Boston High School: Kyle Williams

Recap: No. 6 Central Catholic 2, No. 4 St. John's Prep 1

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
3:15
AM ET
LAWRENCE, Mass. -- In every good piece of theater a story is told. The setting and story and laid out, the characters become clear, and the show builds momentum and finishes with a flourish.

Last night, Central Catholic and St. John’s Prep put on a show that would have made Andrew Lloyd Webber jealous.

The No. 6 Raiders defeated the No. 4 Eagles 2-1 after a frantic third period in front of more people than the Lawrence Valley Forum was ever intended to hold.

“This win was unreal,” Central senior Mike Kelleher said. “We circled SJP from day one. This was the biggest game of our season so far.”

After a first period that saw a clogged neutral zone and few scoring chances, the pace picked up in the second as the hits became louder and more frequent.

The teams were deadlocked at zero before all hell broke loose in the third.

In the first minute of the third Central junior Lloyd Hayes took the puck by the end boards, spun into the circle, and fired an unremarkable shot at Prep senior goalie Billy Price that somehow found its way home and put the Raiders up 1-0.

“Lloyd just competed, grinded and threw something at the net,” Central Catholic coach Mike Jankowski said. “We knew he was real good up top so he just tried to get pucks to the net. Sure enough he got one to the net and it went in.”

Just over three minutes later Hayes sent a pass up the middle of the ice that found Kelleher in stride and the senior finished after a slick move got Price out of position.

“Worked hard for the goal, but give all to Lloyd Hayes though,” Kelleher said. “He created the play for me and he’s been working hard all game; he deserved it.”

Chaos took over from there as Prep’s offense finally awoke and the Eagles started to attack from every angle.

Central’s Colin Soucy stood tall in net for the Raiders, but Prep finally solved the junior when senior Mark Azarian found fellow senior Brian Pinho in front who touched home the one-timer to halve the deficit with 4:13 to play. The Eagles continued attacking, but the Raiders held firm to walk out with a hard-fought win.

“We played with much more urgency once we got down two goals,” St. John’s Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “That’s when we played our best hockey. We have to play with that same intensity and urgency the entire game. If we had played like that the whole time it could have been a different outcome.”

SOUCY SHINES
When you’re replacing the greatest goalie in program history there is almost no pressure…almost. Yet Soucy, who turned aside 18 St. John’s shots, has stepped into the role of replacing Kyle Williams and shined.

“Colin was phenomenal,” Jankowski said. “He came up big time and time again. He made a big save here and there and he kept us in it. One in particular, that glove save [in the third period], if that didn’t get your juices going I don’t know what will.”

With Soucy backstopping them, the Raiders are 3-1-0 with two wins over ESPN Boston Top 25 teams (Prep and Westford) and the third coming against a tough Billerica team. The only loss came against yet another ranked team, Arlington Catholic.

Win or lose Kelleher said that Soucy is one of the most important players on the ice every night.

“Colin’s playing unreal every single game right now,” Kelleher said. “He’s automatic right now. He’s probably our key player in every single win.”

Jankowski said that as good as Soucy’s been on the ice he’s just as good of an influence in the locker room.

“He’s such a nice kid, he’s bonded with all his teammates so it’s really taken off,” Jankowski said of Soucy. “It’s almost like he’s never been apart from us.”

CONTROVERSY AT THE NET
A series of four calls, all in front of goal, played a key role in the outcome of the game.

The first came in the second period when a gaggle of Raiders descended on Price and stuffed the puck past him. The goal was called off because the net popped off its pegs an instant before the puck crossed the line. Central’s players protested, but Jankowski said it was the right call.

“The first one was completely understandable,” Jankowski said. “The second one was tough. That was real tough to swallow.”

That one came a minute after Kelleher’s goal. The Raiders were swarming again and the puck found its way to senior Conrad Jepson who blasted it in from the blue line and appeared to score. The goal was wiped out due to goaltender interference.

In the third, Prep was hit by a quick whistle that negated an almost-certain scoring chance, and a non-whistle in the waning seconds when the puck was stuck under a slew of bodies in front of Soucy. At least 10 seconds ticked away during that time.

“Our goal at that point is to put the puck on net and get everyone to the net and look for the garbage goal out front,” Hanson said. “I think everyone on the ice was in front of the net. I don’t know how that one could have gone in anyway.”

 

ESPN Boston's MIAA Boys' Hockey All-State Team

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
4:01
PM ET
First Team:
All-StateF – Brendan Collier, Sr., Malden Catholic
The two-time ESPN Boston All-Stater closed out his senior season with a second straight Super 8 title and claimed our Mr. Hockey Award. The Charlestown native and Boston University commit scored 26 goals with assists for 65 points, a figure which led all Division 1 scorers. Collier, who also plays golf and lacrosse at MC, plans on playing a year of juniors next year before joining the Terriers.

All-StateF – Ryan Fitzgerald, Jr., Malden Catholic
The Lancers’ top-line pivot makes his second All-State team appearance, his first on the First Team. The North Reading native and Boston College commit again eclipsed the 50-point plateau (31-21-52), despite missing the first couple weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, and helped the Lancers to their second straight Super 8 title.

All-StateF – Sam Kurker, Sr., St. John’s Prep
When looking up the term power forward, the Eagles senior winger and captain fit the mold. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward finished with 32 goals and 28 assists for 60 points. The Boston University commit has also seen time with U.S. National Team Development Program and skated with the U-18 select team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament during the summer.

All-StateD – Colin MacGillivray, Jr., Malden Catholic
The Lancers blue-liner is made in the mold of an old school rugged defenseman. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Peabody native played on MC’s top pairing through the season while posting three goals and 10 assists for 10 points for the repeat Super 8 champions.

All-StateD – Nikko Markham, Sr., St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Catholic Central Conference Most Valuable Player and Spartans captain finished a sound career by leading St. Mary’s to a No. 2 seed in the Super 8. The Salem native was among the top point-scoring blue-liners in the state with six goals and 12 assists for 18 points.

All-StateG – Peter Cronin, Jr., BC High
For the second straight season, the Eagles went as their netminder went, and Cronin led BC High to its first Super 8 finals appearance since 2007. Playing in each of the Eagles’ 25 games, the Norwell resident posted a 2.00 goals against average and a 91.7 save percentage.

2nd Team:
All-StateF – Kevin Emmerling, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Perhaps the most skilled skater in the state, the Pioneers’ center provided a dynamic offensive punch to their Super 8 run. The Whitinsville native finished third in Division 1 scoring with 26 goals and 30 assists for 56 points. Emmerling is exploring his options for next year and hopes to play college hockey.

All-StateF – Conal Lynch, Sr., Boston Latin
Lynch also showed that Charlestown is again a hotbed of hockey, carrying the Wolfpack to a DCL/MVC Div. 2 championship. Lynch finished second in Division 2 in scoring with 35 goals and 18 assists for 53 points. The Wolfpack captain is weighing his options in pursuing prep or junior hockey next year.

All-StateF – Matt Sullivan, Sr., BC High
The senior captain was a true two-way center with a high hockey IQ. The Duxbury resident anchored the Eagles’ top line, scoring 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points and lifting BC High to its first Super 8 final appearance since 2007. He is pursuing prep and junior hockey opportunities for next season.

All-StateD – Casey Fitzgerald, Fr., Malden Catholic
The younger brother of Ryan, Casey catapulted himself onto the scene in his first year, filling the role of a puck-moving defenseman previously held by former All-Stater Conor Evangelista. The North Reading resident and Boston College commit tallied two goals and 15 assists for 17 points in his first year.

D – Peter Sikalis, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
The Colonials’ captain was the impetus behind their run to the D1 North semifinals. Sikalis had eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points while eating up boatloads of ice time for head coach Bob Lavin. The imposing 6-foot-3 defenseman is exploring his hockey options for next year.

All-StateG – David Letarte, Sr., St. John’s Prep
The captain has been the Eagles’ backbone during the last three seasons, leading Prep back to the Super 8 once again. Letarte had a 2.08 goals against average and a 91.3 save percentage in 18 games played. He is currently mulling over college and junior hockey offers for next year.

