Boston High School: Matt Brazel

Recap: Brooks 1, Dexter 1

February, 7, 2015
Feb 7

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – It is one of those rare occasions where you hope to see an encore performance some time down the road.

Dexter Southfield and Brooks School gave everyone in attendance a memorable performance Friday night inside Brooks Arena, clamoring for more. With both hockey programs duking it out in their attempts to reserve a spot in next month's New England Prep School championship tournament, neither disappointed.

Trailing by a goal late in the third period, Dexter forward Matt Brazel was the recipient of some solid puck control inside the Brooks end of the ice. The senior, positioned inside the left circle, took a backward feed Sam D'Antuono and rifled a shot under right arm of Bishops' goaltender Max Prawdzik at 12:31 to deadlock this tilt.

Brazel's tally would induce a five-minute overtime period in which nothing was settled, resulting in a 1-1 final.

"We had our chances and worked hard for three periods and in overtime," said Bishops head coach Dave Ries. "I thought our kids came out and got off to a pretty good start. For a lot of the first two periods we had some very good chances but their goalie made some big saves. In the third, they started taking it to us but (Prawdzik) stood on his head when he needed to.”

Dexter, which lost to Kimball Union Academy in last year's Piatelli/Simmons (Small School) title game, continues in its quest in becoming a viable candidate for another trip to the postseason with a record of 11-5-5. Brooks, which also lost to KUA in last year's semifinal round, is a virtual playoff lock, sporting a mark of 13-1-4. The possibility of these two clubs meeting up again remains a distinct possibility depending on the seedings.

Should that occur, then you can expect another edge-of-your-seat thriller yet again. Brooks will be in search of its second prep crown in three years. In 2013, the Bishops defeated Kent's Hill School to claim its only Piatelli/Simmons championship.

Brooks seized control over the opening two periods, yet could only account for the one goal going into the second intermission.

Dexter realized it had dodged a major bullet thanks, in part, to the sturdiness of its goaltender Nick Lanni. The senior was brilliant between the pipes, stopping 28 of 29 shots. During the course of the first 36 minutes, Lanni was tested often yet held down the fort by making 24 saves to keep his team in range.

"Our defense played great tonight," said Lanni, who plans to play baseball at Fairfield University next year. "I am extremely grateful to have such a great team in front of me. All around it was a great effort tonight. We are a team that battles through adversity. We may not have all the talent in the world but we will work harder than you all the time. That's what it is all about. We are a team that doesn't rebuild. We reload."

After playing one step behind for most of the first two frames, Dexter would turn the tables in the third. Showing a more aggressive style in the offensive end, Dexter continuously worked the puck into the Brooks zone, firing off shots from all angles on Prawdzik. But the senior, like his counterpart, held his ground in the crease and was able to maintain the one goal advantage.

Later in the frame, Dexter's offensive prowess finally caught up with Prawdzik. With the Bishops playing back on their heels a bit, Dexter was allowed to maneuver the puck along the perimeter. Brazel found his spot inside the circle and waited for D'Antuono's backdoor pass. With the defense moving toward D'Antuono's direction, it gave Brazel enough space to get a clear shot off. Prawdzik was late in trying to deflect the puck with his stick as it sailed past him and into the back of the net.

With nothing finalized in regulation, both teams tried willingly to end the tilt in overtime. Just 30 seconds in, D'Antuono, a senior, had a golden chance to close this one out but his shot from in between the circles rang off the post.

With just 38 seconds showing, Dexter caught a break after Boston College commit Connor Moore was whistled for tripping. With a limited power play opportunity, Dexter put up two quality attempts on net, but Prawdzik (29 saves) was able to turn both aside, keeping the contest tied.

With 1.4 remaining, things got a bit heated. Two players from each team were escorted off the ice for excessive clutching and shoving. The final second ticked off with both clubs skating off even.

"It was a great game and I thought our kids played really well," Dexter head coach Dan Donato said. "We really went after it in the third period. We decided to change the forecheck system that we were using. I thought we really poured on the pressure in the third. I want to make sure that we get hot at the right time. We aren't pouring shots into the net yet but I feel we have played better as a team over these last two to three weeks. If the pucks do start going into the net, I think we'll be a dangerous team down the stretch."

Following a scoreless opening period in which the Bishops failed to capitalize on a minute long 5-on-3 advantage, the situation changed dramatically in their favor early in the second.

Being persistent in its puck movement, Brooks finally saw things come to fruition at 3:15. With D'Antuono in the box for tripping, Sacred Heart University-bound Vito Bavaro ripped a shot from just outside the right circle. With the Bishops collapsing to the net, junior forward Henry Cormier got enough of his stick on Bavaro's shot to redirect it past Lanni for a 1-0 lead.

"Vito did a good job getting the puck on net low and our guys work hard on going to the net," Ries said. "Cormier got there with his stick on the ice and put it in. When you have guys going to the net hard and guys getting pucks there, you are going to get some goals.

“I thought Max did a great job for us and slowed things down at the right points during the game. He has really stepped up his game to another level for us."

For a while, it appeared as though Brooks' one-goal lead would stand.

However, Dexter knew it was given life by not getting blown out over the first two periods. They managed to take full advantage by the third, thanks to Brazel and the large presence of Lanni in goal.

"Nick has been a warrior for us," said Donato. "This team loves him. He may not be the most stylistic [goaltender] but he certainly finds ways to stop the puck with his head, his back or whatever he needs to do. We are very fortunate to have him.”

Our MIAA boys' hockey All-State Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D1 South: Marshfield 6, Hingham 3

March, 13, 2013

BOURNE, Mass. – It’s a played-out story, but it actually fit this time.

On the eve, or during the bus ride to a big hockey tilt, it’s not unusual that “Miracle”, the movie on the United States’ run to the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics, will be cited as a source of inspiration for high school hockey players.

