Boston High School: Jake Rogers

MIAA championship hockey picks

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
9:55
PM ET
GIRLS’ DIVISION 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-1-2) vs. No. 2 Falmouth (19-1-2), 11 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Duxbury – F Hannah Murphy, F Marissa Fichter, F Jane Dudley, F Meredith Wright, F Julia Nolan, D Ally Hammel, D Payton Donato, G Rachel Myette; Falmouth – F Alexa Scribner, F Rachel Moore, F Madison Haberl, F Kelly Ferreira, D Hannah Ghelfi, D Alexx Good, G Madison Scavotto.

Breakdown: It is perhaps the most predictable of all of Sunday’s matchups and the most anticipated. The Dragons and Clippers renew a burgeoning rivalry, intensified by last year’s duel at the Garden and invigorated by the fact that either team’s lone loss of the season was handed to them by the other. Duxbury has been playing lockdown defense throughout the playoffs and haven’t allowed a goal in more than six games, including the regular season. The Clippers’ young corps will look to get over the hump, building on a bittersweet experience on the Bruins’ home ice sheet one year ago.

X-factor: Scavotto. As dominant as Duxbury’s defense has been in front of and including Myette, the Clippers are capable of the same. And their sophomore netminder is a big reason why. She could steal one.

Pick: Duxbury, 1-0.

GIRLS’ DIVISION 1
No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-3-4) vs. No. 7 Arlington Catholic (17-4-2), 9 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: St. Mary’s – F Alison Butler, F Kaleigh Finigan, F Gabby Crugnale, F Madison Molea, D Tatiana Doucette, D Amanda Donahoe, G Lauren Skinnion; AC – F Adrieanna Rossini, F Jess Piracini, F Duggan Delano, F Hayle Rudin, D Melissa Richard, G Megan Messuri.

Breakdown: The Catholic Central rivals meet for the second straight year on championship Sunday and, like their Div. 2 counterparts, also split their season series at a game apiece. Behind the benches, both the Spatans’ Frank Pagliuca and the Cougars’ Maggie Taverna have done work worthy of Coach of the Year honors. St. Mary’s has the feel of a team of destiny, neither a short bench nor nagging injuries all season long have kept the Spartans from returning to the biggest stage, all while dispatching No. 1 Woburn in the process.

X-factor: Rossini. You’d be hard pressed to find a young player in recent memory who has scored more clutch playoff goals than the AC sophomore.

Pick: St. Mary’s, 3-2.

BOYS’ DIVISION 3
Swampscott (19-5-0) vs. Westfield (18-3-2), 3:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Swampscott – F Corey Carmody, F Noah Maercklein, F Nunzio Morretti, D Chris Carman, D Trevor Massey; Westfield – F Sean Spohr, F Mike Santinello, F Anthony Cagliostro, F Adam Collier, F Neil Parrow, D Nate Barnes.

Breakdown: The Big Blue took down defending D3 finalist and South sectional champion Medway (thanks to an OT goal from Maercklein) to advance to the program’s first title game appearance. Westfield returns to the Garden ice after a one-year hiatus after taking a scorched-earth policy to Western Mass. competition, while averaging more than 5.5 goals per game.

X-factor: Swampscott freshman goaltender Tristan Bradley. The first-year backstop has been a key element to the Big Blue’s success, maintaining a 91.5 save percentage through the season.

Pick: Swampscott, 5-4.

BOYS’ DIVISION 2
Wilmington (20-3-2) vs. Franklin (17-7-2), 1:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Wilmington – F Cam Owens, F Brendan McDonough, F Jake Rogers, F Dylan DiNatale, D Brian Pickett, D Cam Collins, G Drew Foley; Franklin – F Cam Curley, F Dennis Pisani, F Aidan Isberg, F Troy Donahue, D Kyle Powers, D Kyle Filbert, G Devon Maloof.

