Boston High School: John Carlson

Recap: No. 2 Malden Catholic 6, No. 13 Hingham 2

December, 28, 2013

MALDEN, Mass. – It's impossible for a hockey player to put up a six-point night and do it modestly.

But Malden Catholic's Ara Nazarian did just that. The junior star for the Lancers netted three goals and helped on three others as Malden Catholic beat Hingham, 6-2, in a physically demanding semifinal of the Chris Serino Holiday Classic at the Valley Forum.

Nazarian's linemates Tyler Sifferlen and Jake Witkowski also frequented the score sheet. Sifferlen had two goals and a pair of assists, while Witkowski added three assists.

“Our line's been playing good recently,” Nazarian said. “We have good chemistry. We know where each other is on the ice, and we've just been playing well finding each other on the ice. We've got a pretty good line.”

Hingham, playing without captain John Carlson, came to play and took the game to the Lancers early. Hingham matched Malden's physicality and a late goal from Jonathan Shepard tied the game at one heading into the intermission.

Malden Catholic coach John McLean said he was less than pleased with his team's performance out of the gate.

“They kind of believe they can show up, put a shirt on, and everyone's going to lay down for them,” McLean said. “We have that same talk before every game and it hasn't quite sunk in yet. We had an adult talk in between periods and they did what they were supposed to do.

“I wasn't happy with the game at all. I thought we were very poor defensively. Guys were more worried about points than playing team defense.”

Sifferlen and Nazarian scored 1:14 apart in the first two minutes of the second period to put a window between the Lancers and Hingham.

MC put four goals on the board in the second period, but Hingham had the lion's share of quality scoring chances. The Harbormen missed passes and deflections, clanged pucks off post, and were stonewalled by Lancer keeper Alex Reissis but they kept finding ways to not score.

“The guys didn't react the way I wanted, but we hung in there,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said. “We had our chances to score we just didn't put them away. First and third period we tied, second period we lost big unfortunately. We're going to pull the important small things out of it and build from there.”

FIRST LINE PROWESS: Malden Catholic's top line showed why it might be the top line in the state, racking up 13 points. However, it's their chemistry without the puck that makes the line so lethal.

One can throw a pass into empty space and another fills it at the last moment and bangs the puck home.

“I like the line; they work well together,” MacLean said. “When Tyler [Sifferlen] gets the puck on his stick he's going to finish. He's a real good team player.”

Sifferlen and Nazarian have been playing together for multiple years and Witkowski has found a way to seamlessly work his way in.

“Me and [Sifferlen] have been playing together for the past three years so we've always had that chemistry,” Nazarian said. “Jake fits in well with our line. He knows where we're going to be and we know where he's going to be so it works out.”

ESPN Boston preseason MIAA boys' hockey All-State

December, 16, 2013
Presenting our MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team:

1st Team
F – Bobo Carpenter, Jr., Austin Prep
F – Ara Nazarian, Jr., Malden Catholic
F – Tyler Sifferlen, Sr., Malden Catholic
D – Ean Mendeszoon, Sr., St. John’s Prep
D – Nick Rolli, Sr., Malden Catholic
G – Colin Soucy, Sr., Central Catholic

2nd Team
F – Peter Crinella, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Lloyd Hayes, Sr., Central Catholic
F – Nolan Redler, Sr., Winchester
D – Andrew Cross, Sr., Austin Prep
D – Bryan Nelson, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
G – Elijah Harris, Jr. Austin Prep

3rd Team
F – Patrick Kramer, Jr., BC High
F – Antonio Marini, Sr., Xaverian
F – Pat Shea, Jr., Marshfield
D – John Carlson, Sr., Hingham
D – Adam Crowley, Sr., Burlington
G – Brandon Collett, Soph., Catholic Memorial

D2 Baseball State Final: Hingham 7, Auburn 6 (12 inn.)

June, 16, 2013

LOWELL, Mass. -- When a baseball game goes into extra innings, especially five extra innings, each team cares less and less about preserving an inning and becomes ultra focused on getting that one run it needs.

Such was the case Saturday in the Division 2 state final at LeLacheur Park. As the sun faded behind the bleachers and the stadium lights came on, Hingham’s Cody Clifford came to the plate with the bases loaded. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he sent a ball back up the middle, giving his team the hard fought 7-6 victory over Auburn.

[+] EnlargeHingham Baseball
Jon Mahoney for ESPNCody Clifford's walk-off single set off Hingham's celebration.
The game almost did not see one extra inning, let alone five. The teams went into the seventh, and normally final inning, tied 5-5. Auburn (20-5) took a one-run lead in the top of the inning and seemed to sap all the momentum out of the game. That was, until Hingham (21-6) came back and answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning.

Luke Ferris singled to start the inning, and was promptly bunted over to second by Matt Glenzel. Steve White struck out, leaving the Harbormen down to their last out. Joe Leahy took a 2-0 pitch and belted it off the right field wall for a triple, which scored Ferris. In a somewhat gutsy call, Auburn coach Eric Swedberg decided to intentionally walk the next two hitters to load the bases. His gamble paid off when Austin Irvin flew out to third, ending the inning and sending the game into extras.

In the 12th, Even Flanagan and Irvin drew back-to-back one-out walks. John Carlson flew out to center to advance the runners up a base. Swedberg decided to intentionally walk David Hutchins, who was 2-for-6 until that, and load the bases. That brought up Clifford, who ended the game and sent his team and its fans home happy.

“My mind went blank,” said Clifford of the final hit. “I was looking at the right fielder. I thought he might throw it into the first baseman because I hit it out there pretty fast. I went straight into the base and touched the base.”

The Hingham players hit coach Frank Niles with the ceremonial Gatorade bath after the game, putting an end to the most successful season the team could ask for.

