Boston High School: Lucas Davis

D1 boys' lax: Needham 12, BC High 7

June, 10, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Needham is heading to Harvard.

The No. 6 seed Needham Rockets took down No. 10 B.C. High on Saturday, 12-7, in the East Division 1 Semifinal, to move ahead to the Final at Harvard Stadium on Wednesday.

“Playing at Harvard has been a goal that these guys have set since I would say even years back,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “For us, last year we missed it by a goal against Saint John’s Prep to get there. We feel like that final piece of the journey is now – it’s now there for us. So we’re excited to say the least.”

The Rockets (16-5) lit up in the fourth quarter netting six goals –- a total they combined in the first three -- but the final frame was cat-and-mouse action with a 2-1-2 pattern in their favor.

Up 6-4, Needham’s Mark Riley (3 G) tallied his second straight shot -- the team’s first of the fourth quarter -- at 10:15, running up the middle against BC High’s Jonathan Barton in net. Timmy Parlato followed with a similar shot just eight seconds later for the double lead over the Eagles (13-9).

“Big sigh out of me,” Wainwright said. “When Timmy does big moments like that and becomes that big playmaker that he has been all season for us, we know things are going in the right direction.”

BC High’s Corey Davidson (2 G), who had a big game in the Eagles’ last match, answered with his second of the game at 8:47 on a bouncing shot on Needham’s Lucas Davis.

The Rockets fired back with two straight goals. At 6:48, Nico Panepinto (3 G) twisted his body in the circle to lay the ball in and, at 5:37, Mike Vespa scored from the left wing with James Caruso (2 G, 1 A) assisting.

Alex O’Brien netted B.C. High’s sixth goal at 4:35, but really Needham was taking charge. Nico Panepinto tallied again at 4:22 in front of the goal and Caruso scored the 12th at 3:22 on an open net.

BC High’s Brendan Hogan put the final ball in with 2:20 remaining.

Needham held a 3-0 lead after goals by Mikey Panepinto, Riley and Jamie McGill. BC High came within one for a 3-2 score after goals at 4:27 and 3:01, but again Needham put two past Barton in quick succession at 2:11 and 2:05. B.C. pulled within two to end the first half.

Davis made 18 saves in between the pipes and drew the praises of his coach.

“I don’t really get tired of answering questions about a kid that has been playing for me since eighth grade,” Wainwright said. “He’s an absolute joy to have, an absolute pleasure for our defense to play for. My guys, like I’ve said before and I”ll say it again, they rally to play for him and [Davis] feeds off that confidence and that’s why he’s able to do the things he does.

“[He] kind of came out and he felt a little uneasy because, like everyone, they’re high school kids and they felt some nerves, and his veteran leadership and his ability to take from his experience in the past two years, he was able to really put it on the field today.”

Needham will face No. 1 Duxbury in the final at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Duxbury more than doubled up No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury, 18-6, on Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to it because we’ve seen them before and, when you’ve seen something, the mystery is now gone,” Wainwright said. “It’ll be gone for both teams and I realize that. But I feel like we’re going to give it our best shot, and you know what, no one is really going to pick us, but we’re going to be the ones to hopefully be that spoiler.”
NEEDHAM, Mass. – From the way it started, its outcome would seem dubious.

No. 19 Norwood came charging out of the gate, scoring the game’s first goal against Bay State rival No. 6 Needham on Wednesday. The Mustangs also held a 2-1 lead midway through the first quarter.

Things simply unraveled from there as the Rockets coasted to a 13-2 victory.

“That third quarter was probably the best offense we’ve played all season, spinning the ball and keeping it hot,” Needham attack Nico Panepinto said of the Rockets’ six-goal third.

Panepinto and Jamie McGill paced the Rockets’ high-fueled attack with four goals each. Robbie Pisano chipped in two goals of his own, while James Caruso, Alex Mirages and Mike Riley also found the back of the net.

But the Needham (12-4) attack started at midfield with the expert face-off work of Caruso, who won over 80 percent of his draws. It was a complete effort for the midfielder, who also won a team-high five ground balls.

“It makes all the difference when you’re able to win the ball and get it to the offense,” Panepinto said of Needham’s faceoff dominance. “That means everything.”

While the Mustangs (11-4) were off to hot start, Needham’s defense quickly regrouped and held Norwood to just three shots at the cage for the remainder of the first half.

