfect 10-0 to start the season. The next three teams are all 8-0-1 and each could be considered the top team as well. Needham moves up a spot to No. 5, while Silver Lake continues to make its way up the rankings to No. 7.

Four teams were dropped from the rankings this week. Dartmouth lost to Brockton for the second time this season and fell below .500 for the year. Worcester North also lost again and fell from the final spot at 3-3-3 for the season. Westborough and Bedford only lasted one week in the Top 20 before tough losses knocked them back into the Last 10 Out.

Nauset is back in the rankings, where they started the season, after the Warriors made it eight games unbeaten. This is the Nauset team that we expected in the preseason. Wachusett and Framingham each enter the rankings for the first time after strong starts to the season. The No. 20 spot is held by Brockton, which has played a very difficult schedule. Its losses came to No. 3 Somerville and No. 13 BC High and the Boxers pulled out a tie against No. 2 New Bedford last week.

For the full poll, click HERE.

In This Week: No. 16 Nauset (7-2-2), No. 18 Wachusett (6-1-0), No. 19 Framingham (7-1-0), No. 20 Brockton (6-2-1)

Out This Week: Dartmouth (3-4-1), Westborough (6-1-1), Bedford (5-2-0), Worcester North (3-3-3).

Northeast 7v7: St. Paul (Conn.) takes South title

July, 22, 2013
7/22/13
12:20
AM ET
EASTON, Mass. -- It's been an eventful offseason in the recruiting department for St. Paul Catholic (Conn.) quarterback Logan Marchi, who saw his childhood dream come true late last month with a verbal commitment to UConn.

Winning? Not so much. Since appearing the CIAC Class MM playoffs in 2009, the Falcons have won just six games in three years. If they're to get back to their winning ways, they're going to need another big season out of Marchi, a 6-foot-1 gunslinger with plenty of zip out of his unorthodox three-quarter arm slot.

Could today's events at Oliver Ames High, site of the Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 South Regional Tournament, be the start? Marchi led the Falcons through a forest of quality competition, knocking off Massachusetts heavyweight Mansfield in the finals, 35-29, to become the first team from Connecticut to capture a regional title in tournament history.

St. Paul and Mansfield qualified for July 30's New England Championship, at Bishop Fenwick High in Peabody.

"It feels good," said Marchi, a Winsted, Conn., resident, who also played safety today on defense. "The past three seasons have been losing for us. We've been young, we've had freshmen starting on the varsity. Coming out here, seeing smiles on faces, seeing everybody happy winning is good. It's a fun experience."

After going unbeaten through a pool of Framingham, Braintree, Whitman-Hanson and Middleborough, the Falcons took out Dighton-Rehoboth and East Bridgewater to advance to the Final Four. There, St. Paul matched up with Cardinal Spellman, led by one of the Bay State's top targets in 6-foot-6 tight end Rory Donovan, before advancing to the final against Mansfield.

"For his height he runs good routes," Marchi said of Donovan, who currently holds offers from UMass and UNH. "He's fast, he's quick, he's got good feet -- I like that. I tried playing some press man on him, but he blew right by me. He's got good hands, he's a good kid. I like him."

Marchi did a good job most of the afternoon spreading the ball around to his targets -- junior Eli Parks, junior Brendan Carroll, senior Reid Morin and his brother, sophomore Austin -- and in the finals against the Hornets, Marchi impressed the crowd on hand with his throws both short and long.

Utilizing crossing patterns over the middle, Marchi threaded some lasers through the middle for quick first downs. Their most successful maneuver involved switching vertical routes deep down the right sideline; with the Mansfield safety often locked along the hash marks, that left inside slot receiver Austin Morin open for several terrific over-the-shoulder grabs at the pylons.

Marchi, pleased with the results, is optimistic about the potential momentum today's action carrying into the season.

"We're excited, we're ready to compete," he said. "We're ready to show our offense to people, we're ready to show we have a better defense, and we want to win some games."

Flair for the Dramatic: Mansfield, Sunday's runner-up, advanced to the final with a little bit of karma on its side perhaps.

The Hornets were spurred on the road to the championship game by a couple of last-ditch passing attempts. After winning an early-round game on a Hail Mary, Mansfield won its semi-final matchup with Catholic Memorial via a full-field heave from quarterback Kyle Wisnieski to Kyle Hurley with no time remaining. Hurley, who was all over the field for the Hornets, working a complement of short and intermediate routes, grabbed a hold of the tipped ball in the end zone to earn the come-from-behind victory over CM.

For Mansfield, a Division 2 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl participant in 2012, it's about carrying last season's momentum into a new campaign.

"We have a lot of juniors from last year returning this year, so it's a pretty tight family," Hurley said. "We just came in here trying to compete. We knew there were a lot of good teams coming in. We thought we could hold our own, obviously making it to the championship game and played a great team."