“This is a great way to go out senior year,” said Clifford. “It’s a great ending to my baseball career. It could not have ended any better. I’ll always remember this day from here on. It’s really surreal.”

Embrace the unusual: If there is one word to describe Saturday’s game, it is unconventional. Both teams removed their starting pitchers, and Auburn even put their pitchers back in the game. Tyler LaMonda started the game for the Rockets and was relieved by Mike Vaitkunas.

While conventional wisdom is that once a pitcher is done throwing, he will at the very least play a different position. Auburn chose to put LaMonda back in the game to throw the ninth inning. They then put Vaitkunas back on the mound for the tenth, and he threw the final three innings.

Hingham had an unorthodox decision of its own when it decided to allow Clifford to hit in the 12th. He was removed from the game in the fifth inning by Luke Ferris after striking out in his first two at-bats. Ferris was then pinch hit for in the eighth by William Boynton. Conventional baseball managing is that once you take your hitter out of the game, he does not return for the remainder. However, Niles decided to put his senior third baseman back in the game at its most critical time.

“Cody is a good hitter,” said the coach. “When we took Evan Flanagan out [he was pinch run for in the 12th] we had to make a splash. I clarified the rule first because Billy [Boynton] was DH’d for but we could’ve re-entered him back to second base. So we’re sitting back there, I didn’t want to do it earlier because if they didn’t allow me to put Boynton back in, I didn’t want to go there because I wouldn’t have my best defense on the field.”

“Cody’s a good hitter,” he emphasized. “He got a big hit against Plymouth North in the tournament. He’s a good hitter. He didn’t swing very well prior to the last swing, so I’m happy for him.”

Carlson pounds 'em: John Carlson relieved Evan Flanagan in the fifth inning, and pitched the final eight innings for Hingham. The left was particularly effective with his sharp-bending curveball, getting the Auburn hitters to swing above the ball. He finished with nine strikeouts, walked five, and allowed only one earned run in eight innings of relief.

“I knew I had to throw strikes up there,” he said after the game. “My curveball was working pretty good for me. I just didn’t walk too many guys, that was the key.”

There was no sign of anyone warming up in the Hingham bullpen at all during the extra frames, indicating that Niles was going to stick with Carlson as long as he could and as long as he remained in control of the Auburn hitters. Carlson said himself after the game he was willing to pitch as long as he had to until his team won the game and that his arm actually felt better as the innings wore on.

“He’s one of the toughest kids,” said Niles of Carlson. “He came in relief earlier in the tournament. He’s a can-do guy, he really thinks he can do it all the time and he’s a battler. He said, ‘I’ve got plenty Coach, I’ve got all you need.’ So it was a type of day where I didn’t know how many innings he had gone, I didn’t know how many pitches he had thrown, but it really didn’t matter.”

D2 South Baseball: Hingham 5, Plymouth North 4

June, 4, 2013
HINGHAM, Mass. -— In arguably Hingham’s biggest spot of the season, senior Cody Clifford stood calm at the plate.

The Harbormen had just tied the game at four and had a runner on third with two outs in the bottom of the sixth against Plymouth North in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

With the Eagles’ infield in to try and cut down the potential go-ahead run, Clifford worked the count full and anticipated a fastball over the heart of the plate, knowing Plymouth North pitcher Kyle Mann couldn’t afford to put another runner on base.

Clifford guessed right and drove Mann’s heater through the infield and into right field to give Hingham its only lead of the game; one it held onto in the top of the seventh as John Carlson set down the Eagles in order to grab a 5-4 victory at Cronin Field.

The fourth-seeded Harbormen will play No. 1 seed Nauset in the semifinals of the Division 2 South Tournament, Thursday night at Adams Field in Quincy.

Fifth-seed Plymouth North took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth after Ryan Moskos willed the Eagles back on top after stealing second, third and finally home to send the Plymouth North dugout into a frenzy. While on third, Moskos capitalized on Carlson being left-handed and going through the windup, allowing him to take a big lead and jolt for the plate as Carlson’s delivery was too slow and Moskos slid ahead of the tag to grab the lead.

But the Hingham bats finally came to life. After Austin Irvin and David Hutchins singled to put runners on the corners with one out, Plymouth North coach Dwayne Follette pulled starter Kenny Drew (5-1/3 innings, five runs, four earned, seven hits) in favor of the freshman Mann.

Mann’s first pitch slipped through his catcher’s legs, scoring the runner from third and allowing Brett Tivnan — who pinch ran for Hutchins at first -— to scamper all the way to third, forcing the infield in, which allowed Clifford’s single to squirt through.

“We’re a pretty good offensive team,” Hingham coach Frank Niles said. “So we kept at it and ran the bases a little bit and I think we thought we could do it, so that’s a big part.”

But had it not been for Carlson, the Harbormen might have been out of this one early. Hingham starter Billy Boynton only lasted a third of an inning after the Eagles bats roped three hits and hit two balls in the hole that Hingham’s second baseman and shortstop couldn’t handle, leading to three unearned runs and an early exit for Boynton.

Carlson came in with the bases loaded and struck out the next two batters to retire the side and hold Plymouth North to just three. Carlson allowed only one run in his 6-2/3 innings of relief, striking out eight while surrendering just three hits and walking three.

“He’s not afraid of anything,” Niles said of Carlson. “He’s a hockey guy and he stood tall today and he got us out of that first inning.”

Carlson, who started the game in left field before replacing Boynton, mixed in his fastball and consistently threw his curveball for strikes, and said his team didn’t do their part to help out Boynton.

“We didn’t support him too much in the field, so I came in and did what I had to do — hit my spots and got the job done,” Carlson said.

The Harbormen used a three-run third to tie the score. Stephan White and Joe Leahy led off the frame with back-to-back singles, and after a double steal put both runners in scoring position, Eddie Bowler drove home White with a groundout to second.

