Boston High School: Matt Filipe

Our preseason MIAA boys' hockey All-State team

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
9:14
PM ET
Presenting our MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team:

1st Line
F – Peter Crinella, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Matt Filipe, Jr., Malden Catholic
F – Pat Kramer, Sr., BC High
D – Ryan Shea, Jr., BC High
D – Mike Seibold, Sr., Reading
G – Brandon Collett, Jr., Catholic Memorial

2nd Line
F – Johnny Leonard, Jr. Springfield Cathedral
F – D.J. Petruzzelli, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Riley Prattson, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
D – John McLean, Sr., Malden Catholic
D – Dan Petrick, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Keith Petruzzelli, Soph., Springfield Cathedral

3rd Line
F – Eric MacAdams, Jr., Austin Prep
F – Ryan Smith, Sr., Arlington Catholic
F – Tim Sweeney, Sr., Xaverian
D – Frank Cosolito, Jr., Catholic Memorial
D – Ryan Walsh, Sr., Xaverian
G – Aidan Murphy, Soph., Xaverian

Recap: No. 3 Malden Catholic 4, Delbarton (N.J.) 3

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21
12:04
PM ET


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The big question entering the season for four-time defending Super 8 Champion Malden Catholic was who was going to step up and fill the scoring void left with the departure of former ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey winners Ara Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen.

The answer might be big junior winger Jack Adams, who notched two goals, including the game winner, Saturday night in his team’s season-opening 4-3 win over Delbarton (N.J.) School at Harvard University’s Bright Landry Hockey Arena.

“Ara and Siff were our guys last year. I still talk to them on a regular basis and get advice from them. Guys need to step up this year. Everyone’s writing us off, but we got a lot of guys in this group. We all believe,” said Adams.

Northeastern commit Matt Filipe had a goal and an assist and defenseman John McLean also lit the lamp for the Lancers, who took a 4-1 lead before letting the Green Wave back into the game towards the end.

“We wanted to keep it entertaining,” joked head coach John McLean. “It made it interesting in the end.”

“We got on them early. We closed it out in the end which matters the most. It’s a good win to start the season,” added Adams.

Adams opened the scoring at the 9:33 mark of the first period on a second attempt shot from the high slot that beat Delbarton goaltender Troy Kobryn low blocker side. Adams’ first shot was blocked, but he picked it right up and fired quickly into the far corner.

The Lancers extended their lead to 2-0 just 1:42 into the middle frame on a play generated by hard work along the boards. Filipe battled all the way from the half-wall down to the end boards with a Green Wave defender before gaining control of the puck. He swung around the net and pushed a wraparound attempt past Kobryn for the two-goal lead.

Delbarton answered right back just under three minutes later, when Harrison Newman scored his first of two goals on the night. As he was cutting into the zone down the left wing, his first shot was blocked by a defender, but his second swat went bar down to cut the MC lead in half.

A turning point in the game came with seven minutes to play in the second period. MC senior goaltender Alex Reissis stopped Delbarton’s Kevin Obssuth on a breakaway attempt and the Green Wave player took a penalty just five seconds later.

Malden Catholic regained its two-goal lead on the ensuing power play. Filipe fed the puck up to McLean at the right point. The senior defenseman wasted no time firing an absolute rocket that caromed into the back of the net after hitting traffic in front.

Adams gave the Lancers some much-needed breathing room at the 3:00 mark of the third period. Nick Botticelli made a great play with some slick moves down the right boards to gain entry into the zone. After some cycling down low, the puck ended up right on Adams’ stick in the low slot for a quick put away into the net for a 4-1 lead.

That three-goal cushion ended up coming in handy for Malden Catholic. Newman scored again off a nice lead pass by defenseman Sean Petrie with 3:11 to play. Just 16 seconds later, Jack Chatwin drew the visitors to within a goal. Filipe was whistled for an interference penalty that allowed Delbarton to have a two-man advantage with the goalie pulled in the final seconds of the game, but the Lancers held off the charge.

Beneficial Offseason: Jack Adams knows a thing or two about what it takes to get a Division I scholarship. His brother Mark plays college hockey at Providence and is a draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres. However, it was a season ending meeting with after last season with McLean that set in motion an offseason of hard work that has paid huge dividends.

“Coach McLean and I had a big meeting at the end of the year. [Skating] was one of the things he wanted me to work on. I’m a big guy. It’s sometimes harder for me,” said Adams.

Adams worked with veteran skating guru Paul Vincent, who has been around the rinks and worked with countless NHLers over the past few decades.

“I went to Paul Vincent Hockey this summer. They worked on my skating every day of the week. They worked on my stride in the weight room with my trainer Marco Sanchez,” explained Adams, who is beginning to draw some interest from Division 1 schools.

The 6-foot-5 junior has always had a scoring touch, but his coach thought he needed to work on his strength and foot speed in order to elevate his game to the next level.

“He’s always had the offensive smarts. He’s got great hands. He can always finish. You know he’s a big kid. Until he fills out it’s hard to get going. We talked about it. He needed to get to the gym and work hard. He skated with Paul all summer. So far it’s paid off,” said McLean.

Reissis Makes the Grade: Goaltending sometimes can get lost in the shadows when a team has players such as Sifferlen, Nazarian and Filipe scoring goals and generating headlines up front. But to his teammates, there is no forgetting the key role goaltending plays in winning hockey games.

“He’s been important [all along]. He was good today. He stood on his head as usual. He’s a great goalie,” commented Adams.

His importance was never more evident than when he made a big save with his right pad on a breakaway in the second period. It really shifted the momentum back in MC’s favor.

“That’s what he’s supposed to do. Make the saves when he has to. Keep us in the game when we make mistakes. It was a great save at the time. 2-2 would have been a completely different game,” explained McLean.

Reissis and Malden Catholic are off until after Christmas when they host Hingham in the first round of the Christie Serino Classic at the Valley Forum in Malden.

Three New England skaters will represent Team U.S.A. at the upcoming Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

Malden Catholic forward Matt Filipe (Lynnfield, Mass.), Tabor Academy forward Erik Foley (Mansfield, Mass.) and Phillips Exeter defenseman Spenser Young (Brentwood, N.H.) made the cut.

Filipe and Foley were selected to the tournament featuring the best U-18 talent acrosse the glove, after both participated in the U.S.A. Hockey Select-17 Festival in New York.

The Hlinka Tournament will be held at sites in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in August.

Super 8 semi: Malden Catholic 3, Cathedral 1

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
11:15
PM ET


LOWELL, Mass. – Malden Catholic did what it's done for years in March – win.

