Boston High School: John McLean

MC's Sifferlen is ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
PM ET and its High School section today announced that Tyler Sifferlen, senior forward for the Malden Catholic Lancers, is the recipient of its fourth annual "Mr. Hockey" award, presented to the top male high school hockey player in Massachusetts.

The Mr. Hockey Award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of staff, correspondents and high school hockey coaches. Sifferlen will be presented with the award at a later date.

[+] EnlargeTyler Sifferlen
Brendan Hall/ESPNUMass-Lowell commit Tyler Sifferlen led all scorers with seven goals in this year's Super 8 tournament while leading Malden Catholic to its fourth straight title.
“Tyler has been a contributor to each of MC’s four Super 8 championship teams, joining an elite and rare segment of the athletic community to accomplish such a feat,” said Scott Barboza, co-editor of ESPN Boston High Schools and coordinator of the site’s hockey coverage. “Although he is already a Division 1 college commit, he’s raised his game in each of his high school seasons, continually pushing himself and his teammates to maintain the exceptional level of play the Lancers have achieved during a historic era of Massachusetts high school hockey.”

Sifferlen is the fourth straight Lancers player to win the award, following Mike Vecchione (Union), Brendan Collier (Boston University) and Ara Nazarian (UNH commit), having played with each of those players on Super 8 championship teams. The captain was one of four MC seniors to win the Division 1A title in each of their high school hockey seasons.

The North Andover native also shares the distinction of having scored a goal in each of the Lancers’ four Super 8 championship games.

Sifferlen scored 25 goals with 26 assists in 24 games for the Lancers last season. He also led all scorers with seven goals (10 points) during this year's Super 8 tournament. The winger’s 51 points ranked seventh in the state among Division 1 skaters.

“Tyler has been a pleasure to coach for the last four years,” Lancers head coach John McLean said. “He has from day one established himself as a top player, a top student and a fine young man.

“No matter what the situation or the need, Tyler has gotten it done since he was a freshmen. Whether he played defense killing penalties, or scoring big goals on the power play, he just got it done. He may not be flashy, but at the end of the game everyone knew what he had done for the team to win.”

Sifferlen will continue his hockey career at UMass-Lowell.

“What I respect the most about Tyler is that he finished what he started,” McLean said, “he started and finished his high school hockey career a champion. He could have taken his talents elsewhere but deep down I believe he wanted to end his MC career a champion.

“As he moves to his next challenge at UMass-Lowell, his leadership and work ethic will lead the way to a successful college career. We are going to miss Tyler.”

Super 8 final: Malden Catholic 5, Austin Prep 3

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16

BOSTON – Wash, rinse, repeat.

A four-goal second period, including three goals in a 2:50 span, powered Malden Catholic to a 5-3 win over Austin Prep and its fourth straight Division 1A championship at TD Garden.

The Lancers opened the scoring in the final minute of the first period when Tyler Sifferlen put home the first of his two goals. MC put on the burners in the second, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before AP's Cam Russo responded to make it 4-1.

Sifferlen's second goal with just under two period left in the second made it 5-1 at the break.

The five goals scored by the Lancers was the most in a Super 8 final since Catholic Memorial scored five on Burlington in the 2009 championship game.

“I think we came out and were ready to go right off the bat,” Malden Catholic's Ara Nazarian said. “We shut down Twitter for the whole Super 8 [tournament]. We see all the stuff on social media and it gets us fired up. They got a goal on the first shift last year and we weren't going to let that happen this year. They're a good team, worked hard; it was a good, hard battle.”

Battle back the Cougars did. AP outshot the Lancers 7-5 in the third period and blitzed the Malden defense. Bobo Carpenter scored a pair of goals midway through the third to give the Cougars a renewed sense of energy.

Mike Egan had a point-blank chance to make it a one-goal with four minutes but was unable to corral a pass.

“It just makes you think you could do something more to get the team going,” Carpenter said. “I know my team gave it their all; that's all I could ask for. Great season with the team and I loved every second of it.”

AP's swoon lasted for only five minutes, but the damage was done.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first period except for that goal,” AP head coach Louis Finocchario said. “For whatever reason, all year long, we've had four or five minutes in the second where we just totally collapse. Against a good team like that you can't do that. They're talented. We needed to keep the game closer than that.”

For Nazarian, and the Lancers, the feeling of victory remains sweet no matter how times MC experiences it.

“It feels the same as the other three years; it's a feeling you never get sick of,” Nazarian said. “You strive for that feeling and once that buzzer rings, and you realize you won the game, it's a special feeling. Especially after the past three years, it's been a special three years I've been a part of. I wouldn't choose another bunch of boys to play with.”

THREE AMIGOS: The Lancers first line of Jake Witkowski, Nazarian, and Sifferlen combined for eight of Malden Catholic's 14 points. Sifferlen had the Lancers' first and fifth goals.

“I take that [it's] three great players who put aside their egos and individual abilities to put team goals first,” Malden Catholic coach John MacLean said. “That's what helps us win. Ara's a great player, Siff's a great player, Jake's a great player, but they play as a unit most of the time. When they do it works.”

Witkowski shined with three assists, including the primary on the Lancers' third and fifth goals. Nazarian scored a goal and added a pair of assists.

“[Witkowski's] an outstanding player, very skilled, very smart,” MacLean said. “They're a great combo line. I thought they had some pretty tic-tac-toe goals tonight, but what matters to me is they played defense at the end when it mattered and that's what got us the win.”

While Witkowski had only nine goals this season, his 21 assists and soft hands made him an X-factor when he was on the ice.

“He's a great player,” Sifferlen said. “He's got good hands and good eye coordination. He's a good help with this team and this line. He's a good player.”

For the line, which combined for 131 points this season, Sunday was its last hurrah. Sifferlen will graduate in June and go on to play at UMass-Lowell.

