Boston High School: John Grenier

D1 South: Marshfield 6, Hingham 3

March, 13, 2013

BOURNE, Mass. – It’s a played-out story, but it actually fit this time.

On the eve, or during the bus ride to a big hockey tilt, it’s not unusual that “Miracle”, the movie on the United States’ run to the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics, will be cited as a source of inspiration for high school hockey players.

Marshfield head coach Dan Connolly followed suit, channeling his inner Herb Brooks in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Division 1 South championship game against South Shore rival Hingham. Yet, in this instance, there were a real connection for his Rams’ team to the experience of that Red, White & Blue squad at Lake Placid.

On the final day of the regular season, Marshfield endured a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of Harbormen. After that matchup, the Rams were forced to regroup, as Hingham skated on to a Super 8 play-in game. So too did a young Team U.S.A. after they played the feared Soviet Union in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden, a 10-3 thrashing at the hands of the Red Army team.

It wasn’t quite a Miracle on Ice, but the Rams claimed a 6-3 victory over Hingham on Tuesday, earning their second trip the state championship game at the TD Garden in the last three seasons.

“We talked about it yesterday, when Russia pounded the U.S., and then, two-, three-weeks later, they win the big game,” Connolly said.

Marshfield (20-6-0) accomplished its first goal heading into the section final by not allowing the Harbormen (16-9-2) to fly out of the gates – as they had during the regular-season finale.

Still, Hingham claimed the first lead of the game at 3:21 of the second period, when junior center Matt Brazel turned his own face-off win into a goal.

However, the Rams closed the period with a string of three goals. Trevor Salmon, Matt Burchill and Jimmy Connors scored within the final five minutes of the second to send Marshfield to the room with a 3-1 lead.

“It was attention to detail, focus on the little things,” Connolly said. “Then, we have that little flurry at the end of the second and it’s bing, bing, bing.”

The Rams didn’t relent in the third period, opening with sophomore Pat Shea netting an unassisted goal at 1:26. Then, Joe Admirand provided Marshfield with a five-goal pad with Mike Carbone adding his second point of the game with the assist at 5:08 of the third.

Will Decost tallied his second point of the game with an empty-netter, sandwiched between two late Hingham goals from Corbin Robichaud and Andrew Flynn.

Several weeks ago, Connolly shifted forward Trevor Salmon back to defense, after injuries threatened the Rams’ depth on the blue line. Although Salmon admits that he puts team defense first, as a valued part of Marshfield’s penalty kill unit, he also looked at ease beating Hingham goaltender John Grenier through the 5-hole on his breakaway goal.

“It was a great pass from JoJo [Carbone] up the seam,” Salmon deflected praise. “I couldn’t have done that without him.”

Salmon’s marker was a hinge point for the Marshfield rally, with the over swell carrying through the third period. Yet, when pointing back to the momentum shift, Salmon also credited his team’s commitment to taking care of business in their own zone (a major lesson from their last Hingham duel) as a key component to Tuesday’s win.

“We came out flat, we didn’t really play team defense,” Salmon said of their Feb. 22 loss. “We knew it was going to change today.”

Sunday’s Division 1 state final will feature that tournament’s last two champions with Marshfield joining North title-winner Burlington at the TD Garden.

While there’s been some roster turnover since last time out, there are a good number of the Rams who skated on the Bruins’ home ice sheet as sophomores. Mike Carbone was one of those players, scoring the game-winning goal for Marshfield a 3-2 comeback win over Wakefield.

“A lot of our players played on that team,” Salmon said. “We have a lot of experience going into the Garden. I think we have what it takes to get the ‘W’ there. But it’s a strong Burlington team, we know they’re the state champs from last year.”

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.

Super 8: Central Catholic 4, Hingham 3 (OT)

February, 26, 2013

STONEHAM, Mass. -- As Corey Webber streaked down the ice in overtime, looking to bury the game-winning goal, defenseman Nick Gorski trailed the play thinking about the fact that he was in the midst of a two-minute, 30-second long shift, hoping that his teammate would do them all a favor and end it.

Webber broke in on Hingham goalie John Grenier, watched as the senior made the stop on his first shot, then with eyes as big as beach balls when the rebound landed on his stick, Webber calmly put it home and brought a huge roar from the Raiders' faithful.

That marker came with 2:06 remaining in the extra frame, capping a three-goal comeback as eighth-seeded Central Catholic surged past No. 9 Hingham for a 4-3 victory in the first of two Div. 1A play-in games Monday at Stoneham Arena.

The Raiders (14-5-3) move into the Super 8 field and will face top-seed St. John's Prep in a best-of-three series that starts Sunday at Tsongas Arena.

"I got behind their D, calling for [teammate Kevin Regan] to pass it," said Webber when asked to describe his game-winner. "He changed it right to me, I saw there was a D there so I shot it low right through the defenseman's feet, got it to the net, crashed the net, got the rebound and it went in.

"It had been rebounds all game and I was just surprised it was right on my stick I was ready there," he added. "There was one in the third I actually missed off a rebound, I missed the net, so I was ready to bury that one."

It looked as though Central Catholic may have been left for dead as Hingham (13-8-2) seemed to be continuing the momentum from a 10-1 victor5y over Marshfield in the regular season finale. The Harbormen outshot the Raiders, 23-13, through the first two periods and needed just 27 seconds to score the game's first goal as Sam D'Antuono stuck in the third of a flurry of rebounds.

Hingham got itself a shorthanded goal just 2:51 into the second as D'Antuono left a nice drop for Matt Brazel, who unleashed a nasty snipe from the slot to give his team a 2-0 lead. Just under six minutes later, D'Antuono struck again, converting a pass from Brazel.

