Boston High School: Jimmy Currier

WILMINGTON, Mass. – It’s not about the finish, it’s about the start. Right?

No. 1 BC High took control of Saturday’s Catholic Conference clash with No. 9 St. John’s Prep from the get-go, scoring first little more than a minute in and running to a 2-0 advantage by the 5-minute mark.

Behind a pair of goals from senior captain Steve DeForge, BC High held on for a 4-2 win over Prep in the annual Derek Hines Memorial Game.

“It’s an honor to play in this game for Derek Hines and his family,” DeForge said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it. When we come up here, we want to play for them as well, especially in my four years of coming up here, we’d never gotten a point.”

With the victory, BC High (8-0-2, 3-0-1 Catholic) has now earned a point in each of its first 10 games on the season.

Junior center Tim Larocque had BC High running out of the gate with a rebound putback of a Connor Noonan shot at 1:28. DeForge then followed with his first at 3:15, a power-play goal with assists from Ryan Shea and Sam Topham.

“It was a good win off the faceoff and the puck went back to Sam [Topham],” DeForge said, “he dished it back to me down low, passed it back to him and he gave a good D-to-D to [Ryan Shea]. He had a good line to me and I just put it home.”

However, St. John’s Prep (4-5-1, 0-4-1) got on the board just about a half-minute later with Jimmy Currier being the beneficiary of some slick transition play from Evan Leclerc and Nick Latham.

It remained a 1-goal game at the intermission, but BC High started the second period with fury as well. DeForge tallied his second, from Chris LaLiberte, just 40 seconds into the second.

“We just put ourselves in a hole all day by giving up, I think in the second period, another goal within the first minute,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “In the third period, [there was] a goal in the first minute. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t put a full game together – a lot of that credit goes to BC High.”

Yet, Prep was able to counter quickly again. Less than two minutes elapsed following DeForge’s second tally before Prep again cut the difference to a single goal. Latham earned his second point of the game with a power-play goal at 2:04, with Mark Etherington providing the assist.

But, according to script, BC High held serve, scoring for the third straight period in the first minute with Jake Lemanski potting his sixth goal of the season 59 seconds in.

Prep had a golden opportunity to claw closer once again, with 1:27 of 5-on-3 power-play around the 5-minute mark of the third. BC High’s defense tightened around goaltender Brandon Payzant (16 saves), allowing one shot-on-goal in the duration of the 2-man advantage.

“Now, you get out of there and you still have a two-goal lead,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said, “there was still a lot of time left on the clock, but you could have been tied or down at the end of a 5-on-3 like that.”

Honoring a hero: The true driving force behind Saturday’s matchup was the Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund. The game marked the sixth year Prep has honored its fallen graduate, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005, while deployed with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Division.

Hines, who was a standout in his time with Prep hockey, graduated to the U.S. Military Academy, where he served as a graduate assistant with the hockey team while completing Ranger and Airborne school.

In his memory, the Assistance Fund was presented with a $6,500 donation, a $2,500 increase over last year’s gift.

Saturday marked the first time in BC High’s seniors’ time playing in the game that they emerged victorious, having lost in the three previous years.

St. John's Prep is 4-2-0 in the six years of the Hines game.

Midway point: With its 10th game in the books, BC High reached the halfway marker of its season.

The Eagles hold the No. 1 ranking in our statewide Top 25 poll and they’ve only dropped points to conference rival Xaverian and Rhode Island power Bishop Hendricken in a pair of ties.

Even with its resume to date, BC High is an essential shoo-in for the Super 8 tournament, but Flaherty isn’t about to look any further down the line.

“With our schedule, we can’t look at what we’ve accomplished, we have to look at what’s ahead of us.”

Recap: Central Catholic 5, St. John's Prep 3

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
WILMINGTON, Mass. – For the first forty-three minutes and fifty-three seconds, Central Catholic never led St. John's Prep.

For the final 1:07, they did not trail.

