Boston High School: Jack Buckley

BC High advances with 3rd win over CM

June, 7, 2011
6/07/11
12:43
AM ET


DORCHESTER, Mass. -- It was far from a perfect outing for BC High’s Donny Murray.

But it was hard for the Eagles starter to be much better while hurling a complete-game shutout against No. 5 seed Catholic Memorial in the teams’ Division 1 South quarterfinal Monday at BC High. The Knights banged out 10 hits against Murray, but they were unable to get on the scoreboard in a 3-0 Eagles’ win.

With several superb defensive plays in the field behind Murray and a couple clutch hits from the bottom of BC High’s lineup against CM ace John Gorman, the fourth-seed Eagles (16-6) claimed their third win of the season over their Catholic Conference rivals.

“Goreman’s a good pitcher and we knew it wasn’t going to be a blowout,” BC High center fielder Jack Buckley said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be a slugfest.”

Murray wiggled out of jams in both the first and second innings with a pair of deft double plays started by second baseman Chuckie Connors and shortstop Ryan Tufts.

With two on and one out in the first, Tufts made a diving stop to his left, snaring a hot shot off of Knights third baseman Matt Goreham’s bat. Tufts lunged to tag second base with his foot while firing to first in time to get Goreham and end the inning.

In the top of the second, Murray found himself in the same situation as the first. That’s when Connors started his inning-ending twin-killing by ranging to his right and grabbing a bounding ball off the bat of Paul Fahey. Connors planted off the second base bag and threw across his body to get Fahey in a close play.

“That got me going,” Murray said. “Not coming out here with my best stuff today, it was great to know I had a great defense behind me to help me through it in both innings. Chuckie [Connors] and Ryan [Tufts] made those plays and it was huge for us, huge for the team.”

The 6-foot-1 right-hander hadn’t toed the rubber since his last start, which was on May 24 against Xaverian.

Murray struck out six and walked one while throwing 122 pitches with 86 for strikes in nine innings.

“I think what hurt Donny [Murray] early was the long layoff from his last start,” Eagles head coach Norm Walsh said. “He wasn’t spotting the ball as well then. But in the later innings, he was really hitting his locations and they really weren’t making good contact at all.”

BC High got all the offense it would need in a two-run fifth. The bottom of the Eagles’ lineup came through in a big way with No. 8 hitter Buckley and Chris Casey, from the nine-hole, delivering run-scoring hits.

Buckley drilled Gorman’s 2-1 offering to shortstop. The ball bit the lip of the infield grass and exploded over the head of Knights shortstop Shane O’Leary, who could only look back in disbelief as the ball made its way into the outfield with scoring Bartley Regan from second.

Casey, the Eagles’ first baseman, followed with a resounding double to left-center with Buckley scoring all the way from first.

BC High added an insurance run in the eighth when Casey scored on a balk.

Taking a hard-luck loss, the book closed on Gorman’s illustrious high school career. The CM right-hander who’s headed to Boston College next year allowed two earned runs on four hits in eight innings while striking out seven.

The Knights end their season at 15-7 while the Eagles advance to play Franklin in the semifinals, Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Braintree High School.

Cronin, BC High 'D' hold up Woburn

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
1:19
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Sinatra sang it best, saying that luck had a very unladylike way of running out sometimes. But, at other times, she just happens to give you a brush.

That certainly happened for BC High in myriad ways during a thrilling 1-0 shutout win over seventh seed Woburn in their second-round Super Eight tournament game Wednesday night.

“I think somebody said before that you’ve got to be lucky to be good sometimes, and that’s what we were tonight,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “I asked one of my assistants if it was too late to play the lottery tonight.”

Lotto tickets aside, No. 3 seed BC High did come up with a winning combination for their second win of the tournament and, while pinning the second loss on the Tanners, ensured that both they and St. John’s Prep would advance from their pool into the crossover round — with another matchup to come this weekend between the two Catholic Conference rivals.