Rockets head coach Dave Wainwright said it was a credit to the team’s pillars.

“[Mike] Vespa, [Dan] Kavanaugh, those guys have done a fantastic job of kind of jelling together, and with Lucas [Davis] inside the cage, it’s been a nice little group and a foundation for everyone to build confidence on.”

Recap: No. 1 Duxbury 11, No. 7 Needham 7

April, 29, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Two days after one of Duxbury lacrosse’s wildest contests of the season, the No. 1 Dragons once again found themselves behind the 8-ball.

But Duxbury constructed a three-goal rally early in the first half, which helped them go on to defeat Needham, 11-7, at Memorial Field Saturday night.

“We want to get back to playing Duxbury lacrosse, and we’ve had a tough schedule [because] we’ve had a game every other day for about three weeks," Duxbury head coach Chris Sweet said. "But I thought we played a great second half, we got off to a slow start in the first half, and sometimes that just happens."

The Rockets, who jumped out to a stunning 3-1 lead in the first quarter, struggled to maintain their two-goal advantage, as missed shots, passes and ground balls opened the door for the Dragons attack and midfield to tally four unanswered goals before intermission.

Senior Sam Sweet (2 G) tied the game at 7:10 of the second quarter after collecting a pass from senior Paul Hellar (2A). Senior Adam Fitzgerald and junior Henry Narlee (2G) then upped the Dragons' lead to 5-3.

“Coach Sweet, one thing he stresses is always get ahead of the ball, and never give up on the play, so once I won the face-off, I saw Reilly [Naton] had the ball, and I just tried to get in front of everybody and beat my defender," Narlee said of his second quarter strike. "I beat him, [my defender] and luckily got the shot off, so I thought it was nothing special, but I just had to get in front and do the fundamentals."

Duxbury, which managed to tally two strikes in the third, ramped up its intensity during the final quarter, as the Dragons' defense initiated four transition goals to secure their 10th victory.

Senior Will Siefert (4 G, 2A), who was responsible for three of his team’s final strikes, set up shop to the left side of senior Lucas Davis’ cage during the fourth quarter and was able to finish Duxbury's transitions with three consecutive tallies.

“In the fourth quarter we stuck together, and we just started to pick it up, started winning ground balls, and got us the possessions that we needed, so it helped us get the goals,” Siefert said. “My buddy, Sam [Sweet], we’ve played together for a while, and he always finds me there [on] the backside, so I just camp out there and wait for the ball, and try to finish it.”

“I think it starts at the defensive end. We get the ball off the ground, then we get a couple of quick passes, and get into transition, and then once we get a little bit of space, our attack man are pretty good at moving the ball and finding the open guy,” Chris Sweet added.

Senior Jamie McGill and junior Nico Panepinto registered Needham’s final goals with two minutes remaining, but their rally was cut short after Duxbury secured the ball on the ensuing possession, and drained the clock with various passes.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “We put this on our schedule because we wanted to see where we were at the midpoint of the season, and this is exactly the midpoint. This is game nine for us out of 18, and the fact that we’re at this point right here, we feel as though we’ve got room to grow, but we’ve done a lot of good things along the way.”

“This was a game that we look at the outcome of the score, we’re not happy with it, but we feel as though we can answer some of those problems,” added Wainwright. “We definitely have some talented young men that work real hard and I think they’re going to be ready once it becomes tournament time because we have another half of the season to grow.”

Recap: No. 2 Wellesley 10, No. 7 Needham 9 (OT)

April, 26, 2012

NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Wellesley attackman Peter Crane hadn't been doing much dodging at all during Wednesday's Bay State Conference rivalry showdown with Needham. But when the right moment came, the move was there and the shot was true.

Crane took a feed from teammate Adam Horelick, slipped past his man and buried the game-winner with 1:13 remaining in overtime as Wellesley completed an epic, fourth-quarter surge to upend the Rockets for a 10-9 victory at Memorial Park.

"We had the middie dodging down the alley and he moved it down to the attack who bumped it to me," explained Crane. "I just dodged my defender, got to five and five, and turned and shot. I saw it go five-hole and I was fortunate enough for it to go in."

That the game even required overtime is a story unto itself. The two teams battled back and forth throughout the first half, with goalies Lucas Davis (Needham) and Connor Darcey (Wellesley) standing out as the early stars. The Rockets took a 4-3 lead into the break courtesy of a man-up goal by Jamie McGill.