Marshfield head coach Dan Connolly followed suit, channeling his inner Herb Brooks in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Division 1 South championship game against South Shore rival Hingham. Yet, in this instance, there were a real connection for his Rams’ team to the experience of that Red, White & Blue squad at Lake Placid.

On the final day of the regular season, Marshfield endured a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of Harbormen. After that matchup, the Rams were forced to regroup, as Hingham skated on to a Super 8 play-in game. So too did a young Team U.S.A. after they played the feared Soviet Union in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden, a 10-3 thrashing at the hands of the Red Army team.

It wasn’t quite a Miracle on Ice, but the Rams claimed a 6-3 victory over Hingham on Tuesday, earning their second trip the state championship game at the TD Garden in the last three seasons.

“We talked about it yesterday, when Russia pounded the U.S., and then, two-, three-weeks later, they win the big game,” Connolly said.

Marshfield (20-6-0) accomplished its first goal heading into the section final by not allowing the Harbormen (16-9-2) to fly out of the gates – as they had during the regular-season finale.

Still, Hingham claimed the first lead of the game at 3:21 of the second period, when junior center Matt Brazel turned his own face-off win into a goal.

However, the Rams closed the period with a string of three goals. Trevor Salmon, Matt Burchill and Jimmy Connors scored within the final five minutes of the second to send Marshfield to the room with a 3-1 lead.

“It was attention to detail, focus on the little things,” Connolly said. “Then, we have that little flurry at the end of the second and it’s bing, bing, bing.”

The Rams didn’t relent in the third period, opening with sophomore Pat Shea netting an unassisted goal at 1:26. Then, Joe Admirand provided Marshfield with a five-goal pad with Mike Carbone adding his second point of the game with the assist at 5:08 of the third.

Will Decost tallied his second point of the game with an empty-netter, sandwiched between two late Hingham goals from Corbin Robichaud and Andrew Flynn.

Several weeks ago, Connolly shifted forward Trevor Salmon back to defense, after injuries threatened the Rams’ depth on the blue line. Although Salmon admits that he puts team defense first, as a valued part of Marshfield’s penalty kill unit, he also looked at ease beating Hingham goaltender John Grenier through the 5-hole on his breakaway goal.

“It was a great pass from JoJo [Carbone] up the seam,” Salmon deflected praise. “I couldn’t have done that without him.”

Salmon’s marker was a hinge point for the Marshfield rally, with the over swell carrying through the third period. Yet, when pointing back to the momentum shift, Salmon also credited his team’s commitment to taking care of business in their own zone (a major lesson from their last Hingham duel) as a key component to Tuesday’s win.

“We came out flat, we didn’t really play team defense,” Salmon said of their Feb. 22 loss. “We knew it was going to change today.”

Sunday’s Division 1 state final will feature that tournament’s last two champions with Marshfield joining North title-winner Burlington at the TD Garden.

While there’s been some roster turnover since last time out, there are a good number of the Rams who skated on the Bruins’ home ice sheet as sophomores. Mike Carbone was one of those players, scoring the game-winning goal for Marshfield a 3-2 comeback win over Wakefield.

“A lot of our players played on that team,” Salmon said. “We have a lot of experience going into the Garden. I think we have what it takes to get the ‘W’ there. But it’s a strong Burlington team, we know they’re the state champs from last year.”

D1 South: Hingham 8, Barnstable 1

March, 7, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- A packed house full of Barnstable fans was ready for the nightcap at Gallo Ice Arena. The Red Raiders’ fans were plentiful and loud. And just 91 seconds into the game, those fans were even louder when Colin Jones gave Barnstable (14-5-4) a 1-0 lead.

The fans’ joy would be short-lived.

Hingham stormed back into its Division 1 South semifinal and scored eight straight goals to advance to the sectional final with an 8-1 win. Junior forward Matt Brazel (two goals, six assists) had his hands in each of the team’s goals.

Hingham head coach Tony Messina was able to smile and make jokes after his team’s dominant performance on Wednesday night.

“I’m going to go back there and tell him [Brazel] that he played just alright,” Messina chuckled.

He added, “Today we played with some emotion. I knew that [Barnstable] would come out strong and they did, you know, they scored the first goal. We kind of took it over from there.”

Brazel scored twice in the first period, and laid off an assist for Justin Ryder, to get Hingham back into the game. The captain ended the night for Barnstable starting goalie Kevin Huska with a great move on a clear breakaway, which made it 3-1 at the end of the first.

Hingham (16-7-2) allowed Central Catholic to come from behind and steal its Super 8 play in game, but this time the Harbormen showed no mercy. They tacked on four goals in the second period, all assisted by Brazel. Junior Sam D’Antuono continued his goalscoring streak with a pair of goals around a score by Stephen Hughes. Freshman defenseman Luke McInnis added the team’s seventh just before the end of the second period.

“We told our kids after the first period that we were lucky to be ahead three-to-one,” Messina said about the team’s second-period explosion. “They like to throw that long pass forward off the boards. When that doesn’t work and we stop it, then we had the advantage on the transition and that’s what we did.”

John Carlson added the eighth Hingham goal early in the third period when he finished off a two on the goalie break with Brazel. Following the goal, Messina emptied his bench to assure that none of his stars picked up injuries or penalties once the game was out of hand.

With his team coming together and making a run at the Division 1 title, Messina believes that the difficulties that the team encountered this season have prepared it for tough tournament games.

“Just kind of quirky stuff has happened to us all year long. You know, if we’re not tested tough by now then we’re never going to be,” he said.

Hingham will await the winner of Archbishop Williams and Marshfield in the finals.

D1 South: Hingham 5, Norwood 4

March, 4, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- For one fleeting second everything stopped.