“Best of the Rest”
Nick Bertoni, F, Franklin
Tom Besinger, F, BC High
Tommy Bishop, F, Chelmsford
Matt Brazel, F, Hingham
Trevor Cimino, F, Burlington
Frank Crinella, F, Springfield Cathedral
Paul Curran, F, Milton
Vin D’Amato, F, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Jarrod Fitzpatrick, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
James Gordon, F, Hingham
Danny Holland, F, Woburn
Mike Iovanna, F, Malden Catholic
Connor Irving, F, Beverly
Mike Kelleher, F, Central Catholic
Chris Leblanc, F, Winthrop
Bobby Mullins, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Ara Nazarian, F, Malden Catholic
Andrew Newis, F, Natick
Jack O’Hear, F, Catholic Memorial
Cam O’Neill, F, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jake O'Rourke, F, Medway
Cam Owens, F, Wilmington
Brian Pinho, F, St. John’s Prep
Dalton Rolli, F, Wilmington
Joe Strangie, F, Danvers
D.J. Walsh, F, Needham
Bryan Carter, D, Hudson
Connor Fenton, D, Braintree
Brian Furey, D, BC High
Pat Houghton, D, Westford Academy
Steve Mattos, D, Burlington
Nick Pandalena, D, St. John’s Prep
Jake Secatore, D, Woburn
Brendan White, D, Malden Catholic
Joe Cerulo, G, Wakefield
Jordan Davis, G, Norwood
Mike Donadio, G, Franklin
Bailey MacBurnie, G, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Connor Murray, G, Needham
Connor Roddy, G, Medfield
Shane Starrett, G, Catholic Memorial
Steven Waites, G, Winthrop
Kyle Williams, G, Central Catholic

Coach of the Year
Chris Spillane, Franklin
Losing 15 seniors off of 2011's Division 2 state finalist team posed no problem to Spillane in guiding his team back to the Garden again. The 13-year Panthers bench boss is regarded as one of the finest in the state, but no season might have been more impressive for Spillane than getting this team back to the finals.

Finalists:
Karl Infanger, Natick
Mark Lee, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
John McLean, Malden Catholic

Super 8 recap: Central Cath. 5, Cathedral 4

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
12:43
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- The strangest thing about Central Catholic's 5-4 triumph over Springfield Cathedral in Sunday night's Super 8 tournament? The fact that Central Catholic needed Springfield Cathedral's help to pull out the victory.

Since Springfield Cathedral needed to win the contest by at least two goals to have any chance of advancing, the Panthers pulled goaltender John Liquori late in the contest even though they were leading by a goal.

Central Catholic's Mikel Kelleher took advantage by scoring into an empty net with 12.3 seconds left, then the Raiders received the game-winning goal from Jake Donahue with 7:50 left in overtime.

With St. Mary's loss to St. John's Prep, the Raiders advanced to the Super 8's crossover round.

“The format is the format, but needing to win by two is definitely a different way to approach the game,” Springfield Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “Winning by one wouldn't have done much for us. We weren't here to just win a game. We were here to advance to Wednesday. It's about competing at the highest level and that's what we were trying to teach the kids.”

Central Catholic, which trailed 3-0 after one period, raised its tournament record to 2-1 and put itself in good position to move on to Wednesday's crossover round. Ryan Daigle, Christian Thompson and Nick Gorski also scored for the Raiders, who replaced goaltender Kyle Williams with Andrew Robbins at the start of the second period.

“Spotting them three goals early wasn't what we planned at all, but [we showed] a lot of character,” Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski said. “Robbins sealed the deal for us.

“You have to think a little outside the box, make sure your strategy is correct and if you want to advance in this tournament you have to make sure you do the right things.”

Goals by D.J. Petruzzelli, Jordan Kozub and Frank Crinella handed Cathedral a 3-0 lead after one period. Central Catholic tied it on Gorski's goal 3:16 into the third, but Springfield Cathedral regained the lead when Crinella scored a short-handed goal at 7:38 of the third.

Cathedral, which finished 0-3 in pool play, had to win by more than one goal and then needed things to break right in Sunday's late game between St. John's Prep and St. Mary's to extend its season.

“Maybe some people would have felt better about finishing 1-2 instead of 0-3, but we weren't here for any moral victories,” Foley said. “We wanted to play Wednesday.”

TOUGH CALL
Jankowski said he made the decision to pull Williams with about two minutes left in the opening period, when Cathedral scored on three of its first seven shots.

“It was very hard,” Jankowski said. “Last year he was the one who got us here. He kept us in every game and he's been our goalie all year.

“Robbins is a great goalie, a great kid. He works tremendously hard in practice. He comes to practice and prepares himself like he's playing every day. It was nice for him to get that time. He shut the door for us and came up big.”

POOL HOPPING
Malden Catholic (3-0) and B.C. High (2-1) advanced from Pool 1 and will return to action Wednesday night, when the two crossover games are held at Merrimack College.

Malden Catholic will play Central Catholic in one crossover game, and B.C. High will play St. John's Prep in the other crossover contest.

Super 8 recap: St. John's Prep 4, Central 3

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
1:54
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - No matter good a team's top performers are and no matter how much they carry a team through the regular season, it's unlikely that any squad can win a state championship - especially the prestigious Super Eight - based on the strength of just one potent line.

In Round 2, St. John's Prep got a breakthrough performance from its second line as Andrew Brandano popped in two goals, including the game-winner, to lead the third-seeded Eagles to a 4-3 victory over No. 7 Central Catholic at Lawler Arena.

It seemed as though the Raiders (1-1 Super Eight, 14-4-5 overall) had all the momentum after Mike Kelleher forced a turnover and popped in a shorthanded goal just 3:45 into the third period, but Brandano changed all that with one terrific rush down the left wing.

John Ryan picked up the puck in the Eagles (2-0, 15-5-2) end and sent Brandano flying down the left boards while catching Central in a line change. Brandano walked in on Central goalie Kyle Williams, deked once to pull him out of position, then shot the puck past his glove side for the eventual game-winner at 7:36.

"John Ryan got the puck in the defensive zone and I think the other team was going for a change so I just broke off and John backhanded it up," Brandano explained. "I picked it up, went down the left side and noticed the left side was open so I just shot it and it went in."

Added Central coach Mike Jankowski, "We had the power plays and we had some guys who were running a little bit ragged there and had some forwards at 'D' and unfortunately got caught in a change there and exposed it. You can't do that with these guys, not even a little bit. These guys finish strong and they capitalized on the mistake."

Brandano, who also assisted on a second-period tally by Sam Kurker, has been a great story for the Eagles during the postseason, notching a goal in the Prep's Super Eight opener in addition to the two last night. In just his first season with the varsity, the junior has made a positive impact on the team's fortunes.

"I think Andrew's really emerged this year as one of our go-to guys," Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. "It's his first year on varsity, he's a junior, we brought him along with the freshman, brought him along on JV, he was one of the top players at both levels."

"He's kind of deceivingly good," Hanson continued. "People look at him, he's not really big but he's one of those guys that just has a natural ability around the net. He's very smart player, he's a very smart kid academically and he's a kid who's done a great job of giving us some balance."

In addition to Brandano's unit, the Eagles third line also contributed a goal as Derek Osbahr tied the game with a second-period tally with assists from Mark Azarian and James Brightney.

"With our third line or our fourth line, the only thing we really want them to do is play even so for them to get a goal is a bonus," Hanson admitted. "Osbahr, that's his second goal of the year. He had a goal in the last game of the year. He's not a goal scorer but that certainly was a timely goal for us."

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
While the second and third lines stepped up big against the Raiders, the other thing that pleased Hanson was a return to form by the Eagles star forward Sam Kurker. The Boston University-committ had been struggling somewhat to find his form of late, but on this night, Kurker was back to his dominant self.

