Boston High School: Matt Hughes

ESPN Boston Super 8 primer

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
6:25
PM ET
There are less than 48 hours remaining before the puck drops on the real Super 8 on Sunday at Merrimack College.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight:

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Marquee wins: Pretty much all of them, minus the Lancers’ one loss to New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Brendan Collier (22-34-56); F Ryan Fitzgerald (26-14-40); F Mike Iovanna (14-23-37); F Tyler Sifferlen (9-14-23); F Ara Nazarian (10-16-26); D Casey Fitzgerald (1-15-16); D Colin MacGillivray (2-8-10); Brendan White (2-16-18).

The skinny: As in the last couple of years, this year’s Super 8 is viewed as the Lancers’ tournament to lose. Again, they have the best line in the state with Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Iovanna saddling into Mike Vecchione’s former spot. But MC’s true strength is depth. Sifferlen and Nazarian would occupy a spot on mostly any team’s top line. Super frosh and BC commit Casey Fitzgerald has filled Conor Evangelista’s role dutifully as a puck-moving defenseman.

X-factor: Goaltending. Connor Maloney watched last year’s Super 8 from the BC High bench behind Peter Cronin. Now, it’s his time to shine.

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Marquee wins: Malden Catholic (Kasabuski Tournament tie); Hingham (5-1); Cathedral (3-2).

Players to watch: F Bobby Mullins (9-20-29); F Jarrod Fitzpatrick (14-7-21); F Cam O’Neill (14-15-29); F Brendan Mageary (13-11-24); F Tim Aylward (10-10-20); D Nikko Markham (6-12-18); D Bryan Wilkins (1-7-8); G Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA, 94.1 save %).

The skinny: So what were the Spartans to do without perennial league all-star Donald Hesse as their backbone? Well, Mark Lee found a more-than-legitimate starter in MacBurnie, a sophomore, who’s played well along with a defensive corps led by Markham. Fitzpatrick has been another revelation in his first season with the Spartans. St. Mary’s has greater scoring depth than in year’s past. And they’re young, as freshman Eric MacAdams (4-14-18) has impressed seeing top-line action.

X-factor: How do the Spartans react in a tight game. In last year’s Super 8 play-in stab, and the Div. 1 tournaments of year’s past, one-goal games have come back to haunt them. If they can sweat out a couple of close decisions in this tournament, they might find themselves at the Garden.

3. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Marquee wins: BC High (3-1); Hingham (2-1); Central Catholic (4-0).

Players to watch: F Sam Kurker (26-26-52); F Brian Pinho (14-20-34); F Tyler Bird (9-5-14), F Andrew Brandano (8-6-14); D Nick Pandalena (6-10-16); D Brent Murray (0-4-4); G David Letarte (2.02 GAA, 91.5 save %).

The skinny: We still haven’t gotten over last year’s championship game; it was simply amazing hockey. There’s no Colin Blackwell, but Kurker (BU commit) has really blossomed this season and has taken this team on his back the way his former linemate did last year. Pinho and Bird, along with Kurker, are a formidable first line to skate against, and are strong in all three zones. Pandalena is a mountain of a defenseman, but beyond him, the Eagles blue line was green entering the season. Murray has elevated his play to comprise a formidable top pairing.

X-factor: Letarte. I believe we said this last year as well. When the senior is on his game, he can be airtight.

4. Hingham (16-4-2)
Marquee wins: Marshfield (6-2); Catholic Memorial (3-2); St. John’s of Shrewsbury (4-0).

Players to watch: F James Gordon (21-17-38); F Matt Brazel (11-20-31); F Matt Hughes (13-11-24); F Ryan Linehan (8-12-20); F Patrick Mannion (6-12-18); F Sam D’Antuono (6-19-25); D Nolan Driscoll (2-7-9); G John Grenier (1.88 GAA, 90.1 save %).