With Norwood down one and the clock winding under 30 seconds, a freak bounce put the puck in John Galvin’s wheelhouse and Hingham goalie John Grenier completely out of position. Galvin whiffed on the shot and Hingham held on to win a wild 5-4 Division 1 South quarterfinal yesterday at Gallo Arena.

“They played a great game, with intensity and fired up,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said of the Mustangs. “For some reason we didn’t. I told them we have to work the whole first period. They came back every single time. They weren’t very hard shots but they got through. It’s tough to explain.”

Hingham set the tone early.

Sam D’Antuono scored 3:07 to put the Harbormen up early. D’Antuono and his linemate, Matt Brazel, combined for six points on the afternoon.

Norwood answered late in the period with goals from Dan Wiseman and Jack Sheehan to go up 2-1 after 15 minutes.

D’Antuono scored 28 seconds into the second period to tie it, and Hingham continued to control much of the possession, but Norwood was able to capitalize on their chances. Mike Roy scored midway through the second to tie it.

Brazel scored 73 seconds later to put Hingham up 3-2.

“They’re go-to guys, it’s obvious,” Messina said of D’Antuono and Brazel. “That line was out there the all the time.”

Justin Ryder buried a rebound at the 5:53 of the third to put Hingham ahead to give Hingham its third lead of the game. Norwood’s Jordan Davis stepped up between the pipes, turning aside 26 shots, but the Hingham attack was too much.

Luke McInnis tipped a shot in with just under two minutes to go. Sheehan scored 27 seconds later with an extra attacker on the ice, which led to the frantic final minute, but it wasn’t enough.

“We hung tough, kept plugging away,” Norwood coach Bill Clifford said. “If John gets that one at the end we’re tied at five.

“I told them to keep their heads up. They’re champs in my book. They won their league, and went down swinging.”

When asked about transitioning to the South tournament after the loss against Central Catholic, Messina smiled and said “What loss to Central?”

Messina said that his squad has taken a water-under-the-bridge attitude to the game and is full committed to winning D1 South and the state title.

“I think they probably think about it every day, but we tried to refocus the next day,” Messina said. “We’ve have had two games in this tournament so far so I’m hoping they’ve refocused and forgotten about that game.”

After Hingham won a defensive zone faceoff with nine seconds left, one of the Harbormen pinned the puck to the boards and killed the final seconds. In the ensuing scramble Norwood’s Rourke Flynn was dropped from a hit from behind.

Flynn took exception to the hit and after some pushing and shoving he, and Hingham’s John Carlson, dropped the gloves and started fighting while a fracas involving at least half a dozen players broke out that took over a minute to bring under control.

Flynn was assessed a game misconduct retroactively while Carlson was not assessed any penalty.

Super 8: Central Catholic 4, Hingham 3 (OT)

February, 26, 2013

STONEHAM, Mass. -- As Corey Webber streaked down the ice in overtime, looking to bury the game-winning goal, defenseman Nick Gorski trailed the play thinking about the fact that he was in the midst of a two-minute, 30-second long shift, hoping that his teammate would do them all a favor and end it.

Webber broke in on Hingham goalie John Grenier, watched as the senior made the stop on his first shot, then with eyes as big as beach balls when the rebound landed on his stick, Webber calmly put it home and brought a huge roar from the Raiders' faithful.

That marker came with 2:06 remaining in the extra frame, capping a three-goal comeback as eighth-seeded Central Catholic surged past No. 9 Hingham for a 4-3 victory in the first of two Div. 1A play-in games Monday at Stoneham Arena.

The Raiders (14-5-3) move into the Super 8 field and will face top-seed St. John's Prep in a best-of-three series that starts Sunday at Tsongas Arena.

"I got behind their D, calling for [teammate Kevin Regan] to pass it," said Webber when asked to describe his game-winner. "He changed it right to me, I saw there was a D there so I shot it low right through the defenseman's feet, got it to the net, crashed the net, got the rebound and it went in.

"It had been rebounds all game and I was just surprised it was right on my stick I was ready there," he added. "There was one in the third I actually missed off a rebound, I missed the net, so I was ready to bury that one."

It looked as though Central Catholic may have been left for dead as Hingham (13-8-2) seemed to be continuing the momentum from a 10-1 victor5y over Marshfield in the regular season finale. The Harbormen outshot the Raiders, 23-13, through the first two periods and needed just 27 seconds to score the game's first goal as Sam D'Antuono stuck in the third of a flurry of rebounds.

Hingham got itself a shorthanded goal just 2:51 into the second as D'Antuono left a nice drop for Matt Brazel, who unleashed a nasty snipe from the slot to give his team a 2-0 lead. Just under six minutes later, D'Antuono struck again, converting a pass from Brazel.

"They played a great game tonight," said Hingham coach Tony Messina in praise of his two stars, D'Antuono and Brazel. "We tried to get them out there a lot, they were tired at the end but they're our best chance to score. Sometimes we rely on them too much to score, unfortunately, but when the game gets going like that, that's what do - try to get them out there all the time. They had a great game."

When all seemed lost, junior defenseman Alex Lester came through with a controversial goal with just 1:21 left in the frame. It was hard to tell if the puck actually crossed the line or not (Hingham said no, Central said yes, no surprise). The on-ice official never blew his whistle but the goal judge flipped the light on. After a conference, the goal was ruled good and the Raiders had the spark of momentum they needed.

"After that goal by Lester, I guess it was controversial but we all knew it went in," Gorski said. "We were confident that the right call was going to be made and when they made the call, the place went crazy. We knew there was going to be a swing in momentum."

Indeed there was. Central turned up the heat and controlled the third period, exceeding their output in the first two with 14 shots. After a faceoff win in the Hingham zone in a four-on-four situation, the puck cycled around to Gorski, who fired in his shot from the point at 2:56.