Offensively, the senior had a goal and two assists. He was also a beast in the defensive zone as well as on special teams while killing penalties. In short, Kurker looked like the game changing player he regularly has been.

"I thought Sam played much better tonight, said Hanson. "We don't pull any punches. We flat out said it him - he struggled the other night. But he came out tonight completely different player - much more energy, much more physical. He had a number of great chances, had a goal and obviously Sam was a difference-maker for us.

LATE GAME STRATEGY DECISIONS
The unique format of the Super Eight tends to force coaches to make decisions they might not ordinarily make. Such was the case for Central Catholic, who had an opportunity to pull goalie Kyle Williams in the final minute of play while trailing, 3-2.

Williams looked continuously toward his bench waiting for a signal while his teammates worked to maintain possession in the Eagles zone. The Raiders even took a timeout with a faceoff in the Eagles end with 26.2 seconds left and Williams spent much of it skating behind his teammates, likely waiting for word on what his role would be.

Jankowski, ever mindful of the tiebreaker scenarios that may likely emerge heading into Round 3, elected to keep Williams in net and play it safe rather than risk giving up an empty-netter that might cause problems with goal differential, should that tiebreaker come into play. He also admitted afterward that the format of the tournament plays a major role in the thought process, saying, "It's a tough thing because your natural instinct is pull the goalie and lets get one and obviously play to win, or actually tie it up and then go from there."

A similar situation developed during the first game of the Super Eight when Hingham coach Tony Messina elected to pull his goalie and play for a win, knowing full well his team was scheduled to face top-seeded Malden Catholic in Round 3.

While the two situations are drastically different, both Jankowski and Messina made choices that they felt best suited their teams needs while keeping the overall picture in mind.

Super 8 recap: Central 6, St. Mary's 5 (SO)

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
2:59
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Steven Merrick has been the picture of hard work and dedication for Central Catholic, putting in extra time throughout the offseason to grow from a bit player a year ago to a regular shift on the Raiders third line as a senior.

When Sunday's Super 8 day one battle with St. Mary's passed through three full periods and a 12-minute overtime without a winner being decided, Merrick was shooter number four on Central coach Mike Jankowski's list for the shootout session. Six players went before Merrick hopped over the boards for his turn with none being able to penetrate two of the state's top goalies, as Central's Kyle Williams and the Spartans' Bailey MacBurnie turned aside shot after shot.

Merrick skated to center ice, surveyed the scene, then began to skate. Rather than try something fancy, the hard-working senior kept it simple, walking straight in on MacBurnie and blazing a wrist shot past his stick hand.

Three more shooters came and went, all were denied, and that left Merrick as the final hero in a game filled with them as the seventh-seeded Raiders ended up with a 6-5 victory over No. 2 St. Mary's on day one of the Super 8 round robin.

"Merrick is a senior, he's got great hands and he's a great kid," praised Jankowski. "Last year he really made a transformation and committed himself to hockey. Last year he was here but didn't play a whole lot and he's earned his spot but he's done that all through hard work and dedication in the offseason. For him to get that kind of goal at the end its just awesome."

THE COMEBACK
Central Catholic (13-3-5) scored three straight goals from the eight minute mark of the second period through 5:27 of the third to take what seemed at the time like a commanding 5-3 lead. St. Mary's (18-1-3) showed it had tremendous resolve despite making its first appearance in the Super 8 field as a seeded team.

Brendan Magaery converted a terrific feed from behind the net by Jarrod Fitzpatrick for a one-timer at 8:09, and a huge save by MacBurnie jumpstarted a two-on-one break with Connor Parent and Thomas Braswell. Parent carried the puck in and held for a shot, which Central goalie Kyle Williams stopped, but the rebound came quickly to Braswell, who snapped it home before Williams had a chance to react, knotting the game at 5-5 with 2:43 left in regulation.

"A lot of the leaders were speaking up on the bench and we talked about it before the game," Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. "There's been other teams in these tournaments that came back from more than two goals and we wanted to be one of those teams to make a comeback. Even during that third period we hit the post a couple of times. We just didn't seem to get that many bounces tonight. That's not any excuse. We played a very good team and hats off to them too."

BACK & FORTH ALL DAY
Central opened the scoring at 1:26 of the first, catching the Spartans in a line change that enabled a two-on-none opportunity, which Michael Hovanian buried on the Raiders second shot of the game

Tim Aylward evened things up for St. Mary's late in the frame, utilizing a flashy spin move to get around a CC defenseman and tick a high shot behind Williams.

Mike Kelleher put Central back in front just 34 seconds into the middle frame with an assist from Zachary Cote but St. Mary's rallied with back-to-back goals by Magaery and Bobby Mullins, the latter coming off a rebound of a shot by Cam Grenham at 4:57.

Just over three minutes later, Ryan Daigle took a beautiful pass from Cote (three assists) and banged home a one timer to tie things at 3-3.

"You have to give them a lot of credit," Jankowski said of St. Mary's. "They were good, they gave us a lot of pressure in our own zone and Kyle held us in there. We had a bend but don't break sort of attitude and then we were able to pop back in transition because they were being so aggressive and get a couple the other way so it worked out well for us."

In the overtime, Kyle Williams turned in easily his best period of the day. The Spartans outshot the Raiders, 42-23 in the game and 10-2 in the 12-minute overtime period.

ESPN Boston Super 8 primer

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
6:25
PM ET
There are less than 48 hours remaining before the puck drops on the real Super 8 on Sunday at Merrimack College.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight:

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Marquee wins: Pretty much all of them, minus the Lancers’ one loss to New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Brendan Collier (22-34-56); F Ryan Fitzgerald (26-14-40); F Mike Iovanna (14-23-37); F Tyler Sifferlen (9-14-23); F Ara Nazarian (10-16-26); D Casey Fitzgerald (1-15-16); D Colin MacGillivray (2-8-10); Brendan White (2-16-18).

The skinny: As in the last couple of years, this year’s Super 8 is viewed as the Lancers’ tournament to lose. Again, they have the best line in the state with Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Iovanna saddling into Mike Vecchione’s former spot. But MC’s true strength is depth. Sifferlen and Nazarian would occupy a spot on mostly any team’s top line. Super frosh and BC commit Casey Fitzgerald has filled Conor Evangelista’s role dutifully as a puck-moving defenseman.

X-factor: Goaltending. Connor Maloney watched last year’s Super 8 from the BC High bench behind Peter Cronin. Now, it’s his time to shine.

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Marquee wins: Malden Catholic (Kasabuski Tournament tie); Hingham (5-1); Cathedral (3-2).

Players to watch: F Bobby Mullins (9-20-29); F Jarrod Fitzpatrick (14-7-21); F Cam O’Neill (14-15-29); F Brendan Mageary (13-11-24); F Tim Aylward (10-10-20); D Nikko Markham (6-12-18); D Bryan Wilkins (1-7-8); G Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA, 94.1 save %).

The skinny: So what were the Spartans to do without perennial league all-star Donald Hesse as their backbone? Well, Mark Lee found a more-than-legitimate starter in MacBurnie, a sophomore, who’s played well along with a defensive corps led by Markham. Fitzpatrick has been another revelation in his first season with the Spartans. St. Mary’s has greater scoring depth than in year’s past. And they’re young, as freshman Eric MacAdams (4-14-18) has impressed seeing top-line action.

X-factor: How do the Spartans react in a tight game. In last year’s Super 8 play-in stab, and the Div. 1 tournaments of year’s past, one-goal games have come back to haunt them. If they can sweat out a couple of close decisions in this tournament, they might find themselves at the Garden.

3. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Marquee wins: BC High (3-1); Hingham (2-1); Central Catholic (4-0).

Players to watch: F Sam Kurker (26-26-52); F Brian Pinho (14-20-34); F Tyler Bird (9-5-14), F Andrew Brandano (8-6-14); D Nick Pandalena (6-10-16); D Brent Murray (0-4-4); G David Letarte (2.02 GAA, 91.5 save %).