One batter later, Leahy took off from second to try and steal third, and when the throw got past the Eagles third baseman, Leahy raced on home to bring Hingham within one at 3-2. Then, Irvin belted a solo home run over the fence in right field to knot the score at three.

Our MIAA boys' hockey All-State Team

March, 28, 2013
All-StateF - Liam Coughlin, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Finished third among all Division 1 players in scoring, while leading the Knights back to the Super 8 for the first time since 2009-10. The South Boston native put up 28-20-48 totals, tied for first among Catholic Conference scorers this season.

All-StateF - Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
ESPN Boston’s Mr. Hockey award winner this season, Nazarian had 26-22-48 totals for the regular season, along with nine goals and five assists during the Super 8 tournament for the three-time defending champions. The Boxford resident and center is the first underclassman to win the Mr. Hockey award.

All-StateF – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The Providence College commit led the Eagles to a No. 1 seed in this year’s Super 8 tournament. The North Andover resident compiled 12-24-36 totals this season and, in January, was ranked No. 117 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.

All-StateD – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph., Malden Catholic
The North Reading resident earned his second Super 8 title with the Lancers, playing on all defensive units and is one of two players making a second-straight appearance on our All-State team. The Boston College commit had 5-17-22 totals on the season and recently was accepted in the United States National Team Development Program’s U-17 team.

All-StateD – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
The two-way blue-liner finished third on the Panthers in scoring with 10-16-26 totals this year while leading them to another Super 8 apperance. A Longmeadow resident, the captain is deciding among prep schools for next year, as well as offers to play in college.

All-StateG – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High
The only repeating First-Team All-Stater this year, Cronin finished in the top five among Division 1 netminders in both goals against average (1.40) and save percentage (94.6) while starting all 23 of the Eagles’ games. He is currently considering colleges among playing opportunities at the prep school and junior levels.

All-StateF – Tom Besinger, Jr., BC High
The Eagles’ top center and captain was force to reckon with in the circle, in addition to leading the Eagles with 35 points (10 goals and a team-best 25 assists).
All-StateF – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
Finished his high school career with back-to-back Division 2 state championships. Owens racked up 30 points, playing alongside All-State honorable mention Brendan McDonough. Owens is currently weighing prep and junior options for next year.
All-StateF – Nolan Vesey, Sr., Austin Prep
The senior captain led the Cougars back to the Super 8 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and all the way to a finals appearance at the Garden. Vesey led AP in goals (18) and points (31) while kicking in 13 assists.
All-StateD – Nick Gorski, Sr., Central Catholic
A player who head coach Mike Jankowski repeatedly called his “most improved player” since freshman year, the Raiders captain played on all units, leading Central to another Super 8 appearance.
All-StateD – Jack Williams, Sr. Springfield Cathedral
A major component to perhaps the state’s best blue-line core, Williams did a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including playing forward on power-play units. The Suffield, Conn. resident tallied four goals and 19 assists for 23 points. He is currently weighing his playing options for next season.

All-StateG – Colin Soucy, Jr., Central Catholic
The break-out star of this year’s Super 8 tournament, Soucy nearly delivered the Raiders to a quarterfinal-round upset of No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in his first year as Central’s starting netminder.

Best of the Rest – Honorable Mention
Tyler Bird, Jr., St. John’s Prep
Tommy Bishop, Sr., Chelmsford
Matt Brazel, Jr., Hingham
Brian Brooks, Jr., Canton
Mike Carbone, Sr., Marshfield
Bobo Carpenter, Soph., Austin Prep
A.J. Couto, Sr., Danvers
Ben Cox, Sr., Medfield
Peter Crinella, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
Cam Curley, Sr., Franklin
Sam D’Antuono, Jr., Hingham
Jordan Dow, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Josh Edwards, Sr., Blue Hills
Brendan Greene, Jr., Winchester
C.J. Grinnell, Sr., Burlington
Marc Happy, Jr., Wachusett
Lloyd Hayes, Jr., Central Catholic
Kevin Hock, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Mike Iovanna, Sr., Malden Catholic
Andrew Irving, Sr., Beverly
Connor Irving, Jr., Beverly
Ryan Jones, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
Jack Kilty, Sr., Medway
Pat Kramer, Soph., BC High
Tom Koopman, Jr., Marblehead
Matt Kustra, Sr., Natick
Brendan McDounough, Jr., Wilmington
Anthony Lespasio, Sr., Bedford
Jack O’Hear, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Derek Petti, Sr., Tewksbury
Eddie Pratt, Sr., Xaverian
Nolan Redler, Jr., Winchester
Tyler Sifferlen, Jr., Malden Catholic
Mike Sorenti, Jr., Archbishop Williams
Sean Spohr, Sr., Westfield
Max Turcotte, Sr., Holliston
Max Willman, Sr., Barnstable

Matt Burchill, Sr., Marshfield
Derek Butler, Jr., Natick
John Carlson, Jr., Hingham
Adam Crowley, Jr., Burlington
Nick Edwards, Jr., Blue Hills
Sean Heelan, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Kurt Leavitt, Sr., Canton
Bryan Nelson, Soph., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Nick Rolli, Jr., Malden Catholic
Ryan Shea, Frosh, BC High
Sam Topham, Sr., BC High

Tim Birarelli, Soph., Beverly
Alex Buckley, Sr., Newburyport
Brandon Collett, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Jordan Davis, Sr., Norwood
Derek DeCastro, Sr., Burlington
Drew Foley, Jr., Wilmington
Nolan Greene, Jr., North Quincy
Elijah Harris, Soph., Austin Prep
John Liquori, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
Al Lynch, Jr., Framingham
Evan Morelli, Sr., Reading
James Offner, Soph., Winchester
Nick Russo, Sr., Waltham
Jimmy Tierney, Soph., Oliver Ames

D1 South: Hingham 8, Barnstable 1

March, 7, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- A packed house full of Barnstable fans was ready for the nightcap at Gallo Ice Arena. The Red Raiders’ fans were plentiful and loud. And just 91 seconds into the game, those fans were even louder when Colin Jones gave Barnstable (14-5-4) a 1-0 lead.