However, the Eagles weren’t just lucky, they were good from the net out with sophomore netminder Peter Cronin earning his second straight shutout with a 21-save performance.

“It’s just much a credit to them as it is to me for these shutouts,” Cronin said of the defensive corps in front of him. “I’m not getting shutouts, we’re getting shutouts. They came up big for me. Jack Buckley had a couple of blocked shots as well as [Brian] Furey and [Matt] Doherty, who pulled that one out from in back of me.”

BC High got all the offense it would need with four minutes remaining in the first period.

Terence Durkin barreled into the Tanners’ zone, weaving inside and outside to beat a pair of Woburn defenders. He then slid a backside pass to Tom Besinger, who was streaking up ice on the offside wing, and he took care of the rest, poking the puck into a gaping net.

It was the only puck the Eagles could get past Tanners goaltender Cam McGlashing, who matched Cronin save for save.

“It could easily have been four or five to nothing,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said of McGlashing, who made 23 stops. “We didn’t play very well in the first period.”

The Tanners ratcheted up the pressure in the second period and worked to draw three power play opportunities. However, each of Woburn’s chances on the man-advantage was either met by Cronin, his defensemen, or the cold shoulder of lady luck.

Woburn had perhaps its best chance of the period with 7:20 remaining. On the power play, the Tanners worked for a chance in front of Cronin, who made the save on the initial shot, but was out of position for the rebound. The Tanner put back was then stopped by Eagles defensemen Brian Furey's skate on the goal line.

Woburn had another splendid opportunity to tie the game later in the period, only to skate away wondering what had just happened. Junior forward Casey Shea, who’s been on fire with six goals in his previous two games, had a crack at an open net on a one-timer but whiffed on the attempt as the blade of his stick came undone from the shaft, leaving him to slap his stick down in disgust.

“I think luck goes both ways,” Duran said. “They had a lot of chances that they missed, or Cam [McGlashing] came up with a big save. But when Casey [Shea] broke his stick, I was thinking maybe this isn’t our night. That would usually be in the back of the net.”

The Tanners continued to push the issue in the third, but were stopped at every turn by Cronin and his minions. No play was finer than Buckley’s blocks on two consecutive blasts from the point with about five minutes remaining.

“Woburn came to play and they were desperate,” Flaherty said. “We knew they were going to be. They have skilled players and they have kids that are dangerous every time they touch the puck. Peter [Cronin] was back there to make the saves that he needed to and some of the other ones that I probably didn’t expect him to make.”

10's a crowd: A Super 8 primer

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
3:28
PM ET
We’re hours away from dropping the puck in the postseason with tonight’s Super Eight play-in games.

But we took a little time to sort out the Super Eight field, providing a primer on the teams.

Take a peek:

1. Malden Catholic (16-2-2)
Marquee wins: Lancers had wins over five of the 10 Super Eight teams and that doesn’t even include what might have been their most impressive win, an early season triumph over New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Mike Vecchione, F Ryan Fitzgerald, F Brendan Collier, D Connor Evangelista, F Nick Roberto.

The skinny: Wire to wire, unquestionably the top-ranked team in the state. As in the last couple of seasons, the Lancers enter the Super Eight with lofty expectations and seemingly nothing short of a title will satisfy. MC’s depth reaches far beyond its top line of three Division 1 college recruits (Collier, Fitzgerald and Vecchione) and its team speed and passing ability are without parallel. Not only can they score, they can defend as well, led by top defensive pairing of Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray.

X-factor: It’s funny how the postseason seems to shave away certain goals into missed chances and oftentimes it due to a hot netminder. So if those once plentiful goals start to ebb away, it will be left to senior goaltender Pat Young to shine. Young is capable between the pipes and he might just show that he’s been the most overlooked element to MC’s success.

2. St. John’s Prep (14-5-1)
Marquee wins: As the runners up in the Catholic Conference, the Eagles nabbed a pair of league wins against both BC High and Catholic Memorial, but it might have been Prep’s win against the Knights on Friday that showed they can truly be a threat in the Super Eight. Playing against a CM team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Eagles ratcheted up the D in a playoff-like atmosphere.