Breakdown: The third of six rematches on the day, after the Wildcats claimed a 3-2 victory over Franklin a year ago on championship Sunday, propelled by a hat trick from Owens. The Panthers will be looking to avoid their third straight fruitless trip to the Garden, having dropped title tilts with Wilmington and Tewksbury. The Wildcats, who had Super 8 aspirations until late in the season, are eying their second straight title.

X-factor: McDonough. He’s been the break-out performer of the tournament and provides a great complement to Owens on Wilmington’s top line.

Pick: Wilmington, 3-2.

BOYS’ DIVISION 1
Burlington (13-6-5) vs. Marshfield (20-6-0), 8:15 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Burlington – F C.J. Grinnell, F Joe Berardi, F Joey Scali, D Adam Crowley, D Sean Costa, G Derek DeCastro; Marshfield – F Mike Carbone, F Pat Burchill, F Joe Admirand, F Pat Shea, D Matt Burchill, D Trevor Salmon.

Breakdown: While this isn’t another rematch, these teams are no strangers to this stage, with the Red Devils and Rams representing as the last two Div. 1 state champions. Both teams were near .500 squads through the first month of the season, and closed their regular-season slates with momentum they’ve carried over into the playoffs. Both these teams can skate with the best of them, but they also pay attention to the little things in the defensive zone as well.

X-factor: Crowley. I’d expect a defensive struggle in this one and so I’m going with the Red Devils’ blue-liner who always makes his presence felt.

Pick: Burlington, 3-1.

BOYS’ DIVISION 1A – SUPER 8
No. 4 Austin Prep (16-1-6) vs. No. 7 Malden Catholic (15-6-3), 6 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: AP – F Nolan Vesey, F Bobby Carpenter, F Frankie Candelino, F George Sennott, F Eric MacAdams, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; MC – F Ara Nazarian, F Mike Iovanna, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Pat Wrenn, F Austin Goldstein, D Casey Fitzgerald, D Nick Rolli, G Connor Maloney.

Breakdown: AP, while short on years, is not short on talent. I think we all knew coming into this season that they were capable of reaching this stage, but it might have been a question of when. The Cougars earned their way to Sunday after dispatching town rival Reading and then No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in Wednesday’s semifinal. It seems like years ago since there was a time when the Lancers were in jeopardy of missing the tournament all together, but they’ve played the best hockey in the state during the last month.

X-factor: Nazarian. It’s his tournament, the rest of us are just living in it.

Pick: Malden Catholic, 4-2.

D2 North: Wilmington, Danvers finals set

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
1:50
AM ET
BILLERICA, Mass. — Cam Owens sparked a monstrous second period for No. 3 Wilmington as the Wildcats iced No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury, 6-0, in a Division 2 North semifinal.

Wilmington (19-3-2) was firing on all cylinders during the second period by blasting four goals past Lincoln-Sudbury goalie Erik Kessler (28 saves). Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, Drew Foley was not tested nearly as much as Kessler, but Foley did his job turning away the 14 shots he faced to earn the shutout.

Wilmington’s Anthony Castellano started the scoring at the 9:40 mark of the first period. Castellano fired a shot through traffic that Kessler never saw.

Owens opened up the second period by rifling a wrist shot past Kessler only 12 seconds into the period. That goal appeared to give Wilmington a big jump in its step.

“I put a little head fake on [the defense] and gave them the little shake and bake,” Owens said. “I went wide with it, and I shot it far side under the goalies blocker. After that, the floodgates just opened.”

Luke Foley, Billy Falter, and Dylan DiNatale played follow the leader behind Owens as they also added second-period goals to blow the game wide open.

In the third, Jake Rogers added the final goal of the game, becoming the sixth different Wildcat to find twine.

“We got a balanced scoring attack tonight, and those are the kind of contributions we need,” Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said.

The defending champs face Danvers their next time out for the Division 2 North final.

DANVERS 5, CONCORD-CARLISLE 3
In the earlier game, No. 8 Danvers stayed on a roll by knocking off No. 12 Concord-Carlisle, 5-3.