After a man-down goal by Crane set up by a beautiful end-to-end rush by Darcey, Needham exploded in the third with a 4-0 run. Mark Riley, Nico Panepinto (four assists), Alex Mirageas and McGill each scored to push the Rockets' advantage to 8-4.

Wellesley got one back as John Caraviello converted a feed from Horelick with 28 seconds left in the third, jumpstarting a 5-0 spurt that saw Nate Levin tie it and Horelick put the Raiders ahead for the first time since the first ten seconds of the second at 9-8.

Robbie Pisano completed his hat trick with 1:33 left in regulation to force the overtime, but Darcey (20 saves) made a pair of big stops with Needham dominating possession in the extra frame. Once Wellesley got it back, the ball found its way to Horelick and then Crane, who beat his man and snapped the game-winner.

"We drew that up, that's exactly how it's supposed to go," Horelick said of the final play. "Peter didn't have too many dodges this game and I think we all felt he could take his pole to the cage. I just gave it to him, I knew he was going to put it home. He went right past his man and it was a great goal."

The Rockets day started off with plenty of positives. Davis was terrific in the cage, stopping 17 shots in all. With the Raiders tough defense focused on defending standouts Riley and Panepinto, players like McGill and Pisano stepped up and combined for eight points.

"Our goaltending, I couldn't be more proud of Lucas Davis," praised Needham coach Dave Wainwright. "He played a great game, he's a fantastic boy, and its a pleasure and an honor to have him. I think he kept us in the game more than anyone on offense or defense did for him."

"We're definitely upset from the outcome," Wainwright continued. "We'll definitely learn from it but at some point we have to start executing better than we have."

The storied tradition of the football rivalry between the two towns needs no explanation as the longest-running public school clash in the nation.

The gridiron isn't the only place that tradition matters, however. Pick a sport in any season and at any time of the year and know that when Wellesley and Needham hook up, it matters.

"You grow up in Wellesley wanting to beat Needham in every sport you play," Crane said. "You play them from youth lacrosse on and every time its a big game. We weer really looking forward to this one and we were fortunate enough to get away with a win."

Raiders assistant coach Adam Pascal offered his passionate take on the tradition as well and the importance of the role the seniors play in each game.

"We told the kids this was a neighborhood game, you have to be the toughest kid on the block before you leave the neighborhood and Needham-Wellesley, this is one of the oldest rivalries there is," Pascal explained. "Down 8-4, Coach [Rocky Batty] and I just kind of looked at each other and said lets get some seniors on there. We put Adam Horelick down there. He's a senior, he's been playing for a couple of years, and that was the change in the game. Reed [Westerman] goes to defense, throws a big assist down there throwing the ball to another senior Peter Crane. And the last one was even Horelick spinning the ball to Crane.

Pascal continued, "We just needed to get some kids who played in big games before, know what it feels like to want to win the game, have some idea what it feels like to actually win the game and they just did it. Finally the kids just came together. That was the best performance...I think Connor Darcey played great, Ryan Cassidy, our whole defense. Offensively, that's great to see Peter get off there a bit and win the game and it feels great. They'll never forget it, Thanksgiving when they come back, they'll meet on that Wednesday and they'll be getting on Peter Crane for beating Needham."

Recap: Bishop Guertin (N.H.) 14, No. 4 Needham 8

April, 18, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Last season against Bishop Guertin, Needham’s offense rallied during the final quarter to beat the Cardinals by three goals, and claim their first victory against the New Hampshire powerhouse since 2008.

On Tuesday, BG erased Needham’s memories of 2011 by tallying six goals in the first quarter, and five in the third, which helped the Cardinals beat the Rockets, 14-8.

“We came out and jumped on them, [6-1] and the key to that was our face-offs,” Bishop Guertin head coach Chris Cameron said. “Our faceoff guy was outstanding, and today he just gave us possession after possession.”

BG’s junior Blake Boudreau, who won all the faceoffs in the first quarter, began the game by winning the opening draw, and then racing down field to net his team’s first goal in a span of eight seconds.

“Basically that’s pretty much what I work on in practice, and to tell you the truth, I just try to do my thing,” Boudreau said of his faceoff victories. “I was a freshman on the team, and I learned from the seniors and I just worked my way up, and it’s finally paying off.”