"They played a great game tonight," said Hingham coach Tony Messina in praise of his two stars, D'Antuono and Brazel. "We tried to get them out there a lot, they were tired at the end but they're our best chance to score. Sometimes we rely on them too much to score, unfortunately, but when the game gets going like that, that's what do - try to get them out there all the time. They had a great game."

When all seemed lost, junior defenseman Alex Lester came through with a controversial goal with just 1:21 left in the frame. It was hard to tell if the puck actually crossed the line or not (Hingham said no, Central said yes, no surprise). The on-ice official never blew his whistle but the goal judge flipped the light on. After a conference, the goal was ruled good and the Raiders had the spark of momentum they needed.

"After that goal by Lester, I guess it was controversial but we all knew it went in," Gorski said. "We were confident that the right call was going to be made and when they made the call, the place went crazy. We knew there was going to be a swing in momentum."

Indeed there was. Central turned up the heat and controlled the third period, exceeding their output in the first two with 14 shots. After a faceoff win in the Hingham zone in a four-on-four situation, the puck cycled around to Gorski, who fired in his shot from the point at 2:56.

The Raiders kept firing but Grenier (26 saves) kept getting in the way all the way until Regan won the battle for a rebound of a Lester shot and tied the game with just 1:09 remaining in regulation.

As he had done all game long, Raiders goaltender Colin Soucy (30 saves) continued to stand on his head and snuffed D'Antuono on a breakaway bid with just 25 seconds left. Off the ensuing faceoff, Brazel clanged one off the post and the game went into overtime.

"It started with Soucy. He made some great stops, back to back to back and he gave us every opportunity to win that game," Central head coach Mike Jankowski said. "He was fantastic, you can't say enough good things. Every time you're holding your breath and kicks something else out, another part of his body got the rebound. he just stood on his head for us. He did remarkably well."

Each goalie made big stops in the extra minutes, and just when everyone started thinking about a shootout, Webber got loose and banged in his own rebound to send his team into the Super 8.

"It's unbelievable character," Jankowski said of his team's comeback. "We talked about a lot of people not giving us a chance. We talked about being in the play-in before where they hadn't been, they've always been in the top six. We've been here before and just reminding them that every shift matters, every period matters and keep moving forward. Great resiliency, great character."

Hingham returns to the Div. 1 South tournament field for just the second time in the last 12 years and will be the second seed, based on win percentage.

"It's a tough way to lose," Messina admitted. "I just told the kids we gave it our hardest. Sometimes we have trouble sealing the deal and that's what happened tonight. We went out there and tried to change nothing in the third period, just be smarter about the pinching, giving up two-on-ones, three-on-ones, and I think we did for the most part. Couple of crazy goals but they were coming strong, they sensed it and they had momentum at the end."

Recap: No. 5 Austin Prep 4, No. 6 Hingham 3

February, 16, 2013

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- No. 5 Austin Prep skated a near-perfect first period against No. 6 Hingham, but it still was almost not enough for the young Cougars.

Hingham scored three times in the third period, but Austin Prep held on to the 4-3 victory in one of four quarterfinals in the Cape Cod Classic at the Falmouth Ice Arena.

The Cougars (11-1-6) needed bookend goals from freshman Jake McKenelley to hold on in the final 6:34 of regulation in an all-important battle of top Division 1 squads looking to impress the Super 8 voters at the end of the season.

“I told them I don’t want to be good in the beginning but I want to be good in the end,” Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “I want to be mature at the end, I want to be disciplined at the end, but our puck possession was good in the defensive zone, our forecheck was good and we got into the body, we got shots off the cycle.”

The game looked well in hand in the first 30 minutes of play as George Sennott set up Andrew Cross to get Austin Prep on the board at 2:29 of the first period. McKenelley scored his first of two tallies moments later on perfect end-to-end defensive passing that picked up assists for Ryan McDonough and Bob Carpenter and handed the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead after one period.

More of the same in the second as the pesky Sennott set up off the right post just inside the slot and wristed home a rebound from a Brendan Leach slapper off the boards behind the net as Sennott’s stick could not have been in a better place at a better time.

John Grenier was playing well in net for Hingham (12-6-1), including stoning McKenelley on a breakaway with a pretty glove save in the second that would have given the Cougars a 4-0 lead with five minutes to go in the period. But Austin Prep held a 15-8 shot advantage and a 3-0 lead after the first two periods of play.

“We took that next step as in the past we would have given that up and ended up in a tie, but we finished, and we need to build off of that,” Finocchiaro said. “Hingham has a lot of experience, they are well coached, and believe me they are not going anywhere and they will be here for the third period and we will have to battle.”

Finocchiaro was right as Hingham drew their forwards towards the net and pulled their defense up right off the opening third-period face-off and the aggressive play paid dividends.

Only 50 seconds into the first shift, Sam D’Antuono found the back of the net for Hingham’s first goal of the game. The goal was nothing pretty but McKennelly answered for Austin Prep with a carbon-copy goal of his first tally --with assists from McDonough and Carpenter again -- to push the lead back to three goals at the 7:08 mark of the third.

“Ryan [McDonough] gave me a really good pass and I could have hit him back door too but [the defense] kind of went off but it was a really nice pass,” McKenelley said.

The up-front pressure from Hingham was a little too late, but John Carlson and Craig Hildreth would score goals 24 seconds apart to cut the Harbormen deficit to one, 4-3, as plenty of time remained with 6:24 left in regulation.

“Going into the third, we talked a lot about playing desperate because we were disappointed in the first two periods and came out a desperate team,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We showed signs in the first two [periods] but just not consistent enough and it’s been the story all year long. We needed three full periods today and we haven’t done that in any of the big games we have had.”

