Boston High School: Kurt Leavitt

The Hockomock League recently announced its boys' lacrosse All-Stars and season Most Valuable Player.

Here's a look at the list, courtesy of Ryan Lanigan and HockomockSports.com:

Editor's note: League all-star lists may be sent to editors Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com) or Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com).

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Pat Ward, Canton

ALL-STARS
Kurt Leavitt, Canton
Ben Lodge, Canton
J.C. Marcone, Canton
Conor O’Brien, Canton
Pat Ward, Canton
Tyler Ames, Foxborough
Alex Pacitti, Foxborough
Luc Valenza, Foxborough
Kyle Finamore, Franklin
Mike Patjane, Franklin
Jake Sargeant, Franklin
Mike Sullivan, Franklin
Connor Eshmann, King Philip
Brendan Murphy, Mansfield
Matt McIntire, Milford
Eric Overdahl, Milford
Josh Rosenblum, Sharon
CANTON, Mass. -- It was a moment frozen in time. The members of the Canton boys' lacrosse team crouched underneath the scoreboard at Memorial Field for a picture in the late afternoon of last Thursday. Even though the junior varsity game was about to begin, the scoreboard remained unchanged from the previous one. The Bulldogs had just beaten Hockomock League rival Foxborough for the first time since the 2007 season -- in double overtime, nonetheless -- and they were content to savor it.

"This is a banner win for us," head coach Bill Bendell said following the Bulldogs' momentous win, their first against the Warriors in 12 tries . "In 2008, we lost a couple of one-goal games to them, but since then it hasn't been close."

He isn't kidding, too. The memories of some of the absolute drubbings Foxborough doled out against Canton remain fresh. Canton's seniors had registered an oh-fer in six games against the Warriors entering last week. The average margin of victory in those Foxborough games was more than nine goals per. "Pretty slaughtered" was how senior attack Pat Ward described the previous encounters.

But even after a psyche-shifting victory the Bulldogs have kept rolling. After Wednesday's 10-5 win over King Philip, Canton improved to 9-0. It's the longest such unbeaten streak in program history and, as a result -- for a program which has enjoyed just one winning season in its last eight -- the Bulldogs are rapidly approaching their record for wins in a season this millennium (12, in 2011).

“We haven’t won the league or anything, and there’s a long road ahead of us," said senior Kurt Leavitt, who scored the overtime game-winner against Foxborough, "but it’s definitely something to build off.”

It's been a steady build for the Bulldogs, and it hasn't come easy.

Bendell was tasked with finding a new starting goaltender for this year. With no apparent candidates to fill the role, he turned to then sophomore attackman Ben Lodge. It happened nearly by accident. Lodge was horsing around during a summer lacrosse camp when Bendell had the inkling for a radical idea -- this kid might actually be the solution. It turned out to be a stroke of genius. Through the nine-game winning streak, Lodge and the Bulldogs defense has allowed just shy of six goals a game.

To his credit, Lodge has done it at less than 100 percent as well. After suffering a knee injury, which may require offseason surgery, he's forced to play the position with a bulky knee brace.

"He's been clutch," Bendell said. "He's been lights-out. He's been a little dinged up, but he's a tough kid."

Aside from the on-field success, Bendell talked about importance of changing the perception of the program within the school community. He pointed to senior defensive midfielder Dexter Green as a prime example. The All-League football player hardly had ever picked up a stick before some of his friends on the team persuaded the hard-hitting, physical defender to try lacrosse.

Bendell believes that converts such as Green are the key to perpetuating the success his team has experienced this season. He credited his senior core for having toughed it out during some rough stretches in recent years.

We just kept thinking that, if they stick together, stick with us and they persevere, we could get somewhere," Bendell said.

He continued, "It's part of the culture change in that kids want to play lacrosse. Hopefully, this will help us build this program long-term, in that the kids will motivated to join and want to be a part of it."

While the Bulldogs entered the season with best intentions, their early season success has even caught them by surprise. "We didn't expect that we'd be undefeated right now," Ward said following the win over Foxborough. It hasn't come without complications either, as Canton has played three overtime games, including back-to-back, double-overtime epics against Sharon and then Foxborough. Even in their historic win against the Warriors, Canton had to erase a two-goal deficit in the final two minutes of regulation to tie it.

“I think winning this can give the boys a new mentality," Ward said of the team's resiliency. "With any team that we play, any team in Division 3, if we play our game, and we’ve had a couple of close ones, but if we play our game, we can hang.”

There remains a strong possibility the Bulldogs will remain undefeated in Hockomock League play heading into their May 15 rematch with their nemesis. Then, the Bulldogs will carry a different kind of burden -- no longer the wanting of knocking off the league power from their perch, but rather defending their newfound pole position.

"We know they’re going to be ready to go again come the second game," Ward said.

Our MIAA boys' hockey All-State Team

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
9:11
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FIRST LINE
All-StateF - Liam Coughlin, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Finished third among all Division 1 players in scoring, while leading the Knights back to the Super 8 for the first time since 2009-10. The South Boston native put up 28-20-48 totals, tied for first among Catholic Conference scorers this season.