All three Lancers lines chipped in a goal as MC punched its fourth straight ticket to the Division 1A, Super 8 championship game, and fifth since 2008, with a 3-1 win over Springfield Cathedral, Thursday at Tsongas Center.

Pat Wrenn's Harlem Globetrotter-inspired goal late in the second period that saw the senior finesse the puck through a gaggle of Panthers before roofing it over the glove of Keith Petruzzelli proved to be the game-winner.

“I'm yelling at him to shoot, shoot, shoot,” Malden Catholic head coach John MacLean said. “He's stick-handling, he's toe-dragging whatever he does, typical Charlestown kid – street hockey player. It was a great shot. I thought it picked the team up.”

The first period saw the teams tread lightly and neither forced the issue on the other. The Lancers finally broke through when Ara Nazarian fluttered a pass over a Cathedral player's stick to Tyler Sifferlen who banged it home.

[+] EnlargeSifferlen
Brendan Hall/ESPNMalden Catholic's Tyler Sifferlen continued his strong play in the Super 8, as the UMass Lowell commit scored on his future home ice at the Tsongas Center.
“Coach [McLean] just tells us to shoot on the net,” Sifferlen said. “You never know, it could go in.”

The teams upped the tempo in the middle period and Malden Catholic got the better of the action. The Lancers continually pinched in from up high and threw a hard, constant forecheck at Cathedral. The Lancers hampered themselves, taking a pair of penalties in the first half of the second period.

The Panthers made them pay when Riley Prattson rocketed home a power-play goal just over six minutes into the period.

“Riley's got a lot of energy; he's got a great heart,” Cathedral coach Brian Foley said. “He's like a lot of our kids. He works and he works. He's young and exciting. He had a great season.”

That was as close as Cathedral would get as the Lancers kept on the pressure. Malden Catholic outshot Cathedral 22-10 over the final two periods and junior goalie Alex Reissis coolly handled his duties between the pipes, racking up 14 saves.

“We limited their shots,” Wrenn said. “We usually give up too many shots and it backfires on us. We wanted to cut down on their shots and opportunities so we could get going.”

A Matt Felipe goal just before midway in the third period gave the Lancers all the insurance they would need and took the wind out of Cathedral's sails.

The Panthers pressed to close the gap but their efforts proved fruitless. Malden Catholic continued to press so hard that Cathedral was unable to pull the goalie until there were only 67 seconds left in the game.

“Once they got that third goal they're tough to play against with a lead,” Foley said. “The second half of the third period we had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, getting pucks to the net. Malden played a real strong game.”

Experience a factor: It's a tired trope, but Foley was the first to admit that experience plays a role in tournaments like the Super 8. That routine of playing the best teams at the highest level while every mistake is punished only gets more manageable after gone through it several times.

“I think experience is big in this tournament,” Foley said. “They have it, we have some. This is our first trip to the semifinals. I think we took a step forward and hopefully we'll be back here next year.

“We made a step this year to make it to the semis. They're a great team and a respected opponent. It was a great season.”

For the Lancers, the win earns them another finals date with Austin Prep; AP lost by a goal to Malden Catholic in last year's final.

McLean said that having a team that has played on the Garden ice multiple times can only help them in the season finale.

“This is four or five years that we've been in this situation, and it helps,” MacLean said. “The kids played well, they knew what they had to do. We'll see what happens on Sunday.”

Super 8: No. 2 Malden Catholic 6, No. 7 CM 4

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
1:13
AM ET


LOWELL, Mass. -- There are times when changing goaltenders can be the difference between victory and defeat.

That seemed to be the case when Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial met Wednesday night.

Trailing by two goals early in the second period, MC coach John McLean pulled freshman goaltender Kyle Casey and inserted junior Alex Reissis. The Lancers turned their two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead by the end of the period, and went on to defeat CM 6-4 at the Tsongas Center.

The win gave second-seeded MC a two-game sweep in the Super 8 best-of-three quarterfinal-round series.

“We have two very good goalies,” McLean said. “You have to get by five guys to get a shot on net, so I don’t blame the goalies on any shot. Reissis came in and did what he had to do. I thought he did a great job.

“If need be I have the confidence to put Casey in any game in any situation.”

Junior forward Zach Sullivan scored twice for seventh-seeded Catholic Memorial (10-9-4). Both goals came during Catholic Memorial power plays. The Knights also received goals from sophomore defenseman Tim Weinstein and junior forward Anthony Panaggio.

Senior left wing Tyler Sifferlen and senior right wing Brian Cameron each scored twice for MC (18-4-0). Sifferlen’s second goal came with 1.8 seconds remaining in the second period while the teams were skating four-on-four. The goal handed MC a 5-4 lead.

Junior defenseman John McLean and sophomore center Matt Filipe also scored for MC, which has won the last three Super 8 tournaments. Filipe’s goal came while MC was short-handed and made it a 4-4 contest.

MC outshot CM, 40-16.

“I’m proud of the kids, McLean said. “They worked hard tonight. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”

Up next: MC will play either third-seeded Springfield Cathedral (16-2-5) or sixth-seeded Duxbury (16-3-3) in the tournament’s semifinals, which will be held March 12. Cathedral and Duxbury will play the second game of their best-of-three series Thursday night (6 p.m.) at Tsongas Arena.

Cathedral won the opener, 4-1.

Cathedral beat MC, 5-2, during the regular season. Duxbury and MC have not met this season.

“We haven’t seen Duxbury yet, but if we play Cathedral we know what we’re getting since we played them out in Springfield,” Filipe said. “All the boys are amped up.”

Net assets: Reissis, an Arlington resident, entered the tournament with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 11 games. He made 21 saves when MC beat CM in the series opener.

Casey, who lives in Boxford, entered Wednesday’s contest began with a 2.22 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage in nine games.

“We didn’t give Kyle much support, so you can’t put the blame on him,” Filipe said. “We just tightened up in the D zone when (Reissis) got in there.”

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
2:06
AM ET
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 5, No. 1 MC 2

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
12:36
AM ET
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Before the opening face off, you could see it in their eyes.

There was no look of concern or intimidation on the faces of Springfield Cathedral Panthers. None. Zero.

Going up against the hockey behemoth otherwise known as Malden Catholic in the championship game of its own tournament, No. 6 Cathedral entered with a strong feeling of determination and the belief that it belonged among the state’s elite programs.

On Thursday night, both were put on display repeatedly as the Panthers were sparked by three second-period goals en route to a convincing 5-2 victory over the top-ranked Lancers in front of a packed house at the Olympia Ice Center in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The contest could very well be a preview for a later meeting between the state powers in the upcoming Super 8 tournament.