Players to watch: F Colin Blackwell, F Shane Eiserman, F Sam Kurker, G David Letarte, D Joe Currie.

The skinny: Outside of MC, the Eagles have the deepest collection of eye-popping offensive talent. Blackwell, a Harvard commit, is equally adept as a playmaker as he is a sniper. Eiserman is wise and mature beyond his years as a freshman while Kurker provides grit and a nice scoring complement. The blue line was the perceived weakness of the squad, but they’ve come a long way with Currie providing veteran leadership, in addition to Scott Derrickson who played a strong second half.

X-factor: Kurker. When the junior winger gets hot, he’s hard to stop and creates a dynamism to Prep’s offense.

3. BC High (13-4-3)
Marquee wins: The Eagles finished strong, winning their final six games in addition to the Cape Cod Classic tournament to end the season. Their 5-4 shootout with Catholic Memorial was also a classic, as usual. Does a tie against Malden Catholic count as well? Sure.

Players to watch: F Mike Cashman, F Terence Durkin, F Andrew White, D Jack Buckley, D Brendan O’Malley.

The skinny: The Eagles play with plenty of speed, a point of emphasis for first-year head coach John Flaherty when assembling this year’s varsity roster, and the young roster has gelled together quickly. More than anything, BC High has taken play to their opponents. They’re aggressive on the forecheck and know how to use their speed to their advantage.

X-factor: Experience. The Eagles haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, so a good portion of their roster hasn’t experienced playoff hockey. How long will it take them to acclimate? A period? A shift? “Hopefully, not even that,” Flaherty said. “At the end of the day, it’s just another hockey game. It’s not different from any others.”

4. Weymouth (17-3-2)
Marquee wins: The Wildcats’ 5-2 win over fellow Super Eight entrant and longtime rival Hingham at Pilgrim was about as good as it gets for the Weymouth seniors who’d never beaten the Harbormen before. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs,” head coach Matt Cataldo told ESPN Boston after the game.

Players to watch: F Tyler Piacentini, F Riley Flanagan, G Brian Brady, F/D Trevor King, D Andy Sheridan.

The skinny: When are people finally going to stop saying that Piancentini is too small to play on the big stage? He can flat out score. Hey, it worked for Nathan Gerbe, right? Not only does Weymouth have scoring punch, they’re well suited for a long postseason run with Brady, a senior, in nets. Outside of MC, the Wildcats were perhaps the state’s most consistent team from start to finish and that means something coming in a year of great parity.

X-factor: King has played on the blue line and stepped up front to play center as well this season. Whether it’s moving the puck out of his own end, or stepping in to win a faceoff, versatility always comes in handy this time of year.

5. Hingham (13-5-4)
Marquee wins: It might not look as impressive as their upset over Malden Catholic on paper, but the Harbormen’s 5-3 win over St. Mary’s of Lynn on Feb. 5 got them going. After upsetting the Lancers, Hingham went through a tough 0-3-1 stretch before turning things around with a comeback win that had the intensity of Super Eight matchup.

Players to watch: F Tim Driscoll, D Alex Pompeo, F Matt Hughes, F Austin O’Connor, D Steven Bellew.

The skinny: Let’s call spades a spade: the Harbormen are the defending champions, so that has to count for something. Simply put, they’ve been there and done that, so nerves won’t be an issue. Although there was a good amount of turnover from last year’s roster, a few of their stalwarts remain in Holy Cross commit Driscoll and Pompeo, who is among the best defensemen in the state. They are terrific building blocks to a Super Eight champion-caliber squad.

X-factor: Derek McInnis was superb during last year’s run to the title, but head coach Tony Messina likes to roll his goaltenders and senior Kevin Granatino has been solid in the second half of the season. That gives the Harbormen perhaps the greatest depth in goal in the tournament.