The skinny: We still haven’t gotten over last year’s championship game; it was simply amazing hockey. There’s no Colin Blackwell, but Kurker (BU commit) has really blossomed this season and has taken this team on his back the way his former linemate did last year. Pinho and Bird, along with Kurker, are a formidable first line to skate against, and are strong in all three zones. Pandalena is a mountain of a defenseman, but beyond him, the Eagles blue line was green entering the season. Murray has elevated his play to comprise a formidable top pairing.

X-factor: Letarte. I believe we said this last year as well. When the senior is on his game, he can be airtight.

4. Hingham (16-4-2)
Marquee wins: Marshfield (6-2); Catholic Memorial (3-2); St. John’s of Shrewsbury (4-0).

Players to watch: F James Gordon (21-17-38); F Matt Brazel (11-20-31); F Matt Hughes (13-11-24); F Ryan Linehan (8-12-20); F Patrick Mannion (6-12-18); F Sam D’Antuono (6-19-25); D Nolan Driscoll (2-7-9); G John Grenier (1.88 GAA, 90.1 save %).

The skinny: If this team had a motto, it would be “lacking experience, but not young.” During the Harbormen’s most recent Super 8 runs, a good portion of this year’s roster watched from way down the bench, or up in the gallery. But this team has collectively raised its game and is benefitted by great coaching. Gordon’s 20-goal season has been a pleasant surprise and Brazel is one worth watching for the next two years. The real revelation has been Grenier between the pipes. The Xaverian transfer is among the statewide leaders in goals against average.

X-factor: Grenier. He doesn’t fit the current mold of a big, butterfly goaltender. Instead, he relies on aggressively challenging the shooter and cutting down angles. We’ll see how it matches up with the precision passing games of MC and St. John’s (S) in pool play games.

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Marquee wins: St. John’s (twice); Prep (5-3); Cathedral (3-0).

Players to watch: F Matt Sullivan (9-15-24); F Tom Besinger (10-15-25); F Bartley Regan (7-6-13); F Steve DeForge (6-13-19); D Brian Furey (3-6-9); D Sam Topham (1-9-10); G Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA; 91.5 save %).

The skinny: Cronin lead this team to the crossover round last year, falling just short of an upset of MC. He was the revelation of last year’s tournament and, as usual, the Eagles will look to their goaltender to continue his strong play. Besinger might be the shiftiest forward in the tournament not named Kevin Emmerling. He’s not big, but he sure can skate. Furey has done a nice job leading a young Eagles blue-line corps this season. ‘Moe’ Regan has produced some dirty goals and has thrived in his role as a power forward, coming off his EMass D1 Super Bowl win.

X-factor: Sullivan. The Eagles’ soft-spoken leader is a lead-by-example type, but thrives in big-game atmospheres. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s a player we’re talking about months after the tournament.

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Marquee wins: BC High (4-3); Needham (1-0); CM (3-1).

Players to watch: F Frank Crinella (13-15-28); F Thomas Quinlan (11-5-16); F Peter Crinella (5-8-13); F Brendan Ashe (7-7-14); D Matt Foley (0-12-12); G John Liquori (2.40 GAA, 88.9 save %).

The skinny: The Panthers cracked the top six this year after getting bounced in a play-in game last year. This is a team that isn’t very flashy, but is consistently tough to play against, playing a brand of hockey that can be frustrating to opponents. Sophomore John Liquori has been steady, taking over for old stalwart Zac Rondeau. Liquori is the benefactor of a sound defensive squad that likes to play the body and takes care of its defensive assignments with diligence.

X-factor: Frank Crinella is perhaps the most talented player in the state who receives the least amount of deserved credit. This tournament could be a statement for him.

7. Central Catholic (13-3-5)
Marquee wins: Burlington (6-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Ryan Daigle (8-15-23); F Mike Kelleher (10-7-17); F Lloyd Hayes (15-8-23); F Alex Lester (7-9-16); F Zack Cote (10-4-14); D Jake Donahue (3-4-7); G Kyle Williams (2.13 GAA, 91.1 save %).

The skinny: Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but the Raiders again used a spirited second-half push after a slow start to get back into the top tournament. If they continue the fast and physical brand of hockey they played against Burlington, the Raiders will provide a tough test. Kelleher’s natural hat trick is a big boost to Central’s chances going forward; if he gets going, he’s one of the most potent pure scorers in the state.

X-factor: Williams. Shocking, right? As the goaltender goes, so goes the Raiders. And it’s no coincidence that Central played its best while last year’s ESPN Boston All-State netminder was at his finest.

8. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
Marquee wins: Needham (5-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Kevin Emmerling (25-28-53); F Vin D’Amato (23-14-37); F Jay Duquette (11-22-33); F Hunter Burdick (6-9-15); D Nick Rutigliano (1-10-11).

The skinny: Akin to Central Catholic, the Pioneers took perhaps their biggest win of the season on Monday. In that shootout with Needham, they showed why they can go toe-to-toe with any team across the state with the top line of Emmerling, D’Amato and Duquette running and gunning …

X-factor: … but then there’s the defense. The Pioneers are going to need to tighten up in their own end. If they allow their three future opponents to enter the zone as they allowed the Rockets to run in the third period, there could be some lop-sided scores.

Super 8 recap: Central Cath. 6, Burlington 4

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
1:21
AM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Burlington coach Bob Conceison said he saw some good things from his hockey team Monday night. Just not enough of them.

Burlington fought back from a three-goal deficit, but Central Catholic was the better team from start to finish and posted a 6-4 victory in a Super 8 play-in game at Merrimack College's Lawler Arena.

“The difference in the game was our lack of consistency in some parts of the game,” Conceison said. “Our lack of execution in certain parts of the game – and the fact that they're a good team. They played the way they had to to beat us.”

Senior forward Mike Kelleher scored three goals for Central Catholic, which also received goals from Mike Hovnanian, Christian Smith and Nick Gorski (empty net).

Central Catholic improved its record to 13-3-5 and will face second-seeded St. Mary's (18-1-3) on Sunday at Merrimack College.

“Nothing surprises me with this group,” Central Catholic coach Mike Jankowski said. “They're resilient and hard-working. They believe and they keep pushing.”

Brien Diffley, Steve Mattos, C.J. Grinnell and Trevor Cimino provided the Burlington offense. The Red Devils dropped to 14-2-6.

Kelleher gave Central Catholic a 3-0 lead by recording a natural hat trick in the second period, but Burlington pulled even before the period ended. Diffley started the comeback by scoring a power-play goal at 10:52, then Mattos and Grinnell struck 14 seconds apart to tie the contest at 11:48.

The momentum shifted again before the period ended, however, as Hovnanian put CC in front 4-3 by scoring with 17 seconds to play.

Smith extended the lead to 5-3 in the third, but Cimino answered for Burlington with 1:19 to play. Gorski capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with one second on the clock.

“We've been shaky with those 3-0 leads, but we did well,” Central Catholic goaltender Kyle Williams said. “'We gave it up, but we got it back.

“They're a great team. Glad to beat them.”

Burlington had a 27-25 edge in shots on goal.

“The goal at the end of the second period was an answer for them,” Conceison said. “I give all the credit to Central. They're a good team, but our team never quit throughout the whole game. I'm proud of the way we played.”

LET'S GET PHYSICAL
Conseison said Central Catholic's physical play was one of the keys to victory.

“They took the body on us, and that's what good teams do,” he said. “They separated us from the puck and we weren't able to make the plays that sometimes we're able to make. They were a little bit bigger than us and a little more physical. When you play good teams that's the way they play you. That's what they do.”

GOAL-ORIENTED
Central Catholic entered the game with 69 goals in 20 games, so the Raiders weren't looking to get into a shootout. Jankowski said the team played its typical style, but benefited from two goals by its third line.

“The third line getting a couple goals, one of them with [17] seconds left – that can make a big difference,” Jankowski said. “Mike Kelleher was just a different person. He was the real deal tonight.

“I thought we played our game. Goals are hard to come by for us. They're all manufactured, working-class goals, but tonight we showed a little bit more and it was nice to see.”