"This is the best possible way to end our regular season," said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley, his team likely to move up in the Super 8 seedings. "It's a real confidence boost heading into the (Super 8) tournament. Our team this season is probably the strongest team we've had entering the postseason tournament. Our overall skill level is higher than in years past."

After surrendering a late first period goal to MC senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, the remainder of this tilt belonged to the Panthers (15-2-5). Looking for a way to even up this contest quickly, center Peter Crinella answered Cathedral's hopes after taking a drop pass from freshman Dan Petrick and firing a missile past Alex Reissis just 34 seconds into the middle frame to knot things at 1-1.

Cathedral was doing a solid job on the defensive side by taking the Lancers forwards off their projected paths and pushing them into the boards. This, in turn, allowed the forwards to create space inside the MC zone. Johnny Leonard put the Panthers ahead at 6:06 of the period. Taking a centering pass from Riley Prattson, the sophomore waited patiently for Reissis to commit downward before firing a shot over the junior's right shoulder.

Three minutes later, D.J. Petruzzelli, a junior, flew down the right side, cut through a pair of defensemen and lifted a shot past Reissis (14 saves), sending Cathedral into the second intermission on top 3-1.

"This is a game we always look forward to from the first day of the season," said Leonard, a UMass-Amherst commit. "We wanted to make a statement that we do belong with Malden Catholic. We have such a great program here and great coaches. We pushed each other all year for games like this one and the Super 8 moving forward. We are still a very young team (one senior) but I feel we've got something pretty special going on here this year. Hopefully we can take momentum of this win into the Super 8 and do something there."

Over the course of the first 30 minutes, MC was given several clean looks at the net. But the Lancers failed to capitalize on those opportunities due in large part to the strong, physical play of the Panthers defense along with the steady play between the pipes by goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. The freshman played brilliantly, stopping 26 of 28 attempts, including a 12 shot barrage in the closing period. In spite of the loss, it still should have no bearing on MC (16-4) being the consensus No. 1 seed going into the Super 8 once the pairings are announced on Saturday.

"I really liked the fact that we got punched in the face tonight," MC head coach John McLean said. "When you win games 11-0, 9-0 and 7-1 as we've done recently, the kids kind of get this mental thing where they can just show up and its automatically going to happen. Tonight was a good learning experience for us. We understand there are teams that can play with us and that's a good thing.

"Cathedral is a well-coached team and can really compete at a high level. Every time we play them it's always a good, tough game. We had a ton of chances tonight but I thought we tried to get a little to fancy with the puck. I thought Cathedral got in our face and didn't respect us. That's OK because why should they?"

Last year, the Lancers came into Cathedral Tournament a team in search of a direction.

After its two-game sweep in the event, there were many who believe that was the spring board MC needed in moving forward and capturing its third consecutive Super 8 crown. Now the Panthers are adhering to a similar premise hoping this triumph will catapult them through the tournament.

"Hopefully a game like this will have us come out stronger in the next game we play and not feel a team out," Foley said. "The last couple of years in the Super 8 we were just kind of feeling our way around. Enough of that now. It is time for us to take the game to our opponent. Hopefully this win will help prepare us mentally to do that."

Realizing MC was too good not to go down without a fight. Cathedral's objective entering the final period was to try and add to its total early on. The Panthers caught a huge break after Matt Filipe and John McLean were sent to the penalty box in succession, giving Cathedral a 5-on-3 advantage for 52 seconds. The Panthers didn't need all of that time to convert however. Leonard, standing just to the right of Reissis, found Crinella wide-open in the slot and the junior finished the play accordingly by slapping a one-timer past Reissis at 2:08 and push Cathedral's advantage to three goals.

With just over five minutes remaining, the Lancers were leaving everything out on the ice. They started becoming more-efficient at moving the puck through center ice while attacking the Cathedral zone at will. The Panthers, meanwhile, were just hoping to get through these last few minutes as they continuously tried to dump the puck away from their zone anyway they could. One time they couldn't. Defenseman Nick Rolli, standing inside the left circle, fired a point-blank laser past Petruzzelli at 9:05, narrowing the deficit to 4-2.

But time was not of the essence for the Lancers on this night. With Reissis pulled for the extra man, Leonard capped off this monumental evening by scoring an empty net goal from nearly the full-length of the ice in the final minute.

Recap: No. 1 MC 7, No. 10 St. Mary's 1

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
12:10
AM ET
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When the talk centers around Malden Catholic, much of the conversation is directed towards the Lancers’ prolific offense and rightfully so.

But there are those who tend to forget just how strong this team is defensively. MC takes pride in its defense, albeit nobody seems to notice due in large part to the high-output of goals this team can amass at any given time.

Wednesday night, that defense flourished yet again, this time putting St. Mary's of Lynn in virtual headlock en route to a 7-1 victory in the opening round of the Springfield Cathedral Tournament played at the Olympia Ice Center.

No. 1 MC will face No. 6 Cathedral (a 9-0 winner over Needham) in the championship game, and perhaps a preview to a possible Super 8 meeting down the road, on Thursday night beginning at 5:10 p.m. Tenth-ranked St. Mary's, still with a shot at securing a Super 8 invite, squares off against Needham in the consolation tilt at 3:10.

As expected, MC's offense was its usual productive self, striking for five first period goals. But the defense got into the act as well, taking the Spartans off the puck, tying up the neutral zone and pinching the boards with effectiveness. When St. Mary's was able to find passage ways to the Lancer net, junior netminder Alex Reissis (22 saves) was there to turn them away.

"We have some good young defensemen back there," said senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, who notched the hat trick, giving him 17 goals on the season. "We also have some leaders back there as well in Nick Rolli and John McLean."

MC (16-3) had held opponents to a mere 37 goals this season while the offense has found the back of the net 103 times. In the Lancers last six games, they have only been scored upon six times. Only one team (BC High on Jan. 7) has scored more than four goals against them in a game, finishing with five.

In fairness to St. Mary's, MC's defense wasn't looking all that sharp at the beginning of the contest. Just 14 seconds in, senior forward Jordan Manthorne scored off a rebound after Reissis couldn't corral a hard perimeter shot from Max McKay, putting the Spartans ahead.

But all that did was wake up a sleeping giant. The Lancers regrouped quickly and gained control of the period moments later. Sifferlen, taking a cross-ice feed from Ara Nazarian, one-timed a shot past Spartans goalie Bailey MacBurnie (27 saves) at 2:18.