So was it No. 6 Hingham coming up short with No. 5 Austin Prep playing not to lose or did the Cougars have the Harbormen figured out just long enough?

“We played phenomenal in the first and second and in the third? We are young and that’s a natural thing to happen,” Finocchiaro said. “It’s something I am expecting but you know what – we finished tonight and that’s a learning process for our team.”

Freshman defenseman Luke McInnis showcased his skills up front and at the blue line with not much to show for it in the box score, but Messina knows he has a gem on defense for a few more seasons.

Luke is the son of former NHL-er and Boston College Hall of Famer Marty McInnis and Melissa Hug, who also starred on the lacrosse field for Boston College.

"[McInnis] is all worried that he hasn't scored a goal all season even though he's been on the Number-One power play unit from the start of the season, but he's proving to be a major asset for us," Messina said. "His mother was a great college athlete and he sure has his father's genes on the ice."

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. 5 Reading 1, No. 8 Hingham 1

January, 21, 2013

READING, Mass. -- Reading boys' hockey got the best of the power play early, but could not hold onto a late lead against fellow Super 8 contender Hingham on Monday.

Despite a six-minute disadvantage in penalties, the host No. 5 Rockets (9-1-4) entered the final two minutes with the only man-up goal and a 1-0 edge. However, a late unassisted effort by the Harbormen’s Andrew Flynn equalized for No. 8 Hingham (8-4-1) to force a 1-1 tie between the public school powerhouses at Burbank Arena.

“Having a lot of power plays is a good thing, but it’s not really a great thing because your top guys are playing a lot,” said Hingham assistant coach John Mahoney, who was filling in behind the bench for Tony Messina. “When you do not convert, they are out there even more. It was a broken play just inside the blue line and Andrew Flynn did a great job keeping the play alive.”

Flynn netted the game-equalizing score immediately after winning a faceoff in the neutral zone. The senior defender caught a one-on-one situation with the goalie off the victory and chipped the puck in off the keeper's blocker for the 1-1 tie with 1:51 left in the game.

“I saw a lot of my players crashing the net and I saw a little bit of shortside, so I just tried to shoot it,” Flynn said. “We had been trying to win it back all game. I was trying to punch it through right away.”

Matt McLelland scored the opening goal during a power play late in the second period. The senior saw an opposite post gap on the net and wristed a shot in from in front of the blue line for the 1-0 advantage at 14:13.

“We are always telling them just to pound pucks on net,” Rockets head coach Mark Doherty said. “The puck dropped back to McLelland who can really snap a puck off.”

Reading goalie Evan Morelli knocked away 28 shots, while opposing goaltender John Grenier made 14 saves (both seniors).

Reading's defense had no trouble battling off its six penalties throughout the first two periods.

The Rockets faced one minute and fifteen seconds of a six-on-four disadvantage at 9:55 in the first period. Reading allowed only two shots during the penalty then grabbed a hooking for a minute and 18 seconds of man-advantage at 11:03. Rockets junior Mike Thomson nearly slipped a breakaway under the keeper in the final seconds of that power play.

“That obviously was our strong suit today,” Doherty said of his power-play defense. “We have had enough practice. There are systems and we work it a decent amount.”

In the third of four second period Hingham power plays, Habormen center Matt Brazel caught the goalie offset on a two-on-one with fellow junior forward Sam D'Auntuono at 7:45. Brazel slipped the puck in front of net before the keeper could slide to the opposite post, but D'Auntuono shot into Morelli's chest for the save.

“When you have power plays you have to take advantage of them,” Mahoney said. “Get the puck in deep [and] keep it out of our own end. We are not trying to pick corner [just get] shots on net.”

Recap: No. 4 CM 5, No. 7 Hingham 1

January, 5, 2013
BOSTON -- Liam Coughlin doesn’t need much space to put the puck in the net.

The imposing senior captain for No. 4 Catholic Memorial is scoring at a prodigious clip this season, registering 17 goals in the Knights’ first seven games entering Saturday night’s game versus No. 7 Hingham.

So even as the Harbormen made it a point of emphasis – head coach Tony Messina said as much -- to take away time and space from CM’s big No. 7, it was only a matter of time before he broke through.

Coughlin netted two goals, both in the second period, as the Knights erased an early 1-0 deficit and skated past Hingham, 5-1.

“They scored [a] power-play goal, and then we got the two goals — bang-bang — and we’ve done that this year a couple of times, different occasions,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said. “After the first period, our energy level picked up, and we matched their intensity, and our skill level really took over.”

The Harbormen (5-3-0) found themselves on an early power play off a boarding call, when Sam D'Antuono took a pass in the slot and beat freshman goaltender Brendan Collett high to the glove side.

The lead was short-lived though, as CM’s John Maher intercepted a cross-ice pass at his own blue line, skated the distance of the ice, and deked Hingham netminder John Grenier, sliding the puck through his legs to tie the score.

Nearly two minutes later, the Knights (7-1-0) won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Kevin Bletzer found the back of the net with a wrister to give CM a lead it would not relinquish.

“We came out strong,” Messina said. “I don’t know what it is; we did the same thing against a couple of other teams, too.

“I don’t know if it’s the letdown, but [Catholic Memorial is] a good team. They have three strong lines, and obviously a dynamic first line. When they start getting some possession on you in different spots, they’re tough to defend against.”

When CM really started to get things going in the second period, it spelled the end for Hingham. Coughlin found a loose puck after it took a fortuitous bounce of a referee’s skate, and split two defenders before roofing the puck. A few minutes later, he collected the puck behind the net, before powering his way out in front and stashing away his second to give the Knights a three-goal advantage.