The Raiders kept firing but Grenier (26 saves) kept getting in the way all the way until Regan won the battle for a rebound of a Lester shot and tied the game with just 1:09 remaining in regulation.

As he had done all game long, Raiders goaltender Colin Soucy (30 saves) continued to stand on his head and snuffed D'Antuono on a breakaway bid with just 25 seconds left. Off the ensuing faceoff, Brazel clanged one off the post and the game went into overtime.

"It started with Soucy. He made some great stops, back to back to back and he gave us every opportunity to win that game," Central head coach Mike Jankowski said. "He was fantastic, you can't say enough good things. Every time you're holding your breath and kicks something else out, another part of his body got the rebound. he just stood on his head for us. He did remarkably well."

Each goalie made big stops in the extra minutes, and just when everyone started thinking about a shootout, Webber got loose and banged in his own rebound to send his team into the Super 8.

"It's unbelievable character," Jankowski said of his team's comeback. "We talked about a lot of people not giving us a chance. We talked about being in the play-in before where they hadn't been, they've always been in the top six. We've been here before and just reminding them that every shift matters, every period matters and keep moving forward. Great resiliency, great character."

Hingham returns to the Div. 1 South tournament field for just the second time in the last 12 years and will be the second seed, based on win percentage.

"It's a tough way to lose," Messina admitted. "I just told the kids we gave it our hardest. Sometimes we have trouble sealing the deal and that's what happened tonight. We went out there and tried to change nothing in the third period, just be smarter about the pinching, giving up two-on-ones, three-on-ones, and I think we did for the most part. Couple of crazy goals but they were coming strong, they sensed it and they had momentum at the end."

Recap: No. 6 Hingham 3, No. 13 Winchester 1

February, 11, 2013

HINGHAM, Mass. -- Hingham outshot Winchester, 35-15, Monday night at Pilgrim Rink. If quantifying the Harbormen’s time of possession, it would have approached approximately 70 percent in their favor. They were fast, strong, and in control.

But heading into the final minutes of the third period, it was still just a one-goal game and the Sachems, led by sophomore goaltender James Offner (32 saves), were one chance away from stealing a point on the road.

Finally, with 1:47 remaining in the game, junior forward Sam D’Antuono tipped a shot through Offner’s 5-hole and Hingham (12-5-1) could celebrate a crucial 3-1 win, boosting its chances of earning a place in the Super 8.

“We’re just trying to win every shift, every period,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. “I know that sounds clichéd, but with our schedule it’s like this every night. Winchester is a very good team, but every other team we play seems to be good, too.”

He then added, “We have a little trouble scoring goals so every team seems to be tough for us. We’re used to these types of games.”

The way that the game started, it did not look like scoring would be an issue for the hosts. Hingham, riding the emotion of the pregame Senior Night ceremony, stormed out of the gates and outshot Winchester, 13-3, in the opening period. Stephen Hughes had already hit an early post when senior forward Jack Gordon flicked a shot past Offner to make it 1-0 at 6:22.

Winchester (11-4-2), which had turned the puck over in its defensive zone leading to the opening goal, was struggling to get any offense. Yet, 27 seconds into the second period, the game was tied. A scramble in front of Hingham goalie John Grenier was stabbed home by Bobby Keane on a feed by Brendan Greene.

Sachems head coach Matt Spang was proud of the way his team reacted to going behind and battled back against a strong opponent.

“They came at us hard, which we knew they would because they’re a very good team,” he said. “The first five minutes they were on us, but we weathered the storm and got right back in the game. In the third period we didn’t find another gear, which is unfortunate.”

After recording the first three shots of the second period, all within the opening 90 seconds, Winchester could not sustain the momentum and slowly Hingham got back the control of the game. After being repeatedly thwarted by Offner, the Harbormen finally regained the lead.

With the two teams skating 4-on-4, Hingham stole the puck in the neutral zone and junior defenseman John Carlson drove at the Sachems defense. He then fired a pass across to the far circle where junior captain Matt Brazel fired an unstoppable one-timer just inside the post to make it 2-1. It was the type of goal that comes from playing on the same line since juniors and, according to Messina, a much needed score for the team.

He remarked, “The second goal that they got just drives a coach crazy. We warned them about that, take their focus off what they’re doing and go out there thinking it’s going to happen by accident. They scored and I think that got them going pretty good. It was good to answer that pretty quickly.”

The Sachems went into the third period down only a goal, despite the gulf in shots and chances created. In the final 15 minutes, Winchester continued to struggle to create scoring opportunities and mustered only four shots on goal, several of which were from outside the blue line.

Hingham was the aggressor, despite the one-goal lead, and with 2:51 left had a goal wiped off the board because the net was dislodged. A little over a minute later, D’Antuono redirected Corbin Robichaud’s shot from the point and put the game away.

“In the third period, it’s a 2-1 game against a very good team,” Spang said, “that’s when we need our better players to step up and that wasn’t the case tonight and that’s unfortunate. I don’t think our ‘D’ zone was great tonight. We need to improve a lot.”

He added, “We had a lot of turnovers…way, way, way too many turnovers.”

Messina credited his team’s mentality for forcing the Sachems into giveaways. He noted, “Once we got the forecheck going, we were pretty good. We like to get our defense up in the play so that helps keep the puck in and we did, we turned a couple of those [turnovers] into good shots.”

Recap: No. 1 Cathedral 3, No. 6 Hingham 1

February, 3, 2013

HINGHAM, Mass. -- With all the purple and red in attendance one could have confused yesterday’s game between top-ranked Springfield Cathedral and Hingham for the Super Bowl.

Make no mistake, for the overflow crowd at Pilgrim Arena on Saturday, it was much more important.

After a scoreless first two periods, the No. 1 Panthers broke through and were able to hold on and win a physical 3-1 game over the host Harbormen and solidify their spot as the best team in the state.