All-StateF - Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
ESPN Boston’s Mr. Hockey award winner this season, Nazarian had 26-22-48 totals for the regular season, along with nine goals and five assists during the Super 8 tournament for the three-time defending champions. The Boxford resident and center is the first underclassman to win the Mr. Hockey award.

All-StateF – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The Providence College commit led the Eagles to a No. 1 seed in this year’s Super 8 tournament. The North Andover resident compiled 12-24-36 totals this season and, in January, was ranked No. 117 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.

All-StateD – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph., Malden Catholic
The North Reading resident earned his second Super 8 title with the Lancers, playing on all defensive units and is one of two players making a second-straight appearance on our All-State team. The Boston College commit had 5-17-22 totals on the season and recently was accepted in the United States National Team Development Program’s U-17 team.

All-StateD – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
The two-way blue-liner finished third on the Panthers in scoring with 10-16-26 totals this year while leading them to another Super 8 apperance. A Longmeadow resident, the captain is deciding among prep schools for next year, as well as offers to play in college.

All-StateG – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High
The only repeating First-Team All-Stater this year, Cronin finished in the top five among Division 1 netminders in both goals against average (1.40) and save percentage (94.6) while starting all 23 of the Eagles’ games. He is currently considering colleges among playing opportunities at the prep school and junior levels.

SECOND LINE
All-StateF – Tom Besinger, Jr., BC High
The Eagles’ top center and captain was force to reckon with in the circle, in addition to leading the Eagles with 35 points (10 goals and a team-best 25 assists).
All-StateF – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
Finished his high school career with back-to-back Division 2 state championships. Owens racked up 30 points, playing alongside All-State honorable mention Brendan McDonough. Owens is currently weighing prep and junior options for next year.
All-StateF – Nolan Vesey, Sr., Austin Prep
The senior captain led the Cougars back to the Super 8 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and all the way to a finals appearance at the Garden. Vesey led AP in goals (18) and points (31) while kicking in 13 assists.
All-StateD – Nick Gorski, Sr., Central Catholic
A player who head coach Mike Jankowski repeatedly called his “most improved player” since freshman year, the Raiders captain played on all units, leading Central to another Super 8 appearance.
All-StateD – Jack Williams, Sr. Springfield Cathedral
A major component to perhaps the state’s best blue-line core, Williams did a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including playing forward on power-play units. The Suffield, Conn. resident tallied four goals and 19 assists for 23 points. He is currently weighing his playing options for next season.

All-StateG – Colin Soucy, Jr., Central Catholic
The break-out star of this year’s Super 8 tournament, Soucy nearly delivered the Raiders to a quarterfinal-round upset of No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in his first year as Central’s starting netminder.

Best of the Rest – Honorable Mention
Forwards
Tyler Bird, Jr., St. John’s Prep
Tommy Bishop, Sr., Chelmsford
Matt Brazel, Jr., Hingham
Brian Brooks, Jr., Canton
Mike Carbone, Sr., Marshfield
Bobo Carpenter, Soph., Austin Prep
A.J. Couto, Sr., Danvers
Ben Cox, Sr., Medfield
Peter Crinella, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
Cam Curley, Sr., Franklin
Sam D’Antuono, Jr., Hingham
Jordan Dow, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Josh Edwards, Sr., Blue Hills
Brendan Greene, Jr., Winchester
C.J. Grinnell, Sr., Burlington
Marc Happy, Jr., Wachusett
Lloyd Hayes, Jr., Central Catholic
Kevin Hock, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Mike Iovanna, Sr., Malden Catholic
Andrew Irving, Sr., Beverly
Connor Irving, Jr., Beverly
Ryan Jones, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
Jack Kilty, Sr., Medway
Pat Kramer, Soph., BC High
Tom Koopman, Jr., Marblehead
Matt Kustra, Sr., Natick
Brendan McDounough, Jr., Wilmington
Anthony Lespasio, Sr., Bedford
Jack O’Hear, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Derek Petti, Sr., Tewksbury
Eddie Pratt, Sr., Xaverian
Nolan Redler, Jr., Winchester
Tyler Sifferlen, Jr., Malden Catholic
Mike Sorenti, Jr., Archbishop Williams
Sean Spohr, Sr., Westfield
Max Turcotte, Sr., Holliston
Max Willman, Sr., Barnstable

Defense
Matt Burchill, Sr., Marshfield
Derek Butler, Jr., Natick
John Carlson, Jr., Hingham
Adam Crowley, Jr., Burlington
Nick Edwards, Jr., Blue Hills
Sean Heelan, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Kurt Leavitt, Sr., Canton
Bryan Nelson, Soph., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Nick Rolli, Jr., Malden Catholic
Ryan Shea, Frosh, BC High
Sam Topham, Sr., BC High

Goaltenders
Tim Birarelli, Soph., Beverly
Alex Buckley, Sr., Newburyport
Brandon Collett, Frosh., Catholic Memorial
Jordan Davis, Sr., Norwood
Derek DeCastro, Sr., Burlington
Drew Foley, Jr., Wilmington
Nolan Greene, Jr., North Quincy
Elijah Harris, Soph., Austin Prep
John Liquori, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
Al Lynch, Jr., Framingham
Evan Morelli, Sr., Reading
James Offner, Soph., Winchester
Nick Russo, Sr., Waltham
Jimmy Tierney, Soph., Oliver Ames

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