Nazarian said he'll always remember his time alongside Sifferlen and Witkowski.

“It's a great feeling with Siffy,” Nazarian said. “I've been playing with Siff since freshman year, and Jake fit right in with us. His hands are ridiculous. I think we work hard in practice and are really quick out on the ice.”

RIDING THE WAVE: AP was a piecemeal team for much of the season. As injuries piled up, Finocchario was constantly tasked with assembling new lines and putting new faces in new places.

After a 1-1-2 stretch at the start of February, the Cougars finally returned to full strength, thanks in part to the return of Eric MacAdams, and rattled off eight straight wins to get to yesterday's title game.

“Obviously there's nothing you could say right now that's going to please any of us, but we had a lot of adversity this year,” Finocchario said. “We had guys chip in all season long and fill in when guys were out. Everyone did a nice job at one point or another throughout the season. A lot of kids were proud to be here, but our goal was to go out there and win.”

AP should return all but two players from this year's squad including eight of their nine double-digit points scorers.

“We had a lot of injuries, a lot of differentiation you could say,” Carpenter said. “We just came together at the end of the season; it was a blast no matter what. Big family now. We'll be there for each other for years to come.”

Super 8 semi: Malden Catholic 3, Cathedral 1

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13

LOWELL, Mass. – Malden Catholic did what it's done for years in March – win.

All three Lancers lines chipped in a goal as MC punched its fourth straight ticket to the Division 1A, Super 8 championship game, and fifth since 2008, with a 3-1 win over Springfield Cathedral, Thursday at Tsongas Center.

Pat Wrenn's Harlem Globetrotter-inspired goal late in the second period that saw the senior finesse the puck through a gaggle of Panthers before roofing it over the glove of Keith Petruzzelli proved to be the game-winner.

“I'm yelling at him to shoot, shoot, shoot,” Malden Catholic head coach John MacLean said. “He's stick-handling, he's toe-dragging whatever he does, typical Charlestown kid – street hockey player. It was a great shot. I thought it picked the team up.”

The first period saw the teams tread lightly and neither forced the issue on the other. The Lancers finally broke through when Ara Nazarian fluttered a pass over a Cathedral player's stick to Tyler Sifferlen who banged it home.

[+] EnlargeSifferlen
Brendan Hall/ESPNMalden Catholic's Tyler Sifferlen continued his strong play in the Super 8, as the UMass Lowell commit scored on his future home ice at the Tsongas Center.
“Coach [McLean] just tells us to shoot on the net,” Sifferlen said. “You never know, it could go in.”

The teams upped the tempo in the middle period and Malden Catholic got the better of the action. The Lancers continually pinched in from up high and threw a hard, constant forecheck at Cathedral. The Lancers hampered themselves, taking a pair of penalties in the first half of the second period.

The Panthers made them pay when Riley Prattson rocketed home a power-play goal just over six minutes into the period.

“Riley's got a lot of energy; he's got a great heart,” Cathedral coach Brian Foley said. “He's like a lot of our kids. He works and he works. He's young and exciting. He had a great season.”

That was as close as Cathedral would get as the Lancers kept on the pressure. Malden Catholic outshot Cathedral 22-10 over the final two periods and junior goalie Alex Reissis coolly handled his duties between the pipes, racking up 14 saves.

“We limited their shots,” Wrenn said. “We usually give up too many shots and it backfires on us. We wanted to cut down on their shots and opportunities so we could get going.”

A Matt Felipe goal just before midway in the third period gave the Lancers all the insurance they would need and took the wind out of Cathedral's sails.

The Panthers pressed to close the gap but their efforts proved fruitless. Malden Catholic continued to press so hard that Cathedral was unable to pull the goalie until there were only 67 seconds left in the game.

“Once they got that third goal they're tough to play against with a lead,” Foley said. “The second half of the third period we had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, getting pucks to the net. Malden played a real strong game.”

Experience a factor: It's a tired trope, but Foley was the first to admit that experience plays a role in tournaments like the Super 8. That routine of playing the best teams at the highest level while every mistake is punished only gets more manageable after gone through it several times.

“I think experience is big in this tournament,” Foley said. “They have it, we have some. This is our first trip to the semifinals. I think we took a step forward and hopefully we'll be back here next year.

“We made a step this year to make it to the semis. They're a great team and a respected opponent. It was a great season.”

For the Lancers, the win earns them another finals date with Austin Prep; AP lost by a goal to Malden Catholic in last year's final.

McLean said that having a team that has played on the Garden ice multiple times can only help them in the season finale.

“This is four or five years that we've been in this situation, and it helps,” MacLean said. “The kids played well, they knew what they had to do. We'll see what happens on Sunday.”

Super 8: No. 2 Malden Catholic 6, No. 7 CM 4

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6

LOWELL, Mass. -- There are times when changing goaltenders can be the difference between victory and defeat.

That seemed to be the case when Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial met Wednesday night.

Trailing by two goals early in the second period, MC coach John McLean pulled freshman goaltender Kyle Casey and inserted junior Alex Reissis. The Lancers turned their two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead by the end of the period, and went on to defeat CM 6-4 at the Tsongas Center.

The win gave second-seeded MC a two-game sweep in the Super 8 best-of-three quarterfinal-round series.

“We have two very good goalies,” McLean said. “You have to get by five guys to get a shot on net, so I don’t blame the goalies on any shot. Reissis came in and did what he had to do. I thought he did a great job.

“If need be I have the confidence to put Casey in any game in any situation.”

Junior forward Zach Sullivan scored twice for seventh-seeded Catholic Memorial (10-9-4). Both goals came during Catholic Memorial power plays. The Knights also received goals from sophomore defenseman Tim Weinstein and junior forward Anthony Panaggio.

