Boston High School: Jason Collins

Recap: No. 13 Burlington 3, No. 20 Wilmington 3

February, 1, 2014
Feb 1
WILMINGTON, Mass. — With four state titles between the two teams in the last two seasons, there is really no surprise that nothing was settled between Burlington and Wilmington, Saturday at Ristuccia Arena – or in their 1-1 tie back on New Year’s Day.

Freshman Jason Collins pounced on a loose puck and unleashed a wicked slap shot to the top right corner past Burlington goalie Mike Guleserian that ultimately earned the Wildcats a point.

Wilmington goaltender Drew Foley stopped Burlington’s Shane O’Halloran on a breakaway with 1:34 left to preserve the 3-3 tie for Wilmington, which was without head coach Steve Scanlon, who was hospitalized with an infection.

“We came back and showed some character in that third period and battled through,” said Wilmington assistant coach Mark DiGiovanni. “It is always a battle with Burlington. We look forward to playing these guys and our guys always give our best against them.”

Wilmington got on the board just 1:54 into the game on a power play when Jim Davey’s point shot was re-directed by Luke Foley past Guleserian for a 1-0 lead.

The Red Devils would answer midway through the first when Kyle Kurtz tipped home a Josh Boulos shot to tie the game at one.

Anthony Nikolopolous gave the Devils the lead just 37 seconds into the second period when he cleaned up the rebound of a Robby McLean bid.

Wilmington needed a spark heading into the third period and got it from senior Cody McGowan who battled a puck loose at the left face-off circle and fired a dart over Guleserian’s shoulder from a tough angle.

Burlington answered just 45 seconds later when Tommy Hanafin crashed the net and finished off a pass from Ryan Sheldon to give the Devils the lead before Wilmington’s fine freshman evened things up.

Burlington held on to the point fighting off two Wilmington power plays with less than four minutes in the game.

It was both teams’ sixth tie of the season.

“We have a lot of ties and it was a tough tie for us because they tied us,” said Burlington coach Bob Conceison. “It was a tough game between two pretty even teams. We took a couple penalties in the third period that we survived but we need to do a better job of that.”

Foley comes up big: With Wilmington on a late game power play, Drew Foley had to emerge with his biggest save of the day.

Burlington defenseman Shane O’Halloran who was being used as a forward on the penalty kill broke free on a clean breakaway and busted in on Foley who closed the pads on O’Halloran to keep the game even for the Wildcats.

“You are always biting your nails when you see them go down on a breakaway,” added DiGiovanni. “But you also have a sense of confidence in the back of your head too that you have Drew (Foley) in there. He will win games for you and he will keep you in games.”

Foley finished with 25 saves on the day, but none was bigger than his last.

Surprise visit: On Thursday, Burlington High legend Jay Pandolfo officially announced his retirement from the NHL after 15 seasons and two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils.

Ironcially, Pandolfo ended up on skates on Thursday visiting the Burlington Ice Palace and his old high school hockey coach, Bob Conceison, and took a twirl around the old barn with the team.

“We stay in touch and he said he was going to come down and skate and ironically it was the day he announced his retirement,” said Conceison.

For a Burlington team that has been struggling to score goals, who better to lean on than Pandolfo, who led Burlington to its first Super Eight appearance back in 1993, which was their only appearance until the 2008-09 team that lost in the final to Catholic Memorial.

“He pointed some things out to our forwards,” added Conceison. “I wanted him to work with them on getting to the net. He is a just a great guy and he sat in on some meetings and talked to the kids in the locker room as a group.”

Pandolfo’s retired No. 9 hangs in the entrance of the Ice Palace.

D2 South: Mansfield 5, North Quincy 3

March, 10, 2012
BOURNE, Mass. -- Freshman Erik Foley scored the three biggest goals of his young high school career to help lead his Mansfield Hornets to a thrilling 5-3 come-from-behind win over North Quincy (13-6-4) Friday night in the MIAA Division II south semifinals at Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne.

Mansfield (15-4-3), which scored three times over the final 3:26 of the game to erase a 3-2 deficit, stunned the Raiders to move on to the sectional championship game where they will get one last shot to defeat Hockomock League rival Franklin, a team that they have a loss and a tie against so far this year.

The deck seemed stacked against Mansfield in the third period, but the Hornets found a way to turn a losing hand into a winning one with some unorthodox happenings late. After killing off a pair of mid-period penalties, the Hornets netted the tying goal on a crazy play from behind the North Quincy net as Foley – who was set up behind the cage – threw one at the cage that hit off of James Dunn’s pads and ricocheted over the goal line to knot things up. The goal came just seconds after the North Quincy goalie had robbed Bryan Hurley with a superb lunging glove snare to keep his team ahead by one.

Foley’s fluky go-ahead goal led to the Raiders’ unraveling.

“When we tied the game up, [Dunn] was really dejected. You could see it. I felt bad for him,” Mansfield head coach Rick Anastos said. “After that they called a timeout and we told our kids to just throw it at the net.”

North Quincy head coach Matt Gibbons said that the momentum certainly had turned against his team when the Hornets knotted things up. “Once you see that go in, the way that they can score goals, when they score that one it’s a back-breaker.”

The true back-breaker was yet to come, though, and it was one that drew some controversy. With just 82 seconds to go in regulation senior co-captain Steve Folan set up shop south of the hash marks and redirected a shot by Jason Collins, who flung it towards the net from the left wing wall. Folan’s stick seemed to be a bit high, but the referees conferred and allowed the goal, putting Mansfield up 4-3.