Final Super 8 field projection and mixtape

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
7:16
PM ET
On the final day of the regular season, and with less than 24 hours remaining before Saturday’s Super 8 committee selection meeting, we’ve cobbled together our final field projection for the state’s premier hockey tournament.

The top six seeds have remained pretty consistent down the stretch, but we see two new squads slipping in the back door to nab the final play-in game positions.

Also, we thought it was fitting to take a cue from friend, colleague and longtime Super 8 supporter Chris Forsberg, by way of John Buccigross, with a little musical tribute to each team, chronicling some of our favorite (or not so much, or otherwise noteworthy, whatever fits, right?) songs of the last year or so.

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
1

Where they ranked in last projection: 1

Why they’re in this spot: Lancers’ only loss of the season came against an out-of-state opponent (New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton), in addition to one of their ties (Hamden, Conn.). MC’s also been at No. 1 in our poll from “box to wire” to steal one of Chris Serino’s expressions. Plus, the Lancers will be a motivated squad headed into the tournament, playing for their ailing former coach.

Song that fits: Coldplay, “Us Against the World.” I’m a much bigger fan of the Brit-band’s early catalogue and was in attendance for one of their first U.S. shows. Not a huge fan of Mylo Xylato (or the last two albums for that matter) but this song fits, not to mention we know a couple Lancers will appreciate the nod. The message is clear, they’re doing it for Serino this year.

Lyric that fits: “Through chaos as it swirls/ It's us against the world.”

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
2

Where they ranked in last projection: 2

Why they’re in this spot: The Spartans lone loss of the season came to the aforementioned Lancers in the first game of the high school hockey season; they even improved upon their first result, tying MC at the Kasabuski tourney. Perhaps the most steady team of the season, playing in front of sophomore goaltender Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA in 21 games), who’s been a revelation.

Song that fits: My Morning Jacket, "The Day is Coming." Last year's "Circuital" wasn't one of my favorite band's best efforts (you see a pattern beginning to emerge here?), but this one's a gem from one of the most imaginative bands working today.

Lyric that fits: "If opportunity, rears its head/ Will you answer, or stay home in bed?"

3. Hingham (16-4-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
3

Where they ranked in last projection: 3

Why they’re in this spot: The wildcard of the season. Obviously, the Hingham brand of hockey is synonymous with the Super 8, but not even head coach Tony Messina knew exactly what he had coming into this season. The inexperienced, but talented Harbormen haven’t missed a stride this season. There’s no single sensation that’s carried the load, but Hingham is deep, evidenced by their five forwards (Sam D’Antuono, James Gordon, Matt Hughes, Ryan Linehan and Patrick Mannion) with 18 or more points on the season.

Song that fits: Real Estate: "It's Real." My favorite break-out band of the year. Their sophomore effort "Days" was one of the best albums of last calendar year. A must-listen for anybody who enjoys The Smiths, or songs about the Jersey coastline.

Lyric that fits: "I skated on the frozen Sea/ It's real as far as I can see."

4. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
5

Where they ranked in last projection: 4

Why they’re in this spot: This spot could be a toss-up between the Eagles and the Eagles of BC High. In this instance, we’re going to slot Prep ahead of their Catholic Conference rivals on the tail end of their schedule. Although Prep and BC High tied their season series, both claimed two-goal victories, the committee might look at BC High’s recent ties at the Cape Cod Classic (wins for tournament purposes) as reason to slide them to No. 5. Looking beyond the play-in games, Prep’s top line of Tyler Bird, Brian Pinho and Sam Kurker is one of the few lines in the state that create problems for MC’s vaunted top line.

Song that fits: Avicii "Levels." A staple of Prep's warmup mix this season, and as ubiquitous a dance song in society this side of anything off of Daft Punk's "Discovery." Fully expect to hear this song about 1,000 times during the Super 8 at Lawler. Get ready.

Lyric that fits: "Oh, sometimes/ I get a good feeling." (Well, come to think of it, that's about all there is for lyrics.)

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
4

Where they ranked in last projection: 5

Why they’re in this spot: As we explained, there’s little separating the Eagles of Morrissey Blvd. and the aforementioned Eagles. It’s just that the Eagles’ two shootout wins and one-goal win over Archbishop Williams in the Cape Cod Classic this week might cost them a higher seed than this spot. In either case, they’re a shoo-in and a dangerous squad at that as goaltender Peter Cronin (.915 save percentage) has only matured since his eye-opening performance in last year’s tournament. Let’s not forget either, the Eagles a relatively young squad as well, with only four seniors (Adam Conway, Brian Furey, Bartley Regan and Matt Sullivan) on the roster.

Song that fits: M83, "Intro." This is the lead-in to Anthony Gonzalez's masterpiece "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" (yes, the song you skip over to get to "Midnight City"). My favorite album of last year, for those of us who still actually believe in the concept of the album.

Lyric that fits: "The battle's fought/ The deed is done/ Our silver hum runs deep and strong."

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
6

Where they ranked in last projection: 9

Why they’re in this spot: Outwardly, the Panthers don’t have the most striking record, but only three of their losses have come in-state. And all of those losses came against teams ranked before them in this projected field (BC High, MC, St. Mary’s). They’ve shown they can skate with the best in the state, albeit, they coughed up a point in a 5-5 with Prep after holding a 4-goal lead. But Wednesday’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Needham in their host tournament showed how difficult this team can be to play against. As in that game, sophomore John Liquori has been solid and senior captain Frank Crinella (13-15-28) is as tough to play against as he is talented.

Song that fits: The National, "Conversation 16." Trying to figure out what lead singer Matt Berninger's lyrics are about is like trying to do a Rubik's cube blind-folded. But they sure are interesting, if not entirely depressing. Great band, the band that Coldplay wishes they could be but are not, what with adoration of critics everwhere (including me).

Lyric that fits: "I was less than amazing/ Do not know what all the troubles are for."

THE FINAL FOUR (PLAY-IN TEAMS)

7. Central Catholic (12-3-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 7

Where they ranked in last projection: 6

Why they’re in this spot: We had the Raiders avoiding a play-in game in our previous field, but given their play down the stretch (3-0 loss to Andover stings), it feels like that’s exactly what they’re staring down for a second straight year. Still, as in year’s past, Central has made a Super 8 push with a strong second half and things seem to be falling into place with ESPN Boston preseason All-State goaltender Kyle Williams (2.00 GAA) playing his best hockey down the stretch.

Song that fits: At the Drive-In, "Rolodex Propaganda." OK, not a new song, but the reunion of the late-90's greatest band has me excited.

Lyric that fits: "Pinch history feel the pinch blistering/ Pinch me in my dreams cause I'm still not listening."

8. Burlington (14-1-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
10

Where they ranked in last projection: 8

Why they’re in this spot: An emphatic 7-3 win over a quality Chelmsford team Thursday night in the Cahoon Tournament championship is exactly the kind of emphatic statement that can help a team this time of year. As the winner’s of the Middlesex League’s small schools division, we believe the Red Devils will be the lone team representing one of the state’s toughest conferences. The only thing that could work against them is a high amount of ties. They’re also a little light in the marquee win category. Senior forwards Trevor Cimino and Brett Romkey were two of my favorite players to watch this season.

Song that fits: Bon Iver, "Minnesota, Wi." Just because Justin Vernon's Grammy acceptance is still one of the most priceless moments in recorded internet history.

Lyric that fits: "Never gonna break/ Not for a part in any gamut of the dark."

9. Needham (16-4-1)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 8

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: You could make the case that Wednesday’s Springfield Cathedral Tournament game against the Panthers was a battle for the right to take the sixth seed. Given that the Rockets played well, but came away with a 1-0 loss, that’s why they’re here. This isn’t an offensive juggernaut, and hopefully the Rockets’ recent goal-starved performances will not negatively affect them, but they play solid team defense. It starts from the goalmouth out with a dependable, experienced goaltender in Connor Murray. Senior captains Lucas Davis and D.J. Walsh are equally adept in the offensive zone as they are in their own end.