“Hingham is a storied powerhouse, [and] year after year we know they’ll be there in Super 8,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “It was going to be a defensive battle, and we were lucky to get a few goals there.”

The first 30 minutes were controlled by the Harbormen who pressed the tempo offensively and brought the crowd into the game with a series of thundering hits. Justin Ryder, Sam D’Antuono, and the Hingham attack buzzed around the ice, especially in the first period, but were unable to finish several golden chances.

Cathedral sophomore Peter Crinella finally broke the stalemate when he stuffed home a rebound 37 seconds into the third.

“Pete’s a goal scorer,” Foley said. “He got some nice rebounds, charged the net, and luckily beat the goalie. Big way to start to the third period.”

Fellow sophomore Nick Chaoush scored the eventual game-winner midway through the third on a breakaway.

Hingham head coach Tony Messina was able to sum up his opinion of the game in one word.

“Disappointed,” Messina said. “We had a good game going into the third, and having the game at home, I expected our team to come out on top. I told the guys we had our chance but we didn’t step up to the moment.”

The game went flying off the rails in the final minutes of the game. D’Antuono put the Harbormen (11-5-1) on the board with a power play goal with just under four minutes left.

The pace ratcheted up and came to a head a few minutes later when a near-fight broke out after a scrum in front of Cathedral goalie John Liquori. Gloves, sticks, and emotion littered the ice and by the time the snow settled each team had two players in the box. Hingham lost one of their biggest weapons in junior Matt Brazel for the remainder of the game, and Cathedral (13-0-2) had to finish the game the bulk of the game with three defensemen.

“[It] kind of threw us off with Brazel in the box for the last three minutes,” Messina said. “Very uncharacteristic of him.”

“We had three defensemen there and we were wondering who would go out, but luckily the younger guys stepped up on D to finish off that kill,” Foley said. “That was key for us.”

Johnny Leonard added an empty-netter late to seal it.

Liquori turned aside 19 Hingham shots and shined brightest during the extended penalty kill in the third.

“I’ve been waiting for these big games to come and I was ready,” Liquori said. “It was fun, nervewracking towards the end. That’s when we stepped it up.”

Liqouri gave credit to the blue liners in front of him, who kept lanes clogged and pucks in front of him.

“It’s rough, but my defense is great,” Liquori said. “They make it that much easier.”

Despite letting a big one get away from them, the Harbormen won’t have much time to stew over the loss as their schedule gets harder down the stretch.

The next eight days includes a trip to play a talented Marshfield squad followed by a visit from Winchester. The Harbormen finish the season at the Cape Cod Classic where they’ll open against Austin Prep in a game that will have major Super 8 implications.

Messina was blunt about the stretch run.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Messina said. “Every game’s going to be just like that so get used to it.”

Recap: No. 5 Reading 1, No. 8 Hingham 1

January, 21, 2013

READING, Mass. -- Reading boys' hockey got the best of the power play early, but could not hold onto a late lead against fellow Super 8 contender Hingham on Monday.

Despite a six-minute disadvantage in penalties, the host No. 5 Rockets (9-1-4) entered the final two minutes with the only man-up goal and a 1-0 edge. However, a late unassisted effort by the Harbormen’s Andrew Flynn equalized for No. 8 Hingham (8-4-1) to force a 1-1 tie between the public school powerhouses at Burbank Arena.

“Having a lot of power plays is a good thing, but it’s not really a great thing because your top guys are playing a lot,” said Hingham assistant coach John Mahoney, who was filling in behind the bench for Tony Messina. “When you do not convert, they are out there even more. It was a broken play just inside the blue line and Andrew Flynn did a great job keeping the play alive.”

Flynn netted the game-equalizing score immediately after winning a faceoff in the neutral zone. The senior defender caught a one-on-one situation with the goalie off the victory and chipped the puck in off the keeper's blocker for the 1-1 tie with 1:51 left in the game.

“I saw a lot of my players crashing the net and I saw a little bit of shortside, so I just tried to shoot it,” Flynn said. “We had been trying to win it back all game. I was trying to punch it through right away.”

Matt McLelland scored the opening goal during a power play late in the second period. The senior saw an opposite post gap on the net and wristed a shot in from in front of the blue line for the 1-0 advantage at 14:13.

“We are always telling them just to pound pucks on net,” Rockets head coach Mark Doherty said. “The puck dropped back to McLelland who can really snap a puck off.”

Reading goalie Evan Morelli knocked away 28 shots, while opposing goaltender John Grenier made 14 saves (both seniors).

Reading's defense had no trouble battling off its six penalties throughout the first two periods.

The Rockets faced one minute and fifteen seconds of a six-on-four disadvantage at 9:55 in the first period. Reading allowed only two shots during the penalty then grabbed a hooking for a minute and 18 seconds of man-advantage at 11:03. Rockets junior Mike Thomson nearly slipped a breakaway under the keeper in the final seconds of that power play.

“That obviously was our strong suit today,” Doherty said of his power-play defense. “We have had enough practice. There are systems and we work it a decent amount.”

In the third of four second period Hingham power plays, Habormen center Matt Brazel caught the goalie offset on a two-on-one with fellow junior forward Sam D'Auntuono at 7:45. Brazel slipped the puck in front of net before the keeper could slide to the opposite post, but D'Auntuono shot into Morelli's chest for the save.

“When you have power plays you have to take advantage of them,” Mahoney said. “Get the puck in deep [and] keep it out of our own end. We are not trying to pick corner [just get] shots on net.”

Recap: No. 9 Hingham 5, St. Mary's (Lynn) 0

December, 29, 2012
MALDEN, Mass. -- If a tie is like kissing your sister, then winning a consolation game at a holiday hockey tournament must be something of the same ilk.