The skinny: If this team had a motto, it would be “lacking experience, but not young.” During the Harbormen’s most recent Super 8 runs, a good portion of this year’s roster watched from way down the bench, or up in the gallery. But this team has collectively raised its game and is benefitted by great coaching. Gordon’s 20-goal season has been a pleasant surprise and Brazel is one worth watching for the next two years. The real revelation has been Grenier between the pipes. The Xaverian transfer is among the statewide leaders in goals against average.

X-factor: Grenier. He doesn’t fit the current mold of a big, butterfly goaltender. Instead, he relies on aggressively challenging the shooter and cutting down angles. We’ll see how it matches up with the precision passing games of MC and St. John’s (S) in pool play games.

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Marquee wins: St. John’s (twice); Prep (5-3); Cathedral (3-0).

Players to watch: F Matt Sullivan (9-15-24); F Tom Besinger (10-15-25); F Bartley Regan (7-6-13); F Steve DeForge (6-13-19); D Brian Furey (3-6-9); D Sam Topham (1-9-10); G Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA; 91.5 save %).

The skinny: Cronin lead this team to the crossover round last year, falling just short of an upset of MC. He was the revelation of last year’s tournament and, as usual, the Eagles will look to their goaltender to continue his strong play. Besinger might be the shiftiest forward in the tournament not named Kevin Emmerling. He’s not big, but he sure can skate. Furey has done a nice job leading a young Eagles blue-line corps this season. ‘Moe’ Regan has produced some dirty goals and has thrived in his role as a power forward, coming off his EMass D1 Super Bowl win.

X-factor: Sullivan. The Eagles’ soft-spoken leader is a lead-by-example type, but thrives in big-game atmospheres. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s a player we’re talking about months after the tournament.

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Marquee wins: BC High (4-3); Needham (1-0); CM (3-1).

Players to watch: F Frank Crinella (13-15-28); F Thomas Quinlan (11-5-16); F Peter Crinella (5-8-13); F Brendan Ashe (7-7-14); D Matt Foley (0-12-12); G John Liquori (2.40 GAA, 88.9 save %).

The skinny: The Panthers cracked the top six this year after getting bounced in a play-in game last year. This is a team that isn’t very flashy, but is consistently tough to play against, playing a brand of hockey that can be frustrating to opponents. Sophomore John Liquori has been steady, taking over for old stalwart Zac Rondeau. Liquori is the benefactor of a sound defensive squad that likes to play the body and takes care of its defensive assignments with diligence.

X-factor: Frank Crinella is perhaps the most talented player in the state who receives the least amount of deserved credit. This tournament could be a statement for him.

7. Central Catholic (13-3-5)
Marquee wins: Burlington (6-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Ryan Daigle (8-15-23); F Mike Kelleher (10-7-17); F Lloyd Hayes (15-8-23); F Alex Lester (7-9-16); F Zack Cote (10-4-14); D Jake Donahue (3-4-7); G Kyle Williams (2.13 GAA, 91.1 save %).

The skinny: Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but the Raiders again used a spirited second-half push after a slow start to get back into the top tournament. If they continue the fast and physical brand of hockey they played against Burlington, the Raiders will provide a tough test. Kelleher’s natural hat trick is a big boost to Central’s chances going forward; if he gets going, he’s one of the most potent pure scorers in the state.

X-factor: Williams. Shocking, right? As the goaltender goes, so goes the Raiders. And it’s no coincidence that Central played its best while last year’s ESPN Boston All-State netminder was at his finest.

8. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
Marquee wins: Needham (5-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Kevin Emmerling (25-28-53); F Vin D’Amato (23-14-37); F Jay Duquette (11-22-33); F Hunter Burdick (6-9-15); D Nick Rutigliano (1-10-11).

The skinny: Akin to Central Catholic, the Pioneers took perhaps their biggest win of the season on Monday. In that shootout with Needham, they showed why they can go toe-to-toe with any team across the state with the top line of Emmerling, D’Amato and Duquette running and gunning …

X-factor: … but then there’s the defense. The Pioneers are going to need to tighten up in their own end. If they allow their three future opponents to enter the zone as they allowed the Rockets to run in the third period, there could be some lop-sided scores.