“[My goal] definitely started [our team’s] momentum,” added Boudreau. “We just got off to a [quick] pace, and I try to get [my team] as much possession as we can, and the more possessions we get, the more time we get the ball and the more goals we score, so that’s what I try to do.”

Boudreau’s faceoff prowess sparked the Cardinals offense to construct a 5-0 cushion, as seniors Paul Spinney, (five goals, one assist) and Brody Smith, junior Tommy Vailas, and freshman Colin Swanson all whipped the ball past Needham’s senior netminder Lucas Davis before junior Ned Connolly registered the Rockets first score at 5:27.

BG (4-0) answered two minutes later when senior Luke Roever connected with Spinney, but Needham (2-2) responded with two quick tallies prior to the conclusion of the opening quarter, as juniors Nico Panepinto (3 G) and Robbie Pisano (2 G) each rifled the ball past senior goaltender Colin Delea.

The Rockets rallied to tie BG midway through the second frame by rattling off three consecutive goals by senior Jamie McGill, Pisano, and Panepinto before the Cardinals pulled ahead with Spinney’s third strikes of the evening.

“It’s all about runs,” exclaimed Needham head coach Dave Wainwright. “They were able to capitalize on [various] opportunities and we weren’t.”

McGill evened the score with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, but sophomore Dom St. Laurent helped the Cardinals regain the lead for good by skipping in the go-ahead goal at 1:48, which gave the Cardinals an 8-7 lead at the break.

“We were focusing on good shots, and that was key for us [in the first half],” Cameron said. “Once there was a swing – we were shooting the ball well tonight, which was good, but we knew that we needed possessions because they can score.”

Entering the second half, BG’s offense obliged to their coaches halftime orders by possessing the ball and registering five tallies in seven minutes. Spinney and sophomore Connor Donahue each notched two goals, while sophomore John Miller recorded his only score of the contest during the third period.

“After seeing [the score at halftime], so I knew I had to step up for my team, and do what I had to, and make sure that everyone knew their objectives they had to get done,” said Spinney. “I just did mine as best I could, and that’s all I can really say [because] we didn’t quit. We kept our sticks good, and kept our legs good.”

Needham’s offense, which was shutout for the entire third quarter, managed to locate the back of Delea’s cage midway through the fourth quarter when senior J.P. McHale set up Panepinto for the Rockets' eighth goal.

BG tallied their final goal during the closing seconds when Roever rushed from behind Davis’ net for the score.

“I think that anytime you can come to Needham, and beat Needham, I think they’re one of the top three or four teams in Massachusetts ... it was a great win for us."

D1 South sectional quarterfinal recaps

March, 3, 2012
BOURNE, Mass. -- The Bay State League stole the show during Saturday's Division 1 quarterfinals, played at Gallo Ice Arena.

The public school league will see four of its teams in the semifinal round, the notable exclusion being No. 1 seed Needham.

Here's the breakdown of the action from a long day of hockey, along with a couple nuggets of analysis:


First period: The Mustangs went on an early power play, getting just one shot off on the Barnstable kill. The Red Raiders took the first lead of the game at 8:35 on Max Willman's strike from Chris Harris and Eric Rogorzenski. Andrew Alty tied the game with 30 seconds remaining on a pretty cross-ice pass from Jake Ranalli. Brendan Cathcart picked up the second assist. Norwood took a 7-6 shot advantage in the stanza.

Second period: Scant scoring opportunities for either side. Norwood carried play for portions of the second, but the Raiders had the best of the latter stages. Still, Barnstable out-shot the Mustangs 9-7 in the period.

Third period: The Mustangs found the go-ahead goal with defenseman Kyle Dolan tallying his second of the season, with some good work down low from Cathcart (2 assists)and Tyler Gover. The Red Raiders were ham-strung by a late penalty (playing with a broken stick) that had them on the penalty kill with just 1:38 remaining. Despite having a couple of offensive zone face-off opportunities in the final minute, the Red Raiders weren't able to find the equalizer. Jordan Davis made 25 saves for the Mustangs in the win, as Barnstable outshot Norwood, 26-22, for the game.

Analysis: What made Norwood successful in this game were a lot of the little things that don't show up in scoresheets. The Mustangs did a terrific job on the back check, keeping pace with a speedy Barnstable roster. When the Red Raiders were able to enter the zone, Norwood collapsed down low and were able to throw sticks, bodies, whatever, in the passing a shooting lanes, limiting quality chances on Davis.