That was the general feeling around the Hingham locker room after the No. 9 Harbormen thrashed St. Mary’s 5-0 in the consolation game of the Christie Serino Christmas Classic at the Valley Forum.

“Coming off that tough loss, collapsing in the third period, [the goal] was to come back and get a win,” Hingham junior captain Matt Brazel said.

Win the Harbormen did as they ran over a talented, but inexperienced St. Mary’s team from the start. Hingham registered 12 shots in first period, one more than the Spartans did in the entire game, and held St. Mary’s without a shot for the first 10-plus minutes of the game.

The Harbormen (4-2-0) finally got on the board exactly 12 minutes into the game when Joe Personeni snuck a wraparound past sophomore goalie Connor Jennings. Hingham added another just under two minutes later when Sam D’Antuono jammed the puck in on the power play.

D’Antuono finished with a hat trick.

“I was happy with our team’s effort right from the beginning,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We established a good forecheck and it helped the defensive zone.”

The Harbormen suffocated the Spartans whenever they were able to push the puck over the red line. St. Mary’s played noticeable better in the final two periods, but Hingham was always a step ahead.

A goal from Brazel in the final minute of the second period seemed to take the win out of the Spartans’ sails. Brazel also assisted on D’Antuono’s last goal.

“That line’s going pretty good,” Messina said. “That line is really strong. Unfortunately, we count on them to score a lot of goals for us.”

Senior Justin Ryder added three assists for Hingham.

“He’s a contributor on that second line and we have him there for a reason,” Messina said. “He adds an offensive punch to the second line.”

The Spartans played their strongest period of the game in the third, but Hingham was still able to power through and score a pair of goals.

“They were very senior, veteran-type team,” St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said. “We went out, worked hard, and I just think the bigger, stronger team just won. I think that has to do with their experience. They’ll be doing well at the end of the season.”

Repeating greatness is never easy.

Repeating the greatest year in St. Mary’s history: that’s a whole different story.

The 2012-2013 edition of the Spartans have over a dozen new faces and the jelling period has come with its share of lumps.

“There’s 15 new faces on that team,” Lee said. “What makes us competitive is that that team has a bunch of kids that want to work for you and do everything it takes to be successful. A lot of energy in there, but we’re going to have growing pains. I think we’re going to be a lot better towards the end of the year.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Spartans as they travel south on Wednesday to take on a talented Braintree team. Lee said that the thing this team needs more is playing in big games.

“I think our team grew as a team playing a team like Hingham, regardless of winning or losing,” Lee said. “We have an extremely competitive non-league schedule. We will be a battle-tested team regardless of our record and really help some of our players who haven’t experienced it yet.”

The Spartans get a rematch with Hingham at the end of January at Pilgrim. They have the talent and ability to be a more complete team by that game, but only time will tell whether this will be a year of success for St. Mary’s or a year of rebuilding.

Recap: No. 1 Malden Catholic 2, No. 9 Hingham 1

December, 28, 2012

MALDEN, Mass. -- Hingham was beating and beat up No. 1 Malden Catholic for the greater part of two periods Thursday in the teams' first-round game at the inaugural Christie Serino Christmas Classic.

The Harbormen took it to the host Lancers and clung to a 1-0 lead through the third period, playing a physical, sound defensive brand of hockey.

Then, as so many teams have found out in the last several years in MC's run to back-to-back Super 8 titles, the margin for error against the Lancers is razor-thin. In about a two-minute span of the third, Hingham went from leading, to tied, to losing and desperate. MC held on the late lead for a 2-1 win over the Harbormen, thanks to a two-goal effort from sophomore center Ara Nazarian.

"You can't be perfect against them, that's tough," Hingham head coach Tony Messina lamented after his team put in a nearly 45-minute complete effort. "They're just coming at you all the time."

Hingham (3-2-0) claimed the lead midway through the second period when junior center Matt Brazel collected a loose puck off the right wing boards in the neutral zone and strafed in on a breakaway at Mach speed, beating Lancers netminder Connor Maloney 5-hole on the finish.

MC (3-0-0) struggle to find any sort of offensive rhythm despite being given three power-play opportunities in the first period, in which the Lancers were held to just two shots. At even strength, the Harbormen continued their aggressive forecheck and clogged up passing lanes through center ice, taking away MC's penchant for home-run type plays through the neutral zone.

"They were jamming us in," Lancers head coach John McLean said. "We found the middle a couple of times, but it comes down to the fact that they outworked us."

However, things opened up for MC ever so slightly in the third period, when the Lancers outshot Hingham, 12-4. While a majority of MC's shots came from the periphery, the Lancers stepped up their presence in front of Harbormen goaltender John Grenier (24 saves). Those efforts came to bear when Nazarian pulled the Lancers even with 6:56 remaining in the game, taking a directed slap pass from defenseman Nick Rolli and chipping it past a splayed out Grenier.

Nazarian then followed with the game-winner 2:33 later, depositing the rebound from a shot by winger Mike Iovanna. Tyler Sifferlen notched his second assist of the game on the play.

"We came out for the first two periods and we got dominated,” Nazarian said. “They were all over us, working way harder than we were. Going into the third, in the locker room, we talked about making the simple plays, just getting it deep and working hard and it paid off."

McLean was frustrated by the Lancers' lack of production on the man-advantage, although both teams combined to go 0-for-10 on the power play, with the respective penalty kill units staving off five chances each.

And while Messina was pleased by the work of his man-down unit, the frequency with which they saw the ice was maddening.

"We had to kill too many penalties the whole game and we use the same players on the kill that we need to score goals, so it worked against us there at the end," Messina said.

Hingham's defensive effort, led by another strong outing from preseason All-State blue-liner John Carlson, on a whole was overshadowed by a momentary lapse in the third period. But the Harbormen imposed their will for the majority of play.

