Boston High School: John Maher

Super 8: Malden Catholic 5, Catholic Memorial 3

March, 13, 2013

LOWELL, Mass. -- A quick look at the Malden Catholic line chart and you might do a double-take.

Ara Nazarian is only a sophomore?

That 5-foot-10, 185-pound bulldozer is only a sophomore? The same player that dominated last night’s Super 8 semifinal, a 5-3 win for the Lancers, is only a sophomore?

Nazarian potted a hat trick, including his fourth shorthanded goal of the tournament, as the Lancers moved on to their third straight Super 8 final as the Tsongas Center.

“He’s not a secret to me,” said Malden Catholic head coach John McLean. “I’ve coached him since he was a Mite. He likes big games. He gets up for these games. He had a great Super 8 last year and he’s fun to watch.”

Nazarian skated as the Lancers’ top-line center between Division 1 committed wingers Tyler Sifferlen (UMass-Lowell) and Mike Iovanna (Massachusetts).

“Two of them are already committed and Ara [Nazarian] will have his pick of a Division 1 school when he’s ready to make that choice,” McLean said. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”

The Lancers took a 1-0 lead early in the first period when Sifferlen managed to sneak a puck by Catholic Memorial freshman goaltender Brandon Collett.

The Knights knotted the score a little over a minute later when John Maher snapped a shot past MC netmidner Connor Maloney.

Nazarian’s short-handed tally gave the Lancers the lead back later in the first, as the Malden Catholic sophomore powered past a CM defender and was able to dangle a backhander through Collett’s five hole.

But the Knights just wouldn’t go away, as Jack O’Hear, a senior captain, tied the game.

The Lancers took the lead a third time just 29 seconds into the second period when Nazarian skated into the zone and sniped a wrister from the right circle that dinged off the post and into the net.

After CM tied the score for a third time, Michael Iovanna gave the Warriors the lead for good with just minutes remaining in the third period.

“I just wanted to get it on net,” said Iovanna, who also scored the game-winner for the Lancers in last season’s Super 8 title game. “It was a lucky bounce, I guess. I skated into the zone and Sifferlen did with the puck. He dropped it back to me and I saw a guy in a blue jersey in front so I was just trying to get it on net and it banked off their goalie and went in.”

It was the 10th win in a row for the Lancers and just their second win of the season over a Catholic Conference team.

“I’m happy for our kids,” McLean said. “We had a tough year. He had that bump in the road around January and a lot of people were doubting us. I think the kids were doubting themselves a bit and we became a team and it’s carried on.”

He continued, “But we haven’t accomplished what we want to accomplish. There’s still one more game to play.”

Malden Catholic goaltender Connor Maloney has been a bit overshadowed with the stellar play of Nazarian and the three Division 1 commitments on the team in front of him.

But Maloney has been one of the best goaltenders in the state down the stretch, including making several tough saves against a CM team that was doing a good job getting traffic to the net.

“He was here last year and I think that experience helped him a lot,” McLean said. “That second goal, I’m not sure if it went five hole because of where I was standing, but I thought he maybe should have had that one. But other than that, he had a great game.”

Wednesday’s game proved to be the final one for Liam Coughlin, a senior who is also CM’s leading scorer.

“Liam has grown,” said CM head coach Bill Hanson. “He has been great and it’s been great watching him grow for three years. He has really learned the game and learned how to play in all three zones. He’s an incredible leader. He could have gone anywhere this year or last year but he wanted to come to Catholic Memorial and play in the Super 8.”

On the other end of the spectrum, CM freshman goaltender Brandon Collett made 28 saves for the Knights.

“If we don’t have him we’re not here,” Hanson said. “I didn’t even know who he was until the first day of tryouts. I had no idea. For him to come in and play at that level, for a kid who is quiet and unassuming and he’s a 15 year old, I’ve never had a goalie that young carry that much responsibility.”

He added, “We re-established Catholic Memorial hockey tonight.”