The Raiders surrendered the first two goals, but Alex Lester batted home a puck in the waning moments to propel Central to a 5-3 win. Lester added an empty netter with two seconds left to seal the win.

Lester's linemate, Lloyd Hayes, facilitated much of Central's offense with three assists, including the initial shot that led to Lester's game-winner.

“We're always talking about team depth and chemistry, and usually [goaltender Colin] Soucy's our backbone out,” Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski said. “Today they found a way past him a lot easier than usual. The kids answered the call. They stuck up, they came to bat for them.”

After a quiet opening 10 minutes the Eagles made their move. Mark Etherington tipped home an Ean Mendeszoon shot to put Prep on the board. He followed that up 17 seconds later by burying a pass from Jim Currier in front past Colin Soucy to put the Eagles up 2-0. Prep was only able to put seven more shots on net after Etherington's goals.

St. John's Prep assistant coach Jeff Tache said that he was pleased with Etherington's performance but that the team as a whole has to do better defensively.

“I thought he played a great game,” Tache said of Etherington. “He hustles all the time and that's all you can ask for.

“I thought it was a good overall effort. Defensive breakdowns late in periods is what cost us this effort. Again, they worked hard and probably deserved a point out of this. Hopefully we can just move forward and learn from these mistakes.”

After Prep's goals Central took over. The Raiders outshot the Eagles, 27-10, and were able to outskate and outmuscle the Eagles as the game wore on. Eric Robbins put the Raiders on the board, putting home a pass from Richie Greenberg with 1:15 left in the first period.

The teams traded goals in the early portion of the second period and Prep goalie Zach Laramie kept the Eagles ahead. The freshman turned aside nine of the 10 shots he faced during the second period. St. John's locked down on special teams as well, especially during a 71-second 5-on-3 penalty kill.

Central tied the game at three five minutes into the third when Sean Holly threw a lazy wrist shot at Laramie that the goalie misjudged and skipped over his glove to tie the game. Hayes' pass opened up Holly for his goal.

“He's been fantastic all season long,” Jankowski said of Hayes. “He's been there not only [with] points but with positional play, physicality. He's doing just a great job for us.”

Soucy turned aside seven shots and added the secondary assist on Lester's empty netter.

“He always talks about it,” Lester said with a laugh. “He likes to think he gets assists so for him to finally get one is pretty cool.”

GROWN-UP RIVALRY: Central-Andover may be the traditional rivalry, but the annual game with St. John's Prep has become one of the biggest games on Central's calendar as the team has risen the past six years.

Dating back to the 2007-2008 season, the teams have played 10 times with St. John's holding a slim 5-4-1 advantage.

Lester and Soucy both said that St. John's is easily among their top rivals.

“It's always a big rivalry and we just want to keep it going,” Lester said. “We've had some big wins now and we just want to keep it rolling.”

“St. John's has always been our rivals,” Soucy said. “They got us in Super 8 last year and we wanted to come and show that last year was last year and this is our new team this year. It was a big win for us.”

With the annual regular season game usually played between Christmas and mid-January, it's a good measuring stick for both teams that have Super 8 aspirations each and every season.

“It does set a tone for us moving forward about where we sit and a good barometer for us,” Jankowski said. “We want to compete against the best.”

Recap: No. 2 MC 3, No. 9 St. John's Prep 1

December, 31, 2013

BOSTON – Outdoor hockey, by its nature, is unlike its counterpart played in the somewhat friendly confines of the rink. And so Saturday’s participants in a high school triple-header at Frozen Fenway had to adjust on the fly.

Take the case of Malden Catholic senior forward Brian Cameron.

“The puck, it’s bouncing all over the place like a bouncy ball,” the Wakefield resident said.

Cameron and his teammates not only had to adjust to corralling the puck on a sometimes uneven surface, it altered the way the No. 2 Lancers approached their Catholic Conference-opener against No. 9 St. John’s Prep — the day’s final and marquee matchup.