A.J. Cuoto stayed hot scoring two goals after recording hat tricks in the Falcons (13-6-4) previous two-playoff games.

“A.J. [Couto] has been playing well as we have seen the past few games,” Danvers head coach Kevin Brown said. “He is playing hard and mixing it up, so I am happy with A.J.”

Couto’s line was on fire scoring four-of-the-five goals that the Falcons scored as Rob Buchanan and Joe Strangie both lit the lamp too.

“Sometimes it just clicks at a certain point of the season, and we have made several different line changes throughout the season,” Brown said.

Danvers wasted little time getting on the board as Buchanan scored only 39 seconds into the game. Strangie then followed with a power-play goal by screening the goalie and deflecting the puck past Concord-Carlisle goalie Ranger Beguelin (24 saves).

“We have to set a screen because most goalies will stop the puck if they see it,” Brown said. “We like the guys around the crease, and Joe [Strangie] did a good job there.”

Couto then followed with his own power play goal by connecting with the puck in mid-air to redirect a wide shot into the goal.

“I just saw the shot coming from the point, so I stuck my stick out to try and make contact,” Couto said. “I got my stick on the puck, and it just happened to go into the net.”

Nick McCormack got the Patriots on the board before the period ended by tapping home a rebound late in the first.

Seamus Vahey brought the Patriots within a goal in the second period, but Couto and Adam Merry countered sending Danvers into the third up, 5-2.

In the third, Matt Robinson added a goal for Concord-Carlisle, but Danvers goalie Alex Taylor (16 saves) held the fort down to preserve the win.
Bay State hockeyCourtesy Bob Conceison Jr.Team Northeast claimed the gold medal of the scholastic boys' hockey competition at the Bay State Games last weekend in Marlborough, Mass.
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Bob Conceison Jr. stepped into his team’s locker room on Thursday morning at the New England Sports Complex, he saw a group of bleary-eyed hockey players. After 20 minutes of play, the Burlington High assistant coach saw his Bay State Games Northeast team come to life and, perhaps, come together.

His team went on to win the gold medal in the scholastic boys’ hockey competition, outlasting a Metro team in a shootout after skating to a 4-4 tie in regulation. The accomplishment was familiar territory for eight of Conceison’s players who earned MIAA state championship medals with their respective Burlington and Wilmington High School squads.

“They’re obviously an experienced and a talented group,” Conceison said after his team’s 8-7 first-round win over the Southeast team on Thursday.

On a team rife with talent from a host of the Middlesex League’s top hockey programs, the gold medal squad had a distinct Red Devil and Wildcat tinge. Burlington’s Mike Bibbey, Derek DeCastro and Shane Morgan were joined by Wilmington’s Anthony and Joe Castellano, Cam Collins, Cam Owens and Jake Rogers.

All were champions with their high school teams, Burlington in Division 1 and Wilmington in Division 2, respectively. All claimed gold in their Bay State Games’ experience.

“It’s a good time, good friends and good hockey,” said Owens, who scored a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in the Wildcats’ triumph over Franklin at the TD Garden in March. “This has been a great experience.”

Owens played alongside Wildcats linemate Jake Rogers, forming a fearsome scoring duo for the Northeast team. One that DeCastro, who backstopped the Red Devils to their state title, was happy to watch operate in the opposing zone.

“Usually, I’m seeing those guys takes shots on me,” the Burlington rising senior said. “At least this time, I don’t have to worry about stopping their shots.”

DeCastro split the Northeast’s netminding duties with Reading standout Evan Morelli, creating depth in goal and presenting Conceison with a good problem to have.

“I think we had nine goaltenders come out for tryouts,” said Conceison, who was in his third year of Bay State Games coaching experience, his first as a head coach. “It was a tough competition; it was tough making those cuts because it shows you how much talent there is in the area.”

While in the midst of a summer heat wave, local rinks remain busy with a host of offseason tournaments filling up the schedule in the coming weeks.