6. Needham (12-6-4)
Marquee wins: Where would the Rockets have been without their 3-2 win over Weymouth on Feb. 9? It was a season-turner. Their 4-3 win over Springfield Cathedral was their raison d’Ítre to the tournament.

Players to watch: D Chris Joyce, F Tom Coleman, F Jeff Rosata, D Scott Atkinson.

The skinny: Who’d have thought the Rockets would end up with the sixth seed after (literally) being left off the table in the first round of Super Eight voting. Of course, head coach Bill Guisti has built Needham into one of the state’s premier public school programs and is evidenced by their tough out-of-conference schedule which includes several Catholic Conference teams. So the Rockets are used to playing the best. Joyce is in the conversation when it comes to the state’s best defensemen and we’ve always loved the jam Needham’s forward play with. They’re truly a tough team to play.

X-factor: Akin to the Harbormen, it will be interesting to see how Needham’s goaltending tandem of Evan MacDonald and Connor Murray shapes up. They’re both talented and capable of carrying the load.

7. Woburn (17-3-1)
Marquee wins: Life in the Middlesex League night in and night out is no easy thing, so we take the fact that the Tanners were 14-2-0 against league competition as a marquee accomplishment.

Players to watch: F Casey Shea, F Alex Holland, F Daniel Holland, F Eddie Aprile, D Brian Dulong.

The skinny: We had the Tanners pegged for the top six, which means they would have avoided playing Cathedral in tonight’s play-in game. But so is life and Woburn enters the tournament as one of the most consistent teams throughout the season …

X-factor: … However, the Tanners haven’t played much in the way of their out-of-conference schedule (a Their 6-0 thumping at the hands of St. John’s Prep was a good harbinger.

8. Central Catholic (16-5-1)
Marquee wins: It was early, but the Raiders’ 4-3 win over St. John’s Prep is about as good as it gets.

Players to watch: F Tommy Evangelista, G Kyle Williams, F Nick Pelrine, F/D Nick Leonard, D Ricky Sheehan.

The skinny: The Raiders looked like they might have been on the bubble with fellow DCL/MVC co-champion Billerica coming down the last couple weeks of the season, but Central showed what they are capable of with a huge 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Weymouth on the next to last day of the season. If that team shows up, the Raiders will be extremely dangerous. Evangelista is simply fun to watch.

X-factor: Williams is that type of goaltender who is capable of stealing games for his team.

9. St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-5-3)
Marquee wins: The Spartans had some tough luck in their out-of-conference schedule and had just a 7-5-3 record against fellow playoff teams. However, they were simply dominant in the Catholic Central (7-0-3), allowing just 12 goals in 10 games.

Players to watch: G Donald Hesse, D Cam Kennedy, F Bobby Mullins, F Christopher Surrette, F Tim Aylward.

The skinny: There’s no bones about why the Spartans are in the fold and that is their defense, which all starts in net with Hesse. Among the elite netminders in the state, Hesse is a game-changer and showed in last year’s Division 1 North tournament that he’s capable of putting a team on his back. Kennedy is an underrated blue-liner who is equally adept leading the breakout from his own end as he is clearing out the crease.

X-factor: It comes down to the ability for the Spartans to get those mucking-type goals in key situations and then shutting teams down.

10. Springfield Cathedral (12-9-1)
Marquee wins: All but one of the Panthers’ games was against a playoff opponent, so they’re battled tested and held their own against teams that were considered for the Super Eight, going 4-4-0.

Players to watch: G Zac Rondeau, D Sean Kavanagh, F Frank Crinella, F Dante Christofori.

The skinny: The Panthers always seem to find a way into the Super Eight field and play one of the toughest schedules in the state. They might not be as talented as their previous Super Eight predecessors, but they play good defense in front of Rondeau, who is capable of stealing games on his own.

X-factor: Kavanagh is one of the great hidden jewels in the state.