MC head coach John McLean implored his team to begin throwing pucks to the net, after a sluggish start in which neither team registered a shot-on-goal through four minutes of play. The emphasis was headed as the Lancers emerged with a 3-1 victory, thanks for a late second-period goal from Cameron.

“I think it was Jack Adams that threw it to the front of the net,” McLean said of Cameron’s goal with five seconds to play in the second. “We told them, I don’t know if it was intended that way [as a pass], but you go to the net and the puck will get there. To get that with five seconds left was huge for us.”

The Lancers (5-0-0, 1-0-0 Catholic) staked a 1-0 lead at 10:58 on Austin Goldstein’s tally off an expiring MC penalty kill.

That’s the way it stood until the Lancers set up shop in the Eagles’ zone at the tail end of the second.

“Pat [Wrenn] had an awesome faceoff right back to me, we were trying to get it on the net. And Jack [Adams] worked hard down low,” Cameron said of the lead-up to his eventual game-winner. “I don’t even know if he saw anybody out front there, but he made a great pass.”

That made the finish easy for Cameron, who was camped out on the far-side post, beside Eagles freshman netminder Zach Laramie. He tipped home the tape-to-tape saucer into an awning net for the 2-0 advantage.

St. John’s Prep (3-2-0, 0-2-0) whittled the lead back to a goal at 3:08 of the third with Ted McNamara burying Jimmy Currier’s feed.

However, the Lancers quickly volleyed back as senior Jared Silva — who’d taken Cameron’s shifts after he left the game with an ankle injury—scored the answered goal less than three minutes later.

“Brian [Cameron] hurt his ankle, so Jared [Silva] stepped right in and popped one in which is great for us,” McLean said. “We have those guys that are waiting. We’re pretty deep, so we were extremely happy for him.”

Swingin’ for the fences: Despite leaving the game on a stretcher in the third period, Cameron was in good spirits postgame, having left an indelible mark on the game.

Cameron marked his goal with a celebration in homage to the day’s setting, using his stick as part of a home-run swing. While McLean wasn’t thrilled by his player’s histrionics, it befit the moment.

“It’s something you dream about, playing at Fenway and scoring the game-winning goal,” Cameron said, in a near mixed metaphor.

The game was a mere backdrop to the pageantry of the day. The Lancers dressed in the Red Sox clubhouse and, along with the Eagles, wore special-design sweaters for the occasion — with MC’s taking a nod to the game-day blues the “Blue Blades” wore for the 1949 season.

“Coming in here, being the Red Sox locker room, their jerseys were already set up by the time they got here,” McLean said. “It was a special day.”

Enough to fight off the biting cold and a bum wheel.

“The goal definitely helps the pain in my ankle,” Cameron said.

Super 8: Central Catholic 4, St. John's Prep 1

March, 4, 2013

LOWELL, Mass. -- In the final minute of the second period, Central Catholic goalie Colin Soucy found himself staring down the barrel of future Providence Friar Brian Pinho.

With the Raiders holding a 3-1 lead, the St. John's Prep standout had just forced a turnover at the Raiders blue line and walked in all alone. Pinho aimed for the high, glove side but Soucy flashed his mitt to nullify what could have a momentum - and game - changing goal.

Soucy made eight more stops in the third period, finishing with 22 for the game, and the eighth-seeded Raiders pulled the early shocker of the Super 8 by knocking off the top-seeded Eagles, 4-1.

"I knew what his moves were," said Soucy, drawing on the experience of playing the Prep back in December. "He came in, he was eyeing the glove side, and I just kicked out and made the save. I learned a lot on how his head moves, his stick fakes and everything like that. I knew that he shot glove a lot so i just wanted to make the big saves."

Raiders (15-5-3) coach Mike Jankowski not only felt that stop kept the Prep (17-3-1) from getting any spark of life, but it was also a huge confidence booster for his junior netminder, given who the shooter was.

"It was huge, especially with who we turned it over to," Jankowski admitted."You don't want to turn it over to anybody but if you turn it over to him...that's just a testament to [Soucy] and what he's able to do. Not looking at who it is but doing what he needs to do to shut him down and move forward."

