Boston High School: Jake Donahue

Cleaning the ice: Summertime hockey notes

August, 8, 2012
8/08/12
5:04
PM ET
The dog days of summer are upon us, but local rinks are still hopping through August with plenty of great tournaments going on in and around the Boston area.

So we thought we’d take the opportunity to catch up with some of the happenings of local skaters during the offseason, along with a smattering of other notes collected in our notebook during the last month or so.

CLEARING THE CREASE
Bailey MacBurnie burst onto the MIAA hockey scene last season, helping lead St. Mary’s of Lynn to a second seed in the Super 8 tournament. All the while, the Beverly native backstopped the Spartans with a measly 1.66 GAA, placing him among the state leaders.

During the summer, MacBurnie has skated with the New England Thrashers. He and his Thrasher teammates had a solid showing in the recent Chowder Cup College Open championship, finishing fourth in a field of 56 teams while facing teams that largely were comprised of older players.

We caught up with the sophomore netminder to talk about his offseason, how practicing yoga has helped his game and his upcoming season at Brewster Academy:

Q: What kinds of things do you do in the offseason away from the rink to keep you sharp for the upcoming season?

A: “I’ve started doing yoga, it’s my first year doing it. I go to classes at Merrimack College. And then I do on-ice work with Brian Daccord, who’s my goalie coach.”

Q: How do think yoga might help your game?

A: “I’ve found that it’s already made me more flexible. It definitely helps out and gets you in shape.”

Q: What other elements of your game have you wanted to work on this offseason?

A: “Puck handling, definitely. I want to be more confident playing the puck and quicker with making decisions with the puck. And skating, you can always be a better skater.”

Q: Your team had a great showing at the Chowder Cup recently. How did that team come together?

A : “I played with a lot of guys I knew, like [Central Catholic’s] Mike Kelleher, Lloyd Hayes, Zack Cote, Jake Donahue and [former St. Mary’s teammate] Jarrod Fitzpatrick. We had a good tournament. First, we played the Nordiques, beat them 3-1, then we played Mass Attack and beat them, 7-2, and then Team One, 4-2. We played some Canadian teams in the playoffs. We did well though, especially because we were playing a lot of teams that had older players. We thought we should’ve went further, but we were playing against teams that he players that were mostly 92s and 93s [birth dates] and we were mostly 95s.”

HERE AND THERE
  • On the rise: A bumper crop of New England prospects were scooped up earlier this summer during the NHL Draft and the region’s best have continued to crop up during the summertime months. Four players with New England roots were chosen for the U.S. Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. Three of those players had their names called in the most recent draft, including goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine),defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown) and forward Jimmy Vesey (North Reading). Former St. John’s Prep star and 2011 ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey Colin Blackwell (North Reading) also made the final cut for tournament play. Former Phillips Exeter standout and recent Tampa Bay Lightning draft choice Brian Hart was among those participating in camp practices at Lake Placid last week.
  • One to watch: Junior Robby Devaney helped Reading on a late-season Super 8 push last season, while leading the Rockets in scoring during the regular season. While catching Devaney play in both the Bay State Games and the Chowder Cup this summer, he looks like an early candidate for most improved player honorifics – if there were such an award. In the small sample size, he showed good speed, but also exhibited attention to detail, playing solid neutral zone defense in the summertime – something that’s usually missing from offseason tournaments. Of course, we all know how well those Rockets are coached defensively.
  • Comings and goings: One of the more telling aspects of summertime tournaments is often found just looking at team rosters. Players are often listed with their corresponding schools next to their name, and that can often signify changes in locales. One of the more prominent changes listed was that of former Billerica standout Ross Olsson. The Northeastern commit played at Williston Northampton last year, but will move to the USHL, joining the Lincoln Stars, the team that drafted him in May’s entry draft.

Super 8 recap: Central Cath. 5, Cathedral 4

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
12:43
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- The strangest thing about Central Catholic's 5-4 triumph over Springfield Cathedral in Sunday night's Super 8 tournament? The fact that Central Catholic needed Springfield Cathedral's help to pull out the victory.

Since Springfield Cathedral needed to win the contest by at least two goals to have any chance of advancing, the Panthers pulled goaltender John Liquori late in the contest even though they were leading by a goal.

Central Catholic's Mikel Kelleher took advantage by scoring into an empty net with 12.3 seconds left, then the Raiders received the game-winning goal from Jake Donahue with 7:50 left in overtime.

With St. Mary's loss to St. John's Prep, the Raiders advanced to the Super 8's crossover round.

“The format is the format, but needing to win by two is definitely a different way to approach the game,” Springfield Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “Winning by one wouldn't have done much for us. We weren't here to just win a game. We were here to advance to Wednesday. It's about competing at the highest level and that's what we were trying to teach the kids.”