The fans’ joy would be short-lived.

Hingham stormed back into its Division 1 South semifinal and scored eight straight goals to advance to the sectional final with an 8-1 win. Junior forward Matt Brazel (two goals, six assists) had his hands in each of the team’s goals.

Hingham head coach Tony Messina was able to smile and make jokes after his team’s dominant performance on Wednesday night.

“I’m going to go back there and tell him [Brazel] that he played just alright,” Messina chuckled.

He added, “Today we played with some emotion. I knew that [Barnstable] would come out strong and they did, you know, they scored the first goal. We kind of took it over from there.”

Brazel scored twice in the first period, and laid off an assist for Justin Ryder, to get Hingham back into the game. The captain ended the night for Barnstable starting goalie Kevin Huska with a great move on a clear breakaway, which made it 3-1 at the end of the first.

Hingham (16-7-2) allowed Central Catholic to come from behind and steal its Super 8 play in game, but this time the Harbormen showed no mercy. They tacked on four goals in the second period, all assisted by Brazel. Junior Sam D’Antuono continued his goalscoring streak with a pair of goals around a score by Stephen Hughes. Freshman defenseman Luke McInnis added the team’s seventh just before the end of the second period.

“We told our kids after the first period that we were lucky to be ahead three-to-one,” Messina said about the team’s second-period explosion. “They like to throw that long pass forward off the boards. When that doesn’t work and we stop it, then we had the advantage on the transition and that’s what we did.”

John Carlson added the eighth Hingham goal early in the third period when he finished off a two on the goalie break with Brazel. Following the goal, Messina emptied his bench to assure that none of his stars picked up injuries or penalties once the game was out of hand.

With his team coming together and making a run at the Division 1 title, Messina believes that the difficulties that the team encountered this season have prepared it for tough tournament games.

“Just kind of quirky stuff has happened to us all year long. You know, if we’re not tested tough by now then we’re never going to be,” he said.

Hingham will await the winner of Archbishop Williams and Marshfield in the finals.

D1 South: Hingham 5, Norwood 4

March, 4, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- For one fleeting second everything stopped.

With Norwood down one and the clock winding under 30 seconds, a freak bounce put the puck in John Galvin’s wheelhouse and Hingham goalie John Grenier completely out of position. Galvin whiffed on the shot and Hingham held on to win a wild 5-4 Division 1 South quarterfinal yesterday at Gallo Arena.

“They played a great game, with intensity and fired up,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said of the Mustangs. “For some reason we didn’t. I told them we have to work the whole first period. They came back every single time. They weren’t very hard shots but they got through. It’s tough to explain.”

Hingham set the tone early.

Sam D’Antuono scored 3:07 to put the Harbormen up early. D’Antuono and his linemate, Matt Brazel, combined for six points on the afternoon.

Norwood answered late in the period with goals from Dan Wiseman and Jack Sheehan to go up 2-1 after 15 minutes.

D’Antuono scored 28 seconds into the second period to tie it, and Hingham continued to control much of the possession, but Norwood was able to capitalize on their chances. Mike Roy scored midway through the second to tie it.

Brazel scored 73 seconds later to put Hingham up 3-2.

“They’re go-to guys, it’s obvious,” Messina said of D’Antuono and Brazel. “That line was out there the all the time.”

Justin Ryder buried a rebound at the 5:53 of the third to put Hingham ahead to give Hingham its third lead of the game. Norwood’s Jordan Davis stepped up between the pipes, turning aside 26 shots, but the Hingham attack was too much.

Luke McInnis tipped a shot in with just under two minutes to go. Sheehan scored 27 seconds later with an extra attacker on the ice, which led to the frantic final minute, but it wasn’t enough.

“We hung tough, kept plugging away,” Norwood coach Bill Clifford said. “If John gets that one at the end we’re tied at five.

“I told them to keep their heads up. They’re champs in my book. They won their league, and went down swinging.”

When asked about transitioning to the South tournament after the loss against Central Catholic, Messina smiled and said “What loss to Central?”

Messina said that his squad has taken a water-under-the-bridge attitude to the game and is full committed to winning D1 South and the state title.

“I think they probably think about it every day, but we tried to refocus the next day,” Messina said. “We’ve have had two games in this tournament so far so I’m hoping they’ve refocused and forgotten about that game.”

After Hingham won a defensive zone faceoff with nine seconds left, one of the Harbormen pinned the puck to the boards and killed the final seconds. In the ensuing scramble Norwood’s Rourke Flynn was dropped from a hit from behind.

Flynn took exception to the hit and after some pushing and shoving he, and Hingham’s John Carlson, dropped the gloves and started fighting while a fracas involving at least half a dozen players broke out that took over a minute to bring under control.

Flynn was assessed a game misconduct retroactively while Carlson was not assessed any penalty.

Recap: No. 6 Hingham 3, No. 13 Winchester 1

February, 11, 2013

HINGHAM, Mass. -- Hingham outshot Winchester, 35-15, Monday night at Pilgrim Rink. If quantifying the Harbormen’s time of possession, it would have approached approximately 70 percent in their favor. They were fast, strong, and in control.

But heading into the final minutes of the third period, it was still just a one-goal game and the Sachems, led by sophomore goaltender James Offner (32 saves), were one chance away from stealing a point on the road.

