Boston High School: Matt Doherty

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.

Recap: Lawrence Academy 6, Thayer 0

January, 4, 2012

BOSTON -- Things were going by swimmingly, almost sleepy, through the first 18 minutes of play between Lawrence Academy and Thayer Academy, on the ice at Fenway Park.

Then things went untracked -- and in hurry.

The Spartans (10-1-1) opened up the second period with three goals in a span of 1:24 to blow the game wide open, making life difficult for Thayer goaltenders Robert McGovern and Pat Finn with rush after rush, en route to a 6-0 win in the third game of the day at today's "Frozen Fenway" series.

"That's probably one of the shortest in a while," said senior forward Devin Tringale (two goals, assist) when asked about the last time he'd been a part of such a quick scoring flurry. "I can't remember last time."

Lawrence's "Red Line" of Tringale, George Hunkele and Tyler Whitney combined for seven points to carry much of the scoring, and the chemistry between the three was evident in the second period scoring spree.

"They played great," head coach Kevin Potter said of the line. "They've been playing together all year long, and really it's been a three-line effort, but they got some good goals tonight."

Tringale found the back of the net just 24 seconds in, when he took a beautiful Whitney feed on an odd-man rush, set up right outside McGovern's crease. Bill Messa was next, scoring a minute later at 1:25, and Conor Helfrich made it 3-0 just 25 seconds later with some tic-tac-toe action. Defenseman Jacob Schefter brought the puck through the neutral zone down the left boards before skipping it up to Tom Newton, who tipped it across the slot for an easy glove-side goal.

Lawrence scored twice more in the period, with another Tringale finish in front and a shorthanded goal from Matt Baldino, for the 5-0 advantage.

Thayer fell to 2-8.

Lockdown D triggers breakout
Sparking the Spartans' exceptional play through the neutral zone was some crisp passing from the back end by defensemen like Connor McGuirk and Matt Doherty, triggering breakouts with long darts up the flanks. The defensive pairings won many 50-50 battles along the boards, and gave the Tigers little breathing room between the circles, denying entry passes. Goaltender Nathaniel Heilbron picked up the shutout with 17 saves, but admitted it was made an easy night.

That carried up the ice, where transition play was a key point in scouting heading into this game.

"We've been working on that in practice, getting our feet moving," Tringale said. "So I think that was key going into it, a lot of transition play that we've been working on. It just clicked today, and that's what helped us be effective."

Said Potter, "We knew they were young, we've got a much older team than they are, so we knew they were gonna try to bottle us up. So we just tried to support the puck, and we've got a lot of seniors out there that knew what they were doing, and with a lot of skill. We just practiced breaking the trap, and stuff like that."

PK efficient
The Spartans were also efficient with a man down, killing off all three of the Tigers' power play opportunities with good economy of motion.

"We really worked on that this week, a lot of starting and stopping, all the little things," Potter said. "Again, we have a lot of experience there."

First time for Vancouverite
A repeated theme throughout the "Frozen Fenway" series will be the awed experience of playing an outdoor hockey game at one of the nation's oldest and most beloved ballparks. Players like Tringale soaked in the allure -- "It's a blast," he smiled to reporters -- though the Medford native admits it's not his first experience with outdoor hockey. He first learned the sport as a youth learning to skate on a pond near his house, and noted similarities between the ice texture with that pond's and Fenway's.

But for Heilbron, a native of West Vancouver, tonight's game was his first such endeavor.

"It doesn't get cold enough out there, too close to the ocean," he said. "[This] is surreal, incredible. It's so much fun, can't really say anything about it until you get on the ice -- I've seen the Winter Classic games on TV -- but just being out there is unbelievable."

Cronin, BC High 'D' hold up Woburn

March, 10, 2011

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Sinatra sang it best, saying that luck had a very unladylike way of running out sometimes. But, at other times, she just happens to give you a brush.

That certainly happened for BC High in myriad ways during a thrilling 1-0 shutout win over seventh seed Woburn in their second-round Super Eight tournament game Wednesday night.

“I think somebody said before that you’ve got to be lucky to be good sometimes, and that’s what we were tonight,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “I asked one of my assistants if it was too late to play the lottery tonight.”

Lotto tickets aside, No. 3 seed BC High did come up with a winning combination for their second win of the tournament and, while pinning the second loss on the Tanners, ensured that both they and St. John’s Prep would advance from their pool into the crossover round — with another matchup to come this weekend between the two Catholic Conference rivals.

However, the Eagles weren’t just lucky, they were good from the net out with sophomore netminder Peter Cronin earning his second straight shutout with a 21-save performance.

“It’s just much a credit to them as it is to me for these shutouts,” Cronin said of the defensive corps in front of him. “I’m not getting shutouts, we’re getting shutouts. They came up big for me. Jack Buckley had a couple of blocked shots as well as [Brian] Furey and [Matt] Doherty, who pulled that one out from in back of me.”

BC High got all the offense it would need with four minutes remaining in the first period.

