Boston High School: Joe Personeni

Recap: No. 10 Duxbury 5, No. 16 Hingham 3

January, 28, 2014

KINGSTON, Mass. – Name the place, name the time, name the sport – whatever the setting and circumstance, the rivalry between Duxbury and Hingham is bound for dramatics.

Enter Dragons hockey senior forward Matt Murphy. Down a goal entering the third period of Monday’s duel with the No. 16 Harbormen at The Bog, Murphy took control of the third period, scoring two of his three goals (the tying goal and eventual game-winner) and delivering a 5-3 win for the No. 10 Dragons.

With the victory, Duxbury (8-1-3) runs its winning streak to eight games after starting the season winless in its first four.

“He’s been waiting for a game like this,” Duxbury head coach John Blake said of his captain. “Talk about a kid that loves the game of hockey. He’s got a passion for the game. He eats it, drinks it, sleeps it. He’s a guy that keeps his stuff on for a half hour after the game.”

The Dragons twice clawed back from one-goal deficits.

Hingham (6-8-1) scored the lone goal of the first period with Joe Personeni ripping off a wrister from the slot at 8:16.

Duxbury kicked off a tremendous back-and-forth second period on a Nick Marrocco goal at 5:19 before Murphy’s first provided the Dragons with their first lead of the tilt on a rebound at 9:31.

The Harbormen came back to tie the score with a power-play goal by Jonathan Shepard at 11:18. They struck again before the period was out on Patrick Colpoys’ team-leading 11th goal of the season, coming 58 seconds after Shepard’s tally.

“I thought it was exciting hockey,” Blake said. “It was a great atmosphere. It was up-and-down, both teams had chances. It was just one of those games that we thought was going to be decided in the third period.”

The Dragons received a boost straight out of the gate in the third, taking their first power-play chances of the game 12 seconds in. Murphy cashed in at 1:04, with Marrocco picking up his second point of the game on the assist.

On the next shift, Murphy put home the eventual game-winner, just 38 seconds later. He had a gaping net to shoot at, thanks to some nifty work on the assist.

After working the puck down low, winger Matt Saia played the puck out of midair from the side of the net, across the top of the crease to a waiting Murphy, in a tremendous display of hand-eye coordination. He hit Murphy directly on the tape.

“I know he’s got tons of skill, I know Saia like that,” Murphy said. “I saw the puck there and I said, ‘Please bat it over to me.’ He put it right on my stick and I tapped it in, it was unbelievable.”

The Dragons added an insurance goal with 2:14 to play, when Kevin Corcoran collected a loose puck at the blue line and rumbled up the right wing , letting go of a wrist shot from the circle.

A neutral turns positive: The neutral zone battle switched hitherto during a well-paced second period, but Duxbury dominated the middle part of the sheet in the third.

The Dragons found a measure of success throughout with pass crisscrossing the width of the ice and were able to gain the blue line with speed.

It was part of a concerted effort for Duxbury to clean up its act in the pivotal portion of the ice.

“We’ve been working on our turnovers in the neutral zone and trying to limit them,” Murphy said. “We played great tonight, dumped the puck in, chased it, set up our play and it worked out flawlessly.”

The road ahead: While the Dragons gain bragging rights and further momentum toward a potential run at a Super 8 tournament berth, the loss marks the beginning of another streak for a Harbormen squad which only trended in one of two directions this season.

After starting the season 0-6-1, Hingham rolled through the holidays and its early January schedule with six straight wins. But the Harbormen are now faced with another two-game losing skid after a pair of losses against Top 25 ranked opponents (St. John’s of Shrewsbury and Duxbury).

Sitting on the south side of .500, a playoff push in the final month of the season is only complicated for the Hingham, which annually plays one of the toughest Division 1 schedules in the state as an independent.

To qualify for the tournament, the Harbormen realistically will have to win five of their final seven contests – at least five of those games will again come against teams ranked in last week’s Top 25.

“The games that we won in that streak, we played good defense and we scored some timely goals,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “I tell them that that’s the way we’re going to have to win. Sometimes we get a little too anxious and jump up into the play and create opportunities [for the opposition].”

Recap: No. 9 Hingham 5, St. Mary's (Lynn) 0

December, 29, 2012
MALDEN, Mass. -- If a tie is like kissing your sister, then winning a consolation game at a holiday hockey tournament must be something of the same ilk.

That was the general feeling around the Hingham locker room after the No. 9 Harbormen thrashed St. Mary’s 5-0 in the consolation game of the Christie Serino Christmas Classic at the Valley Forum.

“Coming off that tough loss, collapsing in the third period, [the goal] was to come back and get a win,” Hingham junior captain Matt Brazel said.

Win the Harbormen did as they ran over a talented, but inexperienced St. Mary’s team from the start. Hingham registered 12 shots in first period, one more than the Spartans did in the entire game, and held St. Mary’s without a shot for the first 10-plus minutes of the game.

The Harbormen (4-2-0) finally got on the board exactly 12 minutes into the game when Joe Personeni snuck a wraparound past sophomore goalie Connor Jennings. Hingham added another just under two minutes later when Sam D’Antuono jammed the puck in on the power play.

D’Antuono finished with a hat trick.

“I was happy with our team’s effort right from the beginning,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We established a good forecheck and it helped the defensive zone.”

The Harbormen suffocated the Spartans whenever they were able to push the puck over the red line. St. Mary’s played noticeable better in the final two periods, but Hingham was always a step ahead.

A goal from Brazel in the final minute of the second period seemed to take the win out of the Spartans’ sails. Brazel also assisted on D’Antuono’s last goal.

“That line’s going pretty good,” Messina said. “That line is really strong. Unfortunately, we count on them to score a lot of goals for us.”

Senior Justin Ryder added three assists for Hingham.

“He’s a contributor on that second line and we have him there for a reason,” Messina said. “He adds an offensive punch to the second line.”

The Spartans played their strongest period of the game in the third, but Hingham was still able to power through and score a pair of goals.

“They were very senior, veteran-type team,” St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said. “We went out, worked hard, and I just think the bigger, stronger team just won. I think that has to do with their experience. They’ll be doing well at the end of the season.”

Repeating greatness is never easy.

Repeating the greatest year in St. Mary’s history: that’s a whole different story.

The 2012-2013 edition of the Spartans have over a dozen new faces and the jelling period has come with its share of lumps.

“There’s 15 new faces on that team,” Lee said. “What makes us competitive is that that team has a bunch of kids that want to work for you and do everything it takes to be successful. A lot of energy in there, but we’re going to have growing pains. I think we’re going to be a lot better towards the end of the year.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans as they travel south on Wednesday to take on a talented Braintree team. Lee said that the thing this team needs more is playing in big games.

“I think our team grew as a team playing a team like Hingham, regardless of winning or losing,” Lee said. “We have an extremely competitive non-league schedule. We will be a battle-tested team regardless of our record and really help some of our players who haven’t experienced it yet.”

The Spartans get a rematch with Hingham at the end of January at Pilgrim. They have the talent and ability to be a more complete team by that game, but only time will tell whether this will be a year of success for St. Mary’s or a year of rebuilding.