Central Catholic, which trailed 3-0 after one period, raised its tournament record to 2-1 and put itself in good position to move on to Wednesday's crossover round. Ryan Daigle, Christian Thompson and Nick Gorski also scored for the Raiders, who replaced goaltender Kyle Williams with Andrew Robbins at the start of the second period.

“Spotting them three goals early wasn't what we planned at all, but [we showed] a lot of character,” Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski said. “Robbins sealed the deal for us.

“You have to think a little outside the box, make sure your strategy is correct and if you want to advance in this tournament you have to make sure you do the right things.”

Goals by D.J. Petruzzelli, Jordan Kozub and Frank Crinella handed Cathedral a 3-0 lead after one period. Central Catholic tied it on Gorski's goal 3:16 into the third, but Springfield Cathedral regained the lead when Crinella scored a short-handed goal at 7:38 of the third.

Cathedral, which finished 0-3 in pool play, had to win by more than one goal and then needed things to break right in Sunday's late game between St. John's Prep and St. Mary's to extend its season.

“Maybe some people would have felt better about finishing 1-2 instead of 0-3, but we weren't here for any moral victories,” Foley said. “We wanted to play Wednesday.”

TOUGH CALL
Jankowski said he made the decision to pull Williams with about two minutes left in the opening period, when Cathedral scored on three of its first seven shots.

“It was very hard,” Jankowski said. “Last year he was the one who got us here. He kept us in every game and he's been our goalie all year.

“Robbins is a great goalie, a great kid. He works tremendously hard in practice. He comes to practice and prepares himself like he's playing every day. It was nice for him to get that time. He shut the door for us and came up big.”

POOL HOPPING
Malden Catholic (3-0) and B.C. High (2-1) advanced from Pool 1 and will return to action Wednesday night, when the two crossover games are held at Merrimack College.

Malden Catholic will play Central Catholic in one crossover game, and B.C. High will play St. John's Prep in the other crossover contest.

ESPN Boston Super 8 primer

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
6:25
PM ET
There are less than 48 hours remaining before the puck drops on the real Super 8 on Sunday at Merrimack College.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight:

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Marquee wins: Pretty much all of them, minus the Lancers’ one loss to New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Brendan Collier (22-34-56); F Ryan Fitzgerald (26-14-40); F Mike Iovanna (14-23-37); F Tyler Sifferlen (9-14-23); F Ara Nazarian (10-16-26); D Casey Fitzgerald (1-15-16); D Colin MacGillivray (2-8-10); Brendan White (2-16-18).

The skinny: As in the last couple of years, this year’s Super 8 is viewed as the Lancers’ tournament to lose. Again, they have the best line in the state with Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Iovanna saddling into Mike Vecchione’s former spot. But MC’s true strength is depth. Sifferlen and Nazarian would occupy a spot on mostly any team’s top line. Super frosh and BC commit Casey Fitzgerald has filled Conor Evangelista’s role dutifully as a puck-moving defenseman.

X-factor: Goaltending. Connor Maloney watched last year’s Super 8 from the BC High bench behind Peter Cronin. Now, it’s his time to shine.

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Marquee wins: Malden Catholic (Kasabuski Tournament tie); Hingham (5-1); Cathedral (3-2).

Players to watch: F Bobby Mullins (9-20-29); F Jarrod Fitzpatrick (14-7-21); F Cam O’Neill (14-15-29); F Brendan Mageary (13-11-24); F Tim Aylward (10-10-20); D Nikko Markham (6-12-18); D Bryan Wilkins (1-7-8); G Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA, 94.1 save %).

The skinny: So what were the Spartans to do without perennial league all-star Donald Hesse as their backbone? Well, Mark Lee found a more-than-legitimate starter in MacBurnie, a sophomore, who’s played well along with a defensive corps led by Markham. Fitzpatrick has been another revelation in his first season with the Spartans. St. Mary’s has greater scoring depth than in year’s past. And they’re young, as freshman Eric MacAdams (4-14-18) has impressed seeing top-line action.

X-factor: How do the Spartans react in a tight game. In last year’s Super 8 play-in stab, and the Div. 1 tournaments of year’s past, one-goal games have come back to haunt them. If they can sweat out a couple of close decisions in this tournament, they might find themselves at the Garden.

3. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Marquee wins: BC High (3-1); Hingham (2-1); Central Catholic (4-0).

Players to watch: F Sam Kurker (26-26-52); F Brian Pinho (14-20-34); F Tyler Bird (9-5-14), F Andrew Brandano (8-6-14); D Nick Pandalena (6-10-16); D Brent Murray (0-4-4); G David Letarte (2.02 GAA, 91.5 save %).

The skinny: We still haven’t gotten over last year’s championship game; it was simply amazing hockey. There’s no Colin Blackwell, but Kurker (BU commit) has really blossomed this season and has taken this team on his back the way his former linemate did last year. Pinho and Bird, along with Kurker, are a formidable first line to skate against, and are strong in all three zones. Pandalena is a mountain of a defenseman, but beyond him, the Eagles blue line was green entering the season. Murray has elevated his play to comprise a formidable top pairing.