From there, there wer no answers in slowing this talented group down.

Keeping the puck inside the Spartan zone for what seemed like an eternity, Nick Botticelli, a sophomore, flipped a shot over MacBurnie's catching glove at 6:56 to give the Lancers the lead for good. It took all of one minute later for MC to pad its advantage. With St. Mary's forward Jon Powers in the penalty box for holding, Sifferlen bagged his second marker with a point blank shot from the right circle.

At 9:48 of the period, junior Jake Witkowski scored off a face off to push MC's advantage to three goals. Witkowski also added three assists. Just two minutes after Witkowski's score, Matt Filipe, a sophomore, showed some tremendous speed, flying behind the Spartans net and dumping a short side goal past MacBurnie and send the Lancers into the first intermission well in-control, on top 5-1.

"The guys did what they had to do in the first period," MC head coach John McLean said. "We got to roll four lines the rest of the game. We'll take the two points and move on. The Ara, Tyler and Jake line are very talented, they move the puck and are very tough to stop. It's pretty special watching them move the puck around. This tournament is good for us. We like to get out on the road and play in these types of games. I think it gets us mentally ready for the Super 8."

Over the final 30 minutes, MC pulled back some in its offensive attack, instead, paying more attention to the defensive side. As the game wore on, so too, did the chippiness from both sides. St. Mary's was obviously frustrated for not being able to capitalize when they had chances inside the MC zone. Likewise, the Lancers weren't about to stand around and play the role of a pinata. St. Mary's frustration only mounted after barely able to register a ripple offensively in the second, only to watch Sifferlen tally his third goal at 11:33 and a 6-1 advantage.

With the Sifferlen, Nazarian (3 assists) and Witkowski line pretty much regulated to bench detail over the final frame, the Lancers showed some of their depth. Logan Stark, a sophomore, registered his first varsity goal at 2:36 as he flipped a shot over MacBurnie to make it a six-goal margin.

To its credit, St. Mary's perhaps played its best period during the final 15 minutes, putting up 12 shots on Reissis but had nothing to show for it.

"First period, we get that quick goal which I think lit a fire under [MC]," Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. "I felt we had some opportunities but just couldn't put the puck into the net. The first period ended it early for us. The positive is we didn't quit and played two solid periods after that but they were the better team.”

Recap: No. 1 Malden Catholic 11, No. 3 CM 0

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15
1:13
AM ET


MALDEN, Mass. -- Since Catholic Memorial defeated Malden Catholic, 5-3, last month, the two teams have been heading in opposite directions.

That fact was perhaps never more apparent than Friday night at the Valley Forum when the Lancers skated away with an 11-0 triumph over the Knights.

Since the loss to CM last month, Malden Catholic has reeled off six consecutive victories, allowing just two goals over the last four games.

“It’s huge,” said sophomore forward Matt Filipe of his team’s recent momentum. “We had that loss to CM a few weeks ago and after that game we started playing really well.”

John McLean’s Lancers were firing on all cylinders Friday night as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after one period.

Filipe had a hat trick in the opening period to blow the doors off the contest.

“He’s a man child,” said McLean of his second line pivot who recently committed to Northeastern. “He’s a monster. He’s not afraid to go to the net and that’s what it takes. He can skate. He’s big and strong. When he cuts to the net he uses his size and is not afraid to go there. He’s been that way since was a Mite.”

“It was a good first period and it was an overall good win for the seniors,” said a humble and well-spoken Filipe of his team’s final home game of the season.

McLean was pleased that his team did not let its foot off the pedal and continued pushing hard all game, including two quick goals to start the second period after such a strong first period.

“When the score gets like that guys tend to care more about points than playing team hockey,” McLean said. “We calmed them down, got back to our systems and things were fine after that.”

UNH recruit and Mr. Hockey hopeful Ara Nazarian had a pair of goals, but it was also a good night for some of the secondary scorers who found some added confidence by finding the back of the net. Jack Adams, Patrick Wrenn and Brian Cameron all scored in the lopsided affair.

On the other hand, Catholic Memorial has struggled since the meeting last month, going 1-4-1 in the six games following, including two consecutive blowout losses this week.

Bill Hanson’s team was shut out, 6-0, by BC High on Wednesday.

Catholic Memorial is still a team that will be heard from come tournament time, and will be dangerous, especially with a veteran head coach and a goaltender in Brandon Collett, who could get hot and steal a few games.

“CM was off tonight,” McLean said. “They are a good team and have a good coaching staff. It’s one of those things that happens once in a while. They’re a good team and they’ll be there in the playoffs. We’ll have to worry about them if we play them.”

The Knights will have a chance to bounce back on Monday facing fellow Super 8 hopeful Central Catholic.

McLean, the always business-like bench boss of MC, refused to think further ahead than his team’s next contest against Marshfield on Monday.

“We have to get ready for Marshfield on Monday,” he said. “We’re playing in a barn these kids have never played in. We have to beat Marshfield first so we’ll start training for them. We’ll worry about the Super 8 when the seedings come out.”

Following that the Lancers will face St. Mary’s in the first round of the Springfield Cathedral High School Tournament before playing either Cathedral or Needham in the second round.

Then it will be off to the Super 8 where MC will likely be a one or two seed in the tournament they have captured three consecutive years.

“We’re going for that number one seed,” said Filipe.
Malden Catholic hockey sophomore forward Matt Filipe announced his verbal commitment to Northeastern University this weekend.



Filipe's intended date of arrival is for the 2016-17 or 2017-18 season.

The Lynnfield resident has eight goals and six assists for 14 points with the Lancers this season, while seeing time on their first and second lines at center and right wing. Filipe, a 1997 birthdate, was a part of MC's third straight Super 8 championship team last year as a freshman.

Filipe's father also played for the Huskies from 1978-82.

On his decision: "Northeastern has been following me for a while now. The coaching staff likes how I have developed a lot as a player in the last year and a half since they first saw me play. They feel like I have tremendous upside and can be an impact player at NU in the future. Other Hockey East teams were also interested in me, but when NU offered me it was an easy decision."

On his connection to the program: "My goal has always been to play in Hockey East and I have always dreamed about playing in the Beanpot, which is part of the reason why I believe NU will be a great fit for me. My dad was a defenseman there from 1978-1982, so we would go into Matthews Arena when I was younger to watch the Huskies play as often as we could. I look forward to making my own mark at NU, but my main focus now is helping MC win another Super 8 title."