While the referees’ talked things over the Red Raiders’ faithful that packed the stands prayed that the call would be reversed and jeered the decision vehemently.

Gibbons said that he deferred to the referees’ decision, noting that they had a better view of the play than he did. “I thought it [was a high stick], but there’s no point [arguing]. It was a goal,” he said.

North pulled Dunn for an extra attacker with about 50 seconds left and was able to get the puck down low, but Rich Shipman held the fort. With 25 seconds to go the Raiders tried to work the blue line but Foley read a pass perfectly that was intended for the high slot, skated onto it and deposited it into the empty goal from just inside the red line to put an exclamation mark on his team’s riotous reversal of fortune.

“I felt like they were back on their heels (in the third period) and it was our goal to take it to them,” Anastos said.

North Quincy was the team taking it to Mansfield early in the game. North Quincy scored the game’s first two goals over a span of 15 seconds late in the first to seemingly take control. Nick McGaughey opened the scoring at 13:36 when he walked off the left wing wall and beat Shipman to the near side. NQ won the ensuing draw, took it down and got a shot off that Shipman deflected, but the keeper was unable to stop the follow-up by Andrew Currie.

Mansfield trimmed the lead to 2-1 early in the second when Kevin Flynn flew down the middle of the ice, but lost the handle as he was about to snap a shot off. Rather than panic, he collected the puck and fed trailer Brendan Murphy, who snapped one off to get his team on the board just 72 seconds into the middle frame.

North Quincy got that one right back on a shot from between the hash marks by Pat Verhault. With chaos all around him, Shipman went down early and Verhault waited an extra heartbeat before sniping one stick side.

Foley rallied his team to within one with 1:02 to go in the third. With the Hornets on a power play, Collins made a brilliant diagonal pass from the top of the right wing circle to a wide-open Foley on the bottom of the left wing circle. Foley quickly let one rip to the wide-open near side to make it a one-goal game heading to the third.

That set up the crazy comeback in the third by the Hornets, who will now point their stingers in the direction of the Franklin, Saturday at 5:45 p.m. back at Gallo.

Franklin advanced in the early game with a 4-1 win over another Hockomock rival, Oliver Ames.

Anastos said that he could not have asked for a better foe for his team to face as the hive feels like it has unfinished business.

“We owe them one big time,” the coach said. “I’m so glad that we get a chance to get them. They’re a great team, it’s going to be tough, but I’m so happy we have that opportunity.”

Mansfield rises to cream of Hockomock crop

January, 31, 2011

FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Mansfield moved to the top of the Hockomock League standings with a 4-1 win over Franklin at Sgt. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink on Sunday night.

The Hornets (11-1-1, 8-1-0) used three goals in the third period to hand the Panthers (9-2-0, 7-1-0) their first league loss of the season, but it might have been Mansfield’s defensive work in the first two periods that ultimately decided this one.

The penalty-killing unit for the Hornets staved off five of the six power plays it faced in the first two periods, and sophomore goaltender Rich Shipman stood tall with 23 saves on the night.

“We are aggressive as can be, but we stress team defense bringing guys back up the middle,” Hornets head coach Rick Anastos said. “There was never an odd-man rush. We had three guys back on every play, and we were still aggressive in the offensive zone.”

The Hornets' aggressiveness put them down a man four times in the first period, but other than Evan Stawarz’ wrist shot that clanged off the post, the opportunities on the man-advantages for the Panthers were few and far between.

That changed in the second period when Mark Teehan banged in a loose puck past Shipman on the doorstep for a power play goal at 2:34.

The Panthers outshot the Hornets, 11-4, in the period and just when it looked like all the minutes killing off penalties and playing a man down was causing the Hornets to be a step slow, Mike Blackman tipped home a Connor McGowan blast from the right point with 3:27 remaining in the second to notch it up at 1.

Brendan Murphy would tack on another one just over a minute later for the Hornets, but his goal was called off due to a delayed penalty call.

Anastos doesn’t have a problem with his team taking aggressive penalties just as long as the team sticks to their game plan on the defensive end.

“We just did our thing,” said Anastos. “We played defense.”

Anastos’ aggressive philosophy also calls for his team to be able to switch from that defensive mindset right into an offensive assault at the drop of a hat, and that’s exactly what his team did in the third period.

The Hornets were awarded four power plays in the third period and capitalized on their second try. Jason Collins notched the game winner at 5:50 with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that found the tiniest amount of daylight to beat Ryan Geary.

Colin Yanovitch, who had to substitute for Murphy after he was dinged up on the previous play, sent a shot wide of the net from the right side, but the puck caromed off the back boards to the left side where Tom Hurley was waiting for a back breaking 3-1 lead.

Blackman’s empty-netter with 2.1 seconds ended the scoring.

Shipman waited patiently on the bench last season as a freshman, but the first-year starter is showing the year of learning paid off. Minus the one hiccup in the second period, the sophomore was brilliant as he showed good positioning with his pads and a quick glove to match.

“He’s worked really, really hard,” Anastos said of his goalie. “Last year he didn’t see much time, but he’s been in every camp you can possibly think of. He is really committed and dedicated to playing goal.

“You can really see it,” he added. “Technique-wise he is really sharp.”

Shipman made several sprawling saves, and even made two big stops in the third period from the seat of his pants to keep the Panthers off the board.

I’ve learned what I can accomplish if I use the people around me,” said Shipman.