Boston High School: James McLaughlin

NEPSAC: Thayer 4, St. Sebastian's 3 (OT)

February, 28, 2013

CANTON, Mass. -- Jonathan Sheedy swooped around the goal, arms raised in the air. A look of incredulousness was written on the senior captain’s face as he looked for his nearest teammate to hug.

With the figures “5:05” emblazoned on the scoreboard, Sheedy stopped time, delivering a 4-3 overtime win for Thayer Academy Wednesday at the Canton SpotsPlex.

Reflecting on his game-winner against St. Sebastian’s in the NEPSAC Martin/Earl Tournament quarterfinal tilt between ISL rivals, all Sheedy could think of is the last couple seasons and how far the Tigers have come.

“We’ve had two losing seasons in the last three years,” Sheedy said. “The fact that we were in the tournament this year, I was wicked happy for that. Now, we get to go to Salem, play in the semifinals Saturday. It’s just amazing.”

Thayer held a 3-0 lead in the second, despite the Arrows carrying play in the period. But Seb’s kept at it and finally solved Tigers netminder Bob McGovern (29 saves), scoring three unanswered goals, including two goals from senior forward James McLaughlin, to tie it in the third.

It was a familiar script.

“It was almost a mirror image of the other day, it was the same kind of game that we played on Saturday,” Tigers head coach Tony Amonte said of his team’s 3-1 win over the Arrows in last weekend’s Valicenti Cup game. “They won the second period, the only difference today was that they won the third.”

The Tigers jumped to a 2-0 lead at 14:19 of the second with freshman Ty Amonte tallying his second of the game on the set-up from Lincoln Griffin off a 2-on-1 break. Thayer struck again exactly one minute later on defenseman Jack Judge’s blast from the point.

However, the Arrows countered with an important goal just 17 seconds later with Tommy Kelley ripping off a one-timer on Corey Ronan’s feed.

“We needed to get one before the end of the period,” St. Seb’s head coach Sean McCann said. “We were fortunate to have a bang-bang play near the crease. It was a nice play by our guys and that helped us carry momentum into the third period.”

After being held scoreless on five previous power-play opportunities, the Arrows found the back of the net for the first time with the man-advantage to start the third. McLaughlin scored his first of two goals at 6:10 of the third. He then scored the equalizer with 7:31 remaining in regulation.

After being outplayed for the bulk of two periods, Thayer brought its skating legs to the overtime session. Spurred on a by a key save by McGovern in the opening minute of overtime, the Tigers began getting pucks to the Arrows’ net with greater consistency.

It was all part of Amonte’s message to his team at the break: don’t make it too fancy.

“How many pretty goals do you see in an overtime?” the 16-season NHL veteran and Thayer alum said. “A la today, there’s no pretty goals in overtime at any level. So I told them to relax, go out there, play their game and just get pucks to the net.”

As the Tigers advance to play Avon Old Farms in Saturday’s tournament semifinal at the The Icecenter in Salem, N.H. (5:30 p.m.), they feel as though they’re playing with house money.

“This is all gravy,” Amonte said. “For us, we didn’t even expect to make the tournament, so we’ll give it our best and see what happens.”

In Thayer’s net, McGovern presents a conundrum for opposing players. That is, where exactly can you shoot?

The 6-foot, 3-inch, butterfly-style netminder affords snipers little space to shoot. And, with his sound positional play in the crease, seldom will you find the Tigers’ backstop out of place.

McGovern’s effort in the last two games against St. Seb’s even drew the praise of the opposing coach.

“He’s played really well this year,” McCann said. “We played them on Saturday and he was outstanding. He was so good today, so going down three-to-nothing, we were a little concerned about what we were going to be able to do.”

Recap: St. Sebastian's 3, Catholic Memorial 1

December, 21, 2012

ALLSTON, Mass. – Skill plus hard work might equal success, but for two periods of Thursday’s Kevin T. Mutch Memorial Game against Catholic Memorial, St. Sebastian’s head coach Sean McCann thought the Arrows were coasting on skill alone.

Although the Arrows held a 2-1 lead over the Knights coming out of the second intermission, it’s what St. Seb’s did to close out its 3-1 win that most impressed the bench boss.

“In the first two periods, we were turning over pucks, we weren’t making good decisions, our positioning from a defensive standpoint was very poor,” McCann said. “I think the way we came out in the third and competed and were more physical, we did those things and I think the little things add up.”

While Noah Hanifin’s power-play goal at 4:41 of the second period provided the difference for the Arrows (6-2-0), McCann lit a fire under his troops during the second intermission.

The message was clear: close it out.

“He told us to stop playing as individuals and start playing as a team,” said Hanifin, a sophomore defenseman and Boston College commit. “That go everybody going.”

In the third, the Arrows added an insurance marker on Will D’Orsi’s snipe at 9:05. What was more telling was the manner in which St. Seb’s controlled play in the final stanza, outshooting the Knights (3-1-0) by a 11-4 margin.

James McLaughlin provided the Arrows with a 1-0 lead just before the first intermission, walking out front from the end boards and beating CM freshman goaltender Brendan Collett (26 saves) 5-hole on the backhand.

Hanifin’s blue-line blast on the man-advantage gave St. Seb’s a two-goal cushion before Knights winger Beau Starrett put the Knights on the board less than a minute later in the second.

Despite surrendering a power-play goal that proved to be the deciding tally on Thursday, the Knights penalty kill unit did good to stave off several Arrows man-advantages. CM was put to the test while skating two men down for 1:07 at the tail end of the second. The Knights surrendered just two shots from the periphery on the kill.

What’s more encouraging for CM is that its effort came in the face of one of Massachusetts hockey’s most feared shots.

Hanifin is a legitimate weapon on the power play, with a heavy shot, nose for the cage and terrific lateral skating ability to boot.

As a result, McCann’s given Hanifin the explicit task of taking on the quarterbacking duties of the power play unit this year as a sophomore.

“He sees the ice very well and his lateral movement is very good, especially for a young kid,” McCann said. “He realizes that when he has an opportunity to shoot or pass, he’s taking it for the most part.”

But, as Thursday’s collective effort with the man-advantage showed, there’s still room for improvement by the Arrows unit.

“I think the big thing is that we have a quite a few skilled players and that we need to continue to move the puck faster,” McCann said. “Sometimes we hold onto it too long.”

It’s a point solidified by Hanifin’s game-winner.

“Our goal on the power play is to get movement and get shots to the net,” Hanifin said. “I saw a lane there, I took a rip and it happened to go in.”

The Knights received a tremendous effort from their freshman goaltender. Collett was undeterred by St. Seb’s blend of speed and size at the forward position and stood tall during the Knights’ man-down situations.

Perhaps his greatest attribute is his rebound control, however. His coach has taken notice.

“He doesn’t leave any bunnies out there,” CM head coach Bill Hanson quipped.

For the 19th year, the Mutch Memorial Game raised money for local charities. In the past, the proceeds had gone toward the Kevin T. Mutch Scholarship Fund, but in recent years, the proceeds have been distributed to a plethora of deserving causes.

This year’s game funds will again go to The Jimmy Fund.