Song that fits: Jack White, "Love Interruption." As soon as we lost The White Stripes, White came back with this solo effort that cuts to the bone. After a couple tough Super 8 appearances, Needham's looking for more than just another appearance.

Lyric that fits: "Yeah, I won't let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me anymore."

10. Westford Academy (12-2-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
17

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: Alright, so this is our boldest prediction, given that the Grey Ghosts still have one paramount game to play (as of the time of publication) against another Super 8 Watch List team in Milton at the Irish-American Shootout championship. We’re going to project that the Grey Ghosts make the DCL/MVC the only public school league with two representatives; you can make the case the DCL/MVC was the strongest public conference this season, top to bottom. In addition, I like the way the Grey Ghosts attack with speed. They also have one of the most underrated D-men in the state in senior captain Pat Houghton (1-15-16) in front of senior goaltender Zach Webert.

Song that fits: Holy Ghost!, "Hold On." Ghosts, get it? Plus, they're a Brendan Hall favorite.

Lyric that fits: "It seems like I've been here before."

Recap: No. 5 Central Cath. 1, No. 8 CM 1

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
7:56
PM ET


BOSTON -- One team's savior proved to be the other team's fatal heartbreaker.

Both No. 5 Central Catholic and No. 8 Catholic Memorial had a lot on the line when the two teams hooked for a Monday matinee at Walter Brown Arena. The Raiders were looking to get back on track after a 3-0 loss to Andover on Saturday, hoping to keep themselves in the hunt for a Super 8 invitation while getting the on-ice product back in shape with things still undecided atop the MVC/DCL Div. 1 standings.

For Catholic Memorial, the math was simple - win your last two games, or miss the postseason for a second consecutive year.

Central goaltender Kyle Williams shined on this day, stopping 30 shots and weathering a third-period penalty shot attempt by CM's Liam Coughlin to help the Raiders hold on for a 1-1 tie.

"They took it to us in spurts, we were able to sustain and Kyle's back," Central head coach Mike Jankowski said. "We had some inconsistencies all year, we fought through things all year. Even the first goal tonight, that's something [Kyle] always gets. For him, the back half of that, he closes the door. If he plays like that and has our back like that, good things are going to happen for us."

The Raiders kept in mind last year's loss to the Knights and made adjustments that helped Williams a great deal, most importantly coming from a defense that worked tirelessly to at least keep the shooting lanes clear so the senior could get good looks on what was coming at him.

Midway through the third period, Williams made the save of the day, getting his blocker up in time to deflect a shot from CM's Kevin Bletzer. Minutes later, he made another stop of a hard wrist shot by Jared Beckwith and got a piece of a tip in front by Thomas Stanton.

The netminder's most important play however, was one that didn't hit the stat sheet as a save. The Knights were awarded a penalty shot with 3:46 remaining in the game, and CM coach Bill Hanson sent out talented forward Liam Coughlin. The junior walked in on Williams, then made a late shift to his backhand. Rather than sit back in shock, Williams simply followed his man and slid over to the far post, forcing Coughlin to take the puck lower then he likely intended and his shot ended up in the side of the Raiders net.

"No pressure, I just went and tried stopping it. I got lucky he missed the net," Williams explained with a touch of modesty.

Then, when asked if he was surprised by Coughlin's move, Williams responded, "Yeah, I guess. He could do anything. I'm just there to stop it."

Clearly the game did not come down to that one play, although it was certainly a highlight moment. Before a question could be asked about the penalty shot, Hanson quickly spoke up for his player:

"I know the question is going to be asked about the penalty shot...is he the guy you want having it? Yeah, he is. There is no one who feels worse about what he's going through right now than I do or his teammates do. It's a tough way to lose."

Mike Kelleher opened the scoring for Central Catholic, banging home a rebound at 13:38 of the opening frame, with assists going to Steven Merrick and Lloyd Hayes. Catholic Memorial tied it in the second as the Knights forced a miscue in their own end and Aaron Marcel went most of the way down the ice for a wrister at 5:38.

TWO STRAIGHT YEARS, NO POSTSEASON FOR CM
Similar to last season, the Knights found themselves entering the final week of the regular season needing points just reach the 20 needed to become eligible for postseason play. This year, they needed to beat Central, and follow that up by knocking off an excellent Fairfield Prep team from Connecticut. The tie left them short of their goal.

Were it not for the stellar outing by Williams, the Knights might have scored four goals, maybe even more given the intensity and hunger they displayed on the ice. Take this game out of the mix and there are several others the Knights will look back on as lost opportunities for points - in particular, ties with Malden Catholic and BC High in games they were leading in the third period, and a loss to St. John's Prep with just six seconds remaining.

Ultimately, however, it was the inability to score enough goals that did them in. According to Hanson, the Knights have scored 39 goals while allowing 40 through 18 games, yet still found themselves with a chance to win two games and become tournament-eligible.

"The last four games we've only scored four goals," Hanson lamented. "That's been the story of our season. We played extremely well tonight against a very good hockey team. The system we had in there worked to a tee. You hold a team like that to one goal, and with the opportunities we had, you should win the hockey game."

LEAGUE FIRST, SUPER 8 LATER
While CM needed the win to keep its postseason hopes alive, the Raiders were in need of points as well as a return to the form that reeled off an 11-game unbeaten stretch (8-0-3) prior to Saturday's loss to Andover.

While improving its resume for Super 8 consideration is certainly in the thought process, Central is still fighting to win a league title, something that is at the forefront of the team's minds right now.

Wednesday, Central hosts an Acton-Boxborough team that hasn't lost in its last six games and has wins over Billerica, Andover and a Super 8 watch-list team in Westford Academy. The Raiders hold a one-point edge in the standings over both Andover and Westford, with the Grey Ghosts taking on Billerica on Wednesday as well.

When asked if his team was thinking about the possibilities of the Super 8 just yet, Jankowski responded, "Not even close. We're so grateful today to be able to contend and now we're really looking to Wednesday. We have to bring everything because A-B's playing so well. We're just going to try and buckle it up and get ready for Wednesday."

Recap: No. 5 CC 4, No. 21 Chelmsford 3

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
12:28
AM ET
NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. — Central Catholic has been relying on its balance all season, and that strength was on display in the a 4-3 victory over Chelmsford last night at the Chelmsford Forum.

Ryan Daigle scored a goal and had an assist, and the Raiders had four different goal scorers to push past the Lions for the season sweep of the series.

“They are hard working and they have tremendous character,” Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski said. “We played the other night and we had nine goals with seven different goal scorers. We’ve played all three goalies and it’s been fantastic. We’ve been in some tough spots and it’s been tremendous.”

The Raiders needed the balance, and they needed the early scoring to hold off a pesky Lions bunch to grab this victory. Daigle assisted on Zack Cote’s goal to get things going in the first period, and the senior forward scored on the power play in the second period on a pinpoint shot from the left point for the 2-0 lead at 3:26.

Mike Hovnanian and Alex Lester scored a pair of unassisted goals to sandwich in between a tally by Matt Winter to take a 4-1 lead after the second period.

The Raiders nearly squandered the three-goal lead in the third period, but got enough saves from Kyle Williams — including some nice glove work on David DeDonato on the doorstep — to move their record to 11-2-4.

GLOVE SAVES, AND A BEAUTY
Williams made the big glove save in the third period, but it was the Lions' netminder who made two of the better saves around.

Lloyd Hayes had a beat on the top right corner when he was flying in on a break, but Derek Noble snared the puck from going into the net with a lightning quick reflex keep the score a 1-0.

Christian Smith nearly picked the same corner with 14.7 seconds left in the period, but Noble again got the glove up and in position to snatch it out of the air. The Raiders outshot the Lions 13-5 in the period and could have had a stranglehold on the game.

“He held them in early and then in the second period we got a little bit of space there,” Jankowski said.

BIG FINISH FOR RAIDERS
Jankowski wasn’t quite sure if his team would be in the Super Eight conversation when the season began, but the Raiders are a few wins away from making a clear case for being part of the top eight teams in the playoffs.