Senior left wing Tyler Sifferlen and senior right wing Brian Cameron each scored twice for MC (18-4-0). Sifferlen’s second goal came with 1.8 seconds remaining in the second period while the teams were skating four-on-four. The goal handed MC a 5-4 lead.

Junior defenseman John McLean and sophomore center Matt Filipe also scored for MC, which has won the last three Super 8 tournaments. Filipe’s goal came while MC was short-handed and made it a 4-4 contest.

MC outshot CM, 40-16.

“I’m proud of the kids, McLean said. “They worked hard tonight. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”

Up next: MC will play either third-seeded Springfield Cathedral (16-2-5) or sixth-seeded Duxbury (16-3-3) in the tournament’s semifinals, which will be held March 12. Cathedral and Duxbury will play the second game of their best-of-three series Thursday night (6 p.m.) at Tsongas Arena.

Cathedral won the opener, 4-1.

Cathedral beat MC, 5-2, during the regular season. Duxbury and MC have not met this season.

“We haven’t seen Duxbury yet, but if we play Cathedral we know what we’re getting since we played them out in Springfield,” Filipe said. “All the boys are amped up.”

Net assets: Reissis, an Arlington resident, entered the tournament with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 11 games. He made 21 saves when MC beat CM in the series opener.

Casey, who lives in Boxford, entered Wednesday’s contest began with a 2.22 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage in nine games.

“We didn’t give Kyle much support, so you can’t put the blame on him,” Filipe said. “We just tightened up in the D zone when (Reissis) got in there.”

Super 8: No. 2 Malden Catholic 4, No. 7 CM 3

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2

BOSTON — Both Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial knew things would be different this time around and neither expected a repeat of the 11-0 drubbing the Lancers put on the Knights back on Feb. 14.

This one came down to the wire with Malden Catholic getting a late power play goal from senior Tyler Sifferlen who beat Knights goalie Brandon Collett after a great cross ice feed from junior John McLean. The goal was the second of the night for Sifferlen.

The Knights had a six on four advantage in the final minute with the goalie pulled but could not draw even and now trail the best of three series 1-0 as the teams get ready for Game Two on Wednesday night at the Tsongas Arena (8 p.m.).

“I thought it was an up and down game and I thought CM played great,” said Malden Catholic coach John McLean. “Tyler has been doing it for four years. He is a great player and a great leader and always seems to come up with big goals at the Garden. He is a character kid and he was in the right spot at the right time.”

The Lancers came out strong in the first period and got on the board when Ara Nazarian calmly cruised into the offensive zone and passed against the grain to defenseman Will Lawrence whose snap shot found the top left corner over Collett’s blocker.

CM would answer after being outplayed for most of the first period when Paul Hardiman banged home a pass from Michael Stathopoulos at the goalmouth to tie the game at one.

With a hard push to start the second period, the Knights took what would be their only lead of the night when Zach Sullivan found Aaron Clancy in the slot and the captain beat Alex Reissis over his blocker side.

Lancers Matthew Filipe had the answer just 31 seconds later with a highlight reel goal busting down the left wing, eluding a defender, and slipping one through the pads of Collett (22 saves).

Sifferlen was in the right spot midway through the second period when Nazarian found him in the neutral zone in stride and Sifferlen split the Knights defense pair and chipped the puck over Collett for a 3-2 lead.

“Ara just shot it up the middle and found me on the breakaway,” said Sifferlen. “It was just a lucky goal. It went over his shoulder. I think it went off his stick and went in.”

However, CM had the answer with under a minute left in the second period when Hardiman notched his second of the night after he poked the puck free from Reissis and buried his chance that tied the game at three.

Not lacking confidence: Despite falling behind 1-0 in the series, the Knights certainly put any doubts in the rear view mirror about the mirage that was the last time these two teams played.

After being outplayed over the first 15 minutes, Catholic Memorial outshot MC 24-14 over the last two periods and got a huge effort from Hardiman along the way.

“The past few times we have played against them we haven’t really got our offense going,” said Hardiman. “We thought we would just throw the puck on net and rebounds just happened to pop out to me.”

Both of Hardiman’s tallies took the Knights out of one goal deficits and that has the Knights feeling confident heading into Game Two.

“We knew what we had to do to play with and we just had to play our game,” added Hardiman. “I mean we are really confident going into the next game. Hopefully we can get a few more bounces.”

Big time player: While it was a “quiet” two-assist game for MC captain Aza Nazarian, it was a play in his defensive zone with time winding down that won’t show on the score sheet.

With the goalie pulled and C-M making their final push on a power play in the final minute, Anthony Pannagio had the puck on his stick, cocked and ready to fire into an open side, when Nazarian got his stick in the shooting lane and deflected the attempt wide of the net.

For a player known so much for his offensive ability, his subtle play on the defensive end saved his team from facing overtime.

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 5, No. 1 MC 2

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Before the opening face off, you could see it in their eyes.

There was no look of concern or intimidation on the faces of Springfield Cathedral Panthers. None. Zero.

Going up against the hockey behemoth otherwise known as Malden Catholic in the championship game of its own tournament, No. 6 Cathedral entered with a strong feeling of determination and the belief that it belonged among the state’s elite programs.

On Thursday night, both were put on display repeatedly as the Panthers were sparked by three second-period goals en route to a convincing 5-2 victory over the top-ranked Lancers in front of a packed house at the Olympia Ice Center in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The contest could very well be a preview for a later meeting between the state powers in the upcoming Super 8 tournament.

"This is the best possible way to end our regular season," said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley, his team likely to move up in the Super 8 seedings. "It's a real confidence boost heading into the (Super 8) tournament. Our team this season is probably the strongest team we've had entering the postseason tournament. Our overall skill level is higher than in years past."