Both DeCastro and Owens have taken part in other summertime tournaments during their high school careers, but chose to play in the Bay State Games for the first time this year. Both cited the ability to play with a group of their high school teammates as an enticing possibility.

“A lot of tournaments that you play in, you’re playing with people from all over the place,” Owens said. “Here, I get to play with all of my teammates, you’re playing for your region and that’s kind of cool.

“Even the guys from other teams, you know a lot of them from playing against them during the [high school] season. Now, you get to play with them and get to know them.”

D2 boys' final: Wilmington 3, Franklin 2

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
2:44
AM ET


BOSTON -- Wilmington junior forward Cam Owens has dreamed of playing in the state finals at the Garden since he was just a little kid.

On Sunday, Owens not only reached his long awaited goal, but he did so in impressive fashion. Owens earned himself a hat trick, scoring all three of the Wildcats' goals, to defeat South champion and first-seeded Franklin, 3-2 in the Div. 2 State Finals at the TD Garden.

“I can’t even describe the feeling right now,” Owens said. “We’ve all been playing together since we were little kids and we’ve been talking about making it to the Garden for a long time and we did it. It’s unreal. It’s something you’ll always remember for the rest of your life.”

Owens broke a 2-2 tie at 7:27 in the third period when line mate Luke Foley ripped a slap shot on net that bounced into the left corner. Junior forward Jake Rogers corralled the puck and found Owens set up in the slot and he fired a wrist shot to beat Franklin goaltender Mike Donadio (30 saves) to give Wilmington a 3-2 lead that they never lost.

“Owens was the show,” Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said. “He’s very talented offensively and he just has a knack for the net. He’s got a sixth sense when it comes to hockey. He’s elusive and has good skills. He was the man today on offense.”



Wilmington (16-4-5) jumped out of the gate appearing to be the more aggressive team, out shooting Franklin 13-3 in the first period. However, Donadio turned away several of the Wildcat’s early scoring chances to keep Franklin (19-3-3) in the game, holding the game scoreless after one.

Wilmington came out flying as they did in the first period, but found results this time around. Owens potted his first goal of the game at 3:10 when he ripped a shot through traffic from the high slot and beat Donadio to get Wilmington on the board.

Midway through the second period, Rogers carried the puck into the zone and threw a weak shot on net as he was losing balance. Owens trailed the play and crashed the net to scoop up the loose rebound and increased Wilmington’s lead to 2-0 at 8:02.

Franklin refused to go out quietly, however.

The Panthers responded to Owens’ back to back goals when freshman forward Justin Miller hit teammate Cam Curley in front of the net and he beat Wilmington goalie Drew Foley (19 saves) on a wrist shot to breathe life back into the deflated Franklin crowd.

Franklin capitalized on their momentum by netting another goal with 41 seconds left in the second period. Foley made a save on a long slap shot by Keith McKay and the puck flew up in the air and landed on the back of the net. Senior forward Evan Stawarz freed the puck off the net and shot it off Foley’s back to score and tie things up at 2 heading into the last period.

Owens showcased his playmaking ability in the third period when he flew to the net and connected on a pass from Rogers to score the game winning goal for Wilmington at 7:27.

The Wildcats buckled down on defense and denied the rest of Franklin’s scoring chances, including a last second slap shot by Franklin that was blocked by a diving crowd of Wilmington players.

For Franklin it was the second year in a row they had the state title slip through their fingers. After an overtime loss to Tewksbury last year at the Garden, the Panthers looked to right their wrong. But Franklin coach Chris Spillane acknowledged that they just couldn’t stop Wilmington’s high-powered offense.

“Our offense sputtered today and their offense was firing on all cylinders,” Spillane said. “Their first line just pretty much dominated that game and we didn’t have an answer for that. We just couldn’t slow them down.”

MIAA hockey championships primer, picks

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
7:24
PM ET
All eyes will be on the TD Garden Sunday as championships will be decided in six divisions of MIAA hockey title games.

