Boston High School: Jared Baker

Recap: No. 16 Burlington 2, No. 14 Woburn 2

December, 20, 2012

WOBURN, Mass. –- Bitter Middlesex League rivals No. 14 Woburn and No. 16 Burlington engaged in their first of two regular season meetings Wednesday night at the O’Brien rink and all was even.

From the play on the ice, to the vocal displays of admiration from the respective schools’ student fan section, the Tanners and Red Devils played out a scene that frequently could be repeated across the league this year. After skating to a 2-2 tie, there wasn’t much separating the teams in any regard – even the shots-on-goal battle ended in an 18-18 draw.

And while both sides came away disappointed, in other ways, the went home satisfied yet.

“The Middlesex League is probably the best public school league,” Burlington senior captain C.J. Grinnell said. “Anything can happen at any point.”

While the Tanners (2-0-1) dropped their first point of the season, they were fortunate to come away with one at all.

Trailing 2-1 with less than three minutes to play, Woburn defensemen Mark Desantis’ point shot found its way through the wall of traffic in front of Burlington netminder Derek DeCastro (16 saves).

On the bulk, both teams split the action, but Burlington (1-1-1) took the ice in the first period with a decided jump in their stride. And even though the Red Devils carried the action, they found themselves in an early hole as Tanners senior center Jared Baker forced a neutral zone turnover and sped in alone on a partial breakaway. Baker’s back-handed finish gave Woburn a 1-0 lead at 6:29.

Yet, Burlington kept coming and their aggressive forecheck was rewarded on its first goal scored by Grinnell at 8:38. Grinnell sped up the left wing boards and into the Woburn zone. After gaining position between the defense and Tanners netminder Jeremy Flibotte (16 saves), Grinnell snuck a beautiful back-handed snipe under the roof of the cross bar.

It was a welcome change of fortune.

“I’ve been snake-bitten all year,” Grinnell said of his first goal on the season. “I’ve hit maybe six, seven crossbars in the first couple of games. I used my speed, just went to the outside and I saw the goalie go down early, so I went upstairs.”

Less than a minute later, the Red Devils claimed a 2-1 lead – a lead they would go on to hold for more than two periods – with junior defensemen Adam Crowley’s partial slapper from inside the left side circle. Fellow blue-liner Sean Costa picked up an assist on the play.

Burlington maintained its slim margin until the 12:02 mark of the third when Woburn tallied the equalizer on Desantis’ blasts.

Both head coaches harped on the fact that they return young squads and that Wednesday’s result was more a stepping stone than a step back.

“I’m proud of them,” Woburn bench boss Jim Duran said. “We did the little things, playing good team defense, we were solid in our own end and making the most of our chances.”

Likewise, Bob Conceison, whose Red Devils are coming off a Division 1 state championship last season but lost several key players to graduation, saw plusses to the minuses.

“I thought the first period we came out and played really, really well. I think they adjusted in the second period and they came out flying. I wasn’t happy with the way we came out in the second. We didn’t match them and we came out a little bit lethargic.”

Those young rosters mean that the more senior Tanner and Red Devil skaters are going to be called upon to do more this season.

Wednesday’s performance provided a glimpse to the maturation of a couple of those such players.

Baker’s goal was the result of a great individual effort in the neutral zone, putting the Tanners on the board. Duran is hoping Baker will fulfill a great role as the pivot on the Tanners’ top line, centering Joe Connors and Colin Flynn.

“He knows he has to do that, he and Joey [Connors] and the Baldino twins [Christian and Nick], even though they’re just sophomores. Jared and Joey have been in big games and that helps us and what really helps us is that they’re such hard workers. They never take a shift off.”

Meanwhile, a goal and a steady night in his own zone from Crowley drew plenty of praise.

“Adam’s one of the most important players on our team,” Conceison said of the junior defenseman. “None of our other defensemen have seen playing time, they’re all new defensemen. Adam’s stabilized them, he leads that group and he’s our catalyst back there. I think he played a tremendous game tonight. When he plays this way, he came be one of the best defensemen around.”

Recap: No. 5 Woburn 3, No. 16 Winchester 2

January, 12, 2012

WOBURN, Mass. -- Wednesday night’s grudge match between Middlesex League rivals No. 5 Woburn and No. 16 Winchester was about what you’d think it to be — one physical hockey game.