First period: Most of the period's play was conducted in the neutral zone, with both teams playing a tight checking game. Natick had its best chance of the game, coming on a 2-on-1 during a late power play. However, Needham actually out-chanced the Red & Blue, 2-1, while a man down. Shots were 10-5 in the Rockets' favor in the first.

Second period: Needham earned its first power play of the game early on, but was unable to cash in with two shots against Red & Blue goaltender Derek Kwok. Natick opened scoring at 5:56 with Andrew Newis tallying his 13th of the season from Mike Pennett and Derek Butler. At 11:52, Butler added his second point with his 16th goal of the season. Just 1:08 later, Pennett picked up his second point of the game with a goal, giving the Red & Blue a 3-0 lead at the second intermission.

Third period: Needham got on the board 4:06 Joey Parsons entering on a partial break on an unassisted goal, his fifth of the season. Play continued on in Natick's end for the bulk of the period. Lucas Davis added an unassisted goal of his own, drawing the Rockets within one, but for the second time this week (after Monday's Super 8 play-in game) their third-period rally fell short.

Analysis: Once again, Needham's tendency to come out slow hurt them. As in their Super 8 play-in game against St. John's (Shrewsbury) on Monday, the Rockets dug themselves into a hole they weren't able to recoup.


First period: There was little to speak of scoring chances between the two squads, save for Clipper forward Ben Taylor's shot off the post in the second minute. Not whole lot to say beyond that. Shots were 7-2 in favor of Falmouth.

Second period: After skating to a scoreless first period, Storm Foitu netted the first goal for Falmouth 1:11 into the period. Durham Ghelfi set up the goal with some nice work along the half boards, putting a pass back to Foitu on the left wing circle. Milton tied the game with 30 seconds remaining in the period, thanks to some slick passing in the offensive zone. Brian Higgins set up Paul Curran, skittering a pass across through a Falmouth defender with Curran directing the pass into the net from the goal mouth. Milton took an 11-4 shots advantage in the period.

Third period: Curran and Higgins continued their dazzling offensive show in the third, only to see Falmouth netminder Petey Negri make a couple of circus saves. The middle portion of the period was played predominately in the Clippers' end with the Wildcats sustaining offensive pressure. Curran scored his second of the game, his 21st of the season, the game-winner, with 43 seconds to play, with a shot deflected off a Falmouth defender's skate. Terrance Walsh and Dan Curran had the assists. Higgins notched his second point of the game with an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining. Hankard made 18 stops to earn the victory.

Analysis: Paul Curran showed why he was one of the most feared scorers in the Bay State Conference this season. His work, along with that of linemate, Higgins, was impressive throughout, creating a bulk of Milton's scoring chances.

First period: The Wamps took a 7-6 shots advantage, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. Braintree went 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Rams were shut out in their only opportunity.

Second period: After being held to just one shot on their third power play opportunity, the Wamps took the first lead of the game on Cody Kingston's goal at 9-minute mark, with assists from James Flaherty and Tom Troy. Braintree claimed a 2-0 lead two minutes later on David Fasano's wrist shot from the right side circle. Troy picked up his second assist of the game with another handed out to Nick Ward. The Wamps claimed a 12-7 shots advantage in the period.

Third period: Marshfield upped its pressure in the offensize zone, but were unable to crack Wamps netminder Dan Murphy. Murphy made 20 saves in the shutout.

Analysis: Marshfield wasn't able to sustain pressure in Braintree's defensive zone throughout. Once Braintree takes a lead, as has become the custom under David Fasano, the Wamps become increasingly hard to play against, clogging up the neutral zone in a 1-2-2 and collapsing down low when set in the defensize zone. Murphy wasn't tested all that often, but when he was he was ready. Wamps all-star defenseman Conor Fenton (3-9-12) was his usual self, playing aggresively and mixing it up physically often drawing the assingment of shutting down the Rams' top line of Mike Carbone, Chris Perry and Connor McLean.

Super 8 recap: St. John's (S) 5, Needham 4

February, 27, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- As always, the game plan was to make the opponent play from behind – and St. John's (Shrewsbury) couldn't have executed it much better.

The Pioneers grabbed the lead 44 seconds into Monday night's Super 8 play-in game against Needham and never surrendered it. St. John's scored four first-period goals and advanced to the field of eight by posting a 5-4 victory at Merrimack College's Lawler Arena.