We'll have you covered all day long, but until then, we provide to you a breakdown of each of the game and our prediction:

GIRLS’ FINALS Division 2
No. 1 Duxbury (21-0-1) vs. No. 7 Falmouth (16-4-1), 11 a.m., TD Garden
The Breakdown: If the Dragons win this game, they make a strong argument that they were the strongest girls’ hockey team in the state, regardless of division, with the potential for an undefeated season. As any strong hockey squad goes, the Dragons are built from goal out with sophomore goaltender Rachel Myette (0.91 GAA) looks for her second state title in as many seasons as starter. Duxbury’s blue line corps is regarded as the deepest in the state, led by ESPN Boston Ms. Hockey contender Martha Findley (4-19-23). Of course, Duxbury has plenty of offensive firepower to go along with their strong defensive play with junior forwards Hannah Murphy (18-27-45) and Lily Connolly (18-20-38) as leading scorers. Falmouth has been one of the stories of the tournament, making a run behind first-year head coach Erin Blood. The Clippers have also received strong play from a young goaltender in freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.26 GAA). Falmouth is also deep and experienced on the blue line with senior captain Brenna Callahan and junior Alexx Good. The Clippers have received scoring punch from a pair of freshman forwards in Kelly Ferreira (13-9-22) and Madison Haberl (11-12-23).

The Pick: The defending Division 2 champion Dragons spent half the season as the No. 1 team in our poll. We’re not about to go against them now. Duxbury, 4-1.

Division 1 No. 3 St. Mary’s (Lynn) (21-3-1) vs. No. 4 Arlington Catholic (20-3-1), 9 a.m.
The Breakdown: If two regular season meetings between these Central Catholic powers weren’t enough, we get a rubber match for all the marbles on Sunday. The Lady Spartans came away with two wins in the teams’ regular season series, including a defining 5-2 decision by St. Mary’s on Feb. 1 after they’d been upset by crosstown rival Winthrop/Lynn. Can’t underscore the coaching in this game enough, as Frank Pagliuca has turned in perhaps his finest performance behind the bench and Maggie Taverna has vaulted the Cougars back onto the state’s biggest stage in Year One. Taverna has been helped by one of the state’s most dynamic scorers in senior Natalie Flynn (19-15-34). Adrieana Rossini (8-14-22) has also come up with some huge postseason goals. On the blue line, AC has one of the state’s best in senior Rebecca Zappala. First-year transfers Kaleigh Finigan (30-goal season) and Brittani Lanzilli (25-28-53) have not disappointed while Alison Butler (team-leading 61 points) has taken a huge step forward. The Spartans blue line is airtight with preseason All-Stater Rachel Donahoe leading the group. Lauren Skinnion (7 SO) has been strong as a first-year starter in nets.

The Pick: Third time’s a charm? Not so. Spartans are too strong. St. Mary’s, 4-2.

BOYS’ FINALS Division 3
Medway (19-6-1) vs. Hudson (21-1-1), 1:30 p.m.

The Breakdown: This marks the return of one of the state’s great public hockey programs to its biggest stage in Hudson (seriously, look it up), with the Hawks making their first state finals appearance since 1978, when they took the Div. 1 title from Burlington. The Central sectional champions are strong up front with a trio of 30-point scorers in seniors Tyler Kirby, Tim Murphy and Blake Seymour. The Mustangs are paced by one of the state’s top snipers in Jake O’Rourke (43-13-56). This matchup will also feature two of most dominant D3 goalies in the state with Hudson junior Shane Barry and Medway junior Mike Narducci facing off with sub-2.00 goals against averages.

The Pick: We’re going with the storyline and perhaps the most consistent D3 team throughout the season. Hudson, 3-2.