Sunday was a fine showcase for Mansfield's aerial attack, which figures to feature more spread looks in the upcoming season to maximize the strengths of its personnel. And, although the Hornets were without two of their top targets -- Brendan Hill (AAU basketball Nationals) and Mike Hershman (rehabbing injury) -- they still showed plenty of sting behind Brendan Keady and Hurley.

"We're able to make some connections with Kyle [Wisnieski] throwing to a couple different receivers," Hurley said. "I feel like there are things we can get out of it, we can communicate and try to make improvements -- it's July, it's early obviously. It's just great to get out here and compete."

Donovan gets his share: One of the most-anticipated individual matchups of the day went down early in the afternoon in Pool G, where Springfield Central's Ju'uan Williams manned up the 6-foot-6 Donovan in a battle between two players who could potentially see themselves on ESPN Boston's Preseason All-State Team next month.

The 5-foot-8 Williams, who currently holds an offer from Division 2 American International College, gave up 10 inches and nearly 25 pounds to Donovan. He mostly played eight to 10 yards off the line of scrimmage against Donovan, but he showed off his athleticism early, crashing to the pylon on a fade and out-leaping Donovan to break up a would-be touchdown. On plays that Williams marked Donovan, the tight end was targeted three times, with two catches and a score.

"He's a good player and he's really aggressive. He's physical," Donovan said of Williams. "He's fast, he's quick, he knows what he's doing ou there, absolutely. He's not a scrub."

In addition to UMass and UNH offers, Donovan has also heard from Temple, James Madison, Towson, UConn and Maryland.

Albany offers Cody Williams: Central's biggest star, quarterback Cody Williams, was not available for today's tournament. He was on a visit to the University of Albany, where he received his third scholarship offer from the Division 1 FCS ranks to go along with Monmouth (N.J.) and Central Connecticut State.

With Cody out, two of his cousins -- sophomore Aaron, and the aforementioned Ju'uan -- saw time under center. Ju'uan filled in for Cody in two games last season, and was quite impressive, most significantly throwing for two touchdowns and running in the game-winning score in a highly-anticipated October showdown with rival Longmeadow. Today Ju'uan aired it out, with two deep completions down the right sideline to senior Malik Johnson.

Blitz for Bletzer: One of the most intriguing commitments of Steve Addazio's historic first recruiting class at Boston College is Catholic Memorial athlete Kevin Bletzer, who saw time at nearly every position in the back seven last year as one of the team's leading tacklers. At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, the Medfield resident will likely fit at outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Don Brown's scheme, which prioritizes speed and versatility. Bletzer also captains the Knights' hockey and lacrosse teams, which are traditionally among the state's best.

And in turn, it's likely that Bletzer will stay closer to the line of scrimmage on defense this year for the Knights.

"I've kinda always loved to play linebacker," Bletzer said. "They had me at safety the last three years, but they put me up in the box, so I've had a little taste for linebacker in my past years. The only difference is, I'm going to be stuck there [now], and have to deal with a lot more lineman. But I look forward to it."

Ball Hawks: Remember earlier this month, when we mused that suggestions of Barnstable's demise, after graduating one of its best senior classes in school history, may have been exaggerated?

Look, there's a reason the Red Raiders dropped futile Durfee from their schedule and added Catholic Conference juggernauts BC High and Xaverian, one year after spending seven weeks as the state's No. 1 team and taking Everett to the brink in the Division 1A Super Bowl. Under head coach Chris Whidden, Barnstable has been among the state's best in pass coverage -- and we saw that again today.

The Raiders didn't survive pool play, going 2-2 in a pool that included Nauset and BB&N, but suffice to say their safety play was among the day's most impressive performances. In the final two games, senior Derek Estes came up with seven interceptions, including four against Silver Lake. In the Silver Lake battle, senior Micah Gregory made one of the day's most impressive athletic plays, breaking on a ball at the opposite sideline from the far hash marks and making a one-handed snatch of a would-be first down.

Walloping Whalers: Nantucket might have been the only team in the country last season with bookend tackles tipping the scales at 180 pounds, but a Division 1-bound tight end measuring 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds (ESPN Boston All-Stater Terrel Correia). But it looks like the Whalers will have some more meat in the trenches this fall.

Juniors Mykal Ludford (6-4, 305) and Matt Correia (6-3, 250, younger brother of Terrel) were out running routes today with the Whalers' skill, and a third lineman Taylor Gulley (6-3, 275) should give them further bulk. That should help out senior linebacker Jon Holdgate, who is expected to shoulder a big load.

ESPN Boston boys' lacrosse All-State team

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
5:53
PM ET
FIRST TEAM
G – Nick Marrocco, Jr., Duxbury
In his first season starting between the pipes for the Dragons, Marrocco was named an Eastern Mass. All-American while averaging 13 saves per game. Also a standout hockey player during the winter season, Marrocco is committed to Georgetown and was named Most Valuable Player of the bostonlax.net All-American game.

D – Rob Breed, Sr., Xaverian
One of the galvanizing forces behind the Hawks’ run to the program’s first state lacrosse title, the Eastern Mass. All-American was tasked with shutting down the opponent’s top attacks.