Recap: No. 6 Catholic Memorial 3, No. 2 MC 2

January, 26, 2014
Jan 26
12:48
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BOSTON – Against a team as fast and skilled as Malden Catholic, the margin for error in the neutral and – in particular – the defensive is slim.

That’s why Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson spent the lead-up to Saturday’s Catholic Confrence clash emphasizing responsibility through those two zones and the principle of taking away time and space from the Lancers’ forwards.

The Knights delivered on that promise, and combined with a 37-save performance from sophomore goaltender Brandon Collett and a couple of timely goals from senior winger Mike Stathopoulos, the No. 6 Knights delivered a 3-2 win over the second-ranked Lancers.

“We worked a lot on executing, getting the puck out of the zone,” Stathopoulos said. “If it’s not in the zone, they’re going to have trouble scoring, so we just wanted to get the puck out of the zone and really lock down the neutral zone, then make sure we work the puck down deep in their zone.”

Despite their attention to detail, the Knights (8-1-2, 2-0-1 Catholic) emerged a bit flat-footed in the first, while being outshot by MC (8-3-0, 2-2-0) by a 12-2 margin.

The opening stanza is when Collett turned in perhaps his finest work, keeping CM in the game while stopping a number of Lancers’ scoring chances. None was finer than his stop on an Ara Nazarian back-hander off a partial breakaway with about three minutes remaining in the first.

“Territorially, in that first period, they did what they do best, they attack the net,” Hanson said. “Our goaltender had to play real well in the first period to keep us in the game.”

The Knights turned the territorial battle in their favor in the second, propelled by an early goal from Stathopoulos. Just 11 seconds into the period, Stathopoulos floated a wrister from the right wing circle past Alex Reissis (16 saves).

CM outshot the Lancers, 10-5, in the stanza, but MC was able to head to the room all square after Matt Filipe’s tally at 8:46.

The Lancers claimed the lead at 4:26 of the third period on a Jake Witkowski goal. The lead was shortlived, however, as Aaron Clancy responded for CM just 36 seconds later.

The Knights reclaimed the lead with 7:58 remaining on Stathopoulos’ second of the game. CM defenseman Frank Cosolito earned his second assist, firing off a shot from the point with Stathopoulos putting back the rebound off the initial save.

“He’s playing with confidence and he’s an intelligent kid,” Hanson said of Stathopoulos. “There’s no nervousness in him.”

Little things add up: On the Knights’ methodology for success Saturday, Hanson outlined it to be: “We just didn’t want them to get odd-manned situations against us.”

Hanson lauded the efforts of his top defensive pairing of Cosolito and Tim Weinstein, which was rolled out each time MC’s top line touched the ice.

But defense is a team game, and the Knights forward shared in the responsibility – much of which was left to junior center Anthony Panaggio, who went toe-to-toe with the reigning Mr. Hockey award winner in the circle.

“He got in his shirt just enough to not let up that extra step,” Hanson said of Panaggio. “I thought he was tremendous tonight. [Nazarian] skates as well as anybody, but he was in his kitchen.”

Conversely, Lancers head coach John McLean thought his team was outworked and unable to get the greasy kind of goals required to win a tight Catholic Conference game.

“You get pucks on net, get to the net and good things happen, but we’re not doing that enough right now,” McLean said. “We’re kind of shooting and watching, there were a lot of rebounds that we weren’t in the dirty areas to get to.

“When you have a good, hard-working defensive team like that, you have to take your lumps to get a goal.”

Work in progress: On that first line of Malden Catholic, it took another new look on Saturday, as the Lancers look to find the right combination heading into the pivotal month of February.

Filipe, skated the right wing alongside Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen to start the game, with the trio combining on the Lancers’ first goal.

Witkowski stepped back onto the line, as the MC’s top line was again on the ice for its second goal.

“We’re doing what we did last year, trying to fine the right combination and who gels well,” McLean said. “[Filipe] is an outstanding center, but wherever he goes, he’s an outstanding player.”


DORCHESTER, Mass. – When one of yours is down, you rally around the ranks.

No. 2 BC High did just that Tuesday night at UMass-Boston while facing Catholic Conference rival and statewide No. 1, Malden Catholic.

In the 24 hours leading up the Eagles’ bout, head coach John Flaherty had his mind elsewhere – in particular, with his mother who was hospitalized due to illness. That’s exactly when his BC High squad, in the words of senior captain Steve DeForge, told their coach they “had his back.”

And the Eagles backed it up, storming out of the gate and finishing strong while snatching a 5-3 victory over the Lancers.

“He’s back and forth, taking care of her and taking care of us,” said DeForge, who scored two goals. “We talked about it yesterday in practice, we need to pick him up, how he picks up every day. I think we did it today.

“She’s always there for us as well. She’s always looking out for us and I think we made her really happy and we made him really happy to get this win tonight.”

The matchup marked the second time in less than two weeks’ time in which the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in ESPN Boston’s statewide Top 25 have gone head to head. Following MC’s 4-1 win over former No. 1 Austin Prep a little more than a week ago, the Eagles (6-0-1, 2-0-1 Catholic Conference) became the second straight second-ranked team to topple No. 1.

That motivation, coupled with the inspiration of playing for Flaherty’s mother, who constantly keeps up with the team, proved enough.

“We wanted this win, they’re the top team in the state,” said sophomore forward Patrick Kramer, who led all scorers with four points. “We worked on trying to be better offensively because obviously we weren’t very good against Xaverian [Saturday].”

After a sluggish start against Xaverian in their last league game, the Eagles entered Monday’s action with a purpose. BC High outshot the Lancers 9-2 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead to the room at intermission on two goals set up on assists from Kramer.

Senior defenseman Chris Pekrul got the Eagles started in the right direction, scoring on a point shot off of Kramer’s dish at 4:49 of the first. The goal came with a sixth BC High attacker on ice, following a delayed penalty call against MC.

BC High struck again before the period was out with sophomore winger Kayser Raei scoring his first of the season at 10:43. Kramer picked up his second of four assists on the 3-on-2 break.

“First line through fourth line, we were rolling lines, everybody was working hard,” DeForge said. “We were getting clean break-outs, a lot of offense as well. Luckily, we put a few away and that’s just from getting traffic in front, digging down and working hard out in front of the net.”

But, as they have been known to do in recent years, the Lancers (5-1-0, 1-1-0) turned it up for the second period, upping their intensity and rattling off three straight goals.

MC sophomore center Matt Filipe continued his tremendous start in the new year with back-to-back goals within four minutes to tie the game, 2-2. The Lancers took their first lead of the game with 1:07 remaining in the period, as Ara Nazarian forced a BC High defensive zone turnover before finishing with a top-shelf wrister.