Final Super 8 field projection and mixtape

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
7:16
PM ET
On the final day of the regular season, and with less than 24 hours remaining before Saturday’s Super 8 committee selection meeting, we’ve cobbled together our final field projection for the state’s premier hockey tournament.

The top six seeds have remained pretty consistent down the stretch, but we see two new squads slipping in the back door to nab the final play-in game positions.

Also, we thought it was fitting to take a cue from friend, colleague and longtime Super 8 supporter Chris Forsberg, by way of John Buccigross, with a little musical tribute to each team, chronicling some of our favorite (or not so much, or otherwise noteworthy, whatever fits, right?) songs of the last year or so.

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
1

Where they ranked in last projection: 1

Why they’re in this spot: Lancers’ only loss of the season came against an out-of-state opponent (New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton), in addition to one of their ties (Hamden, Conn.). MC’s also been at No. 1 in our poll from “box to wire” to steal one of Chris Serino’s expressions. Plus, the Lancers will be a motivated squad headed into the tournament, playing for their ailing former coach.

Song that fits: Coldplay, “Us Against the World.” I’m a much bigger fan of the Brit-band’s early catalogue and was in attendance for one of their first U.S. shows. Not a huge fan of Mylo Xylato (or the last two albums for that matter) but this song fits, not to mention we know a couple Lancers will appreciate the nod. The message is clear, they’re doing it for Serino this year.

Lyric that fits: “Through chaos as it swirls/ It's us against the world.”

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
2

Where they ranked in last projection: 2

Why they’re in this spot: The Spartans lone loss of the season came to the aforementioned Lancers in the first game of the high school hockey season; they even improved upon their first result, tying MC at the Kasabuski tourney. Perhaps the most steady team of the season, playing in front of sophomore goaltender Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA in 21 games), who’s been a revelation.

Song that fits: My Morning Jacket, "The Day is Coming." Last year's "Circuital" wasn't one of my favorite band's best efforts (you see a pattern beginning to emerge here?), but this one's a gem from one of the most imaginative bands working today.

Lyric that fits: "If opportunity, rears its head/ Will you answer, or stay home in bed?"

3. Hingham (16-4-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
3

Where they ranked in last projection: 3

Why they’re in this spot: The wildcard of the season. Obviously, the Hingham brand of hockey is synonymous with the Super 8, but not even head coach Tony Messina knew exactly what he had coming into this season. The inexperienced, but talented Harbormen haven’t missed a stride this season. There’s no single sensation that’s carried the load, but Hingham is deep, evidenced by their five forwards (Sam D’Antuono, James Gordon, Matt Hughes, Ryan Linehan and Patrick Mannion) with 18 or more points on the season.

Song that fits: Real Estate: "It's Real." My favorite break-out band of the year. Their sophomore effort "Days" was one of the best albums of last calendar year. A must-listen for anybody who enjoys The Smiths, or songs about the Jersey coastline.

Lyric that fits: "I skated on the frozen Sea/ It's real as far as I can see."

4. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
5

Where they ranked in last projection: 4

Why they’re in this spot: This spot could be a toss-up between the Eagles and the Eagles of BC High. In this instance, we’re going to slot Prep ahead of their Catholic Conference rivals on the tail end of their schedule. Although Prep and BC High tied their season series, both claimed two-goal victories, the committee might look at BC High’s recent ties at the Cape Cod Classic (wins for tournament purposes) as reason to slide them to No. 5. Looking beyond the play-in games, Prep’s top line of Tyler Bird, Brian Pinho and Sam Kurker is one of the few lines in the state that create problems for MC’s vaunted top line.

Song that fits: Avicii "Levels." A staple of Prep's warmup mix this season, and as ubiquitous a dance song in society this side of anything off of Daft Punk's "Discovery." Fully expect to hear this song about 1,000 times during the Super 8 at Lawler. Get ready.

Lyric that fits: "Oh, sometimes/ I get a good feeling." (Well, come to think of it, that's about all there is for lyrics.)