Handicapping the Super 8 'Watch List'

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
5:32
PM ET
Over the weekend, the Super Eight “Watch List” was compiled by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association. In what has proved to be a particularly wild year, 21 teams made the initial list for observation during the final two weeks of the season. The mere number of teams on the list is a testament to how truly even competition has been through the year.

Aside from our weekly Top 25 state hockey poll, we’re going to take a little time to break down the Watch List, making a case for each team and their chances at the big dance while ranking the likelihood they will be among the field in addition to couple of X-factors to their postseason success.

It goes without saying that there’s a lot of hockey left to be played, but here’s how we see them stacking up as of right now.

As always, feel free to sound off and leave a copy of your rankings in the comments section.

TOP OF THE HEAP
1. Malden Catholic (13-2-2)

Why they’re in: Wire-to-wire, the Lancers have been the state’s most consistent team, minus one hiccup against Hingham. The top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Vecchione is without parallel. Not only that, the Blue Blades have depth throughout. Simply stated, they’re the team to beat.

X-factor: So much has been written (we’re included) about the Lancers offense, but they have a defensive corps to boot led by Connor Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray, not to mention the very steady Pat Young in net.

TOP GUNS
2. Hingham (10-4-4)
Why they’re in:
There’s been some turnover from last year’s Super Eight championship team, but the Harbormen still have some important cogs in the fold from that squad starting with their captains: winger Tim Driscoll and defenseman Alex Pompeo. They form the nucleus of a group that’s been there and done that, evidenced by some clutch late season wins, like last week’s comeback win against St. Mary’s of Lynn.

X-factor: Rangy junior winger Matt Hughes (6-foot-2) has exhibited a quick release and knack for finding the back of the net. The Harbormen have gone through stretches where they’ve struggled to score. If Hughes is on his game, Hingham will be all that much tougher to beat.

3. St. John’s Prep (10-5-1)
Why they’re in:
The Eagles have assured themselves a second-place finish in the Catholic Conference with a 4-3-0 record thus far. Quite frankly, that should be a good enough resume to gain Super Eight entry in any season. In addition, Prep has Top 25 wins out of conference against Austin Prep, St. John’s (Shrewsbury), Springfield Cathedral and Woburn.

X-factor: The question entering the season was how far Harvard commit Colin Blackwell could lead the Eagles. But he hasn’t just had to do it alone. Freshman Shane Eiserman could soon follow Blackwell’s footsteps as a D-1 recruit. In net, Prep has it covered with junior David Letarte who’s underrated.

4. St. Mary’s of Lynn (12-3-3)
Why they’re in:
The Spartans aced their Catholic Central schedule with a 7-0-3 record, out-scoring their opponents 37-12. It all starts from the goal out with netminder Donald Hesse sporting a sub-2.00 goals against average. Sophomore Bobby Mullins has stepped up to shoulder the offensive load and leads the squad with 12 goals.

X-factor: The Spartans don’t have too many marquee out-of-conference wins, but we’re looking past that in this panel’s consideration of their merits on the strength of their conference schedule which includes three Top 25 squads in Archbishop Williams, Arlington Catholic and Austin Prep. St. Mary’s pushed Malden Catholic on Monday before losing, 3-2, but the Spartans have a couple more high profile non-leaguers on the docket with Springfield Cathedral and Weymouth.

TOP EIGHT BUBBLE
5. BC High (9-4-3)
Why they’re in:
First-year head coach and longtime Eagles assistant John Flaherty set a goal to get his team back into the postseason this season. Not only has BC High qualified for the state tournament, it very well looks like they’re Super Eight bound. The Eagles started Catholic Conference play 0-3-1, but were able to salvage two wins down the stretch. Their 3-3 tie against Malden Catholic seemed to be a springboard for the team to believe in itself.

X-factor: A big tip of the cap goes to the Eagles’ senior leadership in keeping the young squad together, led by captain Mike Cashman, and assistant captains Jack Buckley, Brendan O’Malley and Andrew White.