After surrendering a late first period goal to MC senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, the remainder of this tilt belonged to the Panthers (15-2-5). Looking for a way to even up this contest quickly, center Peter Crinella answered Cathedral's hopes after taking a drop pass from freshman Dan Petrick and firing a missile past Alex Reissis just 34 seconds into the middle frame to knot things at 1-1.

Cathedral was doing a solid job on the defensive side by taking the Lancers forwards off their projected paths and pushing them into the boards. This, in turn, allowed the forwards to create space inside the MC zone. Johnny Leonard put the Panthers ahead at 6:06 of the period. Taking a centering pass from Riley Prattson, the sophomore waited patiently for Reissis to commit downward before firing a shot over the junior's right shoulder.

Three minutes later, D.J. Petruzzelli, a junior, flew down the right side, cut through a pair of defensemen and lifted a shot past Reissis (14 saves), sending Cathedral into the second intermission on top 3-1.

"This is a game we always look forward to from the first day of the season," said Leonard, a UMass-Amherst commit. "We wanted to make a statement that we do belong with Malden Catholic. We have such a great program here and great coaches. We pushed each other all year for games like this one and the Super 8 moving forward. We are still a very young team (one senior) but I feel we've got something pretty special going on here this year. Hopefully we can take momentum of this win into the Super 8 and do something there."

Over the course of the first 30 minutes, MC was given several clean looks at the net. But the Lancers failed to capitalize on those opportunities due in large part to the strong, physical play of the Panthers defense along with the steady play between the pipes by goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. The freshman played brilliantly, stopping 26 of 28 attempts, including a 12 shot barrage in the closing period. In spite of the loss, it still should have no bearing on MC (16-4) being the consensus No. 1 seed going into the Super 8 once the pairings are announced on Saturday.

"I really liked the fact that we got punched in the face tonight," MC head coach John McLean said. "When you win games 11-0, 9-0 and 7-1 as we've done recently, the kids kind of get this mental thing where they can just show up and its automatically going to happen. Tonight was a good learning experience for us. We understand there are teams that can play with us and that's a good thing.

"Cathedral is a well-coached team and can really compete at a high level. Every time we play them it's always a good, tough game. We had a ton of chances tonight but I thought we tried to get a little to fancy with the puck. I thought Cathedral got in our face and didn't respect us. That's OK because why should they?"

Last year, the Lancers came into Cathedral Tournament a team in search of a direction.

After its two-game sweep in the event, there were many who believe that was the spring board MC needed in moving forward and capturing its third consecutive Super 8 crown. Now the Panthers are adhering to a similar premise hoping this triumph will catapult them through the tournament.

"Hopefully a game like this will have us come out stronger in the next game we play and not feel a team out," Foley said. "The last couple of years in the Super 8 we were just kind of feeling our way around. Enough of that now. It is time for us to take the game to our opponent. Hopefully this win will help prepare us mentally to do that."

Realizing MC was too good not to go down without a fight. Cathedral's objective entering the final period was to try and add to its total early on. The Panthers caught a huge break after Matt Filipe and John McLean were sent to the penalty box in succession, giving Cathedral a 5-on-3 advantage for 52 seconds. The Panthers didn't need all of that time to convert however. Leonard, standing just to the right of Reissis, found Crinella wide-open in the slot and the junior finished the play accordingly by slapping a one-timer past Reissis at 2:08 and push Cathedral's advantage to three goals.

With just over five minutes remaining, the Lancers were leaving everything out on the ice. They started becoming more-efficient at moving the puck through center ice while attacking the Cathedral zone at will. The Panthers, meanwhile, were just hoping to get through these last few minutes as they continuously tried to dump the puck away from their zone anyway they could. One time they couldn't. Defenseman Nick Rolli, standing inside the left circle, fired a point-blank laser past Petruzzelli at 9:05, narrowing the deficit to 4-2.

But time was not of the essence for the Lancers on this night. With Reissis pulled for the extra man, Leonard capped off this monumental evening by scoring an empty net goal from nearly the full-length of the ice in the final minute.

Recap: No. 1 MC 7, No. 10 St. Mary's 1

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When the talk centers around Malden Catholic, much of the conversation is directed towards the Lancers’ prolific offense and rightfully so.

But there are those who tend to forget just how strong this team is defensively. MC takes pride in its defense, albeit nobody seems to notice due in large part to the high-output of goals this team can amass at any given time.

Wednesday night, that defense flourished yet again, this time putting St. Mary's of Lynn in virtual headlock en route to a 7-1 victory in the opening round of the Springfield Cathedral Tournament played at the Olympia Ice Center.

No. 1 MC will face No. 6 Cathedral (a 9-0 winner over Needham) in the championship game, and perhaps a preview to a possible Super 8 meeting down the road, on Thursday night beginning at 5:10 p.m. Tenth-ranked St. Mary's, still with a shot at securing a Super 8 invite, squares off against Needham in the consolation tilt at 3:10.

As expected, MC's offense was its usual productive self, striking for five first period goals. But the defense got into the act as well, taking the Spartans off the puck, tying up the neutral zone and pinching the boards with effectiveness. When St. Mary's was able to find passage ways to the Lancer net, junior netminder Alex Reissis (22 saves) was there to turn them away.

"We have some good young defensemen back there," said senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, who notched the hat trick, giving him 17 goals on the season. "We also have some leaders back there as well in Nick Rolli and John McLean."

MC (16-3) had held opponents to a mere 37 goals this season while the offense has found the back of the net 103 times. In the Lancers last six games, they have only been scored upon six times. Only one team (BC High on Jan. 7) has scored more than four goals against them in a game, finishing with five.

In fairness to St. Mary's, MC's defense wasn't looking all that sharp at the beginning of the contest. Just 14 seconds in, senior forward Jordan Manthorne scored off a rebound after Reissis couldn't corral a hard perimeter shot from Max McKay, putting the Spartans ahead.