Vin D'Amato, Bryan Nelson, Mike Brown, Kevin Emmerling and Jay Duquette scored for the Pioneers, who raised their record to 16-4-3.

'It feels great,” Emmerling said. “Now we just have to keep it going. I think a lot of people doubted us coming into this game. I think we had a lot to prove. We're gonna keep the foot on the pedal.”

The Pioneers will be the tournament's No. 8 seed and face top-seeded Malden Catholic (15-1-4) Sunday at Merrimack College. St. John's will be making its first Super 8 appearance since 2003.

Although St. John's owned a five-goal lead late in the second period, the Pioneers had to sweat through some tense moments at the end of the third.

Needham trailed 5-2 when Lucas Davis and Jamie Arnao scored goals 32 seconds apart to make it a one-goal contest with 6:16 to play.

“You know these guys are a good team – they wouldn't be here if they weren't,” St. John's coach Brian Murphy said. “They showed a lot of heart, a lot of desire. You don't want to panic too much and I thought our goalie (Mario Pizzeri) did a good job of hanging in there the last five minutes.”

Duquette's goal made it 5-0 with 4:53 to play in the second period. Needham got on the scoreboard when D.J. Walsh blasted a slap shot past Pizzeri with 4.1 seconds to play in the second. It was Walsh's 16th goal of the season.

“They got one and then the momentum shifted and they started coming after it really hard,” Murphy said. “We were just trying to hang on their at the end. The big thing is we wanted the win and a chance to move on.”

Junior defenseman Brendan Joyce scored Needham's second goal. It came on a wrist shot from the left point 3:31 into the third.

“We just came out so slow,” Needham coach Bill Guisti said. “When you look at the games we've lost this year we've lost them by spotting other teams leads. We don't have a lot of firepower to try to come back.”

The loss dropped Needham's record to 16-5-1.

“Connor [senior goaltender Connor Murray] didn't have his best game tonight, but he's been great for us all year,” Guisti said. “The bad news is we lost the game. The good news is we live to play again. If we start out like we did tonight we're not gonna be around for much more than one more game, that's for sure.”

Duquette, a senior forward, assisted on three of the Pioneers' four goals in the opening 15 minutes. He entered the contest with nine goals and 12 assists in 22 games.

Emmerling also collected three assists in the victory. He leads the team in goals (25) and assists (23).

Emmerling and Duquette skate on a line with D'Amato, who also collected an assist.

“They're a very skilled line,” Murphy said. “The certainly can move the puck. They gave us the four-goal cushion. They're just good players.”

The victory extended St. John's unbeaten streak to 10 games (8-0-2). The Pioneers haven't lost since dropping a 4-0 decision to Hingham on Jan. 18.

The team's defense has been consistently good during the streak. St. John's allowed 16 goals during the 10 games.

“We moved a couple pieces of the puzzle and our goaltender started playing well,” Murphy said. “We started playing better team defense. I think that was the big thing. We know we can score goals, we just had to make sure we try to prevent some too.”

Final Super 8 field projection and mixtape

February, 24, 2012
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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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."


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:

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:

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. 8 Needham 3, Xaverian 0

January, 26, 2012

DEDHAM, Mass -- No. 8 Needham boys' hockey outshot and outskated Xaverian for most of Wednesday night's matchup, and came away with a 3-0 win, the Rockets' 10th of the season.

But the best player on the ice was Xaverian (3-7-1) goalie Dave Michaels. The senior netminder stopped 36 shots in a losing effort, but still earned high praise from his coach.

“Dave was outstanding,” Xaverian head coach Dave Spinale. “He was the difference maker, it could have been six or seven nothing, he was fabulous.”

The Rockets (10-2) finally were able to put one past Michaels at 4:45 in the second period when Timmy Parlato connected with Lucas Davis to finish off an odd man break for Needham.

“I just got a good awareness where Lucas is,” Parlato said. “He just finishes every pass I give him.”

In the third period Needham’s third line combined for the second goal when freshmen forward Danny Jacobs played a perfect pass to Chris Lambert who one timed the shot home.

“Jeff Rosata, Danny [Jacobs] and Chris [Lambert] were really going all night long, doing a great job in their D-zone and putting a lot of pressure on their defense.” said Needham head coach Bill Guisti about his third line.

Davis would add his tenth goal of the season on a late empty netter for a 3-0 final.