Finally, with 1:47 remaining in the game, junior forward Sam D’Antuono tipped a shot through Offner’s 5-hole and Hingham (12-5-1) could celebrate a crucial 3-1 win, boosting its chances of earning a place in the Super 8.

“We’re just trying to win every shift, every period,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. “I know that sounds clichéd, but with our schedule it’s like this every night. Winchester is a very good team, but every other team we play seems to be good, too.”

He then added, “We have a little trouble scoring goals so every team seems to be tough for us. We’re used to these types of games.”

The way that the game started, it did not look like scoring would be an issue for the hosts. Hingham, riding the emotion of the pregame Senior Night ceremony, stormed out of the gates and outshot Winchester, 13-3, in the opening period. Stephen Hughes had already hit an early post when senior forward Jack Gordon flicked a shot past Offner to make it 1-0 at 6:22.

Winchester (11-4-2), which had turned the puck over in its defensive zone leading to the opening goal, was struggling to get any offense. Yet, 27 seconds into the second period, the game was tied. A scramble in front of Hingham goalie John Grenier was stabbed home by Bobby Keane on a feed by Brendan Greene.

Sachems head coach Matt Spang was proud of the way his team reacted to going behind and battled back against a strong opponent.

“They came at us hard, which we knew they would because they’re a very good team,” he said. “The first five minutes they were on us, but we weathered the storm and got right back in the game. In the third period we didn’t find another gear, which is unfortunate.”

After recording the first three shots of the second period, all within the opening 90 seconds, Winchester could not sustain the momentum and slowly Hingham got back the control of the game. After being repeatedly thwarted by Offner, the Harbormen finally regained the lead.

With the two teams skating 4-on-4, Hingham stole the puck in the neutral zone and junior defenseman John Carlson drove at the Sachems defense. He then fired a pass across to the far circle where junior captain Matt Brazel fired an unstoppable one-timer just inside the post to make it 2-1. It was the type of goal that comes from playing on the same line since juniors and, according to Messina, a much needed score for the team.

He remarked, “The second goal that they got just drives a coach crazy. We warned them about that, take their focus off what they’re doing and go out there thinking it’s going to happen by accident. They scored and I think that got them going pretty good. It was good to answer that pretty quickly.”

The Sachems went into the third period down only a goal, despite the gulf in shots and chances created. In the final 15 minutes, Winchester continued to struggle to create scoring opportunities and mustered only four shots on goal, several of which were from outside the blue line.

Hingham was the aggressor, despite the one-goal lead, and with 2:51 left had a goal wiped off the board because the net was dislodged. A little over a minute later, D’Antuono redirected Corbin Robichaud’s shot from the point and put the game away.

“In the third period, it’s a 2-1 game against a very good team,” Spang said, “that’s when we need our better players to step up and that wasn’t the case tonight and that’s unfortunate. I don’t think our ‘D’ zone was great tonight. We need to improve a lot.”

He added, “We had a lot of turnovers…way, way, way too many turnovers.”

Messina credited his team’s mentality for forcing the Sachems into giveaways. He noted, “Once we got the forecheck going, we were pretty good. We like to get our defense up in the play so that helps keep the puck in and we did, we turned a couple of those [turnovers] into good shots.”

Recap: No. 1 Malden Catholic 2, No. 9 Hingham 1

December, 28, 2012

MALDEN, Mass. -- Hingham was beating and beat up No. 1 Malden Catholic for the greater part of two periods Thursday in the teams' first-round game at the inaugural Christie Serino Christmas Classic.

The Harbormen took it to the host Lancers and clung to a 1-0 lead through the third period, playing a physical, sound defensive brand of hockey.

Then, as so many teams have found out in the last several years in MC's run to back-to-back Super 8 titles, the margin for error against the Lancers is razor-thin. In about a two-minute span of the third, Hingham went from leading, to tied, to losing and desperate. MC held on the late lead for a 2-1 win over the Harbormen, thanks to a two-goal effort from sophomore center Ara Nazarian.

"You can't be perfect against them, that's tough," Hingham head coach Tony Messina lamented after his team put in a nearly 45-minute complete effort. "They're just coming at you all the time."

Hingham (3-2-0) claimed the lead midway through the second period when junior center Matt Brazel collected a loose puck off the right wing boards in the neutral zone and strafed in on a breakaway at Mach speed, beating Lancers netminder Connor Maloney 5-hole on the finish.

MC (3-0-0) struggle to find any sort of offensive rhythm despite being given three power-play opportunities in the first period, in which the Lancers were held to just two shots. At even strength, the Harbormen continued their aggressive forecheck and clogged up passing lanes through center ice, taking away MC's penchant for home-run type plays through the neutral zone.

"They were jamming us in," Lancers head coach John McLean said. "We found the middle a couple of times, but it comes down to the fact that they outworked us."

However, things opened up for MC ever so slightly in the third period, when the Lancers outshot Hingham, 12-4. While a majority of MC's shots came from the periphery, the Lancers stepped up their presence in front of Harbormen goaltender John Grenier (24 saves). Those efforts came to bear when Nazarian pulled the Lancers even with 6:56 remaining in the game, taking a directed slap pass from defenseman Nick Rolli and chipping it past a splayed out Grenier.

Nazarian then followed with the game-winner 2:33 later, depositing the rebound from a shot by winger Mike Iovanna. Tyler Sifferlen notched his second assist of the game on the play.

"We came out for the first two periods and we got dominated,” Nazarian said. “They were all over us, working way harder than we were. Going into the third, in the locker room, we talked about making the simple plays, just getting it deep and working hard and it paid off."

McLean was frustrated by the Lancers' lack of production on the man-advantage, although both teams combined to go 0-for-10 on the power play, with the respective penalty kill units staving off five chances each.

And while Messina was pleased by the work of his man-down unit, the frequency with which they saw the ice was maddening.