However, the Eagles pulled even before the stanza was out, thanks to their first of three goals on the power play (3-for-6). Kramer worked down low to find DeForge cutting toward the goalmouth. After a tape-to-tape pass, the Eagles had knotted it up again with six second remaining in the second.

“With six seconds left, it got the crowd going and gave us a little momentum to bring into the locker room,” DeForge said.

With all even, the Eagles turned their attention to their next task.

“Our goal in the third period is that we wanted to win 15 minutes in that last period and that’s what we did,” Flaherty said.

BC High capitalized on an early power-play opportunity with Connor Noonan ripping a wrist shot from the slot for what would prove to be the game-winner at 3:26, with an assist from Ryan Shea.

The Eagles capped scoring with 1:22 to play with DeForge tallying his second goal in the midst of a five-minute major power play.

“We got beat by a better team tonight,” Lancers head coach John McLean said. “They worked harder than us. They had a better power play than we did. They killed penalties better than we did. They had a better forecheck than we did.”

Much improved: After a lackadaisical start to Saturday’s tilt at Xaverian, Flaherty preached starting fast to his team.

“They’re a great team and we knew that if we were going to beat them, we had to start fast and capitalize on opportunities,” he said. “I thought we did that in the first. In the second period, we started standing around a little bit and, again, if you give some of their players the time and space, they’re going to burn you.”

While the Eagles’ key to success was the power play – while shutting out the Lancers on their three man-up bids – BC High helped its chances with a fast start, playing from ahead and setting the pace of play through the first period.

But what was most important is how the Eagles rebounded from a string of three MC goals in the second.

“If you’re given an advantage, you have to capitalize because they’re going to on theirs,” Flaherty said. “We knew the special teams were going to be huge coming into today, we talked a lot about it coming into today in practice – both the kill and the PP.”

With some undisciplined play, the Eagles were not only able to draw even but skate away with the victory.

“The kids compete, they play hard,” McLean said. “I told you before, I think some of [the penalty calls] were questionable. But we’ll take them. It is what it is. They’re on the scoresheet so we’ll take them. We got beat.”
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Malden Catholic hockey is accustomed to taking the best shot from their opponents, and Franklin brought it through the first period of Friday night’s tilt at Pirelli Veterans Rink.

The Panthers, who are making the jump to the Division 1 ranks this season, but played against the Lancers as an exclusionary game, came out with jump and the team defense in front of senior goaltender Devon Maloof held.

Yet, after scoring his first of three goals with seconds remaining in the first, Lancers sophomore center Matt Filipe got his team untracked, setting off a five-goal barrage in the second period of a 7-2 win over the No. 23 Panthers.

Through two games, No. 2 MC has now scored 15 goals.

Here’s more from tonight non-league game:

On point: Filipe already has six points through two games on the heels of his hat trick Friday. Perhaps none of his goals was more impressive than his power-play tally at 11:13 of the second.

Filipe gave the Lancers (2-0-0) a 5-1 lead after winning an attack zone faceoff through his opponents’ legs and then worked his way toward the crease, finishing on the backhand after sweeping across the paint.

Along with a two-goal game from senior Brian Cameron, Filipe provided the spark after a lack-luster start for the three-time defending Super 8 champions.

“He’s a man playing with boys now, which is scary,” Lancers head coach John McLean said of Filipe.

McLean credited his hot start as the result of an increased offseason commitment.

“Last year, he was a freshman, and you could see it. But all of a sudden this year … He lifts four days a week, he eats right, he trains right, goes to bed and it’s showing,” McLean said.

Filipe wasn’t the only of MC’s young guns to make an impression against Franklin. Freshman goaltender Kyle Casey stopped 22 shots to notch his first varsity win.

“The forwards weren’t mentally ready to go at the start,” McLean said, “but I thought the defensemen were good and Kyle Casey, freshman goaltender, made some key saves to keep them off the scoreboard.”

Blue-line depth: Both teams had to see good things from their defenseman.

For MC, Nick Rolli and John McLean are entrenched veterans. But the Lancers’ top four has rounded out nicely with Chris Hopkins and Will Lawrence making contributions Friday. Lancers freshman blue-liner Matthew Yianacopolus is one to watch for the future as well.

However, the Panthers matched MC’s “D” stride for stride in the first, with a commitment to playing within their system.

“With a team like that, it’s not the guy with the puck that’s going to beat you, it’s the second or the third guy,” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane said. “We talked about that, we practiced that. We did that well in the first period. Everybody stayed home. We were playing the puck, playing aggressively and making them work for their space.”

Franklin (1-1-0) has veteran leadership on the back line from senior captain Kyle Powers. Juniors Kyle Filbert and Mason Saunders showed good instincts, particularly in the first period, when the Panthers effectively snuffed out MC’s up-tempo transition game through the neutral zone.

However, that changed in the fateful second.

“I think the bigger, stronger, better conditioned kids showed themselves in the second period,” Spillane said. “We had a couple of goals where we couldn’t finish and every puck battle, they won.”

Recap: No. 2 MC 8, Mount St. Charles (R.I.) 2

December, 19, 2013
12/19/13
12:16
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MALDEN, Mass. -- Ara Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen lost linemate Mike Iovanna to graduation, but the duo appear to have not missed a beat. Paired with new right wing Jake Witkowski, the two combined for five goals as the three-time defending Super 8 Champions from Malden Catholic demolished Rhode Island high school hockey powerhouse Mount St. Charles, 8-2, on Wednesday night.

“Losing Mikey [Iovanna] is a big loss,” said Sifferlen of his departed line mate, a UMass-Amhest recruit. “We played with Jake in the fall, and we had good chemistry with him. It’s good that Jake is filling in for him. He’s working hard and doing good with us.”

The Mounties, playing their fourth game of the season, were without their entire second line due to injuries suffered in a scrimmage against Austin Prep. Mount Saint Charles also got to the Valley Forum late because of traffic, but bus legs or not, the school from Woonsocket, R.I. was able to stay even, 1-1, with the skilled Lancers after 15 minutes.

“It’s tough for them,” said Malden Catholic head coach John McLean. “They came all the way up here with a lot of traffic. I feel bad for them. They’re usually a really good team, but they had bus legs all night.”

Malden Catholic sophomore Matt Filipe and Mount St. Charles senior Justin Trindade traded first period goals.

“We were a little nervous going out,” said McLean of his team’s first period start in its season opener. “I think the shots were 19-2 in the first. We had a ton of chances, but just didn’t finish. It was a little case of the nerves and starting the season out with new linemates.”