But all that did was wake up a sleeping giant. The Lancers regrouped quickly and gained control of the period moments later. Sifferlen, taking a cross-ice feed from Ara Nazarian, one-timed a shot past Spartans goalie Bailey MacBurnie (27 saves) at 2:18.

From there, there wer no answers in slowing this talented group down.

Keeping the puck inside the Spartan zone for what seemed like an eternity, Nick Botticelli, a sophomore, flipped a shot over MacBurnie's catching glove at 6:56 to give the Lancers the lead for good. It took all of one minute later for MC to pad its advantage. With St. Mary's forward Jon Powers in the penalty box for holding, Sifferlen bagged his second marker with a point blank shot from the right circle.

At 9:48 of the period, junior Jake Witkowski scored off a face off to push MC's advantage to three goals. Witkowski also added three assists. Just two minutes after Witkowski's score, Matt Filipe, a sophomore, showed some tremendous speed, flying behind the Spartans net and dumping a short side goal past MacBurnie and send the Lancers into the first intermission well in-control, on top 5-1.

"The guys did what they had to do in the first period," MC head coach John McLean said. "We got to roll four lines the rest of the game. We'll take the two points and move on. The Ara, Tyler and Jake line are very talented, they move the puck and are very tough to stop. It's pretty special watching them move the puck around. This tournament is good for us. We like to get out on the road and play in these types of games. I think it gets us mentally ready for the Super 8."

Over the final 30 minutes, MC pulled back some in its offensive attack, instead, paying more attention to the defensive side. As the game wore on, so too, did the chippiness from both sides. St. Mary's was obviously frustrated for not being able to capitalize when they had chances inside the MC zone. Likewise, the Lancers weren't about to stand around and play the role of a pinata. St. Mary's frustration only mounted after barely able to register a ripple offensively in the second, only to watch Sifferlen tally his third goal at 11:33 and a 6-1 advantage.

With the Sifferlen, Nazarian (3 assists) and Witkowski line pretty much regulated to bench detail over the final frame, the Lancers showed some of their depth. Logan Stark, a sophomore, registered his first varsity goal at 2:36 as he flipped a shot over MacBurnie to make it a six-goal margin.

To its credit, St. Mary's perhaps played its best period during the final 15 minutes, putting up 12 shots on Reissis but had nothing to show for it.

"First period, we get that quick goal which I think lit a fire under [MC]," Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. "I felt we had some opportunities but just couldn't put the puck into the net. The first period ended it early for us. The positive is we didn't quit and played two solid periods after that but they were the better team.”

Recap: No. 1 Malden Catholic 11, No. 3 CM 0

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15

MALDEN, Mass. -- Since Catholic Memorial defeated Malden Catholic, 5-3, last month, the two teams have been heading in opposite directions.

That fact was perhaps never more apparent than Friday night at the Valley Forum when the Lancers skated away with an 11-0 triumph over the Knights.

Since the loss to CM last month, Malden Catholic has reeled off six consecutive victories, allowing just two goals over the last four games.

“It’s huge,” said sophomore forward Matt Filipe of his team’s recent momentum. “We had that loss to CM a few weeks ago and after that game we started playing really well.”

John McLean’s Lancers were firing on all cylinders Friday night as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after one period.

Filipe had a hat trick in the opening period to blow the doors off the contest.

“He’s a man child,” said McLean of his second line pivot who recently committed to Northeastern. “He’s a monster. He’s not afraid to go to the net and that’s what it takes. He can skate. He’s big and strong. When he cuts to the net he uses his size and is not afraid to go there. He’s been that way since was a Mite.”

“It was a good first period and it was an overall good win for the seniors,” said a humble and well-spoken Filipe of his team’s final home game of the season.

McLean was pleased that his team did not let its foot off the pedal and continued pushing hard all game, including two quick goals to start the second period after such a strong first period.

“When the score gets like that guys tend to care more about points than playing team hockey,” McLean said. “We calmed them down, got back to our systems and things were fine after that.”

UNH recruit and Mr. Hockey hopeful Ara Nazarian had a pair of goals, but it was also a good night for some of the secondary scorers who found some added confidence by finding the back of the net. Jack Adams, Patrick Wrenn and Brian Cameron all scored in the lopsided affair.

On the other hand, Catholic Memorial has struggled since the meeting last month, going 1-4-1 in the six games following, including two consecutive blowout losses this week.

Bill Hanson’s team was shut out, 6-0, by BC High on Wednesday.

Catholic Memorial is still a team that will be heard from come tournament time, and will be dangerous, especially with a veteran head coach and a goaltender in Brandon Collett, who could get hot and steal a few games.

“CM was off tonight,” McLean said. “They are a good team and have a good coaching staff. It’s one of those things that happens once in a while. They’re a good team and they’ll be there in the playoffs. We’ll have to worry about them if we play them.”

The Knights will have a chance to bounce back on Monday facing fellow Super 8 hopeful Central Catholic.

McLean, the always business-like bench boss of MC, refused to think further ahead than his team’s next contest against Marshfield on Monday.

“We have to get ready for Marshfield on Monday,” he said. “We’re playing in a barn these kids have never played in. We have to beat Marshfield first so we’ll start training for them. We’ll worry about the Super 8 when the seedings come out.”

Following that the Lancers will face St. Mary’s in the first round of the Springfield Cathedral High School Tournament before playing either Cathedral or Needham in the second round.

Then it will be off to the Super 8 where MC will likely be a one or two seed in the tournament they have captured three consecutive years.

“We’re going for that number one seed,” said Filipe.

Recap: No. 3 Malden Catholic 3, No. 1 BC High 1

February, 9, 2014
Feb 9
MALDEN, Mass. —The impressive season long unbeaten streak is over for the BC High Eagles and Malden Catholic’s Ara Nazarian had a lot do with it.