Division 2 Wilmington (15-4-5) vs. No. 1 Franklin (19-2-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Breakdown: This might be the most intriguing matchup of the day. Both of these teams were among four Division 2 teams on the Mass. Hockey Coaches Association’s initial Super 8 Watch list a month ago and haven’t disappointed in the tournament. Franklin was here a year ago, when they had their hearts broken by Tewksbury in an overtime stunner. Many observers, including us, had last season pegged as the Panthers’ opportunity to break a nearly three-decade long drought, but Chris Spillane has showed why he’s one of the state’s premier coaches. It also hasn’t hurt that Franklin has received tremendous senior seasons from Adam Hall (17-25-42) and Nick Bertoni (25-15-40). Sophomore netminder Mike Donadio (1.64 GAA) has been a revelation. The Wildcats offense has taken off since Cam Owens’ (14-19-33) return to the lineup, while senior captain Dalton Rolli (9-16-25) is an underrated two-way presence. Junior forward Jake Rogers (12-6-20) has come up with some timely goals in the postseason. Sophomore netminder Drew Foley (1.69 GAA) has played his best when it’s counted most, carrying a three-plus game shutout streak into the Wildcats’ North sectional final with Winthrop.

The Pick: The last time the Panthers hoisted the trophy Coach Spillane skated. Unfortunately for the hockey hotbed, this isn’t the year either. Wilmington, 2-1 (OT).



Division 1 Burlington (17-2-6) vs. Milton (19-3-3), 8:15 p.m.
The Breakdown: The Red Devils pulled off a tough feat, bouncing back from a Super 8 play-in game loss (and a very competitive one at that) to pull themselves into the D1 championship. The Middlesex League champions have plenty of speed to burn, and senior assistant captain Trevor Cimino (17-22-39) is about as good a two-way forward as you’ll find. Along with Joe Berardi (22-13-35), Brett Romkey (17-3-20) and C.J. Grinnell (6-14-20), Burlington can score in piles. We’ve also come away impressed by their defensive corps led by Steve Mattos, in addition to Cody Crocker, Adam Crowley and Brien Diffley. The Wildcats ran the Bay State League gauntlet in the South sectional tournament to get to the Garden. Paul Curran (26-33-59) is one of the best pure scorers in the state, and along with top-liners Brian Higgins (23-29-52) and Terrance Walsh (16-33-49), Milton provides matchup problems. Blue-liner John Murtagh is a rock, logging boatloads of ice time, and senior netminder Jay Hankard is peaking at the right time

The Pick: Red Devils are simply too potent, but they’re the pick mostly because of the way they’re playing defensively right now in front of Derek DeCastro. Burlington, 6-3.

Division 1A No. 5 BC High (13-6-5) vs. No. 1 Malden Catholic (19-1-4), 6 p.m.
The Breakdown: After beating another Catholic Conference rival, St. John’s Prep, to advance to the final, Eagles head coach John Flaherty said he’s had a special feeling about this group. That feeling might have developed after BC High skated to a 2-2 tie with MC on Jan. 25, a game in which the Eagles in some regards out-played the Lancers. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with MC taking two wins, including a 3-1 win in the Super 8’s round robin last week. The crucible for BC High is which of their defensive units shows up: The out-of-sorts group that surrendered a 7-spot earlier this season to MC, or the cohesive group that bounced Prep and its top line? Of course, that all starts with junior goaltender Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA), who has turned in another solid tournament. Brian Furey leads a much improved blue-line group. The Eagles are also disciplined in their own zone, with Matt Sullivan (12-16-28) providing as much defensively as he does offensively. Everyone knows of the Lancers top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, but freshman center Ara Nazarian has been the breakout star of the tournament, filling the scoresheet in every game and tallying five goals. It’s not just offense with MC, however, as you’d be hard pressed to find a deeper, more dynamic top three than Casey Fitzgerald, Colin MacGillivray and Brendan White. If netminder Connor Maloney plays as he did against Central Catholic in the crossover round, that’s game, set, and match.

The Pick: Doin’ it for CS5. MC, 5-3.

D2 North: Wilmington 4, Winthrop 2

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
12:29
AM ET


LOWELL, Mass. – Four years later, they’re getting another chance.

