Boston High School: Gunnar McKenzie

Memorable weekend for CM at Chowda Cup

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
2:09
PM ET
SCITUATE, Mass. -- Midway through Saturday afternoon’s Chowda Cup Championship game between Catholic Memorial and Scituate, the question wasn’t who as going to hoist the trophy after the game, but which Knights player would be awarded the tournament MVP.

Catholic Memorial opened up an 8-2 halftime lead over the Sailors, en route to a 14-8 victory and their first Chowda Cup title. For the Knights it was their fourth appearance in the title game since they joined the annual tournament five years ago.

Senior attackman Zach O’Brien scored six goals in the win and found the net 10 times during the duration of the tournament and seemed like a lock for the MVP award. But the superb play of Joe Zegarelli between the pipes earned him the award given to the top player in the two-day tournament.

“I wasn’t expecting to get the award,” Zegarelli said. “I thought it was going to go to Zach O’Brien, he really deserves it with all the goals he scored.”

Zegarelli didn’t see the quantity of shots that he did Thursday evening in the semifinal win over Cohasset, but for the sophomore goalie it was quality over quantity.

In the third quarter, Zegarelli robbed Scituate’s Frankie Ragge from deep down low in the zone to highlight to phenomenal day.

“We were focused on playing good solid one-on-one defense and I thought Zegs made the saves when he need to, really a team defense approach,” CM head coach Kevin Lynch said.

The Knights owned a heavily lopsided possession battle throughout the game and Colin Casey was the reason why. The freshman was 17-for-23 on faceoffs, giving his team a big possession advantage.

The beneficiaries of Casey’s big day on the faceoffs were O’Brien and Frank Cosolito, who combined for 10 of the Knights 14 goals.

“It really started with Colin Casey our freshman,” O’Brien said. “He was getting the ball to us on offense and constantly getting the win on faceoffs and getting the looks we needed and finishing.”

Scituate struggled throughout the game, looking like a shell of the team that took the field in Thursday night’s overtime win over Marshfield. The Sailors were sloppy with the ball, turning it over and airmailing passes through the zone.

“As good as we played against Marshfield, we just couldn’t get that same level of energy up,” Scituate head coach Mark Puzzangara said. “You can just tell when we needed that big play, it’s a dropped pass or a lost stick or throwing the ball out of bounds, we were just getting caught up in the moment.”

Thursday Thriller: The headliner of the Chowda cup semifinals was the matchup between No. 14 Catholic Memorial and No. 18 Cohasset. But it was the second game of the evening between No. 22 Marshfield and Scituate that stole the show.

With the Rams holding a 5-3 lead with less than two minutes remaining and Marshfield goalie Trevor Scollins pitching a shutout in the second half, the Rams were in prime position to advance to the title game.

But the Sailors’ Trevor Ciessau scored two goals in the final 1:45 of the game, including the equalizer with just two seconds left on the clock to force overtime.

Less than a minute into the extra period, Ragge netted the game winner from the right wing to advance the Sailors into the title game.

“We showed tremendous heart and courage and they really rebounded and rallied around each other and put together an effort we all knew they could,” Puzzangara said after Thursday’s game.

A coaching milestone: Lost in the wild finish of Scituate’s overtime winner was the milestone hit by Sailor coach Puzzangara. The win was No. 200 of his career was achieved in dramatic fashion.

“I think winning a state championship is pretty big but that was a heck of a game to get it in overtime against a team like that, its pretty sweet,” Puzzangara said.

Pair of heavyweights: The premier matchup of the day got the seventh annual Chowda Cup underway with the Knights pulling past Cohasset 10-8.

CM went on a 4-0 run in the third quarter to separate from the Sailors and advance to the title game.

Zack O’Brien was the star of the game, netting four goals in the win, but nearly missed out on the game, showing up right before the game started.

“I put Scituate High School in my phone and didn’t look at what state it was in, drove all the way to Rhode Island and saw the sign and had to turn around and showed up late,” O’Brien said of his blunder.

Cosolito scored three times and Gunnar McKenzie added two more goals in the win for Catholic Memorial.

Recap: Catholic Memorial 5, Hingham 1

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
1:49
AM ET
HINGHAM, Mass. – Zach Sullivan scored twice in the first period and Anthony Pannagio added a pair of goals in the second period to propel Catholic Memorial to a dominating 5-1 victory over Hingham at the Pilgrim Skating Arena on Saturday night.

The visiting Knights (5-1-0) got off to a strong start in the first period, forcing Hingham goaltender Jack Santilli into eight saves before Sullivan opened the scoring. The puck found the junior forward in left circle and he fired a wrister past the goalie. Gunnar McKenzie had the assist.

The Harbormen (1-5-1) had a solid scoring opportunity in the first period Ethan Iaria has a shot from the slot go narrowly wide. Three minutes after opening the scoring Sullivan made it 2-0. The puck was shot in from the point by McKenzie and Santilli’s save landed on the stick of Aaron Clancy who sent a pass behind the goalie through the crease to a wide-open Sullivan.

The Knights controlled most of the attacking play and had a 12-2 advantage in shots after the opening period, which head coach Bill Hanson noted is becoming a pattern for his team – even if it was not a perfect game.

He said, “We’ve been consistent in that style of play all year. You know, our effort and the intensity was there, but physically we were a day late and a dollar short a lot of times.”

Hanson added, “We didn’t have our best legs at all tonight, but the power play worked well and our discipline was fabulous. We beat a pretty good hockey team.”

The Knights added to their lead in the second period with a power play goal two minutes in by Pannagio, who knocked home a loose puck at the side of the net. Hingham responded by turning up the pressure and got its reward when freshman Matt Demelis followed up a rebound on a shot from Luke McInnis that trickled through the pads of CM goalie Brandon Collett.

Unfortunately for the Harbormen, any momentum that the goal could have given them was taken away by another penalty and another power play goal by the visitors. Again it was Pannagio that provided the lift with a point-blank, one-timer on a centering pass by Michael Stathopolous that made it 4-1.

“The penalties hurt us,” said Hingham head coach Tony Messina. “They’re not good penalties and you just can’t win against a team like CM when you’re taking those kinds of penalties.”

He added, “We’ve been having a little bit of trouble generating offense lately. But, you know, I thought at times we played very well tonight and we’ve had moments where we give up easy goals and that’s what happened tonight.”

Hingham held an 11-9 advantage on shots in the third period, but most of those shots came from long distance and were little trouble for Collett. Messina thought the team played well in spurts but admitted the Harbormen need to try and create more solid scoring opportunities.

“We’re trying to get the guys to drive to the net,” he remarked. “I thought we had some decent moments where we created chances but a lot of the shots were from the perimeter. I think we out shot them in the third, but most of them were harmless.”

Catholic Memorial wrapped up the scoring with eight minutes remaining on an unassisted goal by Eion Hurley to make it 5-1. Hansen was pleased with the result ahead of a tough stretch that includes games with conference rivals St. John’s Prep and Xaverian.

He commented, “In this building, it’s hard to play. I think they have a little advantage when they play here. We’ll take 5-1 at this point.”

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."

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