Despite trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Tanners were lifted on the strength of a three-goal second period. All Woburn had to do was endure the onslaught of the Sachems’ best shot in the third period to grind out a 3-2 win.

“They tough, they’re aggressive, they’re really gritty,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said. “We knew we had our work cut for us.”

The Tanners (6-0-0, 3-1-1) thought they’d claimed a 1-0 lead in the first, only to see Jared Baker’s breakaway shot, which zipped out of the net nearly as quickly as it arrived, washed out.

Winchester (3-4-2, 1-1-1) capitalized on the no-goal call, gaining the lead on Drew Mills’ tally midway through the first period. Mills followed with his second of the game in the second period, boosting the Sachems to a 2-0 advantage four minutes in.

That’s when Woburn turned a switch on. The Tanners owned the rest of the period, scoring three straight goals, for which Winchester had no answer.

Senior co-captain Casey Shea was the catalyst to all three Tanner goals, picking up three assists, even if he might have been a little rusty.

“He was a little sluggish in the first period,”Duran said of Shea. “He’s been out for a week and a half with chicken pox and he hasn’t played. He’s only been able to practice one day, on Tuesday, it just shows that he’s got a lot of heart.”

Shea’s linemate Danny Holland was the beneficiary of two of his dishes. Holland’s goals, which were sandwiched around Jake Secatore’s blast from the point, included the game-winner, which was scored with eight seconds remaining in the second period off a neutral zone turnover.

Winchester carried play for the bulk of the third, but were limited in their chances to get clean looks at netminder Jeremy Flibotte.

Weathering the storm of the Sachems’ best shots in the final minute, Woburn escaped with the two points.

“We got caught in a long change, and one line was out there longer than they should’ve,” Duran said. “And then, we had to mix and match a little bit … We were lucky to get through those final 20 seconds or so, Jeremy came up with a couple big saves for us.”

No. 21 Woburn hits its stride

January, 6, 2011
WOBURN, Mass. – After a 3-1 loss to Wakefield on Monday, No. 21 Woburn returned to the rink for Tuesday practice. Then, head coach Jim Duran preached about the Tanners’ return to playing the style of hockey that makes them successful.

After taking a 4-1 Middlesex League victory over No. 17 Burlington on Wednesday at O’Brien Arena, it looks as though Duran’s team heeded his advice.

“On Monday, we lost a lot of one-on-one battles,” Duran said. “I think tonight was the first night that we’ve played to our potential, on the forecheck and trying to cause turnovers. That’s what we tried to do and that’s what we’ve had success year after year doing. I think the kids did that tonight.”

The Tanners (4-1-0, 4-1-0) took an early lead on Bobby Smith’s snipe 9:49 into the first period. Smith unleashed a wrist shot with laser precision underneath the crossbar and just above the shoulder of Burlington goaltender Nick DeSimone.

Yet for much of the first period the teams were even, playing a spirited, hard-hitting 15 minutes of play.

The second period, however, belonged to Woburn, which out-shot the Devils 15-7.

“We turned the puck over to them a lot in the neutral zone,” Burlington head coach Bob Conceison said. “I felt like our D was flat-footed a lot. They have quick forwards and they created opportunities off of the neutral zone forecheck.”

The Tanners’ continued pressure paid off when Eddie Aprile knocked home the rebound from an Adam Tanner shot for a 2-0 lead in the second.

Woburn picked up where they left off two minutes into the third on John Concannon’s goal assisted by Tom Arsenault and Jared Baker.

Burlington (3-2-1, 3-2-0) got on the board with 7:27 remaining in the contest on R.J. Caruso’s power play blast set up by Stephen Mattos and Joey Centrella. The Tanners closed out scoring with a tremendous individual effort by Casey Shea, who scored with a deke while going one-on-one with the goaltender. Smith added the assist to finish with a two-point game.

Tanners goaltender Jon Braese finished with 27 saves to earn the win.

It was clear their coach’s message has gotten through.

“I just the think the kids skated,” Duran said. “They wanted it and kept going, going and going.”

The Woburn girls’ hockey team made it a sweep of their border rivals with a 7-1 win over Burlington in the early game Wednesday at O’Brien.

Colleen Martell led the Tanners (5-1-0, 4-1-0), tallying a hat trick in her second straight game.