Both teams will return to conference play next week, with the Hawks hosting St. John’s Prep and Catholic Memorial while the Rockets take on Milton and Norwood in their next two games.

Recap: No. 7 Needham 2, No. 4 CM 1

December, 29, 2011
(Highlights courtesy of the Needham Channel)

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- With under a minute to go in regulation, Catholic Memorial lead the Needham Rockets, 1-0, and looked to be on their way to their third win of the season.

But a Shamus Colman goal tied the game with 39 seconds left and Lucas Davis' goal fired shot into CM’s goal with nine seconds remaining gave the No. 7 Rockets a stunning 2-1 win over the No. 4 Knights.

“Timmy Parlato came up, the puck was loose and he dove, stopped it," said Davis of his game-winner. "The other kid [CM’s Shane Starrett] came out, popped it to me and I finished it. I give all the credit to Timmy Parlato.”

After a lackluster first period, Catholic Memorial (2-1-0) came out strong and controlled the tempo to start the second period. But that momentum was halted at the 6:21 mark when junior captain Liam Coughlin was given a game misconduct for boarding.

Despite losing one of the state’s best forwards, the Knights pressed on and ended up scoring up the game’s first goal at 2:43 in the third period on senior Jack O’Hear’s power-play goal, assisted by John Maher.

With under a minute to go, and a pending face-off in CM’s zone, Needham (3-0-0) called a timeout, pulled goalie Connor Murray and drew up a play, that worked ... Eventually.

“It didn’t work for a couple of faceoff's,” Needham head coach Biil Guisti said of the play he drew up in the timeout. “It took us like two or three faceoffs. On the third faceoff, I told D.J. [Walsh] to get out, and they switched it up. I moved Timmy [Parlato] to the wing, then Lucas [Davis] took the draw, Lucas scrummed it, they got it back to Brendan, Brendan got it over to Shaymus, Shaymus back to Brendan, back to Shaymus and bingo.”

“It was a designed play where they wanted to get the puck back to the D,” Coleman added. “I got an open look, I tried to keep it low and there was a huge screen and it just went in.”

Davis scored the game-winning goal 30 seconds after that.

A Break Through
One of the knock’s on the Needham hockey during the past three seasons is that they couldn’t seem to get past any of their big non-conference opponents, including in Super Eight play.

“It’s a good win,” Davis said. “It’s about time we knocked off one of the top teams. It’s been tough over the past couple of years, trying to knock off the top teams, so we finally did it, it’s a great win.”

The Rockets can’t enjoy the victory too much, they travel to No. 9 Hingham on New Year’s Eve.

For Catholic Memorial the loss may sting for now, but in the big picture it was just a tough break. Losing top class forward Liam Coughlin to a misconduct certainly make things more difficult.

Despite being outshot 32 to 21, the Knights still limited quality scoring chances until the final minute of regulation, and goalie Shane Starrett was solid stopping 30 shots.

The Knights will also play on New Year’s Eve when they host No. 20 Framingham.

No. 14 Needham topples No. 2 Weymouth

February, 10, 2011
WELLESLEY, Mass. -- After No. 2 Weymouth handed No. 14 Needham their first Bay State Conference loss in two seasons in January, the Rockets knew they’d have to step their game up in the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams Wednesday night at Babson College.

Despite coming out with their best effort, scoring two goals in the opening three and a half minutes, Needham needed a third-period goal from Jeff Rosata to come away with a 3-2 win over the Wildcats.

“We had a very good practice yesterday and they came out flying tonight," Needham head coach Bill Guisti said. "It was one of our better starts of the season."

Tom Coleman got the scoring started at 2:24 in the first, sticking home a rebound on a D.J. Walsh shot. Just over a minute later, J.P. McHale doubled the lead with a beautiful backhand pass from Lucas Davis.

Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo called their timeout immediately after the goal.

“I told them [they] deserve better than this,” Cataldo said of his timeout talk, “we worked too hard, we worked too much, and we’re too good of a team to put forth this type of an effort.”

And they were a different team after that, forcing pressure on Needham that eventually led to a goal at 12:58 in the first period. Riley Flanagan tapped in a rebound from a Danny White shot after some good forechecking by the Wildcats made it difficult for Needham to clear their zone.

After a physical and goal-less second period, Needham entered the third with a 2-1 advantage. That lasted only 44 seconds as Weymouth senior Nick Peatfield skated behind Needham’s goal and delivered a beautiful backhand pass to forward Jonathan Wilson who finished high into the top corner.