The Wilmington High boys hockey team – state finalists in 2008 – are going back to the TD Garden Sunday after defeating Winthrop, 4-2, in Monday night’s MIAA Division 2 North final at the Tsongas Arena.

Wildcat senior Dalton Rolli broke a 2-2 tie with 2:08 to play, breaking in on goal after a terrific pass from junior line-mate Cam Owens from the red line. Rolli sped past Winthrop’s last defenseman and went backhand past Viking senior goalie Steven Waites.

The Vikings (15-7-2) pulled Waites with 1:20 to play after senior Chris Leblanc got a couple good shots on Wilmington sophomore goaltender Drew Foley. But Wildcat sophomore Brendan McDonough had the last laugh, scoring on the empty net with 1:08 to play, also assisted by Owens.

Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon said getting Owens – the team’s leading scorer I the regular season – room to operate and create plays was imperative to his team’s third period play.

“I thought they did a good job on him early, banging him around every time he touched the puck,” Scanlon said. “We just tried to get him to focus more on shooting the puck and moving the puck.”

For Rolli, it was the biggest moment in a long career for the high-scoring duo.

“I moved here in the fourth grade, and me and Cam have been playing together since we were in the sixth grade,” Rolli said. “Every time I play with him, it’s electric.”

Wilmington (15-4-5) took its first lead of the final period with 9:05 to play, as junior defenseman Brian Pickett found junior Jake Rogers streaking down the left wing. Rogers cut in and put a backhand behind Waites for the 2-1 lead.

Winthrop came right back, however, as senior Bobby Clewer scored just 28 seconds later. Senior Mitch Paulson ringed the far post with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, but Clewer was right there to finish off the rebound.

“I thought the character of our team came out – we answered the bell right away,” Viking head coach Dale Dunbar said.

Winthrop had its best chance to go ahead with 2:45 to play, as Clewer set up senior Drayton Chasteen for a 10-foot shot to Foley’s left. Foley made the stop, and 37 seconds later, the Wildcats were ahead for good.

Despite being out-shot 10-6 in the first period, Winthrop went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead at the first intermission thanks to a goal by Leblanc. Sophomore Dan Eruzione kept an attempted clearance in the attacking zone and got the puck to Leblanc, who beat a Wildcat defenseman and lifted a backhander past Foley for the 1-0 lead.

The finish, and his performance throughout the night, showed why Leblanc will be missed by Winthrop next season.

“Chris Leblanc’s a real special player,” Dunbar said. “He’s a great leader. He’s a great kid, very well respected. His skill set is very high, and if he continues to commit himself on and off the ice, he can have a nice career in front of him.”

The Wildcats finally broke through at 10:16 of the second. Senior Frank Cerbone’s shot from the point was blocked, but sophomore Luke Foley was in the right spot at the edge of the right circle to shovel the loose puck past Waites.

Wilmington kept up the pressure for the rest of the period, but a couple fine defensive plays by Viking senior Adam Lundberg kept the Wildcats at bay.

Scanlon admitted that Winthrop’s trap gave his team some trouble in the early going.

“It took us a while to unlock it, but once we did, I thought we played pretty good. We got some good chances,” Scanlon said. “Our goal was to get pucks to the net. They hadn’t been scored on the whole tournament.”

Indeed, Waites had gone 160 minutes in the postseason without allowing a goal before Luke Foley struck.

“You don’t get here without goaltending,” Dunbar said. “That’s the position you have to have on the back end, and Waitesy was there for us. He shut the door an awful lot during this (tournament); he hadn’t even given up a goal until this game.”



But it is Wilmington that is moving on to try and get the trophy that eluded its grasp four years ago (the Wildcats lost to Sandwich, 1-0). To do so, they will have to beat a Franklin (19-2-3) team that looked impressive in Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Mansfield in the Division 2 South championship.

The Panthers played in the Division 2 state championship game last year as well, losing to Wilmington’s arch rival Tewksbury, 2-1.

