Boston High School: Jonathan Shepard

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

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28

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

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

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

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

The Dragons twice clawed back from one-goal deficits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December, 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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