Super 8: Catholic Memorial 3, BC High 2 (SO)

March, 7, 2013

STONEHAM – After establishing an early lead, Catholic Memorial nearly saw its season end before clawing itself back and beating B.C. High, 3-2, in a shootout on Wednesday night, sending their Super 8 quarterfinal series to a third and deciding game.

CM got on the board first when Liam Coughlin flipped a backhand saucer pass to linemate John Maher on a 2-on-1 and the senior fired a wrister over Peter Cronin’s blocker.

The Knights would extend that lead to 2-0 minutes later. On a similar 2-on-1, Jack O’Hear fluttered the puck over to Kevin Hock who finished his wrister over Cronin’s glove from the right slot.

The Eagles then began their comeback in the second period, out shooting CM 10-6 and cutting the deficit in half thanks to Patrick Kramer’s goal off a rebound at the 4:18 mark.

The Eagles remained down by a goal until 28.4 seconds remained in regulation, when Ryan Shea established a net-front presence and directed a Tom Besigner pass from the bottom of the left circle past CM goaltender Brendan Collett with the B.C. High net empty.

“Ryan’s a good player,” BC head coach John Flaherty said of Shea. “He’s only a freshman but he’s highly skilled, that’s why he’s out there 6-on-5. We drew a couple of things up, but it’s execution. The kids do it. We can draw it up as coaches but it’s the guys on the ice that got it done.”

The teams played a scoreless overtime before going to a shootout.

BC High looked to be on the verge of ending the Knights’ season when Besinger and Shea put the Eagles up 2-0 in the shootout with just two shooters left for CM.

But O’Hear and Maher tied with a pair of goals and Collett was able to shut the door at the other end. Freshman Tim Weinstein won the game for CM as the sixth shooter.

For CM defenseman Tim Weinstein, it will be a 16th birthday to remember.

No, he didn’t get his driving permit -- that will have to wait -- instead, the freshman potted the game-winning goal in a shootout victory for that nights that kept their season alive.

“We’ve been working on shootouts in practice,” Weinstein said. “I was working on going fast on the goalie, trying to freeze him, and getting him to move left to right. When I saw that opening top right, I went for it. ... We saw glove side tended to be his weakness, if he really even has one because he’s a great goalie.”

CM head coach Bill Hanson needed to submit his shootout roster before the opening draw, but he didn’t tell Weinstein he was on his list.

“That’s LTW,” Hanson said, “Little Timmy Weinstein. He’s a freshman with more skill than any hockey player wearing a black uniform tonight. He’s fearless. He was our best defenseman. The way he moves the puck, his offensive skills and his puck poise, his presence in the neutral ice, he did it all night long. He was terrific.”

Recap: No. 7 CM 4, No. 13 Xaverian 2

February, 22, 2013

CANTON, Mass. -- A third-place finish in one of the toughest conferences in hockey today may see Catholic Memorial with a bye in the Super 8 next week.

The No. 7 Knights helped boost their post season stock and solidified the third-seed in the Catholic Conference with a season-ending 4-2 afternoon victory over No. 13 Xaverian at Canton SportsPlex.

“We are getting much more shot production from the defensemen, which is allowing the dirty goals,” Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson said. “The last four games we needed to play well against real good teams to be considered for the Super 8. According to the criteria (of) who is playing well at the end, of strength of schedule, and other factors, we have more than met that.”

Two goals in the second period helped the Knights pull ahead for good on way to their fourth consecutive victory.

Catholic Memorial's Jack O'Hear used a 3-on-2 break to set up fellow senior Liam Coughlin at 6:03 in the second period for a 2-1 Knights' lead. Coughlin caught the back-pass above the face-off circle then finished with a low bullet to the right post for the tally at 6:03 of the second period.

Eight minutes later, O'Hear picked up his second helper of the game, slipping a shot under the keeper. Kevin Hock was there to bang the puck home for a two-goal CM advantage.

“I took it wide and Liam [Coughlin] did a nice job of [moving] into the slot,” O'Hear said of his first assist. “The second assist was a loose puck and I threw it towards the net. Getting pucks to the net and having guys drive wide.”