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
4

Where they ranked in last projection: 5

Why they’re in this spot: As we explained, there’s little separating the Eagles of Morrissey Blvd. and the aforementioned Eagles. It’s just that the Eagles’ two shootout wins and one-goal win over Archbishop Williams in the Cape Cod Classic this week might cost them a higher seed than this spot. In either case, they’re a shoo-in and a dangerous squad at that as goaltender Peter Cronin (.915 save percentage) has only matured since his eye-opening performance in last year’s tournament. Let’s not forget either, the Eagles a relatively young squad as well, with only four seniors (Adam Conway, Brian Furey, Bartley Regan and Matt Sullivan) on the roster.

Song that fits: M83, "Intro." This is the lead-in to Anthony Gonzalez's masterpiece "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" (yes, the song you skip over to get to "Midnight City"). My favorite album of last year, for those of us who still actually believe in the concept of the album.

Lyric that fits: "The battle's fought/ The deed is done/ Our silver hum runs deep and strong."

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
6

Where they ranked in last projection: 9

Why they’re in this spot: Outwardly, the Panthers don’t have the most striking record, but only three of their losses have come in-state. And all of those losses came against teams ranked before them in this projected field (BC High, MC, St. Mary’s). They’ve shown they can skate with the best in the state, albeit, they coughed up a point in a 5-5 with Prep after holding a 4-goal lead. But Wednesday’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Needham in their host tournament showed how difficult this team can be to play against. As in that game, sophomore John Liquori has been solid and senior captain Frank Crinella (13-15-28) is as tough to play against as he is talented.

Song that fits: The National, "Conversation 16." Trying to figure out what lead singer Matt Berninger's lyrics are about is like trying to do a Rubik's cube blind-folded. But they sure are interesting, if not entirely depressing. Great band, the band that Coldplay wishes they could be but are not, what with adoration of critics everwhere (including me).

Lyric that fits: "I was less than amazing/ Do not know what all the troubles are for."

THE FINAL FOUR (PLAY-IN TEAMS)

7. Central Catholic (12-3-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 7

Where they ranked in last projection: 6

Why they’re in this spot: We had the Raiders avoiding a play-in game in our previous field, but given their play down the stretch (3-0 loss to Andover stings), it feels like that’s exactly what they’re staring down for a second straight year. Still, as in year’s past, Central has made a Super 8 push with a strong second half and things seem to be falling into place with ESPN Boston preseason All-State goaltender Kyle Williams (2.00 GAA) playing his best hockey down the stretch.

Song that fits: At the Drive-In, "Rolodex Propaganda." OK, not a new song, but the reunion of the late-90's greatest band has me excited.

Lyric that fits: "Pinch history feel the pinch blistering/ Pinch me in my dreams cause I'm still not listening."

8. Burlington (14-1-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
10

Where they ranked in last projection: 8

Why they’re in this spot: An emphatic 7-3 win over a quality Chelmsford team Thursday night in the Cahoon Tournament championship is exactly the kind of emphatic statement that can help a team this time of year. As the winner’s of the Middlesex League’s small schools division, we believe the Red Devils will be the lone team representing one of the state’s toughest conferences. The only thing that could work against them is a high amount of ties. They’re also a little light in the marquee win category. Senior forwards Trevor Cimino and Brett Romkey were two of my favorite players to watch this season.

Song that fits: Bon Iver, "Minnesota, Wi." Just because Justin Vernon's Grammy acceptance is still one of the most priceless moments in recorded internet history.

Lyric that fits: "Never gonna break/ Not for a part in any gamut of the dark."

9. Needham (16-4-1)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 8

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: You could make the case that Wednesday’s Springfield Cathedral Tournament game against the Panthers was a battle for the right to take the sixth seed. Given that the Rockets played well, but came away with a 1-0 loss, that’s why they’re here. This isn’t an offensive juggernaut, and hopefully the Rockets’ recent goal-starved performances will not negatively affect them, but they play solid team defense. It starts from the goalmouth out with a dependable, experienced goaltender in Connor Murray. Senior captains Lucas Davis and D.J. Walsh are equally adept in the offensive zone as they are in their own end.