D – Ben Cox, Sr., Medfield
Named the Tri-Valley League’s Defensive Most Valuable player, Cox was a four-year member of the lacrosse team and part of back-to-back MIAA Division 2 state championship lacrosse teams. During the winter, Cox finished second on the Warriors hockey team in scoring, posting 12 goals for 38 points in 21 games. He will continue his lacrosse career at the University of Vermont.

D – John Sexton, Jr., Lincoln-Sudbury
The Notre Dame commit was a jack of all trades for the Warriors this season, taking faceoffs, playing on man-up situations and providing lockdown defense. Sexton was named an Eastern Mass. All-American and is a three-time Dual County League All-Star.

LSM – Nick Brozowski, Soph., Concord-Carlisle
A ground ball machine, the Maryland commit was named an Eastern Mass. All-American in addition to Dual County League All-Star honors.

M – Dan Delaney, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
The Eastern Mass. All-American tallied 38 goals and 20 assists while leading the Warriors to a Division 1 final appearance. Delaney will continue his lacrosse career at Fairfield University next year.

M – Keegan Dudeck, Sr., Longmeadow
The Lancers captain closed out his career on a high with a five-goal outburst in their Division 2 state championship win over Medfield. Dudeck tallied 38 goals and 17 assists for his senior season.

M – Jack Wheeler, Jr., Xaverian
Turning in a dazzling offensive display at Harvard Stadium, Wheeler was a key component to the Hawks’ first-ever lacrosse championship. The Boston University commit and Eastern Mass. All-American tallied 42 goals with 15 assists this year.

A – Jay Drapeau, Jr., Westford Academy
Among the state scoring leaders in each of the last two seasons, Drapeau ripped off 71 goals in 2013. The Loyola commit was an ESPN Boston MIAA Lacrosse All-State second-teamer last year and also was a Hockey All-State Honorable Mention during the winter season.

A – Andrew Melvin, Sr., Medfield
The Eastern Mass. All-American helped lead the Warriors back to the Division 2 state championship game. Melvin will continue his lacrosse career at Bates College.

A – Nico Panepinto, Sr., Needham
Named ESPN Boston’s third annual “Mr. Lacrosse” winner last week, the Fairfield University signee finished his high school career with 179 goals and 159 assists. Panepinto, also a standout on the football field for the Rockets, was a two-time Eastern Mass. All-American and ESPN Boston All-State selection.

Specialist – Derek Osbahr, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Osbahr was an offensive weapon for the Eagles at the faceoff X as the best draw-winner in Eastern Mass. Also a member of Prep’s Super 8 hockey squad, the Eastern Mass. All-American will continue his lacrosse career at Bentley University.

SECOND TEAM
G – Ryan Goodall, Sr., Dover-Sherborn
D – Jack Ullrich, Jr., Hingham
D – Jay Walsh, Sr., Duxbury
D – Ian Yanulis, Sr, BC High
M – Caleb Brodie, Jr., Hingham
M – Brendan Flaherty, Sr., Beverly
M – Mike Panepinto, Jr., Needham
M – Roby Williams, Jr., Wayland
A – Hunter Burdick, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
A – Nick Pino, Sr., North Andover
A – Tyler Reilly, Sr., Grafton
Specialist – Drew Kelleher, Jr., Longmeadow

Honorable Mention
Dom Abate, Sr. M, Beverly
Tommy Bannan, Sr. G, Hingham
Kevin Bletzer, Jr. M, Catholic Memorial
Rogers Boylan, Sr. D, Dover-Sherborn
Evan Boynton, Sr. D, Concord-Carlisle
Mike Carbone, Sr. A, Marshfield
Tucker Ciessau, Sr. A, Scituate
Matt Comerford, Sr. G, Reading
Pat Cronin, Jr. A, BC High
Matt Crowell, Jr. M, Medfield
Mark Dente, Sr. A, Reading
Kevin Farrell, Sr. FOGO, Billerica
Chris Frye, Sr. A, Walpole
Andrew Gallahue, Jr. A, St. John's Prep
Henry Guild, Sr. M, Lincoln-Sudbury
Carson Hart, Sr. M, Wayland
Keifer Heckman, Sr. A, Peabody
Eamon Hunter, Soph. LSM, Lincoln-Sudbury
Joe Igoe, Sr. M, Framingham
Reid Leveillee, Jr. D, Longmeadow
Giles Ober, Sr. G, Algonquin
Kieran Presley, Sr. M, Amherst
Brian Rotatori, Sr. M, Grafton
Drew Smiley, Jr. A, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
D.J. Smith, Sr. G, Billerica
Robert Treiber, Jr. G, Medfield
Luc Valenza, Sr. D, Foxborough
Tyler Weeks, Sr. D, Andover
Sam Wheaton, Sr. G, Minnechaug

Coach of the Year -- Ryan Liebel, Longmeadow

SPONSORED HEADLINES