Boston High School: Jack Santilli

WINCHESTER, Mass. – The boys’ lacrosse teams of Concord-Carlisle and Wellesley have customarily met, as if a rite of spring, in the Division 2 Eastern Mass. tournament each year. Those encounters are always close, evidenced by the Raiders’ 4-3 win in the teams’ first-round playoff matchup last spring.

But, with redistricting taking place this year, Wellesley moved up to Division 1 – meaning there will be no more such postseason classics. That didn’t mean the teams wouldn’t have a chance to renew their rivalry, however, as they met in Thursday’s Coaches Challenge Cup Tournament semifinal.

The Raiders used two early goals from senior midfielder Matt Dziama to build a lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they advanced to Saturday’s championship with an 8-5 win.

“They’re smart, they’re tough, they make it hard on you,” Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty said of the Patriots.

Dziama finished with three goals and an assist to lead all scorers, while fellow midfielder David Jennings also chipped in a pair of goals.

While the Raiders (8-2) never trailed, C-C (4-4) did come back to tie the score at the 7:56 mark of the second quarter on a goal by Will Blumenberg. But Dziama would put the Raiders back in the lead heading into the half, tallying his third goal with 17 remaining.

“John got off to a quick start and we need that because we didn’t do anything after that,” Batty said. “It was kind of walking through mud for a long time.”

Steven Armanetti led the Patriots with a pair of goals, while goaltender Aidan Long made 13 saves.

Wellesley advances to face Dover-Sherborn in Saturday’s championship game (4 p.m. at North Andover H.S.). And, while the Raiders look for another resume-builder, following last weekend’s win over nationally-ranked Cold Spring Harbor of New York, Dziama saw Thursday’s victory as another building block in settling into the offense.

“We’re possessing the ball longer than we had been earlier in the season,” Dziama said. “It’s a great tournament to work on everything. Offensively, we could have done more today, but we possessed the ball and that helped us.”

Semifinal: Dover-Sherborn 15, North Andover 4
After North Andover dealt Lincoln-Sudbury perhaps the biggest upset in state on the early season during its first-round matchup on Tuesday, the Scarlet Knights were hit with a chink in their armor against the Division 3 power.

The Raiders (6-2) turned in a dominant performance, amassing a 7-2 halftime lead with freshman Bailey Laidman ripping off three first-half goals.

“We’re starting to move the ball better,” D-S head coach Brian McLaughlin said. We’re been working at it in practice and trying to get better at it. We started off the season just dodging and trying to shoot and score.

“We’re being more patient, I’d like to see more patience, but we’re getting better at that.”

As a result, the Raiders turned in their highest offensive yield of the season, including four goals from senior attack Grant Gregory as part of a six-point game. It’s an encouraging sign from the all-league player who played his third game back following a broken finger.

“He did a lot of lifting this summer, put on a lot of weight and now he’s trying to catch his wind back because he hasn’t been playing as much,” McLaughlin said. “He’s definitely a threat for us.”

Chris Williams and Will Spangenberg also netted hat tricks for D-S, while John Enright led North Andover (7-4) with two goals.

The Scarlet Knights will play C-C in a consolation game on Saturday (2 p.m.).

Hingham 9, Andover 6
The Coaches Cup presents an early season litmus test to all of its participants and, after dropping its first matchup of the week to Wellesley (9-8), Hingham rebounded with a win that still left head coach John Todd looking for more from his squad.

“They’re quality enough to pressure us and put us in bad situations,” Todd said. “And then we made poor decisions. Some of it was on them, some of it was on us. We did enough to win and we took advantage of some chances, but we’re still making early season mistakes.”

The Harbormen (8-3) struggled on offense at times, but put forward a balanced attack with nine players hitting the score sheet, led by a pair of two-goal games from Caleb Brodie (2 G, 2A) and Matt Giarusso.

In the other half of the field, however, Hingham played the brand of defense Todd has become accustomed to. Goaltender Jack Santilli made 16 saves while All-American long-stick midfielder Jack Ullrich led all players with five ground balls.

“Our defense is extremely strong and our goaltender is phenomenal,” Todd said. “So that kind of works into our strength – not that we’re not worried about teams – but as long as we play the way we’re capable of playing, we should be able to limit other teams.”