“I noticed tonight that they were going to shadow me, and they did,” Coughlin said. “I tried to work my way about that, and I did a couple of times, but they did a pretty good job.

“I knew I had to step up my game. The first period wasn’t a great period for me, but the second period I knew I had to step up my game.”

Catholic Memorial sealed the deal in the third with its fifth goal. Coughlin led the rush, and slid the puck between the goaltender’s legs, before Kevin Hock banged it home for the game’s final score.

“They’re young kids,” Hanson said. “I’ve got a very young team if you look at our roster. The one good thing about them, the great thing about them, is they don’t get rattled, nothing fazes them. We give up a goal, no big deal.

“If we did that last year, we were panicking, because in 20 games, we only scored 39 goals. Going into tonight’s game, we’ve already scored 39 goals. So these kids know they can hit the back of the net.”

It’s worth repeating, and only because he’s making it relevant with each game he plays, but Coughlin is scoring goals at an alarming rate. With his two goals Saturday night, the senior center raised his season total to 19 goals in eight games played.

In the postgame, a measured Coughlin said the hard work he put in during the offseason has been paying off.

“Everything is different,” he said. “I worked my [expletive] off this summer everyday. I would be up at seven in the morning, when everyone else was sleeping, working out with my cousins Thomas and Sean.

“I knew this year it had to get done. I’m a senior, and I came in my senior year to play for Coach Hanson and win a Super 8. And that’s where my mind was at, and I knew what I needed to get done.”

To his credit, Coughlin’s work ethic has spilled over to other elements of his game and Hanson pointed that he’s been instrumental in helping out his teammates.

“Now he’s playing both ends of the ice,” Hanson said. “He’s using his size better and he’s a real good team guy, he really is. He’s the whole package. He just brings everybody up around him.”

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. 4 Prep 4, No. 3 Hingham 1

December, 20, 2012
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Generally, a good team makes a statement late in big games.

The St. John’s Prep hockey team took a different tact last night against No. 3 Hingham.

The No. 4 Eagles jumped on the Harbormen from the opening puck drop and scored a pair of goals in the opening period en route to a big 4-1 win at Ristuccia Arena.

“Hingham is always good,” Prep senior Brian Pinho said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Our game plan was to bring a lot of energy, get pucks deep, get on their D, try to get some pucks on the net and it worked out for us.”

The Eagles (2-0-0) made a nest in the Hingham zone early in the first and never left. They peppered senior goalie John Grenier with 13 shots in the opening 15 minutes and sent many more just wide of goal.

Pinho struck first on a redirection with just over four minutes left in the period. Senior Justin Longo scored 99 seconds later when he deked out Grenier and put the puck in the top shelf.

“I thought the first period was our best period of the night,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “We were able to score those two first-period goals and get off to a good start. We certainly knew at that point that 2 first period goals didn’t mean a win.”

Hingham (2-1-0) regained their composure in the second and turned the tables of Prep. The Harbormen seized control, but were unable to score. One chance early in the period left the puck sitting motionless less than a foot from the goal line before it was swatted away by the Eagle defense.

A five-on-three advantage midway through the period also bore no fruit for Hingham.

“It’s frustrating,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We have a lot of guys that haven’t scored goals before and it takes some time to learn how to do it. We’d like to have that first period back.”

After being outshot 13-3 in the first period Hingham outshot St. John’s 17-8 during the final two periods. Prep senior goaltender Billy Price stepped up and, aside from a rocket from Hingham junior Matt Brazel in the third, turned aside everything that came his way.

“I thought he played very well,” Hanson said of Price. “I thought he stayed composed and made some big saves. It’s only his second start at varsity, so time will tell how he’ll play down the line. Tonight we’re pleased with his performance and just go on from here.”

When you play Hingham you expect to deal with talented players who can make big plays. However most teams don’t have the defensive depth that St. John’s Prep does.

The Eagles back six were able to contain the Harbormen for long stretches of the game and keep visitors at bay when the going got tough.

“We knew over the years that Hingham is a real physical team,” Prep senior James Brightney said. “They’re very fast so we knew coming into it that we have good speed but we’ve got to hit them if we want to keep them from scoring.”

Brightney and the defense were able to assert their physicality in what would become a physical game. They were also able to block passing and shooting lanes which broke up the Harbormen attack and played a big role in the Eagles getting out of the second period without allowing a goal.

“We pretty much have to rely on [Price] to stop the shots, but we’ve got to make sure we keep guys outside and don’t let them just come over the blue line,” Brightney said. “We’ve got to stop them.”

Hanson and the Eagles will have a few days to enjoy the win and the Christmas holiday, but the road doesn’t get much easier for Prep. They’re next game will be Wednesday on the road at Merrimack Valley Conference power Central Catholic.

“Hockey’s a tough thing,” Hanson said. “You look like world beaters one night and go out the next night and [ask] where did that team go? We’ve got a week to get ready for Central. It’s in Lawrence; it’s a tough rink to play at.”

The Raiders will be smarting after dropping a 5-2 decision to Arlington Catholic last night and Hanson said he’ll expect the most of his team in another tough non-conference game.

“It’s against a really tough opponent in Central,” Hanson said. “They’re a Super 8 team year in year out. We’re going to go out there and give it our best on Wednesday and try to get the W.”

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.

Super 8 recap: BC High 4, Hingham 2

March, 4, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- It was the Super 8’s version of when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object.

On one side you had Hingham, a team that has made it a ritual this season at finding the back of the net, scoring 72 times. On the opposite end stood BC High goaltender Peter Cronin. Regarded by many as one of the best at his trade holding down a miniscule 1.94 goals-against-average.