Terence Durkin barreled into the Tanners’ zone, weaving inside and outside to beat a pair of Woburn defenders. He then slid a backside pass to Tom Besinger, who was streaking up ice on the offside wing, and he took care of the rest, poking the puck into a gaping net.

It was the only puck the Eagles could get past Tanners goaltender Cam McGlashing, who matched Cronin save for save.

“It could easily have been four or five to nothing,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said of McGlashing, who made 23 stops. “We didn’t play very well in the first period.”

The Tanners ratcheted up the pressure in the second period and worked to draw three power play opportunities. However, each of Woburn’s chances on the man-advantage was either met by Cronin, his defensemen, or the cold shoulder of lady luck.

Woburn had perhaps its best chance of the period with 7:20 remaining. On the power play, the Tanners worked for a chance in front of Cronin, who made the save on the initial shot, but was out of position for the rebound. The Tanner put back was then stopped by Eagles defensemen Brian Furey's skate on the goal line.

Woburn had another splendid opportunity to tie the game later in the period, only to skate away wondering what had just happened. Junior forward Casey Shea, who’s been on fire with six goals in his previous two games, had a crack at an open net on a one-timer but whiffed on the attempt as the blade of his stick came undone from the shaft, leaving him to slap his stick down in disgust.

“I think luck goes both ways,” Duran said. “They had a lot of chances that they missed, or Cam [McGlashing] came up with a big save. But when Casey [Shea] broke his stick, I was thinking maybe this isn’t our night. That would usually be in the back of the net.”

The Tanners continued to push the issue in the third, but were stopped at every turn by Cronin and his minions. No play was finer than Buckley’s blocks on two consecutive blasts from the point with about five minutes remaining.

“Woburn came to play and they were desperate,” Flaherty said. “We knew they were going to be. They have skilled players and they have kids that are dangerous every time they touch the puck. Peter [Cronin] was back there to make the saves that he needed to and some of the other ones that I probably didn’t expect him to make.”

No. 7 BC High holds off late CM rush

February, 13, 2011

BOSTON – It’s always a battle when longtime Catholic Conference BC High and Catholic Memorial meet and Saturday’s latest installment of the storied rivalry was no different. But it saw the two teams moving in different directions.

As the seventh-ranked Eagles held on for a 5-4 win with a wild third period, BC High clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament in fashion with the victory over their rival in the Dr. Edward M. Wright Memorial game played at Walter Brown Arena.

“We qualified, which is big,” first-year Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “That’s been our goal, as we’ve said before, making the tournament is what you want to do and this gets us over the 20-points to qualify. Now, we see where everything else falls.”

BC High (9-4-3, 2-4-1) trailed for portions of the game, but the teams were tied 2-2 heading into the second intermission. The Eagles entered the third period with purpose in a three-goal outburst. CM fought back with two goals to counter, but the comeback bid fell short.

Marc Hetnik opened scoring on a beautiful end-to-end rush on a Knights’ power play with 3:24 remaining in the first.

CM took the 1-0 lead to the dressing room, but Eagles freshman defenseman Matt Doherty tied the game with another unassisted goal. A little more than a minute later, Kevin McCarthy scored his first of two goals with a power-play marker 5:27 into the second.

BC High struck again and the momentum shifted before the period was out on Sean Talbot’s power-play blast from the top of the circle with 1:17 left. Talbot jumped into the play off the Eagles bench, stepping in for Terence Durkin, who was shaken up on a check in the corner. Matt Sullivan found Talbot streaking up the middle of ice with the feed.

“We were on our heels a little bit with penalty kill after penalty kill,” Flaherty said after BC High was tasked with killing four CM power play opportunities until that point, “Then getting that one at the end was huge.”

The Eagles had a jump in their step in the third, stringing together three straight goals from Tom Besinger, Durkin and Jake Tenaglia to knock the Knights on their heels.

McCarthy countered with his second of the game and Jack O’Hear added another one late for CM, but only added up to another missed opportunity.

The third-ranked Knights, who sit at .500 with a 7-7-1 overall record and 2-4-1 mark in conference, still have a ways to go before they punch a ticket to the postseason.

And, with another game down, those opportunities are running short. Not to mention, CM’s slate in their remaining games is far from easy with out-of-state challenges against Mount St. Charles, Bishop Hendricken and Connecticut’s Fairfield Prep, in addition to a final league game against No. 6 St. John’s Prep and non-leaguer against No. 2 Weymouth.

“You can really look at those five goals and say that somebody just didn’t do what they were told,” Knights head coach Bill Hanson said. “BC High is good and they capitalized on it. Obviously, Flash [Flaherty] is doing a tremendous job with them. They got good goaltending when they needed it and that was it.”

Senior forward Mike Marsters was named the game’s MVP and received the 11th Edward M. Wright Award in a postgame ceremony.

Flaherty said it was a fitting honor to a player who oftentimes doesn’t get the recognition he deserves in what he puts into the team.

Meanwhile, Marsters was simply happy to be headed back to the postseason with his teammates.

“We moved the puck really and worked hard,” Marsters said. “We never stopped working in the corners We kept the pressure on them and got pucks to the net. Everybody did their jobs today.”