The Rockets didn’t take long to answer. At 4:10 into the third period, Coleman hit a long cross-ice pass from inside his blue line to Rosata, just across the redline, and Rosata was one-on-one with Weymouth goalie Brian Brady whom he deked once and backhanded high into the net for a 3-2 lead.

But Weymouth didn’t go out easy. With just over a minute left in regulation, the Wildcats pulled their goalie for an extra skater and forced four good saves out of Needham netminder Evan MacDonald, the first of which came on Flanagan straight off a faceoff.

“Coach Guisti warned me before the game of the shot right off the faceoff,” MacDonald said , “the kid (Flanagan) is a very good face-off man. I give credit to Weymouth, the tried their best and gave it their all. We came out flying tonight and had luck on our side.”

“Hopefully, we’ll enjoy this win for a day or two, but we have got to get back to business on Saturday night against Braintree,” Guisti said looking forward.

With the win Needham improves to 9-5-3 overall and 9-2-1 in conference. Weymouth suffers just their second loss overall (14-2-1) and their first conference loss of the season (11-1-1). The Wildcats hold a 1-point lead over Braintree in the Bay State Conference Standings.

Needham 2:24 Tom Coleman from DJ Walsh
Needham 3:11 JP McHale from Lucas Davis

Weymouth 12:58 Riley Flanagan from Danny White
Weymouth 0:44 Jonathan Wilson from Nick Peatfield
Needham 4:10 Jeff Rosata from Coleman

No. 9 Xaverian rallies past No. 10 Needham

December, 29, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No. 9 Xaverian and No. 10 Needham have become mini rivals over the last four seasons, and their contest on Tuesday night was just the latest chapter between two of last year's Super 8 entrants.

“It’s become a fun rivalry, our guys get up for it and I know they [Needham] get up for it” said Xaverian head coach Dave Spinale.

“It’s one we always mark on our schedule to see what our status is, and it’s a good way for us to test ourselves.”

Needham (2-2-0) opened up a two-goal lead after the first period with goals from J.P. McHale, (assisted by Tom Coleman) and Timmy Parlato (Jeff Rosata).

But Xaverian (3-0-0) came out in the second period with guns blazing.

“We knew that the effort we had in the first, it wasn’t are best effort, so flat out we asked the to play with courage.” Spinale said referring to his team talk at the first intermission, “We got on them pretty good, pointed out their mistakes, and asked them to play the way they’re capable of. We asked for our seniors to step up and our captains to step up.”

Just 4:43 into the second period the Hawks cut the lead in half through a goal from senior captain Tommy Jenkins, Jason Salvaggio providing the assist. Xaverian scored again just under four minutes later when they broke out of their defensive zone on a 4 on 1 break away. It was the other co-captain Ryan Hall finishing off the nice move, Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt with the assists.

After the goal things turned physical. Two and a half minutes of hard-hitting and questionable non-calls on both sides lead to a scuffle in front of Needham’s net resulting in matching minors and misconducts on both sides.

Jenkins and Jack McClellan went to the box for Xaverian with 7:30 misconducts, 1:30 minute roughing calls and McClellan also receiving 1:30 for a cross check. Needham’s Lucas Davis received the same calls as McClellan while Sam Nickles received a 7:30 misconduct and 1:30 for cross checking.

The teams remained at 5 on 5, but Needham’s second line was crippled with Nickles and Davis in the penalty box.

Bobby Hall gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead at 11:33. Needham’s Connor Murray (11 saves) got his glove to Hall’s shot, which was heading into the top corner, but all he could do was tip the puck up and it trickled over the line. Off of the ensuing faceoff Ryan Hall scored his second of the night making it 4-2 just nine seconds later.

Xaverian’s fifth and final goal came 59 seconds into the third period, Jenkins scoring his second of the night.

Junior goalie David Michaels had 25 saves in the victory.

1st period
N - JP McHale from Tom Coleman, 5:04
N - Timmy Parlato from Jeff Rosata, 12:34

2nd period
X - Tom Jenkins from Jason Salvaggio, 4:43
X - Ryan Hall from Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt, 8:33
X - Bobby Hall from Eddie Martin, 11:33
X - R. Hall from Salvaggio, 11:42

3rd period
X - Jenkins from R. Hall and Salvaggio, 0:59