With these intangibles in place you knew something had to give in Sunday’s first-round contest at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena.

On the strength of three power play goals, the fifth-seeded Eagles pulled away for a 4-2 victory. BC High (11-5-5) advances to the second round where it will take on top seed Malden Catholic Tuesday at a time to be determined. The Harbormen (16-5-2), seeded fourth, will meet No 8 St. John’s of Shrewsbury Tuesday, also at a time to be determined.

With the game knotted 2-2 after 30 minutes, sophomore forward Tom Besinger, on the man-advantage, opened the third by racing down the right side beating Hingham netminder John Grenier top shelf coming at 2:55 to give the Eagles the lead for good. It was Besinger’s second marker on the afternoon.

In the final minute, with Grenier (17 saves) pulled and BC High’s Bartley Regan in the penalty box for hooking, the Harbormen looked to benefit on their 6-on-4 advantage. But a blocked shot from the perimeter resulted in Matt Sullivan scoring an empty-net goal to close things out.

“In this tournament everyone is pretty even so anytime you get a man-advantage you almost have to take it and capitalize,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “Fortunately for us we capitalized on our man up situations and propelled past a very good Hingham team. Right now we’re playing confident when we are a man up.”

After a scoreless opening frame things heated up considerably in the second period. The Eagles fired the first salvo just 0:43 in with a power play blast by Besinger from the right point over Grenier’s right shoulder to make it 1-0.

“I felt nervous on my first shift but then our line started clicking and we started getting scoring opportunities and started to put the puck in the back of the net,” Besinger said. “We played [Grenier] earlier this season [in the Cape Cod Classic, won by BC High in a shootout] and I noticed he dropped his blocker to the ice when you get in close so I knew I had to go high on my shots.”

BC High had little time to enjoy its lead however as Ryan Linehan, off a turnover, scored shorthanded for Hingham just 22 seconds later knotting things at 1-1.

But at 4:52, senior defenseman Brian Furey was able to push the Eagles back in front with a laser over Grenier’s right shoulder from just inside the blue line, again coming with the man-advantage. Grenier, much like Cronin, had been stellar this season with a 1.88 GAA.

“They scored on their power play chances and we didn’t,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said after his club went 0-for-4 on power play opportunities. “We had great penetration and good control of the puck in their zone but they did a good job blocking shots and keeping stuff out on the perimeter.”

Yet again the Harbormen stormed back. Just one minute after Furey’s tally, senior forward Patrick Mannion caught Cronin (17 saves) out of position and stuffed a shot low right corner to deadlock the contest at two goals apiece.

ESPN Boston Super 8 primer

March, 2, 2012
There are less than 48 hours remaining before the puck drops on the real Super 8 on Sunday at Merrimack College.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight:

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Marquee wins: Pretty much all of them, minus the Lancers’ one loss to New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Brendan Collier (22-34-56); F Ryan Fitzgerald (26-14-40); F Mike Iovanna (14-23-37); F Tyler Sifferlen (9-14-23); F Ara Nazarian (10-16-26); D Casey Fitzgerald (1-15-16); D Colin MacGillivray (2-8-10); Brendan White (2-16-18).

The skinny: As in the last couple of years, this year’s Super 8 is viewed as the Lancers’ tournament to lose. Again, they have the best line in the state with Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Iovanna saddling into Mike Vecchione’s former spot. But MC’s true strength is depth. Sifferlen and Nazarian would occupy a spot on mostly any team’s top line. Super frosh and BC commit Casey Fitzgerald has filled Conor Evangelista’s role dutifully as a puck-moving defenseman.

X-factor: Goaltending. Connor Maloney watched last year’s Super 8 from the BC High bench behind Peter Cronin. Now, it’s his time to shine.

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Marquee wins: Malden Catholic (Kasabuski Tournament tie); Hingham (5-1); Cathedral (3-2).

Players to watch: F Bobby Mullins (9-20-29); F Jarrod Fitzpatrick (14-7-21); F Cam O’Neill (14-15-29); F Brendan Mageary (13-11-24); F Tim Aylward (10-10-20); D Nikko Markham (6-12-18); D Bryan Wilkins (1-7-8); G Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA, 94.1 save %).

The skinny: So what were the Spartans to do without perennial league all-star Donald Hesse as their backbone? Well, Mark Lee found a more-than-legitimate starter in MacBurnie, a sophomore, who’s played well along with a defensive corps led by Markham. Fitzpatrick has been another revelation in his first season with the Spartans. St. Mary’s has greater scoring depth than in year’s past. And they’re young, as freshman Eric MacAdams (4-14-18) has impressed seeing top-line action.

X-factor: How do the Spartans react in a tight game. In last year’s Super 8 play-in stab, and the Div. 1 tournaments of year’s past, one-goal games have come back to haunt them. If they can sweat out a couple of close decisions in this tournament, they might find themselves at the Garden.

3. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Marquee wins: BC High (3-1); Hingham (2-1); Central Catholic (4-0).

Players to watch: F Sam Kurker (26-26-52); F Brian Pinho (14-20-34); F Tyler Bird (9-5-14), F Andrew Brandano (8-6-14); D Nick Pandalena (6-10-16); D Brent Murray (0-4-4); G David Letarte (2.02 GAA, 91.5 save %).

The skinny: We still haven’t gotten over last year’s championship game; it was simply amazing hockey. There’s no Colin Blackwell, but Kurker (BU commit) has really blossomed this season and has taken this team on his back the way his former linemate did last year. Pinho and Bird, along with Kurker, are a formidable first line to skate against, and are strong in all three zones. Pandalena is a mountain of a defenseman, but beyond him, the Eagles blue line was green entering the season. Murray has elevated his play to comprise a formidable top pairing.