X-factor: Letarte. I believe we said this last year as well. When the senior is on his game, he can be airtight.

4. Hingham (16-4-2)
Marquee wins: Marshfield (6-2); Catholic Memorial (3-2); St. John’s of Shrewsbury (4-0).

Players to watch: F James Gordon (21-17-38); F Matt Brazel (11-20-31); F Matt Hughes (13-11-24); F Ryan Linehan (8-12-20); F Patrick Mannion (6-12-18); F Sam D’Antuono (6-19-25); D Nolan Driscoll (2-7-9); G John Grenier (1.88 GAA, 90.1 save %).

The skinny: If this team had a motto, it would be “lacking experience, but not young.” During the Harbormen’s most recent Super 8 runs, a good portion of this year’s roster watched from way down the bench, or up in the gallery. But this team has collectively raised its game and is benefitted by great coaching. Gordon’s 20-goal season has been a pleasant surprise and Brazel is one worth watching for the next two years. The real revelation has been Grenier between the pipes. The Xaverian transfer is among the statewide leaders in goals against average.

X-factor: Grenier. He doesn’t fit the current mold of a big, butterfly goaltender. Instead, he relies on aggressively challenging the shooter and cutting down angles. We’ll see how it matches up with the precision passing games of MC and St. John’s (S) in pool play games.

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Marquee wins: St. John’s (twice); Prep (5-3); Cathedral (3-0).

Players to watch: F Matt Sullivan (9-15-24); F Tom Besinger (10-15-25); F Bartley Regan (7-6-13); F Steve DeForge (6-13-19); D Brian Furey (3-6-9); D Sam Topham (1-9-10); G Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA; 91.5 save %).

The skinny: Cronin lead this team to the crossover round last year, falling just short of an upset of MC. He was the revelation of last year’s tournament and, as usual, the Eagles will look to their goaltender to continue his strong play. Besinger might be the shiftiest forward in the tournament not named Kevin Emmerling. He’s not big, but he sure can skate. Furey has done a nice job leading a young Eagles blue-line corps this season. ‘Moe’ Regan has produced some dirty goals and has thrived in his role as a power forward, coming off his EMass D1 Super Bowl win.

X-factor: Sullivan. The Eagles’ soft-spoken leader is a lead-by-example type, but thrives in big-game atmospheres. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s a player we’re talking about months after the tournament.

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Marquee wins: BC High (4-3); Needham (1-0); CM (3-1).

Players to watch: F Frank Crinella (13-15-28); F Thomas Quinlan (11-5-16); F Peter Crinella (5-8-13); F Brendan Ashe (7-7-14); D Matt Foley (0-12-12); G John Liquori (2.40 GAA, 88.9 save %).

The skinny: The Panthers cracked the top six this year after getting bounced in a play-in game last year. This is a team that isn’t very flashy, but is consistently tough to play against, playing a brand of hockey that can be frustrating to opponents. Sophomore John Liquori has been steady, taking over for old stalwart Zac Rondeau. Liquori is the benefactor of a sound defensive squad that likes to play the body and takes care of its defensive assignments with diligence.

X-factor: Frank Crinella is perhaps the most talented player in the state who receives the least amount of deserved credit. This tournament could be a statement for him.

7. Central Catholic (13-3-5)
Marquee wins: Burlington (6-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Ryan Daigle (8-15-23); F Mike Kelleher (10-7-17); F Lloyd Hayes (15-8-23); F Alex Lester (7-9-16); F Zack Cote (10-4-14); D Jake Donahue (3-4-7); G Kyle Williams (2.13 GAA, 91.1 save %).

The skinny: Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but the Raiders again used a spirited second-half push after a slow start to get back into the top tournament. If they continue the fast and physical brand of hockey they played against Burlington, the Raiders will provide a tough test. Kelleher’s natural hat trick is a big boost to Central’s chances going forward; if he gets going, he’s one of the most potent pure scorers in the state.

X-factor: Williams. Shocking, right? As the goaltender goes, so goes the Raiders. And it’s no coincidence that Central played its best while last year’s ESPN Boston All-State netminder was at his finest.

8. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
Marquee wins: Needham (5-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Kevin Emmerling (25-28-53); F Vin D’Amato (23-14-37); F Jay Duquette (11-22-33); F Hunter Burdick (6-9-15); D Nick Rutigliano (1-10-11).

The skinny: Akin to Central Catholic, the Pioneers took perhaps their biggest win of the season on Monday. In that shootout with Needham, they showed why they can go toe-to-toe with any team across the state with the top line of Emmerling, D’Amato and Duquette running and gunning …

X-factor: … but then there’s the defense. The Pioneers are going to need to tighten up in their own end. If they allow their three future opponents to enter the zone as they allowed the Rockets to run in the third period, there could be some lop-sided scores.

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