Nazarian scored the go ahead goal in the second period and the insurance goal in the third period as the No. 3 Lancers put an end to the No. 1 Eagles’ 14-game unbeaten streak by a score of 3-1 at the Valley Forum.

The UNH commit finished off a sweet move to his forehand early in the second period to give the Lancers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He is a high end talent kid and you expect that,” said Malden Catholic coach John McLean. “I thought he worked really hard tonight and he was focused. We gear up for these guys so we look forward to playing them. I wish we could play them more during the year.”

The Lancers opened the scoring in the first period when senior Patrick Wrenn finished off a nice cross-ice pass from Nick Botticelli for a 1-0 lead.

Momentum shifted as the Eagles came out flying in the second period and tied the game when Tim Larocque tipped home a point shot from Ryan Shea to tie the game.

Despite the go-ahead goal by Nazarian just under a minute later, the Eagles kept the pressure on, aided by three power play chances including an abbreviated two man advantage but they could not solve junior goalie Alex Reissis (26 saves).

Nazarian put the finishing touches on the win with just under three minutes left.

Jake Witkowski had the initial bid that Eagles goalie Brandon Payzant turned aside but the rebound fell to the stick of Nazarian, who had an easy finish into the open side that put the game away.

MC's win avenged the Lancers' 5-3 loss at UMass-Boston back on Jan. 7.

“We just needed to focus on the small plays at the blue lines,” said Nazarian. “In the past games we haven’t been putting in our effort at the blue lines and that is where we have been losing games. I don’t think they have had a game where they have been down 1-0 in a while so getting that first goal was key.”

Only small in stature: When MC goalie Alex Reissis emerged from the locker room, the team’s fireman hat — given to the game’s MVP — rested on his head.

Despite his small frame, Reissis played large for the Lancers, specifically during a 16-shot barrage from the surging Eagles in the second period.

“The defense played really well for me today and kept everything to the outside,” said Reissis. “We took a lot of penalties but the penalty kill played well again.”

There was no bigger save then with just over six minutes left in the game when a defensive turnover led to Eagles top scorer Steve DeForge bearing down on Reissis but the junior goalie calmly turned the bid aside.

“I think this is a big step for him in a real big game,” added McLean. “That was huge for his confidence but he played huge tonight.”

Recap: No. 6 Catholic Memorial 3, No. 2 MC 2

January, 26, 2014
Jan 26

BOSTON – Against a team as fast and skilled as Malden Catholic, the margin for error in the neutral and – in particular – the defensive is slim.

That’s why Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson spent the lead-up to Saturday’s Catholic Confrence clash emphasizing responsibility through those two zones and the principle of taking away time and space from the Lancers’ forwards.

The Knights delivered on that promise, and combined with a 37-save performance from sophomore goaltender Brandon Collett and a couple of timely goals from senior winger Mike Stathopoulos, the No. 6 Knights delivered a 3-2 win over the second-ranked Lancers.

“We worked a lot on executing, getting the puck out of the zone,” Stathopoulos said. “If it’s not in the zone, they’re going to have trouble scoring, so we just wanted to get the puck out of the zone and really lock down the neutral zone, then make sure we work the puck down deep in their zone.”

Despite their attention to detail, the Knights (8-1-2, 2-0-1 Catholic) emerged a bit flat-footed in the first, while being outshot by MC (8-3-0, 2-2-0) by a 12-2 margin.

The opening stanza is when Collett turned in perhaps his finest work, keeping CM in the game while stopping a number of Lancers’ scoring chances. None was finer than his stop on an Ara Nazarian back-hander off a partial breakaway with about three minutes remaining in the first.

“Territorially, in that first period, they did what they do best, they attack the net,” Hanson said. “Our goaltender had to play real well in the first period to keep us in the game.”

The Knights turned the territorial battle in their favor in the second, propelled by an early goal from Stathopoulos. Just 11 seconds into the period, Stathopoulos floated a wrister from the right wing circle past Alex Reissis (16 saves).

CM outshot the Lancers, 10-5, in the stanza, but MC was able to head to the room all square after Matt Filipe’s tally at 8:46.

The Lancers claimed the lead at 4:26 of the third period on a Jake Witkowski goal. The lead was shortlived, however, as Aaron Clancy responded for CM just 36 seconds later.

The Knights reclaimed the lead with 7:58 remaining on Stathopoulos’ second of the game. CM defenseman Frank Cosolito earned his second assist, firing off a shot from the point with Stathopoulos putting back the rebound off the initial save.

“He’s playing with confidence and he’s an intelligent kid,” Hanson said of Stathopoulos. “There’s no nervousness in him.”

Little things add up: On the Knights’ methodology for success Saturday, Hanson outlined it to be: “We just didn’t want them to get odd-manned situations against us.”

Hanson lauded the efforts of his top defensive pairing of Cosolito and Tim Weinstein, which was rolled out each time MC’s top line touched the ice.

But defense is a team game, and the Knights forward shared in the responsibility – much of which was left to junior center Anthony Panaggio, who went toe-to-toe with the reigning Mr. Hockey award winner in the circle.

“He got in his shirt just enough to not let up that extra step,” Hanson said of Panaggio. “I thought he was tremendous tonight. [Nazarian] skates as well as anybody, but he was in his kitchen.”

Conversely, Lancers head coach John McLean thought his team was outworked and unable to get the greasy kind of goals required to win a tight Catholic Conference game.

“You get pucks on net, get to the net and good things happen, but we’re not doing that enough right now,” McLean said. “We’re kind of shooting and watching, there were a lot of rebounds that we weren’t in the dirty areas to get to.

“When you have a good, hard-working defensive team like that, you have to take your lumps to get a goal.”

Work in progress: On that first line of Malden Catholic, it took another new look on Saturday, as the Lancers look to find the right combination heading into the pivotal month of February.

