Boston High School: Keith Phaneuf

Recap: No. 2 Cathedral 9, Mt. St. Charles (R.I.) 2

February, 1, 2015
Feb 1

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – This is what’s really scary about No. 2 Springfield Cathedral -- only five players on the Panthers roster are seniors.

“Lack” of seniors notwithstanding, the Panthers still mauled perennial Rhode Island Division I state champion Mount St. Charles, 9-2, Saturday night at Adelard Arena.

“Last year we had one (senior),” said Panthers coach Brian Foley. “I think those five seniors (Pete Crinella, Zach Prattson, D.J. Petruzzelli, Bryce Peritz and Matt Cieboter) are all great kids and great leaders. They work really hard in the off-season to get stronger and it’s paying off for us right now.”

How true.

Cathedral’s victory improved the team’s record to a gaudy 14-0-2. In the process the Panthers scored three short-handed goals, two power-play goals and three goals off Mount turnovers.

“We’ve got some guys that know what to do with the puck in the offensive end,” said Foley. “They’ve been finishing. We’ve been pretty consistent with that all year. We’ve just got to keep working hard.

“But we’ve been working a lot on special teams in practice and it’s been paying off for us.”

Leonard on a tear: Ironically it was a junior, Johnny Leonard (who’s given a verbal commitment to UMass-Amherst), who led the onslaught by recording a hat trick plus two assists.

Through 16 games, Leonard has 32-20-52 totals.

“He’s an elite goal scorer and he’s having a great year,” said Foley. “He’s playing with two great linemates (Petruzzelli and Cam Peritz). We have a lot of good players on the team that challenge him every day in practice. The team’s working real hard and he’s improving along with the rest of the boys.”

Despite the uncharacteristic nature of this loss for Mount (9-5-2), coach Dave Belisle still was able to take away some positives.

“I think after getting out-played in the second period (Cathedral out-shot Mount 33-15 and out-scored Mount 5-0 in that period) I thought we came back and played a good third at the end,” said Belisle, whose team received two power-play goals from Keith Phaneuf to avoid a shutout. “I thought we played a good first. But if you don’t skate against a team like this … we stood around a lot.

“It’s not like we weren’t trying. We just totally broke down. Our power play gave up three short-handed goals. They’re too skilled to fool around with the puck at the top or be lazy in neutral ice and make lazy passes.

“They’re a skilled team. I thought we did a really nice job in the first but we made two mistakes and it cost us.”

Mount was on a power play when Petruzzelli (two goals and two assists) stole the puck in the neutral zone and poked it to Leonard who skated in on a breakaway and beat starting goalie Ryan Hanaway (12 saves on 15 shots) at 3:54.

Then, at 11:11, Leonard scooped up a loose puck around Mount’s blue line and beat Hanaway 5-hole for a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers added their second short-handed goal at 3:59 of the second. Leonard stole the puck and fed Petruzzelli who snapped home a shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Belisle removed Hanaway in favor of Zach Vanasse at that point but he received minimal support from his teammates since the Panthers scored consecutive power-play goals – by Petruzzelli who buried the rebound of a Crinella shot at 10:07 and Leonard who scored top shelf at 11:16.

After Kyle Kazeroid scored on a wrist shot from just outside the crease at 13:58, Dan Petrick accounted for Cathedral’s third short-handed goal with 30 ticks of the clock let in the middle period.

At the opposite end, Cathedral goalie Keith Petruzzelli, who began the game with a 94.8 save percentage, made 23 saves for the victory.

Learning experience: “I thought Mount St. Charles worked really hard which was great for us,” said Foley. “It was a game where we worked hard for three periods. I didn’t think we came out great in the first period but I thought our work ethic got getter as the game went on. I thought they brought that out of us so I thought we learned a lot tonight.

“We learned how hard you need to work each and every night on every shift. I think Mount’s got a great tradition and a great coach. They always work hard no matter what talent they have. “

Belisle subscribed to the adage that in order to be the best a team must play the best.

“That’s what I told my kids,” he said. “We can take something from this. We can’t make mistakes against good teams. You can’t take foolish penalties.

“I mentioned that before the game. Stay out of the box (because) they’re too skilled. They’re going to make you pay. They’re just as offensive minded short-handed as they are on the power play. Five-on-five it was pretty close. But special teams it wasn’t a contest.”

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 30, 2013
The highest magnitude on the Richter scale which is used to measure earthquakes is 10.

Rhode IslandThe upset the Coventry boys’ hockey team sprung on perennial Division I state champion Mount St. Charles registered 12.

Or to put it another way, the Oakers’ 2-0 victory on Jan. 19 was the first over the Mount in the 45-year history of boys’ hockey at the Kent County School.

In addition, it was the first time a Bill Belisle-coached Mount team lost to Coventry in the 37 years he’s been the Mounties coach.

The game was scoreless entering the third period when Coventry’s Jacob Harrington scored at 8:35 for what proved to be the game-winner and Steve Schmitt stopped 26 shots for his second shutout of the season.

Coventry (6-5 in Division I) followed up that win over Mount with a 4-1 victory over Cranston West.

The game was tied 1-1 entering the third period when Michael Peola scored the game-winner and Schmitt made 16 saves.

Mount (7-2-0) did rebound from that loss to Coventry by beating Hendricken, 3-1, when Vincent Pearl and Pat Holmes scored within a span of 43 seconds in the middle period, and Burrillville 8-0 with Pearl, Tyler Scroggins and Keith Phaneuf scoring two goals apiece.