Song that fits: Jack White, "Love Interruption." As soon as we lost The White Stripes, White came back with this solo effort that cuts to the bone. After a couple tough Super 8 appearances, Needham's looking for more than just another appearance.

Lyric that fits: "Yeah, I won't let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me anymore."

10. Westford Academy (12-2-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:
17

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: Alright, so this is our boldest prediction, given that the Grey Ghosts still have one paramount game to play (as of the time of publication) against another Super 8 Watch List team in Milton at the Irish-American Shootout championship. We’re going to project that the Grey Ghosts make the DCL/MVC the only public school league with two representatives; you can make the case the DCL/MVC was the strongest public conference this season, top to bottom. In addition, I like the way the Grey Ghosts attack with speed. They also have one of the most underrated D-men in the state in senior captain Pat Houghton (1-15-16) in front of senior goaltender Zach Webert.

Song that fits: Holy Ghost!, "Hold On." Ghosts, get it? Plus, they're a Brendan Hall favorite.

Lyric that fits: "It seems like I've been here before."

Cape Cod Classic: Super 8 preview?

February, 19, 2012
2/19/12
1:50
AM ET


FALMOUTH, Mass. -- One week from Saturday, the Super 8 hockey committee will convene and assemble the field of the state’s premier tournament. Both No. 4 Hingham and No. 7 BC High almost assuredly will be among the teams making the cut.

But if Saturday’s matchup between the two clubs to open the Cape Cod Classic tournament was any indication of what is to come, Bay State hockey fans in for one might fine tournament.

The Eagles and Harbormen skated to a 1-1 tie, as it will be entered in the MIAA’s scorebook. Hingham’s Ryan Linehan scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

After a five-minute overtime period, BC High netminder Peter Cronin and Hingham counterpart John Grenier continued trading saves. Finally, Eagles senior captain and defenseman Brian Furey sent BC High along to the winner’s bracket with the first and only goal of the shootout in its seventh round.

“[Grenier] was playing aggressive, so I figured I’d fake the shot and have some room stuff it in, and I did,” Furey said.

BC High (9-5-4) claimed the lead at 12:54 of the second period with defenseman Sam Topham rifling a slapshot past Grenier, glove side.

The Eagles appeared to be well on their way to two points in the third period, controlling play in Hingham’s end for the bulk of the stanza. BC High continued to hem the Harbormen, even in the minute. Hingham (14-4-2) had been unable to pull Grenier for an extra attacker when senior captain winger Matt Hughes made his way through the neutral zone with about 30 seconds remaining.

After the puck was chipped up the boards, Hughes gained the blue line and played a perfect cross-ice pass onto Linehan’s stick. Linehan’s one-timer slid past Cronin for the tying goal.

“We had an injury on that play, the guy jumped over the boards, he kind of got caught in no-man’s land,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “If he’d gotten a piece of him, maybe it doesn’t happen. It was just a good hockey play by Hingham. [Hughes] made a great pass, [Linehan] one-timed it and it ended up in the back of the net.”

HE’S A GAMER
Hughes missed part of the second period with a shoulder injury, after he was ridden into the boards awkwardly on a check. He returned later in the game, playing in pain. Although his status going forward is day-to-day, Hughes’ returned paid dividends.

“It was a nice pass, and it was a lot of guts coming back," Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. "I don’t know what the extent of his should injury is going to be, but he said he could play with the pain. And he did a great job.”

FINISH WITH A FUREY
With most of BC High’s forward options exhausted in the shootout, and with no end in sight, John Flaherty glanced down his bench at his available shooters. Furey nodded back toward the Eagles bench boss. Flaherty signaled back toward center ice.

After watching six of this teammates fail to convert against Grenier, Furey knew exactly what to do with the puck.

Although the thought of letting a Chara-like slapshot from the between the circles did cross his mind.

“I don’t quite have a 108-mile-per-hour slap shot though,” Furey added.

ARCHIES 4, NO. 20 FALMOUTH 1
In the Classic's nightcap, Archbishop Williams (8-8-1) completed half of the work they needed to accomplish on Cape Cod with a 4-1 win over the host Falmouth Clippers (12-4-5).