Shots were even through the first two frames but Central seemed to more jump in its step while the Prep was surprisingly flat, something they weren't able to shake for the entire contest. The Raiders also cashed in the game's first goal as Lloyd Hayes fired a shot on Prep goalie Billy Price. Price made the initial stop but the rebound accidentally caromed off one of his defensemen and went right back into the net at 5:08.

The Eagles made amends on the power play just over five minutes later as Tyler Bird screamed a shot through the Central crease that got blocked but founds its way to Jimmy Currier, who stuck in a backhander to tie the game at 1-1.

Kevin Regan put CC back on top just one minute into the second, snapping off a beauty of a one-timer off a feed from Billy Stahley. Defenseman Nick Gorski, who also played a stellar game in his own end, contributed to the offense by rifling a shot into an open net off a long rebound with Price out of position. Central tacked on one final goal in the third, courtesy of Alex Lester.

"We had a lot of momentum from the Hingham game coming into this and we all knew that no one was giving us credit for what we can do," Gorski said. "We knew we could beat them, we already beat them this year. They’re a very strong program and we definitely knew we had a hard game coming. The first period really showed it. We came out flying and we just continued that for the rest of the game."

The two teams will meet again on Thursday (7:45 p.m.) for game two of the best-of-three series at Stoneham Arena.

Recap: No. 2 St. John's Prep 4, No. 8 CM 1

January, 31, 2013
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Andrew Brandano scored twice for St. John’s Prep as the Eagles shut down Liam Coughlin and Catholic Memorial’s lethal offensive weapons, 4-1, Wednesday night, in a Catholic Conference clash.

St. John’s Prep (12-2-0, 6-1-0 Catholic Conference) goalie Billy Price continued his stellar play turning away 18-of-19 shots. Price made several big saves, including robbing Coughlin from point blank on several scoring chances.

“A lot of his saves were quality stops,” St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “Billy has been solid for us all season, and that was no different tonight.”

Although Coughlin was held off the score sheet that didn’t mean he played poorly because he was still a force in the offensive zone.

“He is one of the best players in high school hockey, and I think he stood out there tonight because he did a terrific job,” Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson said. “It takes more than one player to win hockey games.”

Catholic Memorial (8-5-2, 2-4-0) has run into a bit of a rut going 0-4-2, but there is one thing it must do differently next game:

“Score more goals,” Bill Hanson said.

In the first period, both teams came out like a house of fire throwing bodies around on occasion. St. John’s Prep challenged Catholic Memorial goalie, Brandon Collett early and often. Collett turned away several one-time attempts from point blank, which included a sliding pad save on Justin Longo. Collett had 26 saves on the night.

“They have a young goalie [freshman], so we knew that we needed to get a lot of shots on goal (30),” St. John’s defenseman Ean Mendeszoon said.

In the second period, St. John’s Prep scored two early goals inside of the first three minutes. Brian Pinho started the scoring sliding the puck through Collett’s five-hole on a breakaway.

“[That goal] absolutely got us going because we had a poor first period,” Kristian Hanson said. “We needed something to get us going, so what was a big goal for us.”

Only 1:13 later, Cam Shaheen flung a perfect pass to Paul Crehan, who was waiting by the back post. Crehan buried the puck on a bang-bang play.

Catholic Memorial would answer on the power play though as Beau Starrett buried a rebound past Price, cutting the Eagles lead to only, 2-1.

“After they scored that power play goal it kind of put us in a little bit of a funk,” Kristian Hanson said.

Catholic Memorial’s Kevin Hock came right back on a breakaway following the Starrett goal. Hock fired a shot and followed his own rebound, but Price was able to turn away both shots.

In the final seconds of the third, Brandano tallied his first goal of the night on a play set up by Jimmy Currier. Brandano looked as if he was going to shoot as he charged the goal, but he went to the backhand.

“I thought about just shooting, but I went backhand because I saw the goalie sliding over,” Brandano said.