Lincoln-Sudbury 17, Winchester 1
In an effort to move past Tuesday’s upset to North Andover (9-8), L-S flexed its offensive muscle, owning play from the onset of its second-round matchup against host Winchester.

The Warriors (7-2) held the Sachems (6-3) scoreless until the 7:19 mark of the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the offense came in bowlfuls for L-S, which had eight different point scorers. Mike O’Connell and Greg Roder (6 points) had four goals apiece, while Eric Holden had three.

Nick Brindisi (2 G) and Harlan Smart each distributed three assists.

Recap: Catholic Memorial 5, Hingham 1

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
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: St. Mary's 3, No. 13 Hingham 1

December, 29, 2013

MALDEN, Mass. -- Having scored no more than one goal in each of its first five games, a casting doubt lingered as whether or not St. Mary's of Lynn would be able to dispell that curse against Hingham in Saturday night's consolation game of the Christie Serino Christmas Classic at Valley Forum II.

It wasn't a secret that the Spartans were suffering mightily on the offensive side. This team, over the first couple of weeks, has relied heavily on its defense as well as senior goaltender Bailey MacBurnie to bail them out.

But at least for one evening, a transformation was beginning to take place. Finally, St. Mary's had found the back of the net more than once. The Spartans managed a goal per inning to claim a 3-1 victory.

"We're a little disappointed that it wasn't our best game but we still managed to find a way to compete against a very talented team," said St. Mary's head coach Mark Lee, his team now sitting at 2-3-1. "I think we did a good job taking away quality scoring opportunities. But we just didn't seem to have the legs like we had on Friday night (a 1-1 tie versus Austin Prep, before losing in a shootout). We need to get better but we'll take the two points and hopefully it is a learning experience for us. This is one of the premier Christmas tournaments in the state and for us to come away with 3-out-of-4 points gives us a lot of confidence and hopefully we'll build off of it."

Although controlling much of the first period, the Spartans were still out-shot 33-11 for the game. St. Mary's jumped ahead 1-0 at 12:15 of the opening frame. Sophomore forward Connor Foley grabbed an errant rebound off the back dasher and pushed the puck past Jack Santilli. The Harbormen (1-3-1) had difficulty in their attempts to create space during the opening frame, as the Spartan defense held their ground and shadowed any Hingham player with the puck.

"We're down a few guys in the line up and we've been pressing a lot," Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. "I'm happy our kids played hard but we need to play three full periods out there. At times tonight we let up and then they score to take some momentum away. It's very frustrating right now. Our kids played hard and deserve better but you need to create your offense to score goals and win games. We're not doing that right now."

Hingham will walk away realizing it wasted a golden chance to tie the game early in the second period when after going on a 5-on-3 power play and coming up empty. But a short time later, defenseman Nico Droster was able to send a blast through traffic that evaded MacBurnie to knot the game at 1-1. The tie lasted all but 18 seconds as St. Mary's offense was doing an admirable job moving the puck down ice through the neutral zone. Jordan Manthorne, a senior captain, gave the Spartans the lead back after gaining control of a rebound in front and lifting a backhand past Santilli.

As expected, Hingham dominated the final 15 minutes of action, pasting MacBurnie with 19 shots in its attempts to deadlock the contest. But MacBurnie stood his ground, stopping everything headed his way.

"We knew coming in that Hingham was a really good team," said MacBurnie. "We also have very good team. They had a good amount of shots tonight but I think my team did a nice job forcing them to make shots from the outside. I think we just got off to a slow start this season. I think we're starting to turn things around right now."

At 10:45 of the period, St. Mary's got some much-needed breathing space after Chris Donovan re-directed a shot it front that trickled between Santilli's leg pads and into the back of the net, giving the Spartans a two-goal margin. Over the closing minutes, the Harbormen continued to pelt MacBurnie with zero results as they skated off the ice frustrated and defeated.

"After finally scoring more that one goal in a game, hopefully this will open the flood gates a little bit," Lee said. "We haven't scored much but it's not for a lack of hard work. Our kids give what they have all the time. A huge part of our team is our goaltender keeping us in games, especially when we don't have our A-game. He gives us a chance to win. Tonight was a perfect example of that. Without Bailey tonight might've been a different story."