X-factor: Letarte. I believe we said this last year as well. When the senior is on his game, he can be airtight.

4. Hingham (16-4-2)
Marquee wins: Marshfield (6-2); Catholic Memorial (3-2); St. John’s of Shrewsbury (4-0).

Players to watch: F James Gordon (21-17-38); F Matt Brazel (11-20-31); F Matt Hughes (13-11-24); F Ryan Linehan (8-12-20); F Patrick Mannion (6-12-18); F Sam D’Antuono (6-19-25); D Nolan Driscoll (2-7-9); G John Grenier (1.88 GAA, 90.1 save %).

The skinny: If this team had a motto, it would be “lacking experience, but not young.” During the Harbormen’s most recent Super 8 runs, a good portion of this year’s roster watched from way down the bench, or up in the gallery. But this team has collectively raised its game and is benefitted by great coaching. Gordon’s 20-goal season has been a pleasant surprise and Brazel is one worth watching for the next two years. The real revelation has been Grenier between the pipes. The Xaverian transfer is among the statewide leaders in goals against average.

X-factor: Grenier. He doesn’t fit the current mold of a big, butterfly goaltender. Instead, he relies on aggressively challenging the shooter and cutting down angles. We’ll see how it matches up with the precision passing games of MC and St. John’s (S) in pool play games.

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Marquee wins: St. John’s (twice); Prep (5-3); Cathedral (3-0).

Players to watch: F Matt Sullivan (9-15-24); F Tom Besinger (10-15-25); F Bartley Regan (7-6-13); F Steve DeForge (6-13-19); D Brian Furey (3-6-9); D Sam Topham (1-9-10); G Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA; 91.5 save %).

The skinny: Cronin lead this team to the crossover round last year, falling just short of an upset of MC. He was the revelation of last year’s tournament and, as usual, the Eagles will look to their goaltender to continue his strong play. Besinger might be the shiftiest forward in the tournament not named Kevin Emmerling. He’s not big, but he sure can skate. Furey has done a nice job leading a young Eagles blue-line corps this season. ‘Moe’ Regan has produced some dirty goals and has thrived in his role as a power forward, coming off his EMass D1 Super Bowl win.

X-factor: Sullivan. The Eagles’ soft-spoken leader is a lead-by-example type, but thrives in big-game atmospheres. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s a player we’re talking about months after the tournament.

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Marquee wins: BC High (4-3); Needham (1-0); CM (3-1).

Players to watch: F Frank Crinella (13-15-28); F Thomas Quinlan (11-5-16); F Peter Crinella (5-8-13); F Brendan Ashe (7-7-14); D Matt Foley (0-12-12); G John Liquori (2.40 GAA, 88.9 save %).

The skinny: The Panthers cracked the top six this year after getting bounced in a play-in game last year. This is a team that isn’t very flashy, but is consistently tough to play against, playing a brand of hockey that can be frustrating to opponents. Sophomore John Liquori has been steady, taking over for old stalwart Zac Rondeau. Liquori is the benefactor of a sound defensive squad that likes to play the body and takes care of its defensive assignments with diligence.

X-factor: Frank Crinella is perhaps the most talented player in the state who receives the least amount of deserved credit. This tournament could be a statement for him.

7. Central Catholic (13-3-5)
Marquee wins: Burlington (6-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Ryan Daigle (8-15-23); F Mike Kelleher (10-7-17); F Lloyd Hayes (15-8-23); F Alex Lester (7-9-16); F Zack Cote (10-4-14); D Jake Donahue (3-4-7); G Kyle Williams (2.13 GAA, 91.1 save %).

The skinny: Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but the Raiders again used a spirited second-half push after a slow start to get back into the top tournament. If they continue the fast and physical brand of hockey they played against Burlington, the Raiders will provide a tough test. Kelleher’s natural hat trick is a big boost to Central’s chances going forward; if he gets going, he’s one of the most potent pure scorers in the state.

X-factor: Williams. Shocking, right? As the goaltender goes, so goes the Raiders. And it’s no coincidence that Central played its best while last year’s ESPN Boston All-State netminder was at his finest.

8. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
Marquee wins: Needham (5-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Kevin Emmerling (25-28-53); F Vin D’Amato (23-14-37); F Jay Duquette (11-22-33); F Hunter Burdick (6-9-15); D Nick Rutigliano (1-10-11).

The skinny: Akin to Central Catholic, the Pioneers took perhaps their biggest win of the season on Monday. In that shootout with Needham, they showed why they can go toe-to-toe with any team across the state with the top line of Emmerling, D’Amato and Duquette running and gunning …

X-factor: … but then there’s the defense. The Pioneers are going to need to tighten up in their own end. If they allow their three future opponents to enter the zone as they allowed the Rockets to run in the third period, there could be some lop-sided scores.

Cape Cod Classic: Super 8 preview?

February, 19, 2012

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- One week from Saturday, the Super 8 hockey committee will convene and assemble the field of the state’s premier tournament. Both No. 4 Hingham and No. 7 BC High almost assuredly will be among the teams making the cut.

But if Saturday’s matchup between the two clubs to open the Cape Cod Classic tournament was any indication of what is to come, Bay State hockey fans in for one might fine tournament.

The Eagles and Harbormen skated to a 1-1 tie, as it will be entered in the MIAA’s scorebook. Hingham’s Ryan Linehan scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

After a five-minute overtime period, BC High netminder Peter Cronin and Hingham counterpart John Grenier continued trading saves. Finally, Eagles senior captain and defenseman Brian Furey sent BC High along to the winner’s bracket with the first and only goal of the shootout in its seventh round.