6. Weymouth (15-2-1)
Why they’re in
: We expect that the Wildcats will put their finishing touches on Bay State Carey league title on Wednesday against Braintree despite a recent bump in the road with a loss to Needham. It’s hard to imagine Weymouth not being a shoo-in for the field of eight having been so dominant wire-to-wire. We could get a glimpse at how the Wildcats could play in the field with a string of late season tests against Catholic Memorial, Central Catholic and St. Mary’s in the next two weeks.

X-factor: It all comes down to defense in the postseason and with defensemen Andy Sheridan and goaltender Brian Brady, the Wildcats have senior leadership covered.

7. Woburn (12-3-1)
Why they’re in:
The Tanners hold a slight 1-point lead over Winchester in the tight race to the Middlesex League crown. Their demonstrative 4-1 win over Reading on Saturday could go a long way toward punching their ticket. The Tanners control their own destiny with two more scheduled league games (Stoneham and Winchester) and, if they take care of business, they should be in.

X-factor: Woburn seems to be peaking at the right time and hasn’t lost since their first meeting against Reading on Jan. 8. Juniors Eddie Aprile and Bobby Smith played up for their latest big game against the Rockets last week.

HARD TO FIGURE
8. Catholic Memorial (7-7-1)
Why they’re in:
Bar none, nobody plays a harder schedule in the MIAA than the Knights every year. They’re accustomed to playing Super Eight-caliber hockey every time out and they get everybody’s best. For a CM team, they’re young, but they’re also plenty talented with defenseman Marc Hetnik leading the way. Sophomore Liam Coughlin (8-8-16) has been a revelation.

X-factor: Quite frankly, whether or not they have enough points to get to the tournament. It’s not often you’re taking a serious look at a .500 club come this time of year, but it again speaks to the quality of schedule in the Catholic Conference as well as out-of-conference. So here’s the gauntlet, five points in five games and they’re in.

9a. Central Catholic (12-4-1)
Why they’re in:
Less than a week ago, we had the Raiders ticketed for the top four of the eight-team field. After a lack-luster 1-1 tie against Billerica last Wednesday, Pandora’s Box opened. Now, as it stands as of publication time, the Raiders hold a 1-point lead over Billerica in the DCL/MVC with four games to play. The Indians also have four games to play. We’ll hedge that the winner of this pre-postseason mini tournament will have a chance at the Super Eight.

X-factor: Kyle Williams is that type of goaltender that can carry a team on a postseason run, but the Raiders can be dangerous if Tommy Evangelista and playmaker Nick Leonard are on point.

9b. Billerica (7-1-7)
Why they’re in:
If the aforementioned Raiders tail off and the Indians can pull of the DCL/MVC title, that’s it. On the plus side, the Indians have lost only one game, a 3-2 loss to Burlington. On the negative side, they’ve also only won less than half of their games as well.

X-factor: Health. The Indians were down five players in their 1-1 tie against Central Catholic, but the job head coach Mike Mastrullo pulled mixing and matching lines was masterful, plus his team came to play. It’s that side of Billerica that makes you believe.

ON THE FRINGE (WORD ASSOCIATION ROUND)
11. Needham (10-5-3)

Why they’re in: Building steam.

X-factor: Experience, Super Eight that is.

12. Springfield Cathedral (11-7-0)
Why they’re in:
Aren’t the Panthers always in?

X-factor: Zac Rondeau = game-changer.

13. Winchester (10-5-1)
Why they’re in:
Surviving the Middlesex League.

X-factor: Ryan McGoff.

14. Xaverian (8-5-2)
Why they’re in:
A Catholic Conference team on the outs?

X-factor: Dave Michaels.

BEST OF THE REST
15. Braintree (10-4-3)
16. Reading (12-4-1)
17. Arlington Catholic (8-3-6)
18. St. John’s Shrewsbury (10-6-1)
19. Barnstable (11-1-3)
20. Austin Prep (9-5-3)
21. Marshfield (10-2-4)

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