Archies head coach Derackk Curtis was not very pleased with his team’s overall effort, but the Bishops did enough to pull to within one win of qualifying for the MIAA state tournament.

“That wasn’t our best game…I thought that we’d come out with a little more urgency,” Curtis said.

AW was outshot by the Clippers 26-12 for the game, but did the most of with the pucks they did put on Falmouth’s Petey Negri as the scored goals on 3 of their first 5 shots on net in the contest.

With a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart in the first period AW took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after one. Mike Sorenti sniped one inside the near side post at the 6:42 mark of the first. Then, before the dust settled on that one, Sean Leblanc chopped one in from the doorstep to give the visitors at 2-0 lead.

Falmouth came out like gangbusters to start the second period and picked up the tempo, but AW held the fort as goalie Joe Vinay (25 saves) made a handful of big stops, the best of which was on a doorstep bid by Cyrus Wickersham at the five minute mark.

With a goal on their first shot of the second period, at 5:24 by Falmouth resident Mike Jessman, AW was in the driver’s seat.

FHS broke through at 13:36 of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1 when Nick Lineaweaver netted a power play goal off a nice feed across the crease from Ben Taylor. The air quickly left the Clippers’ balloon, though, as AW got a power play goal just 15 seconds later, off the stick of Bill Sweezey, that made it 4-1. AW scored its four goals all on their first eight shots on net.

AW will meet surprise winner Waltham, Monday at 7 p.m.. Falmouth squares off with Arlington Catholic at 3 p.m.

NO. 18 AUSTIN PREP 4, DUXBURY 1
BC High will face Austin Prep on Monday after the Cougars qualified for the Division 1 North tournament in a 4-1 win over Duxbury.

Cam Russo, Nolan Vesey and Scott Corcoran all scored in the first period, putting AP (9-6-3) in the driver's seat.

WALTHAM 3, NO. 17 ARLINGTON CATHOLIC 2
Although the Hawks are out of postseason contention, they put on an impressive display early on against the Cougars.

Waltham (4-11-3) ran out to a 3-0 lead by the second intermission, before the Cougars (9-6-4) scored twice in the third to make a game of it.

(Reporting from Rich Maclone was included in this story.)

Recap: Ed Taylor Holiday Tournament

December, 27, 2011
12/27/11
1:46
AM ET


HINGHAM, Mass. -- No. 5 Marshfield won the Division 1 state hockey title last season and the Rams are looking to take the leap to the Super 8 level and compete with the very best in Massachusetts.

Hingham gave Marshfield a sample of what that might be like on Monday.

The No. 9 Harbormen posted three goals in the first 1:13 of the third period in a flurry of offensive power to take a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Rams in the nightcap of the Ed Taylor Holiday Tournament doubleheader at Pilgrim Ice Arena.

Dual senior captains Matt Hughes and James Gordon provided the third period barrage with a pair of goals apiece, with Hughes scoring bookend goals and Gordon sandwiching in two of his own in the four-goal barrage.

“Great effort by both [Hughes and Gordon] of them and Ryan Linehan, all three of our captains contributed and they scored five of the six goals,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “The first two periods, we had equal pressure and were just fortunate enough to get some 2-on-1s and some breaks there. We only scored four goals in the first three games, so it’s not like we were putting the puck in the net so it was good to get a chance to do that.”

Despite controlling the puck for most of the first two periods of play, Hingham (2-2-0) found themselves clinging to a slim 2-1 lead after two periods.

At 10:15 of the first, Matt Brazel went to the backhand off a pass in front from Sam D’Antuono to finally beat Marshfield’s netminder Kevin Moran, who played extremely well in net with 15 saves in spite of the final score, to help Hingham break the scoreless tie.

Right out of the gates of the second period, Hughes filled the right slot and fired a mid-air pass to Linehan off the left post and Linehan slapped the puck out of the air for the quick 2-0 lead 33 seconds into the second stanza.