“I’m sure it left a bad taste in their mouth, and to come back again is quite an accomplishment,” Scanlon said.

D2 North: Winthrop, Wilmington to meet in final

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
1:50
AM ET
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- The fans who head to the Tsongas Center for the Division 2 North finals on Monday night might want to be prepared to be there for a while. And for good reason because the goaltending matchup that is now set to happen has the potential to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Winthrop’s Steven Waites pitched his third shutout in as many games on Tuesday, this one propelling his Vikings to a dominating 6-0 win
over NEC North rival Saugus at the Chelmsford Forum.

The Vikings, the No. 10 seed, will meet Wilmington as the Wildcats rode their own hot goaltender – Drew Foley – to a 2-0 win over North Andover in the first semifinal tilt on Tuesday.

For Winthrop, it was their second win in three tries over the Sachems this season and showed that they are playing perhaps their best hockey of the season.

“The thing is that we’re just now hitting our stride and getting better,” Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar said. “We were able to get everyone in and to let them feel a part of a win like this is nice.”

The Vikings have now beaten Tewksbury, Boston Latin and the Sachems by a combined 11-0 score as Waites has not allowed a goal in 125 minutes of tournament play.

“When he’s on and focused, Steve is as good as anyone,” Dunbar said. “And to go three games in the tournament without giving up a goal says a lot about our defense. We pride ourself on how we play in our own end of the ice.”

This one really wasn’t as close as the 6-0 score as the Vikings forced Saugus into mistake after mistake with the puck, many of them turning into odd-man rushes and goals on Sachem keeper Nick Hegarty.

“We simply turned the puck over way too much,” Saugus head coach Jeff Natalucci said. “And Winthrop will make you pay for every mistake that you make. And they made us pay every time.”

It took only four and a half minutes for the Vikings to get on the scoreboard as Jake McKinnon followed a Mike Paulson shot and slid the rebound home before he went crashing feet first into the boards.

Moments later, Winthrop was on the power play and looking for more offense. And they got it when Chris LeBlanc fed Mitch Paulson for the senior’s 10th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead after one.

“We wanted to come out fast and when you score that first goal, you get your legs under you and it gets the confidence up,” Dunbar said.

Saugus showed some flashes of its offense early in the second and it resulted in an interference penalty on Adam Lundberg at the 1:22 mark. Instead of it beign a chance for Saugus to make things interesting, the next 62 seconds turned the game into a rout.

Jimmy Barker forced a turnover along the left halfwall, sending LeBlanc and Dan Eruzione on a 2-on-1 against Hegarty. LeBlanc made a perfect pass and Eruzione slid the puck home for a 3-0 lead just 100 seconds into the middle stanza.

Less than a minute later, Matt Todisco picked off a pass and beat HEgarty clean on a break and the Vikings were suddenly up 4-0.

“Those two shorthanded goals were just a killer,” Natalucci said. “We had some chances there at the start of the second and then we made mistakes that cost us.”

Waites then went about snuffing out Saugus’ hopes as he made three stellar saves late in the period to keep it a 4-0 game after two.

The Vikings put the game away at 2:52 of the third when Chris Page snapped a shot over Hegarty’s shoulder. Just 55 seconds later, LeBlanc tipped home Lundberg’s shot on a power play to cap the scoring.

“We have talent and chemistry and that’s something that’s hard to find,” Dunbar said. “We have a lot of unselfish guys.”

WILMINGTON 2, NORTH ANDOVER 0
For the second time in as many games, Drew Foley shut down one of the top offenses in the Cape Ann League as the Wildcats earned a third straight win over former rivals from the CAL.

The game was scoreless until the final minutes of the first period when Cam Owens blew a shot past Joel Daccord on a power play for a 1-0 Wilmington lead.

Foley then zoned in and snuffed out the Scarlet Knights offense. He stopped 25 shots in all, including nine in the third period when North Andover was pressing for the equalizer.

Jake Rogers’ empty net goal with under 20 seconds left put the game away for the Wildcats.

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