“[Grenier] was playing aggressive, so I figured I’d fake the shot and have some room stuff it in, and I did,” Furey said.

BC High (9-5-4) claimed the lead at 12:54 of the second period with defenseman Sam Topham rifling a slapshot past Grenier, glove side.

The Eagles appeared to be well on their way to two points in the third period, controlling play in Hingham’s end for the bulk of the stanza. BC High continued to hem the Harbormen, even in the minute. Hingham (14-4-2) had been unable to pull Grenier for an extra attacker when senior captain winger Matt Hughes made his way through the neutral zone with about 30 seconds remaining.

After the puck was chipped up the boards, Hughes gained the blue line and played a perfect cross-ice pass onto Linehan’s stick. Linehan’s one-timer slid past Cronin for the tying goal.

“We had an injury on that play, the guy jumped over the boards, he kind of got caught in no-man’s land,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “If he’d gotten a piece of him, maybe it doesn’t happen. It was just a good hockey play by Hingham. [Hughes] made a great pass, [Linehan] one-timed it and it ended up in the back of the net.”

Hughes missed part of the second period with a shoulder injury, after he was ridden into the boards awkwardly on a check. He returned later in the game, playing in pain. Although his status going forward is day-to-day, Hughes’ returned paid dividends.

“It was a nice pass, and it was a lot of guts coming back," Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. "I don’t know what the extent of his should injury is going to be, but he said he could play with the pain. And he did a great job.”

With most of BC High’s forward options exhausted in the shootout, and with no end in sight, John Flaherty glanced down his bench at his available shooters. Furey nodded back toward the Eagles bench boss. Flaherty signaled back toward center ice.

After watching six of this teammates fail to convert against Grenier, Furey knew exactly what to do with the puck.

Although the thought of letting a Chara-like slapshot from the between the circles did cross his mind.

“I don’t quite have a 108-mile-per-hour slap shot though,” Furey added.

In the Classic's nightcap, Archbishop Williams (8-8-1) completed half of the work they needed to accomplish on Cape Cod with a 4-1 win over the host Falmouth Clippers (12-4-5).

Archies head coach Derackk Curtis was not very pleased with his team’s overall effort, but the Bishops did enough to pull to within one win of qualifying for the MIAA state tournament.

“That wasn’t our best game…I thought that we’d come out with a little more urgency,” Curtis said.

AW was outshot by the Clippers 26-12 for the game, but did the most of with the pucks they did put on Falmouth’s Petey Negri as the scored goals on 3 of their first 5 shots on net in the contest.

With a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart in the first period AW took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after one. Mike Sorenti sniped one inside the near side post at the 6:42 mark of the first. Then, before the dust settled on that one, Sean Leblanc chopped one in from the doorstep to give the visitors at 2-0 lead.

Falmouth came out like gangbusters to start the second period and picked up the tempo, but AW held the fort as goalie Joe Vinay (25 saves) made a handful of big stops, the best of which was on a doorstep bid by Cyrus Wickersham at the five minute mark.

With a goal on their first shot of the second period, at 5:24 by Falmouth resident Mike Jessman, AW was in the driver’s seat.

FHS broke through at 13:36 of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1 when Nick Lineaweaver netted a power play goal off a nice feed across the crease from Ben Taylor. The air quickly left the Clippers’ balloon, though, as AW got a power play goal just 15 seconds later, off the stick of Bill Sweezey, that made it 4-1. AW scored its four goals all on their first eight shots on net.

AW will meet surprise winner Waltham, Monday at 7 p.m.. Falmouth squares off with Arlington Catholic at 3 p.m.

BC High will face Austin Prep on Monday after the Cougars qualified for the Division 1 North tournament in a 4-1 win over Duxbury.

Cam Russo, Nolan Vesey and Scott Corcoran all scored in the first period, putting AP (9-6-3) in the driver's seat.

Although the Hawks are out of postseason contention, they put on an impressive display early on against the Cougars.

Waltham (4-11-3) ran out to a 3-0 lead by the second intermission, before the Cougars (9-6-4) scored twice in the third to make a game of it.

(Reporting from Rich Maclone was included in this story.)

Recap: No. 1 MC 5, No. 4 Hingham 1

February, 11, 2012

MALDEN, Mass. -- Speed beat out physicality at the Valley Forum Saturday night, as the home ice No. 1 Malden Catholic Lancers defeated the No. 4 Hingham Harbormen, 5-1, in a potential Super 8 preview matchup.

In the process, the Lancers snapped Hingham's 13-game unbeaten streak. The Harbormen went 12-0-1, following their Dec. 21 loss to No. 2 St. Mary's of Lynn.

The teams exchanged first period goals, with MC (12-1-3) striking first on a shot by forward Ara Nazarian. The freshman’s goal came on assists from Tyler Sifferlen and Brian Cameron.

Hingham (13-3-1) answered back three minutes later when Harbormen forward Matt Brazel was spun around by contact to face a loose puck in the Lancer zone. Brazel charged from the blue line to net the only point of the night for Hingham.

The Lancers controlled the tempo and puck early and often, keeping goalie John Grenier busy in net.

“They’re a physical team,” Lancers assistant captain Ryan Fitzgerald said. “They tried to get us off of our game, which is speed, but we just kept at it, kept grinding.”

The grind never stopped. The Lancers’ wily play frustrated the aggressive Harbormen, with MC players regularly ducking under checks and winning loose pucks.

After a pad save, Fitzgerald caught Grenier leaning out of the crease and put the rebound in for the second Lancer goal. The score came on assists from Brendan White and Lancer captain Brendan Collier.