Filipe, skated the right wing alongside Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen to start the game, with the trio combining on the Lancers’ first goal.

Witkowski stepped back onto the line, as the MC’s top line was again on the ice for its second goal.

“We’re doing what we did last year, trying to fine the right combination and who gels well,” McLean said. “[Filipe] is an outstanding center, but wherever he goes, he’s an outstanding player.”

Recap: No. 2 Malden Catholic 8, No. 5 Central 2

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
SALEM, N.H. – Malden Catholic came to the Icenter, pillaged, plundered and left.

The No. 3 Lancers blitzed host No. 5 Central Catholic and rolled to an 8-2 win.

Malden Catholic scored three goals in a 76-second span late in the first period and followed it up with another three-goal eruption over a 75-second span in the second period.

In total, six different Lancers lit the lamp.

“We just kept digging, played our system, five-man defense and you get your chances and we buried them,” Malden Catholic coach John McLean said. “I think its good that everybody's getting a little piece of the pie. It'’ll make us better down the road.”

The Raiders controlled the tempo early, taking advantage of the Olympic-sized ice at the Icenter, but Malden Catholic solved the sheet late in the period. Jack Adams scored on the power play to open the scoring, and Ara Nazarian buried a rebound 33 seconds later to double the lead.

Jake Witkowski took all the wind out of the home fans when he potted one from an impossible angle over the shoulder of Central goalie Colin Soucy.

“It was a real good high school hockey game for a while and then a few dropped in the back of our net and everything fell their way for them,” Central coach Mike Jankowski said. “Give them credit, they played really well and made some great plays.”

The Lancers fully washed away their 2-1 loss to Delbarton (N.J.) on Saturday in the second period. Malden Catholic fully utilized the extra space on the ice to show the crowd of roughly 1,000 why they have won the last three Super 8 titles.

MC outshot Central, 14-4, in the second period and finished the stanza with goals from Pat Wrenn, Tyler Sifferlen, and Austin Goldstein.

Sifferlen and Wrenn also scored in the second period.

“We had some good opportunities to score and just put the puck in the net,” Sifferlen said. “It was a good two points.”

Sifferlen's first goal came shorthanded and he played a solid game in all three zones.

“He does all the work,” McLean said of Sifferlen. “He's very skilled. He's been that way since he was a freshman. [He] blocks shots, kills penalties, plays the power play. He just plays the game the right way.”

While the offense was rolling, Malden Catholic goalie Alex Reissis shut down the Raiders in goal. He turned aside 22 Central shots and didn't surrender a goal until the final five minutes of the game.

“Our goalie came up big,” McLean said. “Reissis had a real big game and that's why we named him player of the game for us.”

RAIDERS TURN RED: The Central offense has scored four goals or more eight times this season. In two of their other home games this season, they were able to let their speed roam free on the larger sheet at the Icenter and score 10 goals against Billerica and four against Waltham.

Yesterday, the faster, more agile Lancers were able to use that advantage against Central and punish them.

“The bigger ice surface exposed some of our weaknesses from time to time,” Jankowski said. “They won battles, they won races, and they just dominated the game from start to finish.”

While the Lancer speed was a problem the Raiders did themselves no favors. Central surrendered three goals on special teams, including two shorthanded goals on the same power play, and committed uncharacteristic mental mistakes throughout.

The most glaring came on Wrenn's first goal of the game when the Raiders made a lazy line change and let MC glide in on a four-on-one.

“We dug ourselves a hole,” Jankowski said. “ I think usually there's great character and we're able to bounce back quickly, but I think there was a different feel. A lot of it was self-induced. Just the turnovers really ended up costing us.”

Recap: Delbarton (N.J.) 2, No. 2 Malden Catholic 1

January, 19, 2014
Jan 19
MALDEN, Mass. -- The Delbarton School was a terrible guest Saturday at the Valley Forum.

The Green Wave, of Morristown, N.J., controlled the tempo and disrupted Malden Catholic’s offense for most of the game to escape with a 2-1 win over the host Lancers.

“Delbarton's a good team,” Malden Catholic assistant coach Pat Driscoll said. “They beat us to a lot of pucks. I thought in the third period we picked it up a bit, but the bottom line is that when you play a team like that you got to play three periods.”

The Lancers had scored at least three goals in every game they had played this season before being shut down by the Delbarton defense. The Lancers top line of Ara Nazarian, Tyler Sifferlen and John McLean was responsible for MC's lone goal -- a McLean tally in the third -- but were silenced for the bulk of the 45 minutes otherwise.

The Delbarton defensive pairs of Sean Petrie-Andrew Petrillo and Matt Savarese-Will McCarthy shined. They held their lanes on the back check and poke checked successfully throughout the game.

“I thought our gap control was exceptional,” Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel said. “MC's got some real talented players up front, and we took away their space a little bit in the neutral zone. Our back pressure was good, but I've got to credit my defensemen for keeping those high-powered forwards in check for the most part.”

Petrillo stepped up to the moment on both ends of the ice. The sophomore scored on a wrist shot from the point on the power play with 2:40 to go to put the Green Wave ahead for good. Tyler Kobryn put Delbarton ahead with a goal early in the second period.

“He's been our shutdown guy all year,” Shatel said of Petrillo. “We tried to match him against [Nazarian] and [Sifferlen] all game. I think for the most part he did a real good job against them.

“It's funny in hockey, you draw things up and 99 percent of the time it doesn't work. We talked about Andrew getting his hips around the puck in the middle of the ice because they were butting us with the aggressive rotation on our shooters. It worked out.”

These two squads met last year with Malden Catholic cruising to a 5-1 win. Petrillo said the biggest differences in this year's game was determination and physicality.