"We had to kill too many penalties the whole game and we use the same players on the kill that we need to score goals, so it worked against us there at the end," Messina said.

Hingham's defensive effort, led by another strong outing from preseason All-State blue-liner John Carlson, on a whole was overshadowed by a momentary lapse in the third period. But the Harbormen imposed their will for the majority of play.

"We were pretty happy about that," Messina said of his team's efforts in the neutral zone. "They're very good with their long passes up to their forwards and that's what you've got to watch for."

Hingham dealt MC a dose of their own medicine when it came to Brazel's goal in the second. The fleet-footed pivot was able to step behind the MC defensive pairing and then turned a step into a country mile.

After collecting the loose puck in full stride, Brazel took on the long stride of Usain Bolt to the finish line before finishing with the wrester.

Brazel's final burst inspired awe on the Harbormen bench, including that of former BC standout and Boston Bruin Bobby Allen, who's an assistant on Messina's staff now, even expressed his amazement.

"We talked about it on the bench," a wide-eyed Messina said.

He added, "He separated, it was unbelievable. That showed me a lot in that it was at the end of his shift, too."

MC advances to play another Top 10 squad in Austin Prep in the Serino Tournament championship game today at the Malden Valley Forum (6 p.m.).

The tournament is dedicated to the memory of the late Lancers head coach and athletic director who succumbed to cancer in October. Serino's wife, sons and family members joined the team captains for a ceremonial puck drop before MC's tilt with Hingham.

"We want to keep it every year and make it special," McLean said of the first-year event. "It was nice having his wife and kids here and his family, it was important. He gave a lot to the school."

Recap: No. 3 Hingham 4, No. 16 Norwood 1

December, 13, 2012
HINGHAM, Mass. – No. 3 Hingham boys’ hockey entered Wednesday’s season opener against No. 16 Norwood as if they were trying to shoot through the Great Wall of China.

The wall that stood in their way at Pilgrim Skating Rink was Mustangs senior netminder Jordan Davis. While the ESPN Boston preseason second-team All-State goaltender did his best to keep it a scoreless game, the barrage he faced made it a mere inevitability that one shot would break through.

Although the Harbormen outshot Norwood 10-1 in the first period, Davis kept it goose eggs on the scoreboard. That wouldn’t last, however, as Hingham opened up in the second period and into the third in a convincing 4-1 win over the Mustangs.

"We knew their defense was a little young, a little inexperienced, and we were trying to get the puck deep every time and shots just naturally come with that,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. “We knew [Davis] was a great goalie and he proved it tonight. You need traffic in front, tips rebounds, those kind of things, it took us a while to break the seal."

Hingham (1-0-0) broke the stalemate with 9:12 to play in the second period as Sam D’Antuono snuck into the Mustangs’ zone on a short-handed breakaway. He beat Davis (39 saves) on the backhand to give the Harbormen a 1-0 lead. D’Antuono finished with a two-point game, adding an assist to Justin Ryder’s goal, Hingham’s last.

Defenseman John Carlson also had a two-point night for the Harbormen, ripping a slapshot into the back of the net at 12:54 of the third period. Carlson added the second helper on Ryder’s tally,

Patrick Colpoys netted the Harbormen’s third goal, a power-play tally with assists from Luke MacInnis and Corbin Robichaud.

John Galvin broke up John Grenier’s shutout bid for Norwood (0-1-0) with 7:56 to play, collecting a loose puck in the slot and beating Grenier stickside. Jack Sheehan and Rourke Flynn picked up assists on the play.

Hingham’s torrid start, controlling play for long stretches of time in Norwood’s defensive zone, might be attributed to a lesson learned by the Harbormen in some of their preseason performances.

“The last couple scrimmages, we were coming out kind of slow in the beginning,” Hingham junior captain and center Matt Brazel said, “so we were amped up in the beginning, and try to get as many shots as possible and crash the net.”

The Harbormen’s fast start in their season opener was matched by the Harborwomen, who opened their season in the nightcap at Pilgrim against Medway/Ashland.

The Harborwomen claimed a 7-1 win, led by Jane Freda’s hat trick. Hannah Falvey (2 goals) and Rachel D’Entremont (2 assists) also had multi-point games for Hingham.

MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team

December, 7, 2012
Continuing our MIAA boys' hockey preseason coverage, here's our preseason All-State team:

1st Team
F – Tom Besinger, Jr. BC High
F – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
F – Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph. Malden Catholic
D – John Carlson, Jr., Hingham
G – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High

2nd Team
F – Mike Iovanna, Sr., Malden Catholic
F – Mike Kelleher, Sr., Central Catholic
F – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
D – Troy Tenaglia, Sr., Braintree
D – Shaymus Colman, Jr., Needham
G – Jordan Davis, Sr., Norwood

3rd Team
F – Tyler Bird, Jr., St. John’s Prep
F – Matt Brazel, Jr., Hingham
F – Connor Irving, Jr., Beverly
D – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
D – Bryan Nelson, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
G – Mario Pizzeri, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

Scrimmage Slants: Garrett Reagan Summit

December, 3, 2012
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Here are some notes and observations from Sunday's Garrett Reagan Hockey Summit played at the New England Sports Center:

Wamps provide the ‘D’: Burlington and Braintree squared off in a battle of Middlesex League and Bay State Conference powers with the Wamps playing their patented, sticky brand of hockey in the neutral zone. Braintree slowed down the Red Devils’ speed through center ice and limited their quality scoring chances behind All-Star defenseman Troy Tenaglia.

A race worth watching will be the Wamps’ goaltending battle. Junior Nick Anson, who earned the shutout Sunday and who is also a member of Braintree’s football team, is the leading candidate to assume Dan Murphy’s old post. Once settled, the Wamps, who will have a strong returning presence up top led by David Fasano and Tom Troy, could be the preseason favorite heading into Bay State play.