Malden grabbed a man advantage minutes later, leading to a goal from junior forward Mike Iovanna to wrap up the second period.

The Lancers kept up their slick skating in the third, but threw in some rough-housing of their own.

“Our grittier side came out at the end,” Fitzgerald said. “You saw on the last shift there were hits being thrown everywhere.”

In the last five minutes of play, the Lancers got the puck by the Hingham defense and Grenier twice more, again off of the sticks of Fitzgerald and Nazarian.

The surgical approach of the aptly named Lancers was summed up by head coach John McLean: “The key word is ‘discipline.’ If you go in our
locker room, it’s the first word on the board.”

“There’s no reason to take any retaliatory penalties,” he added. “You take the hit and make the play. We’re a pretty good hockey team, but we’re not good with four guys, we’re good with five."

“I think we had a good effort, good intensity,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “But against a team like that, you give them one opening, they’re gonna take it.”

“They can score three goals in a shift, so 5-1, we don’t like the score, but it seems like it was closer.”

Coming off a 12-0-1 streak before Saturday’s action. Hingham could very well get a second crack at the Lancers.

“They’re a very good team. I think we’ll see them again in the Super 8,” McLean said.

The Lancers’ will again take home ice in their next matchup against Wakefield on Monday at 7:10 p.m. Hingham will take on Winchester on the road at 6 p.m., Monday.

Recap: No. 3 Hingham 4, No. 10 Cathedral 4

February, 5, 2012
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Springfield Cathedral did what no team has been able to do since mid-December. And that’s keep Hingham from leaving the ice with a win. Saturday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, two of the state’s best clashed for 45 minutes, only to end the game with a 4-4 tie.

The two teams returned to the ice for the third period with Cathedral (7-4-4) clinging to a 3-2 lead. But in the early minutes of the third, Hingham (12-2-1) captain James Gordon, who had two assists in the first two periods, continued his strong play.

Two minutes in, Gordon tied the game off a nice fed from Sam D’Antuono. Just over three minutes later, Gordon gave Hingham its first lead of the game with his second goal of the period.

“It was just great play by my linesmen,” Gordon said. “I just found the right spots and he gave me the puck. I was really just lucky out there.”

Cathedral responded a few minutes later when senior defenseman Thomas Quinlan ripped a shot from the point past goalie John Grenier, tying that game at four apiece.

“We would have liked to keep the lead there at the end,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “But a couple of goals, from both teams, that went in were probably not tailor-made goals. But that’s what happens in a tight game like that.”

This was unlike the first two periods, which saw Hingham trying to answer Cathedral’s goals.

Cathedral started off the scoring in the first period when senior Jordan Kozub rebounded a miss shot and wrapped it around Grenier, squeezing it right inside the left post.

That lead would not last long. Just over a minute later, Gordon’s shot was tipped perfectly by D’Antuono, which went over the shoulder of Cathedral goalie John Liquori.

The second period began the same as the first with Cathedral scoring first. The Panthers came out of the gate as the aggressor, scoring in the first 42 seconds. Cathedral captain Frank Crinella, left all alone, took Brendan Ashe’s pass and put one past Grenier.

Midway through the period, the Harbormen would tie it on a power play goal from Ryan Linehan. Once again, Gordon got credit for the assist, as he fired a shot from the blue line, which was tipped down and in by his fellow captain.

A Hingham penalty late in the period, set up Cathedral’s go ahead goal. Defenseman Matt Foley placed the puck right in front of the net to Dominic Blad, who immediately tapped the puck behind him to freshman D.J. Petruzzelli, who gave Cathedral a one-goal lead with 54 seconds remaining in the period.

“It was a good battle between two evenly matched teams,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “They outshot us in the first. We outshot them in the second. They outshot us in the third. It was just one of those games.”

On Dec. 21, Hingham’s record fell to 1-2 after a 5-1 loss to St. Mary’s of Lynn. The Harbormen went on an 11-game win streak after that game, which lasted until Saturday night.

Hingham still has not be beaten since the St. Mary’s loss, but the tie is an empty feeling for the Harbormen locker room, who feels the game they played Saturday was enough for the two-points.

“I felt that was the most complete game we’ve played so far,” Gordon said. “It just didn’t turn out our way, but it was still a great game.”

For the coaching staff and the players, this run has been great, but not something that was envisioned to go this far.

“We take them one-by-one,” Messina said. “We have a tough schedule. You can’t think too far ahead.”

“You don’t expect to do this,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t always play out like this, but we worked very hard in the offseason to get to this point. I feel that we did a great job and it’s paying off for us.”

Hingham heads into Monday night with another tough opponent in Westford Academy.

“There’s no time to hang out head that’s for sure,” Messina said.

The month of February is unforgiving for Brian Foley’s team. Cathedral has hit the hardest part of the schedule with games this week against BC High and Hingham. Down the road, Cathedral has contests with several of the state’s best teams, including another matchup with BC High. The Panthers also have St. Mary’s of Lynn and St. John’s Prep.

“It’s tough. We’re going into the stretch here with six games against the top five teams in the state,” Foley said. “We’re just trying to get as many points as we can out of them and try to stay in contention to get a Super 8 berth.”

A win over Hingham could have lifted Cathedral into serious Super 8 talk, but the Panthers will have more chances against the state’s elite in the coming weeks.

Ten of Hingham’s 11 wins during their winning streak came at home.

The road game against Cathedral will help the Harbormen adjust to the last leg of the season, which has the Harbormen at home just once the rest of the way, Monday night against Westford Academy.

After that, Hingham has Malden Catholic, Winchester, and Coyle-Cassidy all on the road before heading to Falmouth for the final three games of the season at the Cape Cod Classic.