But Coventry’s victory means the playoffs could be more interesting than initially expected.

Arguably one of the better stories during the boys’ hockey season has been that “written” by the new co-op team with players from West Warwick and Exeter/West Greenwich.

Entering this week the Wizards/Scarlet Knights led Division III with a 13-0 record and had outscored opponents by a 107-17 margin.

Key players for this team are forwards Tony Rel and Brett Coski while goaltenders Ivan Forcier and freshman Jared Olson have been virtually impenetrable.

Few schools will shed tears for the Hendricken boys’ basketball team given the fact the Hawks have dominated Division I over the last couple of decades.

But the current team resembles past teams in name only.

Through games of January 28, Hendricken is 6-5 in Division I-South primarily because of a lack of scoring.

When the Hawks crack the 60-point barrier it’s almost a reason to celebrate.

One reason why the Hawks have had difficulty mustering an offense is that Lee Messier, who last season was the team’s best outside shooter, transferred to the Tilton School in New Hampshire.

In other recent games of note:
  • Classical’s Terrill Toe scored his 1,000th career point during a 100-93 victory over intra-city rival Mount Pleasant in a game that lasted four overtimes. Toe finished with 30 points including six three-point shots.
  • Ismael Batista emulated Toe by notching his 1,000th career point during a 71-59 victory over Woonsocket. Batista scored 21 points including 7-for-7 at the free throw line.
  • St. Raphael’s Charles Correa poured in 40 points – 24 coming on three-pointers – as the Saints handed Division I-South leader North Kingstown (12-1) its first loss of the season.
  • Alan Strick only scored 11 points. But three came on a buzzer-beating trey that enabled North Smithfield to tie Middletown and force overtime. Then, Dan Jordan sank a free throw with 20 seconds left in the extra session to give the Northmen a 57-56 victory for the latter’s first Division III loss of the season.
La Salle Academy’s Priscilla Dunphy is coming off two games that will be embedded in her memory bank for years to come.

After Barrington handed the two-time defending state champion Rams (12-1) their first Division I loss since the 2010-11 season by a 51-41 score (Caitlyn Nolan led the Eagles with 15 points), La Salle rebounded by whipping Exeter/West Greenwich, 57-37, and Westerly, 49-43.

Dunphy scored 22 points in the win over the Scarlet Knights. But against Westerly, Dunphy scored 13 points – including the 1000th of her career.

Previously, Westerly (11-2 in I-South), beat Barrington, 44-38, with Emily Dobson notching 16 points.

  • Senior Maggie Salomone scored her 1,000th career point as Narragansett beat East Providence, 63-49. Salomone finished the game with 21 points.
  • St. Patrick Academy, a small, all-girls school in Providence, was forced to cancel the rest of its first Interscholastic League season due to a series of injuries. Director of Athletics Charles Toste stated the school plans to revive the sport next season – one reason being it will add the 12th grade. Currently, the school only enrolls girls from grades nine through 11.
Andy McGowan, the long-time director of athletics for the Warwick public school system passed away on January 23. McGowan, who assumed his position in 1968, was awarded the first Rhode Island Athletic Director of the Year Award in 1973.

He was voted into the Manhattan College Hall of Fame (his alma mater), the Rhode Island School Athletic Administrator’s Hall of Fame and both the Hendricken and La Salle Halls of Fame. McGowan became Hendricken’s Director of Guidance in the 1970s.

Coventry High recently announced its first class for the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The class includes Brian McGovern (who set state basketball scoring records in the early 1990s), wrestling coach icon Dick Magarian, 20-year hockey coach George Egan, Art Fiori (the school’s first A.D.), former football coach Bob Peltier; and Walter Clarke, for whom the school’s athletic complex is named.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 25, 2012
Buried amidst the rubble in Central Falls, which long ago filed for bankruptcy and has been under the direction of a state-appointed receiver, has been the fate of the coaches of the city’s lone high school.

Rhode IslandTo be precise, they’ve given new meaning to the words “volunteer coaches.”

Because of a budget freeze and ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the union representing teachers, Warriors coaches have been guiding their teams sans compensation.

That was true in the fall; it’s carried over to the winter sports season; and barring any change in developments the status will remain quo come the spring.

Ironically, Warrior teams have enjoyed an inordinate amount of success.

Coach Mo Jackson led CF to the Division IV Super Bowl in December.

Coach Rich Sousa took his girls’ volleyball team to the Division II semifinals.

Coach Carl Africo guided the boys’ soccer team to the Division I quarterfinals.

The other falls sports for which coaches weren’t paid are boys’ and girls’ cross country, girls’ soccer and unified volleyball.

CF’s winter sports include boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ track and unified basketball.

The spring sports slate includes only baseball and softball.

The 63-year-old Jackson, who’s the dean of Warrior coaches, didn’t learn about the lack of funding until midway through the football season.

“I was a little upset,” Jackson was quoted in The Times of Pawtucket. “But I wasn’t going to abandon the kids halfway through the season.

“I don’t know if I had known before the season started if I would have coached. After being here 20 years, I’d like the opportunity to make that decision. But you don’t get into (coaching high school sports) to make a lot of money.”

North Kingstown, to a certain extent, is in a similar position as Central Falls – although the South County town is far from bankruptcy.

However, it has a projected $1.6 million deficit for fiscal year 2013.

As a result, Superintendent Phil Auger is working on proposals that could include cuts that would impact Skipper high school teams.

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