The floodgates opened in the second period as Sifferlen, the UMass-Lowell recruit, scored twice in the first 31 seconds to give the Lancers a 3-1 cushion. His first goal was a quick snipe from the left side nine seconds in.

UNH recruit Nazarian then added two goals, including a laser that went top shelf past Mount St. Charles goaltender Brian Larence for a 5-1 lead for MC.

Jack Adams scored another goal to give the Lancers a five-goal cushion prior to the second intermission.

“I thought we settled in for the second period. [Nazarian and Sifferlen] are both special players,” said McLean of his duo, who were responsible for four of the five goals scored in the middle frame. “They just know how to play. They compete every shift. They’re very skilled, and when they have a chance they usually bury it. They probably should have more,” added the coach.

Sifferlen scored his third of the night for the hat trick in the third period on a nice chip pass by Witkowski from behind the goal line.

Defenseman Nick Rolli banged one past Larence off a short feed from Filipe for the final goal of the night.

McLean and Sifferlen both stressed the need to stay focused and take it one game at a time.

“It’s a good win. We haven’t arrived yet. It doesn’t mean anything. We have a lot of work to do. The only thing I’m worried about is tomorrow,” said McLean.

“We’ve just got to go out there and play our game. Obviously we’re the team to beat. We know that, being the three time champs, and we just have to go out there game by game,” said Sifferlen.

Notes: A name that high school hockey fans will have to get used to hearing is Lynnfield native Matthew Filipe whose father played hockey at Northeastern. “Matthew Filipe is the next up and coming elite player. He’s a [late] ’97. He’s a big, strong kid who can skate. He plays a hard, mean game, but he’s skilled and can finish. He competes every shift. He’s going to be fun to watch the next few years,” McLean said. … Mount St. Charles, playing shorthanded and with bus legs, didn’t put up much of a fight after the first period, but coach Dave Beslisle believes his team will be one of the top three contenders in Rhode Island with Bishop Hendricken and La Salle Academy.

Hockey teams kick off season at Regan Summitt

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
1:42
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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is never easy replacing a legend, but that is the task which has been handed down to first-year St. John's (Shrewsbury) coach Mike Mead.

Mead's Pioneers, along with many of the state's other top-echelon programs, took part in Sunday's Fifth Annual Garrett Regan Hockey Summit at New England Sports Center. The event is named after the former 26-year Hingham High coach and Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame inductee who passed away in June 2008.

Mead, who was appointed to the position last September, takes over for Brian Murphy, who stood behind the St. John's bench for 29 seasons, posting an overall record of 392-217-63, including a pair of Division 1 state titles (1999, 2004) and a handful of Super 8 appearances.

Mead is no stranger to St. John's. He served as an assistant under Murphy for 16 years, leaving in 2007 to spend more time with his family. He is also head of the Math Department at the school.

"Brian is a great friend and was a great mentor," said Mead. "He kind of broke me in. When this opportunity happened I jumped at it. My kids are little older now so everything sort fell into the right place at the right time for me."

Mead exudes the fact that the Pioneers have a plethora of depth, including a freshman team with 25 members. "We have a lot of kids who came back and tried out," he said. "We have good numbers and good depth. I don't really know the kids yet so with our tryouts I did things by grade. I didn't do it with returning players. We did juniors and seniors one day and freshman and sophomores the next. What I have seen so far I have been pleasantly surprised."

St. John's will, again, be paced by senior defensemen Bryan Nelson (23 points last season), Connor McCann, senior forward Kevin Butler and senior goaltender Mario Pizzeri.

Mead is also counting on senior forward Chris Adams and junior forward Dan Barlock to make their presence felt.

"We'll try to be aggressive on the forecheck and having two men on the puck," Mead said. "The biggest thing for us will be on offense. I feel we are a strong defensive team. I'm going to need some of our seniors to put the puck into the net."

Lancers quest for four: Malden Catholic began its quest for a fourth consecutive Super 8 crown, taking on Springfield Cathedral, another Super 8 qualifier from a year ago.

The Lancers controlled the opening frame, building a 4-1 lead before the Panthers rallied for three unanswered tallies to earn a 4-4 tie in the 2-period scrimmage.

By most people's observations, MC is the prohibitive favorite to claim another Super 8 crown again this season.

Despite the losses of two of their most prolific players (Casey Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, who combined for 56 points a year ago), there is still plenty of talent to carry the Lancers again this season. Junior forward Ara Nazarian (26 goals, 24 assists) leads the way. Senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, junior forward Austin Goldstein, sophomore forwards Matt Filipe and Jake Witkowski along with defensemen John McLean, Nick Rolli are solid. As of now, Alex Reissis appears to be the front-runner between the pipes replacing departed Connor Maloney.

"We lost some major contributors but we have a good bunch of younger kids who have come in that should fill those spots fine," MC head coach John McLean said. "The issue is you cannot replace a Casey Fitzgerald (who joined the United States National Team Development Program). He was a special player but the guys that are going to play need to step up.

“As far as our expectations I just worry about the next game. We don't think about the Super 8. Right now we're rolling everyone and everyone is getting to play. When we work we're good and when we don't want to work then we're just average. All that matters is winning the last game of the year. Last year was a long learning curve for us. Hopefully our leaders this year will step it up and take us to the Garden again. We have a lot of good, young strong players. It's just a matter of them gaining the confidence to play at this level."

Against Springfield Cathedral, Sifferlen netted a pair of goals, with Goldstein and Rolli accounting for one apiece.

"I think we have a good group of young core guys on this team," said Nazarian, a UNH commit. "We have good leadership from our older guys. It's a good mix of young and older guys. I think things are looking good so far. There is one goal here and that's to win the whole thing. That is our mindset. We won last year so we know every team we play is going to give us their best so we need to give it our best every game. This is a whole new season so we're just focusing on winning it again and not look back on last year."

Raiders on the rebound: Having reached the third round of last year's Super 8 before falling to St. John's Prep, Central Catholic remains hopeful for another stab at the big dance. Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski is a main reason as to why this program has emerged as a driving force statewide.

With Central everything begins from the net outward. Senior goaltender Colin Soucy, arguably the best high school netminder in the state, will be relied on heavily to get the Raiders back into Super 8 contention.

"We've had a lot of success of late," Jankowski said. "The culture has changed here and we are getting kids coming back from juniors and prep schools and believing in this program and high school. We want kids to enjoy their high school experience here. The schedule we play keeps is very competitive and it keeps our kids engaged and maintains them playing at a high-level. There's nothing like high school hockey in terms of the relationships and friendships the kids build. It's an awesome brotherhood that all teams should experience."