Brandano put the game out of reach midway through the third period, as he followed his down rebound and beat Collett.

“It was a really nice team play,” Kristian Hanson said. “We got the puck up to Currier, and he found Andrew [Brandano]. He was calm and patient with the puck because he didn’t just shoot out, and he buried it on his own rebound.

Hines' legacy preserved at St. John's Prep

January, 27, 2013

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Prior to Saturday afternoon's game against BC High, the St. John's Prep hockey team listened to a pregame talk from Steve and Sue Hines.

The Hines' are the parents of Derek Hines, a former St. John's Prep student and hockey and lacrosse player, in whose honor the game was played. After graduating from the Prep, Derek Hines went on to West Point where he continued his hockey career and graduated in 2003.

He went on to complete Ranger and Airborne school while serving as a graduate assistant with Army's hockey program before joining up with the 173rd Airborne Division. Initially stationed in Italy, Hines was ultimately deployed to his unit in Afghanistan.

On Sept. 1, 2005, in Baylough, Afghanistan, his unit came under attack while conducting security operations. Hines was shot and killed at the age of 25.

[+] EnlargeDerek HInes
Bruce Lerch for ESPNBoston.comMembers of the St. John's Prep hockey team make a presentation to the family of former Eagles standout Derek Hines. Hines, who also starred at Army, was killed in action in Afghanistan in Sept. 2005.
After completing his first season as the head hockey coach at St. John's Prep, Kristian Hanson created the Derek Hines Memorial Game, which is now in its fifth year. Inspired by Hines' tale of bravery and courage, the Eagles are 4-1 in these games after Saturday's 3-2 victory over BC High.

"For us a hockey program, to give a little bit back to the family, to give something to the foundation, it's special for us, it's special for me as a coach," Hanson described. "It's something that we started five years ago and its grown into something pretty special. Each year we look forward to it and I thought today was a wonderful day overall for the foundation."

Sue and Steve Hines talked to the Eagles about Derek's life, the can-do attitude with which he took to everything, and what it meant to them to be part of the St. John's Prep family.

Steve Hines told the team an emotional story about something his son once told a friend of his named Eddie Hill, a Newburyport native who spent 13 years playing minor league hockey and was a second round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

"When Derek was in Afghanistan he had a chance to to talk to Eddie and he explained to Eddie about when he's in a helicopter, getting ready to jump out of a helicopter on a mission, he had the same feeling as in a locker room," Hines said after the game. "He got that same feeling in the helicopter he got in the locker room before a game and that's what I talked to them about. I said, 'You're part of something special and this feeling, not everyone gets to experience that.'"

The speech was so inspiring that Hanson didn't say a word to his team when Mr. Hines was finished speaking. He didn't need to.

"It's such a good cause and when Mr. Hines came in and talked to us, Coach Hanson didn't have to say anything afterward," said Eagles junior forward Jimmy Currier, who was the star of the game with two spectacular goals. "Everything he said ... he gave us his whole story ... his work ethic ... never give up and do it for your team and for everyone around you."

The team had a surprise in store for the Hines family as well. Through fundraising efforts, the players earned enough money to not only make a sizable donation to the 1st Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund, but also to purchase new uniforms emblazoned with the Stars & Stripes in Derek's honor. The most important jersey of all was one bearing the number 23 and the Hines name, which hung behind the Eagles bench during the game.

Sue and Steve went on the ice before the game where St. John's Prep Athletic Director Jim O'Leary and the team presented them with a check for $4,000 for the foundation.

"He means a lot to our community," O'Leary said. "The parents, there's a scholarship they have at school plus they have this foundation. His brothers played here afterwards also so they are part of our community. As long as Kristian is here and I'm here, we're going to continue to do this kind of thing for them. They're outstanding people."

BC High coach John Flaherty and his team were looking forward to this game as well. Flaherty spoke earlier in the week about what an honor it is for BC High to chosen to participate in the Hines Game for the third straight year and opened his postgame remarks Saturday with thoughts of the Hines family.