The Raiders have two league games against Andover and Acton-Boxborough, but the biggest game of the year might come Monday against Catholic Memorial. Jankowski has preached staying focused on each game to his team, but he obviously knew the question was coming and the challenge that lies ahead.

“I’m over there just saying one game at a time, but you look at it and you circle it,” Jankowski said. “That for us is the ultimate goal to some day be in the same breath and the same situation going down the stretch playing a team like that and a coach like that. They have everyone’s admiration around here, so for us I’d be lying if I said we aren’t looking forward to it. It’s really going to be a contest to see where we really stack up.”

ESPNBoston hockey midseason All-State teams

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
12:30
PM ET
BOYS MIDSEASON ALL-STATE
F - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic
F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic
F - Sam Kurker, St. John's Prep
D - Jared Beckwith, Catholic Memorial
D - Jake Secatore, Woburn
G - David Letarte, St. John's Prep

Others garnering consideration:
Tom Besinger, Soph. F, BC High
Tom Cahill, Sr. F, Pembroke
Liam Centrella, Sr. F, Andover
Frank Crinella, Sr. F, Springfield Cathedral
Peter Cronin, Jr. G, BC High
Kevin Emmerling, Sr. F, St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Connor Fenton, Sr. D, Braintree
Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Soph. F, St. Mary's of Lynn
Brian Furey, Sr. D, BC High
Danny Holland, Sr. F, Woburn
Pat Houghton, Sr. D, Westford Academy
Mike Iovanna, Jr. F, Malden Catholic
Mike Kelleher, Jr. F, Central Catholic
Chris LeBlanc, Sr. F, Winthrop
Conal Lynch, Sr. F, Boston Latin
Colin MacGillivray, Jr. D, Malden Catholic
Nikko Markham, Sr. D, St. Mary's of Lynn
Bobby Mullins, Sr. F, St. Mary's of Lynn
Brian Pinho, Jr. F, St. John's Prep
Casey Shea, Sr. F, Woburn
Shane Starrett, Jr. G, Catholic Memorial
Joe Strangie, Jr. F, Danvers
Kyle Williams, Sr. G, Central Catholic

GIRLS' MIDSEASON ALL-STATE
F - Natalie Flynn, Arlington Catholic
F - Kayla Smith, Woburn
F - Kati Goguen, Acton-Boxborough
D - Martha Findley, Duxbury
D - Emily Loebs, Acton-Boxborough
G - Courtney Davis, Woburn

Others garnering consideration:
Cassandra Connolly, Jr. D, Woburn
Lily Connolly, Jr. F, Duxbury
Jackie Denning, Jr. F/D, Lexington
Rachel Donahoe, Sr. D, St. Mary's of Lynn
Jane Freda, Jr. F/D, Hingham
Haley Gaughan, Sr. F, Canton
Samantha Girard, Fr. F, Dedham
Erika Kelly, Sr. F, Watertown/Melrose
Cali Loblundo, 8th G, Acton-Boxborough
Brooke Matherson, D, Walpole
Caroline McCarthy, Sr. F, Belmont
Tori Messina, So. D, Hingham
Annie Messuri, D, Acton-Boxborough
Megan Messuri, Soph. G, Arlington Catholic
Hannah Murphy, Jr. F, Duxbury
Rachel Myette, So. G, Duxbury
Shannon O'Neil, G, Austin Prep
Danielle Phalon, Sr. F, Stoneham
Casey Schaejbe, Sr. G, Arlington
Sarah Schwenzfeier, Jr. F, Hingham
Caroline Shaughnessy, So. D, Duxbury
Kaitlyn Spillane, Jr. F/D, Franklin
Bethany Welch, Jr. G, Walpole
Rebecca Zappalla, Sr. D, Arlington Catholic

Recap: No. 10 Central Cath. 1, No. 13 AP 1

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
12:17
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. -- Ties, for all that they cannot prove, can give a glimpse at the heart of a hockey team.

While No. 10 Central Catholic and No. 13 Austin Prep skated to a 1-1 tie at Stoneham Arena in a non-league tilt on Wednesday night, both coaches came away more satisfied than not.

Cougars head coach Louis Finocchiaro believed his team put in their most complete 45-minute effort of the season. While Raiders bench boss Mike Jankowski saw another vintage performance from ESPN Boston All-Stater Kyle Williams in net, turning aside 27 shots.

“We played some decent hockey in spurts, but nothing consistent,” Jankowski added.

Central Catholic (3-2-2) took a 1-0 lead to the first intermission on Lloyd Hayes’ goal, assisted by Steve Merrick with four minutes to play.

The Cougars (4-2-2) got the game-tier four minutes into the second on Frank Candelino’s wrister finding its way through a crowd.

The teams skated evenly through the third period without finding a resolution. Neither squad registered a scoring chance through the first six minutes of the final period. In the balance of time, Williams made several key stops on a couple of AP power plays, but Cougars freshman netminder Elijah Harris (17 saves) matched him stop by stop.

“That was a good hockey game,” Finocchiaro said. “They’re a well-balanced team. We had some chances, but I can’t be disappointed. I felt we really played our first full game of the season.”

Preseason MIAA boys' hockey All-State team

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
6:04
PM ET
Kyle WilliamsESPNBoston.comCentral Catholic goaltender Kyle Williams surrendered just 43 goals last season while being named to ESPN Boston's All-State team. This year, the senior netminder kicks off the season in the same place on our First Team preseason All-State team.
Here is ESPN Boston's preseason MIAA All-State boys' ice hockey teams:

FIRST TEAM
F - Brendan Collier, Sr., Malden Catholic
F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Jr., Malden Catholic
F - Sam Kurker, Sr., St. John's Prep
D - Jared Beckwith, Sr., Catholic Memorial
D - Peter Sikalis, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
G - Kyle Williams, Sr., Central Catholic

SECOND TEAM
F - Liam Coughlin, Jr., Catholic Memorial
F - Casey Shea, Sr., Woburn
F - Matt Sullivan, Sr., BC High
D - Brendan White, Jr., Malden Catholic
D - Jake Secatore, Sr., Woburn
G - Peter Cronin, Jr., BC High

THIRD TEAM
F - Kevin Emmerling, Sr., St. John's (Shrewsbury)
F - Mike Kelleher, Jr., Central Catholic
F - Conal Lynch, Sr., Boston Latin
D - Connor Fenton, Sr., Braintree
D - Nick Pandalena, Sr., St. John's Prep
G - David Letarte, Sr., St. John's Prep

ESPN Boston MIAA All-State boys' hockey team

March, 24, 2011
3/24/11
4:59
PM ET
First Team
F - Colin Blackwell, St. John’s Prep
The senior center and captain led the Eagles with 45 points (24 G, 21A) while earning MVP honors from the Catholic Conference. Playing on Prep’s top lines, in addition to power play and penalty kill units, the Harvard commit was a +42 this season for the Super Eight finalists.

F - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic
Collier was perhaps the most versatile player in the state. The junior BU commit scored the game-winning goal in the Lancers’ Super Eight championship, but the winger was also a mainstay of MC’s penalty kill units, playing defense. The Charlestown native tallied 63 points (24 G, 39 A) during the regular season while guiding the Lancers to their first D1A title.

F - Mike Vecchione, Malden Catholic
The Lancers captain and UNH signee led their potent offense with 70 points (26G, 44A) during the regular season. The senior winger also broke the Catholic Conference’s all-time single-season scoring record during MC’s run in the Super Eight. The Saugus native is looking at playing in either the British Columbia Hockey League or the United State Hockey League next year.

D - Connor Evangelista, Malden Catholic
The junior blue liner was perhaps the most underrated element to the Lancers’ Super Eight title run. Whether it was through an outlet pass springing the rush or on the penalty kill, the Wakefield native did it all. Evangelista was among the state’s top-scoring defensemen and contributed 25 assists during the regular season for the D1A champion Lancers.