Guiding the ship now: We saw major flashes of the promise of Hingham’s junior class last year when they were sophomores playing with the Harbormen in the Super 8. Another year mature, the Harbormen should be poised for another deep Super 8 run behind that tremendously talented class. That talent was on display Sunday as the Harbormen roughed up Peabody. Matt Brazel (11-23-34 in 2011-12) and Sam D’Antuono (9-19-28) will be called upon to shoulder a greater offensive load after Hingham graduated four of their top six scorers from last year. The Harbormen also have a steadying presence on the blue line in John Carlson (2-10-12) who’s already generated plenty of college interest in his two-year career.

‘Work in progress’: Returning Super 8 finalist BC High squared off another of last year’s Super 8 entrants in St. Mary’s of Lynn. And while the Eagles looked crisp at times offensively, the biggest news of the day was who wasn’t on the bench. BC High’s leading scorer Tom Besinger (14-18-32 in 2011-12) was held out by an illness.

“We return a lot of bodies [at forward],” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said, “but we’re finding our lines and some combinations there. We’ve had Michael Brooks and Ryan McDonough have played together for a couple of years now, there’s definitely good chemistry there. Stevie DeForge can skate, so he’s up there with them. Tom Besinger is a dynamic player, too.”

Of course, the constant for BC High has been goaltender Peter Cronin. The senior looked near midseason form while going the distance against the Spartans, showing some fine rebound control.

Panthers can hang: No team was more snake-bitten at last year’s Super 8 than Springfield Cathedral. The Panthers suffered three one-goal losses — two of which came in overtime, the other in a shootout.

While years come and go, Cathedral picked up where it left off on Sunday, skating with two-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic to a 2-2 tie.

The Panthers suffered losses in key areas like any squad, but return a strong nucleus of seniors, including top defensive pairing Matt Foley and Jack Williams.

“They’ve been playing together since they were six years old,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said of his four seniors. “Along the way, they’ve won championships. It’s a good leadership group. But outside of that, we’re young.

“We’ve only got one junior [goaltender John Liquori], but our young kids are really fast and really skilled. I wasn’t sure what we were going to have coming into tryouts, but we had a great first week.”

With Liquori (2.63 GAA) backstopping the Panthers for a second straight year and with sophomore forward Peter Crinella (8-10-18) poised for a break-out season, Cathedral could be in the hunt again.

10 (or so) hockey underclassmen to watch

March, 28, 2012
As we wrap up the season that was in MIAA hockey, we take look ahead to next season with 10 (or so) players to watch in the 2012-13 season.

This list is comprised of underclassmen players we saw this season who we thought warranted a little extra attention and who might not be known to all, but who all could steal the stage in the coming years.

1. Tom Besinger, Soph. F, BC High – For what the winger might lack in stature, he makes up for in speed and grit. Although he often gives up size to defensemen, Besinger is fearless in the corners. With a 14-goal, 18-assist output on the season, he could be in for bigger numbers in his junior year with the Eagles.

2. Ara Nazarian, Frosh. F, Malden Catholic – You could make that case that the Lancers’ first-year center was the most consistent player in the Super 8 tournament with five points and more than a couple timely goals. Nazarian figures to be the next in a line of Division 1 prospects to come through the Lancers’ pipeline with a blend of speed and crafty stickwork.

3. Casey Fitzgerald, Frosh. F, Malden Catholic – Speaking of the Lancers’ front-line talent, the first-year blue-liner might have been the best in the state as a freshman. Where his talent can carry him during the next three years is stunning to think. Already a terrific skater, the younger Fitzgerald only scratched the surface with his 2-15-17 totals in 2011-12.

4. Matt Brazel, Soph. F, Hingham – The Harbormen defied a lot of folks’ expectations this season, including us, making yet another Super 8 appearance as a top-six seed. This talented sophomore, along with Sam D’Antuono (9-19-28), will pack a punch for Hingham as long as they don the sweater. Plus, Brazel’s quickly turned himself into one of the top draw-men in the state, as evidenced during the Super 8 tournament.

5. John Carlson, Soph. D, Hingham – The Harbormen blue-liner plays a bit like his Washington Capitals’ namesake, as a rugged physical presence who’s also able to make tape-to-tape breakout passes consistently. Carlson put up 2-10-12 totals last season and was named to the MSHCA Sophomore/Junior all-star team.

6. Dan Eruzione, Soph. F, Winthrop – Eruzione was a driving force behind the Vikings’ Div. 2 North finals appearance and was part of one of the state’s most feared scoring duos along with Chris LeBlanc. He scored 15 goals with 24 assists for 39 points on the season.

7. Mike Donadio, Soph. G, Franklin – A big reason why the Panthers made a repeat appearance at the Garden in the Div. 2 state championship game. The netminder posted a 1.64 goals against average and an 89.9 save percentage in his first year as starter.

8. Adrieana Rossini, Frosh. F, Arlington Catholic – The freshman provided a nice scoring complement to senior Natalie Flynn, scoring eight goals along with 14 assists. Rossini loomed large in the Cougars’ Division 1 state championship run, with a goal in the final versus St. Mary’s of Lynn and potting the game-winner in overtime during the Cougars’ semi-final win over Braintree.

9. Marissa Fichter, Frosh. F, Duxbury – Fichter’s play throughout the Division 2 tournament might have been one of the biggest surprises of the postseason. She posted 13-13-26 totals on the season while skating along with fellow first-year players Jane Dudley and Meredith Wright, meaning the Dragons will be set offensively for years to come — not to mention that netminder Rachel Myette is just a sophomore as well.