Xaverian (8-7-5, 1-5-2) threatened late when Tim Sweeney (1 G, 1 A) threw the puck across the crease for Jake Farrell at the 12-minute mark of the third to cut the deficit to one.

“Two to three guys on the puck,” Xaverian head coach David Spinale said. “[You to make] them have to fish one out then take it to the net.”

“I knew Jake [Farrell] is always out front, so I just spun a little and got it out front,” Sweeney added.

Knights senior John Maher grabbed a neutral-zone steal and tapped in an open-net tally to seal the game with 1:09 remaining.

“We play with a lot of energy,” Hanson said. “We had five or six kids who scored in double figures for us [this season]."

Xaverian came out strong by forcing six of their first seven shots-on-target, but allowed the initial score at 4:09 in the first period. CM senior Dennis Medeiros ripped a screened slap shot into the four-hole for a 1-0 lead.

Sweeney caught the goalie offset on the equalizer, when a shot by freshman teammate Jon Beniers rolled over the keeper's shoulder and onto Sweeney's stick at 1:56 in the first.

“Timmy [Sweeney], Jon [Beniers] and Jake [Farrell] that was our best line today," Spinale added.

CM (12-6-2,3-5) controlled possession in the second period with a 15-7 shots-on-goal advantage. Knights freshman goalie Brandon Collett made 26 saves, while his opponent, junior Matt Michals, knocked away 25 shots.

“The difference between this year and last year, Number One is the goaltending,” Hanson commented on Collett. “A goal gets scored on him [and] he does not let it bother him. He learns from his mistakes.”

Recap: No. 9 Malden Catholic 4, No. 4 CM 3

January, 27, 2013

BOSTON -- When Ringo Starr sang “It Don’t Come Easy” all those years ago, he mind as well have been musing about No. 9 Malden Catholic’s fortunes of late. Entering Saturday night’s Catholic Conference showdown with No. 4 Catholic Memorial at Walter Brown Arena, the Lancers were on an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak.

But, for a change, MC played with the lead against the Knights, building a four-goal cushion by early in the third period. Still, the Lancers had to sweat it out, as CM countered for three late goals.

Yet, MC paid its dues and held on for a 4-3 win and two critical points, as the Lancers moved back to .500 at 5-5-3.

“We’ve had a rough couple of games,” junior forward Brian Cameron said. “We just wanted to work hard. We just wanted to get it over the red line, get it in, get in with the forecheckers with two guys staying high and then work from the dirty areas and get pucks to the night. That’s what we did tonight.”

The Lancers (1-4-2 Catholic Conference) amassed their lead with contributions coming throughout their forward lines.

Ara Nazarian put MC in the rare position of playing with the lead, potting his 13th goal of the season at 9:41 of the first, set up on Nick Rolli’s outlet pass.

The Lancers extended their lead in the second with Cameron’s first goal on the year, with Austin Goldstein and Will Lawrence picking up helpers.

And they seemed to all but snuff out CM’s comeback hopes with two early goals in the third. Cam Ferry marked his return to the lineup after being held out with a concussion with a goal at 2:44 of the third. Less than a minute later, Lancers captain Mike Iovanna scored what would prove to be the game-winner with a tip-in of point shot from John McLean III.

Then, midway through the third, it all changed.

“The problem is that we’re not used to playing with the lead,” MC head coach John McLean Jr. said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a lead this year like that [four goals]. We made some mental mistakes that we didn’t make in the first two-plus periods.”

John Maher broke up the shutout bid of Lancers goaltender Alex Reissis (17 saves) at 7:11 of the third. CM freshman defenseman Frank Cosolito then drew the Knights within two goals with his first career goal. Less than a minute later, Liam Coughlin made it a one-goal game with his 22nd goal of the season, with assists from Sean Heelan and Cosolito.

CM (8-4-2, 2-3-0) played with an empty net for the final 48 seconds, but was unable to get a shot on goal despite having an attack zone faceoff.

Now, as the Lancers mount their late push toward a playoff berth, it’s all a matter of what the reigning Super 8 champions do with the momentum.