D - Marc Hetnik, Catholic Memorial
The Knights senior was like having a fourth forward out there, who also readily handled the opposing team’s top players night after night. The Chestnut Hill native is considering BU, Holy Cross and Merrimack among his college choices and is likely to play in the British Columbia Hockey League next year.

G - Kyle Williams, Central Catholic
The junior netminder spearheaded the Raiders’ run to the Super Eight. With Williams carrying a bulk of the load, Central Catholic surrendered just 43 goals this season while posting a goal differential of +45. He was also a driving force behind the Raiders’ Super Eight run and turned in a strong performance in a near upset bid against Malden Catholic.

“Line Change” Second Team
F - Tim Driscoll, Hingham
After scoring the winning goal in the Harbormen’s Super Eight championship in 2010, the Holy Cross commit captained Hingham to a D1A return in 2011. The senior winger led the Harbormen with 34 points (12 G, 22A) during the regular season and is exploring opportunities to play a prep postgraduate year of hockey before enrolling at Holy Cross.

F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic
The talented sophomore was the fulcrum the Lancers’ prolific top line, centering Collier and Vecchione. The BC recruit was MC’s second leading scorer during the regular season, netting 66 points (24 G, 42 A) for the Super Eight champions.

F - Tyler Piacentini, Weymouth
The senior captain was the sparkplug to the Wildcats’ Super Eight run. While he was often the smallest player on the ice, Piacentini was typically the most visible, letting his play to the talking. With a 61-point regular season (31 G, 30 A), he finished fourth in the state in scoring to MC’s dynamic first line.

D - Chris Joyce, Needham
The senior blue liner was the Rockets’ third leading scorer and a stalwart on defense who seldom left the ice. Joyce tallied 24 points in the regular season (7 G, 17 A) while leading Needham to yet another Super Eight appearance.

D - Alex Pompeo, Hingham
The senior was among the state’s leading point-getters among blue liners and finished second on the Harbormen in scoring to Driscoll. Pompeo was an integral part of the Harbormen’s Super Eight title run in 2010 and their repeat appearance in 2011.

G - Donald Hesse, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Spartans netminder was among the state’s leaders in all goaltending statistical categories, including a measly goals against average of 1.90 during the regular season. Hesse spurred St. Mary’s to its first Super Eight appearance this season. The Salem native is considering playing hockey at several postgraduate prep schools next season.

Best of the Rest
F Garrett Allen, Dartmouth
F Mike Cashman, BC High
F Liam Centrella, Andover
F Tom Coleman, Needham
F Ryan Connors, Marshfield
F Liam Coughlin, Catholic Memorial
F Joe Czarnota, Reading
F Ryan Dempsey, Marblehead
F Ryan Doherty, Tewksbury
F Terence Durkin, BC High
F Kevin Emmerling, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Tommy Evangelista, Central Catholic
F Riley Flanagan, Weymouth
F Dan Graham, Arlington Catholic
F Anthony Hardy, Bridgewater-Raynham
F Mitch Hamor, Beverly
F Alex Holland, Woburn
F Jack Jenkins, Billerica
F Sam Kurker, St. John’s Prep
F Chris Leblanc, Winthrop
F Nick Leonard, Central Catholic
F Conal Lynch, Boston Latin
F Chris Maguire, Waltham
F Jim McGrath, Medfield
F Dan O’Hear, Catholic Memorial
F Ross Olsson, Billerica
F Cam Owens, Wilmington
F Drew Oxley, Saugus
F Kurt Roderigues, Saugus
F Nick Roberto, Malden Catholic
F Jason Salvaggio, Xaverian
F Joe Scarfo, Winthrop
F Casey Shea, Woburn
F Devin Smith, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Andrew Taylor, Oliver Ames
F Zach Wells, Barnstable
F Andrew White, BC High
F Garrett White, Malden Catholic
D Steven Bellew, Hingham
D Steven Bristol, Weymouth
D Sean Kavanagh, Springfield Cathedral
D Cam Kennedy, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D Jake Kulevich, Marblehead
D Ryley MacEachern, Austin Prep
D Eric Muise, Peabody
D Alex Taddeo, Franklin
G Joe Cerulo, Wakefield
G James Cox, Braintree
G Peter Cronin, BC High
G Zac Rondeau, Springfield Cathedral
G Kyle Jacobs, Pembroke
G Chris Treon, Westwood

All Rookie Team (Top 5 to Watch for Next Year)
  1. Shane Eiserman, F, St. John’s Prep
  2. Tyler Sifferlen, F, Malden Catholic
  3. Tom Besinger, F, BC High
  4. Sean Cleary, G, Barnstable
  5. Nolan Redler, F, Winchester
Coach of the Year
John Flaherty, BC High
It took just one season for Flaherty, who took over for legend Joe McCabe, to get the Eagles back to the Super Eight after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons. The BC High graduate guided the Eagles to a 15-6-3 record that included an appearance in the Super Eight crossover round. Flaherty also works at the school as its Director of the Fund.

Hingham closes Super 8 with win over Central

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
5:30
PM ET


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. –- The Super 8 tournament picture didn’t become much clearer following Sunday’s game between fifth-seeded Hingham and eighth-seeded Central Catholic.

Goals by Steven Bellew and James Gordon helped Hingham prevail 2-1 in a game that eliminated Harbormen, but still left Central Catholic will a chance to advance.

The Raiders are 1-2 in Group 1 and will make it to the semifinals if Malden Catholic (2-0) defeats Weymouth (1-1) by more than one goal when the teams meet tonight at Tsongas Arena.

If the teams finish with the same record the first tiebreaker is goal differential. The second tiebreaker is head-to-head results. Central Catholic, which beat Weymouth 2-1, has been outscored 7-6 in its three tournament games. Weymouth has scored five goals and allowed five.

Central Catholic coach Mike Jankowski said he gave no thought to pulling goaltender Kyle Williams late in the third period even though his team trailed by a goal.

“None,” Jankowski said. “It’s a bit of an awkward situation, but obviously we’re playing to move forward. You want to play to win, but at the same time given the tournament you have [look at the bigger picture].

“This isn’t about one game, it’s about three games. I think we’ve shown that if we play with effort and energy we can play with anyone.”

If Weymouth wins tonight, Weymouth and Malden Catholic will move on to the semifinals. Hingham (1-2) was eliminated by goal differential. The Harbormen were outscored 13-6 in pool play. The Harbormen, last year’s tournament champion, lost to Weymouth (4-3) and Malden Catholic (8-1) in their previous tournament games.

“The math isn’t in our favor,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said. “We kind of knew that the way the game was going. Our No. 1 goal was just to play the game like you normally would. Just happy the crew stayed with the game plan. We played a pretty good game considering we were playing for pride. I’m proud of that.

“These last games, when the odds are against you, are tough to play.”

Tommy Evangelista scored for Central Catholic, which dropped its overall record to 18-7-1. The victory boosted Hingham to 14-7-4.

Each team scored in the opening period. After Bellew gave Hingham a 1-0 lead, Central Catholic pulled even when Evangelista got the puck past goaltender Derek McInnis with 3:23 left in the period.

The Harbormen regained the lead when Gordon beat Williams between the pads with a shot from the slot at 8:09 of the second.

“After that we had some point-blank chances that went wide,” Messina said. “They weren’t even on net. [Central Catholic’s Kyle Williams] is a good goalie and he’s a big kid, so there’s not a lot of room to shoot at. You tend to get picky when you’re in front of the net. Try to shoot at the corners and sometimes you miss.”

St. John’s Prep (2-0) will face BC High (2-0) in tonight’s final game. Both teams will advance out of Group 2.

“I loved the way we played in spurts,” Jankowski said. “I loved the way we played in the third period. Kyle made some big saves when we needed them.

“The stage is set. We are where we are.”

Editor's note: Central Catholic was eliminated from crossover round contention later in the day, following Weymouth's 5-4 loss to Malden Catholic. Weymouth advanced on the second tie-breaker on the ground of goal quotient.

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