"We were pretty happy about that," Messina said of his team's efforts in the neutral zone. "They're very good with their long passes up to their forwards and that's what you've got to watch for."

Hingham dealt MC a dose of their own medicine when it came to Brazel's goal in the second. The fleet-footed pivot was able to step behind the MC defensive pairing and then turned a step into a country mile.

After collecting the loose puck in full stride, Brazel took on the long stride of Usain Bolt to the finish line before finishing with the wrester.

Brazel's final burst inspired awe on the Harbormen bench, including that of former BC standout and Boston Bruin Bobby Allen, who's an assistant on Messina's staff now, even expressed his amazement.

"We talked about it on the bench," a wide-eyed Messina said.

He added, "He separated, it was unbelievable. That showed me a lot in that it was at the end of his shift, too."

MC advances to play another Top 10 squad in Austin Prep in the Serino Tournament championship game today at the Malden Valley Forum (6 p.m.).

The tournament is dedicated to the memory of the late Lancers head coach and athletic director who succumbed to cancer in October. Serino's wife, sons and family members joined the team captains for a ceremonial puck drop before MC's tilt with Hingham.

"We want to keep it every year and make it special," McLean said of the first-year event. "It was nice having his wife and kids here and his family, it was important. He gave a lot to the school."

Recap: No. 4 Prep 4, No. 3 Hingham 1

December, 20, 2012
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Generally, a good team makes a statement late in big games.

The St. John’s Prep hockey team took a different tact last night against No. 3 Hingham.

The No. 4 Eagles jumped on the Harbormen from the opening puck drop and scored a pair of goals in the opening period en route to a big 4-1 win at Ristuccia Arena.

“Hingham is always good,” Prep senior Brian Pinho said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Our game plan was to bring a lot of energy, get pucks deep, get on their D, try to get some pucks on the net and it worked out for us.”

The Eagles (2-0-0) made a nest in the Hingham zone early in the first and never left. They peppered senior goalie John Grenier with 13 shots in the opening 15 minutes and sent many more just wide of goal.

Pinho struck first on a redirection with just over four minutes left in the period. Senior Justin Longo scored 99 seconds later when he deked out Grenier and put the puck in the top shelf.

“I thought the first period was our best period of the night,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “We were able to score those two first-period goals and get off to a good start. We certainly knew at that point that 2 first period goals didn’t mean a win.”

Hingham (2-1-0) regained their composure in the second and turned the tables of Prep. The Harbormen seized control, but were unable to score. One chance early in the period left the puck sitting motionless less than a foot from the goal line before it was swatted away by the Eagle defense.

A five-on-three advantage midway through the period also bore no fruit for Hingham.

“It’s frustrating,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We have a lot of guys that haven’t scored goals before and it takes some time to learn how to do it. We’d like to have that first period back.”

After being outshot 13-3 in the first period Hingham outshot St. John’s 17-8 during the final two periods. Prep senior goaltender Billy Price stepped up and, aside from a rocket from Hingham junior Matt Brazel in the third, turned aside everything that came his way.

“I thought he played very well,” Hanson said of Price. “I thought he stayed composed and made some big saves. It’s only his second start at varsity, so time will tell how he’ll play down the line. Tonight we’re pleased with his performance and just go on from here.”

When you play Hingham you expect to deal with talented players who can make big plays. However most teams don’t have the defensive depth that St. John’s Prep does.

The Eagles back six were able to contain the Harbormen for long stretches of the game and keep visitors at bay when the going got tough.

“We knew over the years that Hingham is a real physical team,” Prep senior James Brightney said. “They’re very fast so we knew coming into it that we have good speed but we’ve got to hit them if we want to keep them from scoring.”

Brightney and the defense were able to assert their physicality in what would become a physical game. They were also able to block passing and shooting lanes which broke up the Harbormen attack and played a big role in the Eagles getting out of the second period without allowing a goal.

“We pretty much have to rely on [Price] to stop the shots, but we’ve got to make sure we keep guys outside and don’t let them just come over the blue line,” Brightney said. “We’ve got to stop them.”

Hanson and the Eagles will have a few days to enjoy the win and the Christmas holiday, but the road doesn’t get much easier for Prep. They’re next game will be Wednesday on the road at Merrimack Valley Conference power Central Catholic.

“Hockey’s a tough thing,” Hanson said. “You look like world beaters one night and go out the next night and [ask] where did that team go? We’ve got a week to get ready for Central. It’s in Lawrence; it’s a tough rink to play at.”

The Raiders will be smarting after dropping a 5-2 decision to Arlington Catholic last night and Hanson said he’ll expect the most of his team in another tough non-conference game.

“It’s against a really tough opponent in Central,” Hanson said. “They’re a Super 8 team year in year out. We’re going to go out there and give it our best on Wednesday and try to get the W.”

Recap: No. 3 Hingham 4, No. 16 Norwood 1

December, 13, 2012
HINGHAM, Mass. – No. 3 Hingham boys’ hockey entered Wednesday’s season opener against No. 16 Norwood as if they were trying to shoot through the Great Wall of China.

The wall that stood in their way at Pilgrim Skating Rink was Mustangs senior netminder Jordan Davis. While the ESPN Boston preseason second-team All-State goaltender did his best to keep it a scoreless game, the barrage he faced made it a mere inevitability that one shot would break through.

Although the Harbormen outshot Norwood 10-1 in the first period, Davis kept it goose eggs on the scoreboard. That wouldn’t last, however, as Hingham opened up in the second period and into the third in a convincing 4-1 win over the Mustangs.

"We knew their defense was a little young, a little inexperienced, and we were trying to get the puck deep every time and shots just naturally come with that,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. “We knew [Davis] was a great goalie and he proved it tonight. You need traffic in front, tips rebounds, those kind of things, it took us a while to break the seal."