“I think it was just focus,” Petrillo said. “They got a lot of talented, physical guys on that team, but we do as well. We're tough. We're physical. So I think we were able to keep with them.”

The Lancers had their chances but were unable to convert. A pair of shots clanged off the post, including one from Sifferlen in the third period.

YOUTH SERVED IN GOAL: Both goalies yesterday were freshman and both played up to the occasion. Delbarton's Troy Kobryn turned aside 23 shots while Malden Catholic's Kyle Casey stopped 18.

“Kyle came out with a couple of big saves,” Driscoll said of Casey. “They had a couple of power plays, and he came up with a couple of doorstop saves. He had a great day.”

Kobryn showed his mettle in the second period when the Lancers were able to put 10 shots on cage.

“He was fabulous,” Shatel said of Kobryn. “He's been terrific for us all year. He's a young pup, but he's getting older every time out because we're throwing him into some pressure situations and he's responded every time.”

DORCHESTER, Mass. – When one of yours is down, you rally around the ranks.

No. 2 BC High did just that Tuesday night at UMass-Boston while facing Catholic Conference rival and statewide No. 1, Malden Catholic.

In the 24 hours leading up the Eagles’ bout, head coach John Flaherty had his mind elsewhere – in particular, with his mother who was hospitalized due to illness. That’s exactly when his BC High squad, in the words of senior captain Steve DeForge, told their coach they “had his back.”

And the Eagles backed it up, storming out of the gate and finishing strong while snatching a 5-3 victory over the Lancers.

“He’s back and forth, taking care of her and taking care of us,” said DeForge, who scored two goals. “We talked about it yesterday in practice, we need to pick him up, how he picks up every day. I think we did it today.

“She’s always there for us as well. She’s always looking out for us and I think we made her really happy and we made him really happy to get this win tonight.”

The matchup marked the second time in less than two weeks’ time in which the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in ESPN Boston’s statewide Top 25 have gone head to head. Following MC’s 4-1 win over former No. 1 Austin Prep a little more than a week ago, the Eagles (6-0-1, 2-0-1 Catholic Conference) became the second straight second-ranked team to topple No. 1.

That motivation, coupled with the inspiration of playing for Flaherty’s mother, who constantly keeps up with the team, proved enough.

“We wanted this win, they’re the top team in the state,” said sophomore forward Patrick Kramer, who led all scorers with four points. “We worked on trying to be better offensively because obviously we weren’t very good against Xaverian [Saturday].”

After a sluggish start against Xaverian in their last league game, the Eagles entered Monday’s action with a purpose. BC High outshot the Lancers 9-2 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead to the room at intermission on two goals set up on assists from Kramer.

Senior defenseman Chris Pekrul got the Eagles started in the right direction, scoring on a point shot off of Kramer’s dish at 4:49 of the first. The goal came with a sixth BC High attacker on ice, following a delayed penalty call against MC.

BC High struck again before the period was out with sophomore winger Kayser Raei scoring his first of the season at 10:43. Kramer picked up his second of four assists on the 3-on-2 break.

“First line through fourth line, we were rolling lines, everybody was working hard,” DeForge said. “We were getting clean break-outs, a lot of offense as well. Luckily, we put a few away and that’s just from getting traffic in front, digging down and working hard out in front of the net.”

But, as they have been known to do in recent years, the Lancers (5-1-0, 1-1-0) turned it up for the second period, upping their intensity and rattling off three straight goals.

MC sophomore center Matt Filipe continued his tremendous start in the new year with back-to-back goals within four minutes to tie the game, 2-2. The Lancers took their first lead of the game with 1:07 remaining in the period, as Ara Nazarian forced a BC High defensive zone turnover before finishing with a top-shelf wrister.

However, the Eagles pulled even before the stanza was out, thanks to their first of three goals on the power play (3-for-6). Kramer worked down low to find DeForge cutting toward the goalmouth. After a tape-to-tape pass, the Eagles had knotted it up again with six second remaining in the second.

“With six seconds left, it got the crowd going and gave us a little momentum to bring into the locker room,” DeForge said.

With all even, the Eagles turned their attention to their next task.

“Our goal in the third period is that we wanted to win 15 minutes in that last period and that’s what we did,” Flaherty said.

BC High capitalized on an early power-play opportunity with Connor Noonan ripping a wrist shot from the slot for what would prove to be the game-winner at 3:26, with an assist from Ryan Shea.

The Eagles capped scoring with 1:22 to play with DeForge tallying his second goal in the midst of a five-minute major power play.

“We got beat by a better team tonight,” Lancers head coach John McLean said. “They worked harder than us. They had a better power play than we did. They killed penalties better than we did. They had a better forecheck than we did.”

Much improved: After a lackadaisical start to Saturday’s tilt at Xaverian, Flaherty preached starting fast to his team.

“They’re a great team and we knew that if we were going to beat them, we had to start fast and capitalize on opportunities,” he said. “I thought we did that in the first. In the second period, we started standing around a little bit and, again, if you give some of their players the time and space, they’re going to burn you.”

While the Eagles’ key to success was the power play – while shutting out the Lancers on their three man-up bids – BC High helped its chances with a fast start, playing from ahead and setting the pace of play through the first period.

But what was most important is how the Eagles rebounded from a string of three MC goals in the second.

“If you’re given an advantage, you have to capitalize because they’re going to on theirs,” Flaherty said. “We knew the special teams were going to be huge coming into today, we talked a lot about it coming into today in practice – both the kill and the PP.”

With some undisciplined play, the Eagles were not only able to draw even but skate away with the victory.

“The kids compete, they play hard,” McLean said. “I told you before, I think some of [the penalty calls] were questionable. But we’ll take them. It is what it is. They’re on the scoresheet so we’ll take them. We got beat.”

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

December, 31, 2013

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

Take the case of Malden Catholic senior forward Brian Cameron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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