10. The Falmouth Youth Movement – We couldn’t really pick just one over the others, but the point remains that the Lady Clippers, like the aforementioned Dragons who they met at the Garden, will stay strong. With first-year head coach Erin Blood leading the way, it starts in nets with freshman Maddie Scavotto (1.35 GAA). Freshmen Madison Haberl (12-12-24), Kelly Ferreira (14-10-24) and Rachel Moore (11-5-16), along with sophomore Alexa Scribner (8-4-12) will hold down the scoring while Hannah Ghelfi (1-6-7), Callan Small (0-4-4) and Kendall Stouffer (0-9-9) provide as good a young blue-line you will find in the state.

Recap: No. 13 St. Mary's 5, No. 9 Hingham 1

December, 22, 2011
LYNN, Mass. -- St. Mary's put together about as complete an effort as a hockey team can expect in its fourth game of the season. In the process, they also made a rather loud statement that they are ready, willing and able to lock horns with the upper echelon programs around the state.

Junior defenseman Andrew Markham scored twice, the first two goals of his career, and the 13th-ranked Spartans hit on three of seven power play chances to take a 5-1 decision over No. 9 Hingham Wednesday night at Connery Rink.

"What this game did for us as a team is it gave us a lot of confidence and proved that we can play with the best teams," Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. "Three complete periods of hockey. We did a great job on special teams, killing penalties, and our power play was pretty nice too. It really feels good to see the team progressing the way they're progressing."

Penalties doomed the Harbormen (1-2) all night and St. Mary's (3-1) showed right off the bat that were ready to pounce. Markham got things going during a first period, extra man situation, blasting a slap shot from the point that was initially stopped but trickled through the pads of Hingham goalie John Grenier.

Patrick Mannion got it back just 1:11 into the second, taking a feed from John Carlson on the goal line and scoring from a tough angle on a shot that tucked in front of the far post.

A 5-on-3 situation, one of two in the second, led to St. Mary's retaining the lead just over two minuets later. Hingham got it back to just a man down, but Markham was able to score on another shot from the blue line, with assists from Cam O'Neill and Jarrod Fitzpatrick.

The floodgates opened from there, as the Spartans got goals from Frank Moreschi, Nikko Markham and Eric MacAdams (first career score for the eight-grade forward) over the final five minutes of the period.

Cam O'Neill finished with three assists for St. Mary's, while Bobby Mullins added two. Sophomore goalie Bailey MacBurnie turned in a solid effort with 14 saves.

"Beating a team like this is going speak volumes for our confidence," Lee said. "Make no mistake about it, this was a total team effort. I thought our goaltender played a great game. he made big stops when we needed them. Our defensive corps and offensive was just a complete team effort. That's the only way you're going to beat a team like that."

No. 2 Hingham, No. 7 SJP skate to tie

December, 23, 2010
WILMINGTON, Mass. – St. John’s Prep won a period, then Hingham won a period.

But in the end, everything was all even as two of the top 10 high school hockey teams in Massachusetts skated to a 4-4 tie at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday.

No. 7 St. John’s ran out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, only to see the No. 2 Harbormen pick up their physical play in the second. The teams were tied 3-3 headed to the second intermission.
Hingham V. St. John's Prep
Scott Barboza/ESPN BostonA group of St. John's Prep defenders clear out the traffic in front of goaltender Dave Letarte during the team's 4-4 tie with Hingham at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday.

In the third, Sam Kurker tallied his second goal of the game for the Eagles, but Austin O’Connor netted the equalizer 1:30 later for Hingham and round out scoring.

“It shows what we have in the locker room,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said about his team’s effort in battling back. “Hopefully, it means good things to come and we’ll get better and better as the year goes on.”

The Prep (1-0-1) was the sharper team in the first stanza when defensemen Joe Currie and Kurker (on the power play) paced the Eagles to a 2-0 lead.

Hingham (2-0-1) took the ice in the second period a new team. The Harbormen were tenacious in their forecheck and finished their checks. Their efforts paid off when Dan Griffin scored on a goal assisted by James Gordon and C.J. Mulieri 1:57 into the second. The Prep pushed their lead to two goals again on John Farrow’s unassisted goal midway through the second.

The Harbormen drew even with two goals from a pair of blue-liners within 1:30 of each other. Freshman John Carlson ripped home a slap shot from the point to get Hingham within one. Then, senior Steven Bellew knotted it up, 3-3, with an assist from captain Alex Pompeo.

“We have a freshman and a sophomore in our starting four defensemen,” Messina said. “It’s going to take them a while to get adjusted to the speed. I thought we did a good job maintaining the very dynamic first line they have, they’re very dangerous.”

It looked as though the Eagles might have netted the game winner when Kurker, the junior right winger, scored his second of the game with 4:34 remaining. The snipe was set up on a tape-to-tape pass from Farrow and was a welcome sight to Prep head coach Kristian Hanson. Kurker, who plays with Farrow and center Colin Blackwell on the Eagles’ top line, had yet to light the lamp this season, so his outburst came at a welcome time against the defending Super 8 champions.

“It was good for him I think from a mental aspect to score a couple of goals,” Hanson said. “I think it kind of sets him in a good position for the season.”

However, 1:31 after Kurker’s strike, O’Connor tied the score once again on a back-hander assisted by Bellew and Jake Magner.

The teams even drew in shots on goal with 23 apiece with Hingham goaltender Derek McInnis and Prep’s Dave Letarte making 19 saves each.

“They scored those three goals in the third period and certainly they could’ve taken that momentum into the third period,” said Hanson whose team faces No. 3 Catholic Memorial in their Catholic Conference opener on Monday. “We talked at intermission about what we needed to do in the third period. It came down to a 15-minute game and who wanted it the most. We scored to take the lead, but this is Hingham and they’re the defending Super Eight champs, they’ve been there before.”

“We certainly would’ve liked to get two points out of it, as I’m sure Tony [Messina] would have, but we’ll take the point.”