For years, Central often flew under the radar, constantly being overshadowed by other programs. But due to their recent success, that is no longer the case. Jankowski wishes it was not like that but when you win consistently, you now have a target on your back.

"Now, instead of coming in as a dark horse which we like to ride, there is a new expectation level which has been set here but I think we're ready for it," he said. "Colin is back and what he did for us, especially at the end of last year, was remarkable. For the kids to have that confidence in him at his position just gives us that added advantage. The goalie position where it makes a difference in a team's won-loss record. Colin is just a great example of being a great character kid."

Panthers on the prowl: With the loss of two key contributors last year, Springfield Cathedral will be looking to its youthfulness to help them make a return visit to the Super 8. Gone are defenseman Matt Foley and forwards Artie Potter and Dominic Blad. But who returns should play a key role in the Panthers postseason hopes. It all starts with goalie John Liquori. The team's lone senior, Liquori played himself into a top-level talent a year ago. Forwards Peter Crinella (a Holy Cross commit), Johnny Leonard, D.J. Petruzzelli, Cole Foster, Zac Prattson and Riley Prattson will give Cathedral the ammo it needs on offense.

Defense will be a work in progress, but Bryce Peritz, Jordan Tetreault and Cam Griffin return.

Also make note on freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli over the next couple of years.

"We've got babies but they're all good," Panthers coach Brian Foley said. "Our first two lines are going to score goals. We had a great first week of practice and you noticed how much they improved in just one week. It'll be fun over time to see how these guys mature this year. I think this will be our most-offensive team that we've had ever. All of those kids did a lot of work on their strength and speed during the off-season. I also think our defense and goaltending will be outstanding as well."

BC High movin’ on: With the loss of all-everything goaltender Peter Cronin, all is not lost at BC High. Brandon Payzant, a sophomore, was Cronin's understudy a year ago and by the looks of things, he appears to be a quick learner after playing solid between the pipes today against St. Mary's of Lynn.

"Brandon was with us last year as a freshman," Eagles coach John Flaherty said. "Obviously he had a great kid to watch and learn from. Peter was great working with Brandon so he now has a year of experience under his belt in practice and being around these guys. Now he is able to get some game experience. He's a good athlete and someone who will be able to step in and carry the load for us. We are also carrying eight defense (spearheaded by Sam Topham) where we hope to find the right combinations in order to keep the puck out of our zone."

On offense, BC High will count on Patrick Kramer (25 points), Steve DeForge, Chris LaLiberte, Tim Larocque, Jake Lemanski and Connor Noonan to work the puck into opposing team's defensive zones.

"We have a lot of experience back," Flaherty added. "It is just now we need guys to play bigger roles for us. Overall we are returning seven defensemen, 11 forwards and one goaltender and most of them have been around for a few years and it is our hope this is the year they blossom."

Hawks a sleeper?: Don't rule out Xaverian as a potential candidate to do some big things this season. Reaching the Division 1 South quarterfinals last season, the Hawks should be a better unit this year in spite of the departures of Eddie Pratt (17 goals last year) and defenseman Mike Brennan. They are led by forwards Antonio Marini (35 points last year), Tim Sweeney (24 points) and Jake Farrell (14). Defensively, Rick Smith and Ryan Walsh will be keys in shutting down opposing offenses.

Shot in the arm for SMH: After spending last season at Brewster Academy, St. Mary's of Lynn head coach Mark Lee was overjoyed learning that goalie Bailey MacBurnie was returning for his senior year.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, MacBurnie secured a 1.38 goals-against-average in helping the Spartans earn a No. 2 seeding in the Super 8 Tournament. With him back in the crease, expect St. Mary's to make another solid postseason run.

"Bailey can certainly be a difference maker for us," Lee said. "I think with this team we are putting a lot of kids in a position to allow them to gain great experience because overall we are a young team. I think we'll get better as the season goes."

With another year under their respective belts, you can look for forwards Jordan Manthorne and Jon Powers, the only two players to reach double digits in scoring last season, to lead to carry this club offensively.

Burlington moves on from repeat: Defending back-to-back Division 1 state champion Burlington will count on its defense to help the Red Devils in their quest for a third state title.

"So far I'm happy with our progress even though it has only been a couple of days," said Burlington head coach and recently-inducted Mass. State Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bob Conceison. "We have a strong defense and some forward that are young so it will be a work in progress to get our offense going. This is kind of a similar team to last year in that our offense started to come together at the end of the year. It's going to take a while for our offense to gel. We lost some firepower on offense last year (losing C.J. Grinnell and Joe Bernardi) but our defense is back."

The Red Devils also lost goalie Derek DeCastro to graduation and hope to fill the void with senior Mike Guleserian.

The Hall calls: Longtime Hudson head coach Mike Nanartowich will be inducted into the Mass. State Coaches Hall of Fame in May, along with Murphy, Waltham head coach John Maguire and Stoughton front man Dan Mark. Two years removed from his Division 3 state championship triumph over Medway, Nanartowich, now in his 24th season, regards Shrewsbury as the favorite in Central Mass. this year.

The Colonials return a front line of Dan and Jack Quinlivan along with David Belbin. Last season the trio combined to score 125 points. However, never never rule out the possibility for the Hawks at making a serious charge by season's end.

"You still have to go out and show up for every single game," Nanartowich said. "Right now you have to give the edge to Shrewsbury because of the people that they are returning as well as Wachusett and its depth. But at this point, I just think Belbin and the Quinlivan brothers can be the most-dominant line in all of Central Mass. this year. How you take care of their speed and skill requires a lot of game planning. As for us, we will still go out and play everyone straight up like we always do."

In regards to going into the Hall of Fame, Nanartowich remains humble over the selection. He passes the credit over to the players and coaches he has worked with over the years as the reason for the honor.

"I'm going in with a bunch of great guys and guys who have won at a good level," he said. "For me, all that hard work of watching tape, going to various rinks to scout and those commitments you make in the off-season with your team has paid off in winning a state championship and now it has paid off in terms of being recognized by your peers."

Hawks longtime assistant coach Mike Correa added that the honor bestowed on Nanartowich is certainly well-deserved.

"There is probably no one who does more for his players or works harder at preparing kids, not only for the game but life lessons as well, than him," Correa said. "Winning the 2012 state championship is not the reason why he should be in the hall. It is all the dedication he has brought to all the kids who have played in this program over the years which stands out to me."

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