"It was a great game for a great person," Flaherty said. "To honor Derek Hines like they're doing, it's quite a tribute and its well deserved. BC High is honored and privileged to be a part of this game. To see Mr. and Mrs. Hines out there accepting a check to help their foundation, it's great."

For the Hines family, the incredible outpouring of support they have received since Derek's tragic passing has been invaluable. While nothing will ever erase the grief of the tragedy they've endured, like so many other military families across the nation, the efforts of the St. John's Prep community have been as helpful as it gets in coping.

"All of this is about people helping people," Mrs. Hines explained. "People helping us deal with the grief that we've had. We can't change what happened but we can use the donations that they give us to make a difference in a soldier's life. It's amazing how the love from these people helps us to help other people."

Recap: No. 3 St. John's Prep 3, No. 2 BC High 2

January, 27, 2013

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Jimmy Currier had scored but one goal all season for St. John's Prep entering Saturday's Catholic Conference showdown with league-leading BC High.

It's safe to say Currier is officially "off the schneide."

The junior delivered a pair of highlight reel goals in the second period, one to tie the game, the other serving as the eventual game-winner as the third-ranked Prep claimed a 3-2 victory over No. 2 BC High at in the Fifth Annual 1st Lt. Derek Hines Memorial Game at Ristuccia Arena.

"Jimmy's capable of that and we've felt that way all year," praised Prep coach Kristian Hanson. "He's a really talented offensive player. I see it in practice and sometimes it takes one out there to give a kid confidence to go out and do it again. After he got that first one today, you could see it in him - he was confident handling the puck. It was a beautiful shot on that third goal. Jimmy had a great offensive day today."

The victory pulls the Prep (11-2-0 overall; 5-1-0 CC) into a tie with BC High (9-2-2; 4-1-2) atop the league standings with ten points apiece with a game in hand. Thanks to Malden Catholic's 4-3 victory over Catholic Memorial Saturday evening, St. John's can clinch its first league title since 1994 outright with wins over the Knights and Xaverian next week.

Currier's work on both tallies was a thing of beauty. Just one minute after BC High took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Tom Besinger, Currier went end-to-end, weaving around a pair of defenders like pylons before switching back to his forehand just in time to stuff the puck inside the far post at 6:12.

"When I was coming down, I had my feet moving a lot and after I cut to the middle I saw [linemate Andrew] Brandano and I was like, 'I should have gave it to him' and I just ended up going around him and putting it in," Currier described.

Just under five minutes later, Currier found himself with the puck in the right wing corner deep in the BC High zone. He floated out high and left, all the way over the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot through traffic back to the right side to give his club a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.

"When I come out of the corner there it brings up so many options," the junior recalled. "I was coming across, moving left to right and the goalie was moving left to right. I just shot it far side and he didn't see the shot because there was a screen in front."

The Prep scored the game's first goal in equally spectacular fashion. Sprung loose up the right wing by one of his defensemen, Cam Shaheen worked his through the BC High zone, pushed the puck between the skates of his defender, then whirled around him and fired a wrist shot while dropping to one knee at 6:49 of the first.

BC High responded just over two minutes later as freshman defenseman Ryan Shea unleashed a rocket from the point for a power-play marker. BC High grabbed its first lead at 5:12 of the second when Besinger swooped in and buried the rebound of a shot by Sam Topham.

"They are a very good team and we knew that coming in and we skated with them," BC High head coach John Flaherty said. "They're a junior-senior team and they are very good. Brian Pinho, Jack McCarthy, Tyler Bird - those kids are as good as any kid around."

"You know they're coming at you and you know you've got to hang in there for the ride," he continued. "The fact that we skated with them for three periods and we were able to hang around and almost have a chance to tie the game at the end, that's a positive. It's an emotional game for them. A tribute to one of their all-time good players at St. John's Prep so its an emotional game for them. We knew that coming in and I'm proud of my guys for hanging in there for three periods and giving ourselves a chance at the end."