Boston High School: Luke O'Brien



BOSTON – Don’t be surprised to see Belmont Hill lobby to play the rest of its hockey home games at Fenway Park.

For the second time in as many tries, the Hillies got the better ISL rival St. Sebastian’s as part of a quadruple-header of hockey at Frozen Fenway on Wednesday.

The last time the teams squared off at Fenway, in January 2012, Belmont Hill skated away with a dramatic 2-1 win over the Arrows. But there must be something in the dirty water as the Hillies repeated the feat by an identical 2-1 score on Wednesday, this time propelled by an overtime game-winner from senior forward Will Golonka.

“I just remember Mike Najjar [Middlebury College] scoring a couple goals and it was a great game,” Golonka said of his sophomore experience at Fenway. “It’s always great being here.”

Belmont Hill (6-4-3) controlled territorial play for a good amount of regulation and overtime. However, the Arrows (5-5-1) came out a little bit quicker and claimed a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal from junior defenseman Matt Doherty at 5:17.

The Hillies controlled play in the second period, with a turning point coming at the 3:09 mark when they embarked on a 5-minute power play – the result of a major penalty and game misconduct issued to Will D’Orsi on an open-ice hit on Matt Melanson.

Belmont Hill was able to generate eight shots-on-goal on that man-advantage, but the Arrows defense was able to mitigate any serious scoring chances. Anything else that got through to senior goaltender Teddy Loughborough (34 saves) was easily gobbled up.

“It’s incredible how an unfortunate penalty like that has the potential swing the game either way,” Belmont Hill head coach Jeremiah McCarthy said. “If a team gets a power-play goal, or two, then that penalty has a huge impact on the game. They were able to manage it, kill it and they were really able to build off the momentum. There’s nothing that gets a team really cranked up than a penalty kill of that kind.”

Meanwhile, the Hillies tried to remain optimistic they’d finally crack Loughborough, despite outshooting St. Seb’s by a 21-14 margin through two periods.

“It was tough for a while there, we weren’t getting the puck in the net,” Golonka said. “Our goalie [Ryan McConnell] played unbelievable though and our defense held strong.”

Belmont Hill finally broke through at 5:51 of the third, with sophomore Christian Faggas tying the game.

Again, the Hillies would go on to outshoot St. Seb’s in the period (15-7). But they were unable to find the go-ahead before the end of regulation.

“It was just the belief that the first one was going to come,” McCarthy said. “Once it did, I thought we had the momentum going into overtime.”

Golonka, a UConn commit, wasted little time to send the Belmont Hill faithful happy, potting the game-winner at 1:35 of the extra session, with an assist from Charlie McConnell.

“It’s a game of bounces on this ice and it could’ve gone either way,” McCarthy said. “But we kept moving our feet and competing and we ended up having the lucky bounce in the end.”

Lions bring late roar: In the game leading up to Wednesday night’s marquee matchup at Fenway, St. Mark’s (6-3-3) used a third-period comeback to steal a 2-1 decision from Groton School (8-3-1).

Two of the Lions’ top scorers stepped up to score both goals within about a minute span of the third, with Zach Tsekos and Luke O’Brien scoring their team-leading ninth goals of the season. O’Brien, an Acton native, scored the game-winner with 3:09 remaining.

D1 boys' hockey: A-B 3, Reading 1

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
1:51
AM ET


READING, Mass. -- Calling 12th-seeded Acton-Boxborough’s 3-1 win over No. 5 Reading in their first-round Division 1 North playoff game an upset would be a misnomer.

While the host Rockets — a team that generated some Super 8 consideration — earned their higher seed as the champions of the Middlesex League large division, the Colonials (11-8-2) battled their way into the postseason down the stretch. After suffering a slow start, A-B needed just about every point during a 6-1-1 stretch to close the regular season.

The Colonials continued their theme of coming on late with senior captain Tyler McKelvie breaking a 1-1 tie and providing the game-winning goal at 3:13 of the third period Thursday night at Burbank Ice Arena.

“They know they wouldn’t be playing now if they didn’t play good hockey,” A-B head coach Bob Lavin said.

The teams played to a scoreless first period, before A-B junior forward Joey Peduto had the Colonials to a 1-0 lead. Providing some net-front presence, Peduto directed in a point shot from senior captain Peter Sikalis on the power play at 1:33 of the second.

Reading (12-6-6) answered before the period was out with defenseman Mark Dente pinching high in the neutral zone. Dente forced a turnover through mid-ice, collected the puck along the right wing boards and let off a wrist shot from inside the right-hand circle.

That’s the only shot which beat Colonials sophomore goaltender Erik Wurman, who turned aside nine Rockets’ shots in the final period for the win.

McKelvie netted his 11th of the season for the game-winner. As the Colonials were often successful to do against the Rockets, A-B forwards Travis Scott-Hamilton and Luke O'Brien were able to generate a scoring chance off sustained pressure down low. Scott-Hamilton pushed the puck back into the slot, allowing McKelvie to pot the go-ahead.

A-B senior forward Michael Berkley capped scoring with the empty-netter in the final minute of play.

The Colonials will face the winner of Saturday’s first-round matchup between Woburn and St. Peter-Marian in a quarterfinal game on Monday at Woburn’s O’Brien Rink.

MARATHON MAN
Pay attention to A-B’s blue line and there will hardly ever be a time No. 16 isn’t on the ice.

Sikalis pulls loads of ice time for the Colonials, in all situations.

It’s easy to see why.

“He’s steady for us defensively, but he also moves the puck very well,” Lavin said, “so he lets our forwards out of the zone and creates opportunities.”

The four-year varsity player has a hard and heavy shot, with good accuracy and speed — as evidenced on Peduto’s goal. He has good size with about a 6-foot-2 frame and, like many of the best, he seems to make his movements look easy, with long strides.

The economy of motion allows Sikalis to remain a fixture on the ice, particularly in crunch time.

Sikalis, along with top pairing partner, senior Kurt Tugal, were on-ice for nearly all of the final three minutes of the game.

“It’s really fun actually,” he said of his high minute total. “It can be pretty tiring in the third period, but it’s about sucking it up and gutting it out.”

HOME ICE ADVANTAGE?
It must have been hard for Burbank general manager Ed Peduto to contain his excitement before the home crowd during the second period.

Peduto served as the P.A. announcer for Thursday night’s game. And, as the rink’s allegiance is to the hometown Rockets, Peduto’s voice didn’t waver when announcing his nephew, Joey, as a goal-scorer. It was Joey’s third goal of the season.

There was another way in which Peduto showed his solidarity with A-B, however. There was a royal blue No. 24 painted below the ice next to one of the Colonials’ bench doors.

A number that just so happens to belong to a certain family member.

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