“We just need to keep rolling,” Cameron said. “Our ultimate goal is to make it to the Super 8 and this was a huge win for us, a Catholic Conference win.”

In recent weeks, John McLean Jr. has referenced the Lancers being “too cute” with their play. As a result, MC made a concerted effort to get back to basics in practice this week, coming off of Tuesday’s loss to St. John’s Prep.

The difference was evident.

“I thought we had a good three, four days [of practice] with everybody back,” McLean said. “We got back to doing the basic things. We got to the red line, we dumped it in and we did the dirty work. Tonight, we didn’t score on rushes, it was all about getting it deep, and working hard and grinding them.”

Similarly, CM has been mired in a bit of a recent scoring slump. The Knights (0-3-2 in their last five) are now winless since their 7-4 win over MC in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 8; and they’d been held to just five goals in their last four games entering Saturday’s action.

So, while falling short of breaking their losing skid, there were positives to be gleaned from the Knights’ three-goal, third-period outburst.

“We’re in a five-game, I don’t want to call it a tailspin because we haven’t played badly, but we’re in a stretch where it’s not going in the net for us,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said. “We needed something like that third period to happen, for a little infusion of confidence, for us to say, ‘Hey, this is what we are.’”

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. 7 Needham 2, No. 4 CM 1

December, 29, 2011
(Highlights courtesy of the Needham Channel)

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- With under a minute to go in regulation, Catholic Memorial lead the Needham Rockets, 1-0, and looked to be on their way to their third win of the season.

But a Shamus Colman goal tied the game with 39 seconds left and Lucas Davis' goal fired shot into CM’s goal with nine seconds remaining gave the No. 7 Rockets a stunning 2-1 win over the No. 4 Knights.

“Timmy Parlato came up, the puck was loose and he dove, stopped it," said Davis of his game-winner. "The other kid [CM’s Shane Starrett] came out, popped it to me and I finished it. I give all the credit to Timmy Parlato.”

After a lackluster first period, Catholic Memorial (2-1-0) came out strong and controlled the tempo to start the second period. But that momentum was halted at the 6:21 mark when junior captain Liam Coughlin was given a game misconduct for boarding.

Despite losing one of the state’s best forwards, the Knights pressed on and ended up scoring up the game’s first goal at 2:43 in the third period on senior Jack O’Hear’s power-play goal, assisted by John Maher.

With under a minute to go, and a pending face-off in CM’s zone, Needham (3-0-0) called a timeout, pulled goalie Connor Murray and drew up a play, that worked ... Eventually.

“It didn’t work for a couple of faceoff's,” Needham head coach Biil Guisti said of the play he drew up in the timeout. “It took us like two or three faceoffs. On the third faceoff, I told D.J. [Walsh] to get out, and they switched it up. I moved Timmy [Parlato] to the wing, then Lucas [Davis] took the draw, Lucas scrummed it, they got it back to Brendan, Brendan got it over to Shaymus, Shaymus back to Brendan, back to Shaymus and bingo.”

“It was a designed play where they wanted to get the puck back to the D,” Coleman added. “I got an open look, I tried to keep it low and there was a huge screen and it just went in.”

Davis scored the game-winning goal 30 seconds after that.

A Break Through
One of the knock’s on the Needham hockey during the past three seasons is that they couldn’t seem to get past any of their big non-conference opponents, including in Super Eight play.

“It’s a good win,” Davis said. “It’s about time we knocked off one of the top teams. It’s been tough over the past couple of years, trying to knock off the top teams, so we finally did it, it’s a great win.”

The Rockets can’t enjoy the victory too much, they travel to No. 9 Hingham on New Year’s Eve.

For Catholic Memorial the loss may sting for now, but in the big picture it was just a tough break. Losing top class forward Liam Coughlin to a misconduct certainly make things more difficult.

Despite being outshot 32 to 21, the Knights still limited quality scoring chances until the final minute of regulation, and goalie Shane Starrett was solid stopping 30 shots.

The Knights will also play on New Year’s Eve when they host No. 20 Framingham.