Hingham (1-0-0) broke the stalemate with 9:12 to play in the second period as Sam D’Antuono snuck into the Mustangs’ zone on a short-handed breakaway. He beat Davis (39 saves) on the backhand to give the Harbormen a 1-0 lead. D’Antuono finished with a two-point game, adding an assist to Justin Ryder’s goal, Hingham’s last.

Defenseman John Carlson also had a two-point night for the Harbormen, ripping a slapshot into the back of the net at 12:54 of the third period. Carlson added the second helper on Ryder’s tally,

Patrick Colpoys netted the Harbormen’s third goal, a power-play tally with assists from Luke MacInnis and Corbin Robichaud.

John Galvin broke up John Grenier’s shutout bid for Norwood (0-1-0) with 7:56 to play, collecting a loose puck in the slot and beating Grenier stickside. Jack Sheehan and Rourke Flynn picked up assists on the play.

Hingham’s torrid start, controlling play for long stretches of time in Norwood’s defensive zone, might be attributed to a lesson learned by the Harbormen in some of their preseason performances.

“The last couple scrimmages, we were coming out kind of slow in the beginning,” Hingham junior captain and center Matt Brazel said, “so we were amped up in the beginning, and try to get as many shots as possible and crash the net.”

The Harbormen’s fast start in their season opener was matched by the Harborwomen, who opened their season in the nightcap at Pilgrim against Medway/Ashland.

The Harborwomen claimed a 7-1 win, led by Jane Freda’s hat trick. Hannah Falvey (2 goals) and Rachel D’Entremont (2 assists) also had multi-point games for Hingham.

MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team

December, 7, 2012
Continuing our MIAA boys' hockey preseason coverage, here's our preseason All-State team:

1st Team
F – Tom Besinger, Jr. BC High
F – Brian Pinho, Sr., St. John’s Prep
F – Ara Nazarian, Soph., Malden Catholic
D – Casey Fitzgerald, Soph. Malden Catholic
D – John Carlson, Jr., Hingham
G – Peter Cronin, Sr., BC High

2nd Team
F – Mike Iovanna, Sr., Malden Catholic
F – Mike Kelleher, Sr., Central Catholic
F – Cam Owens, Sr., Wilmington
D – Troy Tenaglia, Sr., Braintree
D – Shaymus Colman, Jr., Needham
G – Jordan Davis, Sr., Norwood

3rd Team
F – Tyler Bird, Jr., St. John’s Prep
F – Matt Brazel, Jr., Hingham
F – Connor Irving, Jr., Beverly
D – Matt Foley, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
D – Bryan Nelson, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
G – Mario Pizzeri, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)

Scrimmage Slants: Garrett Reagan Summit

December, 3, 2012
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Here are some notes and observations from Sunday's Garrett Reagan Hockey Summit played at the New England Sports Center:

Wamps provide the ‘D’: Burlington and Braintree squared off in a battle of Middlesex League and Bay State Conference powers with the Wamps playing their patented, sticky brand of hockey in the neutral zone. Braintree slowed down the Red Devils’ speed through center ice and limited their quality scoring chances behind All-Star defenseman Troy Tenaglia.

A race worth watching will be the Wamps’ goaltending battle. Junior Nick Anson, who earned the shutout Sunday and who is also a member of Braintree’s football team, is the leading candidate to assume Dan Murphy’s old post. Once settled, the Wamps, who will have a strong returning presence up top led by David Fasano and Tom Troy, could be the preseason favorite heading into Bay State play.

Guiding the ship now: We saw major flashes of the promise of Hingham’s junior class last year when they were sophomores playing with the Harbormen in the Super 8. Another year mature, the Harbormen should be poised for another deep Super 8 run behind that tremendously talented class. That talent was on display Sunday as the Harbormen roughed up Peabody. Matt Brazel (11-23-34 in 2011-12) and Sam D’Antuono (9-19-28) will be called upon to shoulder a greater offensive load after Hingham graduated four of their top six scorers from last year. The Harbormen also have a steadying presence on the blue line in John Carlson (2-10-12) who’s already generated plenty of college interest in his two-year career.

‘Work in progress’: Returning Super 8 finalist BC High squared off another of last year’s Super 8 entrants in St. Mary’s of Lynn. And while the Eagles looked crisp at times offensively, the biggest news of the day was who wasn’t on the bench. BC High’s leading scorer Tom Besinger (14-18-32 in 2011-12) was held out by an illness.

“We return a lot of bodies [at forward],” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said, “but we’re finding our lines and some combinations there. We’ve had Michael Brooks and Ryan McDonough have played together for a couple of years now, there’s definitely good chemistry there. Stevie DeForge can skate, so he’s up there with them. Tom Besinger is a dynamic player, too.”

Of course, the constant for BC High has been goaltender Peter Cronin. The senior looked near midseason form while going the distance against the Spartans, showing some fine rebound control.

Panthers can hang: No team was more snake-bitten at last year’s Super 8 than Springfield Cathedral. The Panthers suffered three one-goal losses — two of which came in overtime, the other in a shootout.

While years come and go, Cathedral picked up where it left off on Sunday, skating with two-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic to a 2-2 tie.

The Panthers suffered losses in key areas like any squad, but return a strong nucleus of seniors, including top defensive pairing Matt Foley and Jack Williams.

“They’ve been playing together since they were six years old,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said of his four seniors. “Along the way, they’ve won championships. It’s a good leadership group. But outside of that, we’re young.

“We’ve only got one junior [goaltender John Liquori], but our young kids are really fast and really skilled. I wasn’t sure what we were going to have coming into tryouts, but we had a great first week.”

With Liquori (2.63 GAA) backstopping the Panthers for a second straight year and with sophomore forward Peter Crinella (8-10-18) poised for a break-out season, Cathedral could be in the hunt again.