But Marshfield made things interesting, as Mike Carbone scored his third goal of the season in as many games at 9:35 of the second period off a scrum out in front of the crease. Brennan Quackenbush was credited with the assist and Carbone’s goal cut the Rams’ deficit in half heading into the decisive third period.

“I mean we have size, but we just weren’t playing the way we are supposed to,” Marshfield head coach Dan Connolly said. “We have to play better, not a little better, a lot better and honestly we were lucky to still be in it after two periods. Hingham just wanted it more.”

Hughes’ first tally was 20 seconds into the period right off the opening faceoff on a quick tip-in out in front of the crease. Gordon immediately followed with his two tallies at 13:59 and 13:47 of the third on back-to-back goals, and the rout was sealed.

The Harbormen outshot the Rams 11-1 in the first 7:20 of the third and were on cruise control the rest of the way with a final 21-15 shot advantage.

Even though the season has barely kicked off, Connolly was hoping this was a litmus test of sorts for his squad to take the next step on the ladder and compete for a Super 8 title as Hingham has been to the big dance nine out of the last 10 seasons.

“We are not even close to being ready to compete at this level and the gap there is so big,” Connolly said. “Unless our kids change things around and start listening to what we need to do, we are in some trouble.”

NO. 18 WEYMOUTH SKATES PAST DUXBURY
In the opener, Tom Goodwin netted the game-winner with 2:08 remaining in regulation as Weymouth edged Duxbury 2-1 in the opener of the Taylor Holiday Tournament at Pilgrim Arena.

Weymouth (1-1-2) picked up their first win on the young season and advance to the tourney finals to face the host Hingham on Thursday night at 8 p.m. Duxbury will face Marshfield in the consolation tilt at 6 p.m.

“I thought we battled pretty good, got some pucks to the net, but we have a lot of new guys here and lost some size due to graduation, but I think we will get better and better as the year goes along," Green Dragons head coach John Blake said. “We have to keep in the back of our minds that we are young, we play a very tough nonleague schedule, but we do that to find out where we are at and what we need to work on.”

After a scoreless first period, Duxbury (1-3-1) took the lead at 6:48 of the second as Cam Daley put the puck in the back of the net but the lead vanished as Joe Flanagan tied it up only 1:29 later as the Duxbury defense couldn’t clear the zone.

NHL PEDIGREE
Kevin Stevens, former Bruin and 15-year veteran of the NHL also with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers, was in attendance to watch his son, freshman Luke Stevens, compete for ice time with the Duxbury Dragons.

Stevens, who played his high school hockey at Silver Lake and is now a pro scout in the New England area for the Penguins, likes the way Coach Blake handles the rotations on the ice and knows it will only take time for his son to adjust.

“I like how [Blake] works the young kids in and it seems like he does a really good job but this is only my first year with the Duxbury program,” said the four-time NHL All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. “The biggest thing with any of these programs is finding the balance to mix in the younger kids with the older kids and my kid is only 14 years old competing with 17-year olds, and [Luke]’s played at a high level all his life, but this year will be different.”


NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The seniors of Weymouth hockey had never once beat South Shore rival Hingham until this year. Now, it seems the Wildcats have the Harbormen’s number.

Faced with a one-goal, third-period deficit, No. 4 seed Weymouth scratched their way back into the game to come away with a 4-3 win over fifth-seeded Hingham in their first-round Super Eight tournament game at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena on Saturday, marking their second straight win over the Harbormen.

“This says a lot about those kids and a lot about this team,” Wildcats head coach Matt Cataldo said. “We knew if we just kept working, we’d get the chances.”

Weymouth (18-3-2) was first on the board midway through the first period. Junior forward Jonathan Wilson had the Wildcats to a 1-0 lead with just his second goal of the season. Sophomore winger Ian Sheridan added an assist. But Hingham (13-6-4) tied the game with less than minute remaining in the period with Alex Pompeo’s seeing-eye slap shot from the point. Pompeo’s power-play goal was assisted by Steven Bellew and Matt Hughes.

The Wildcats got back to it in the second, reclaiming the lead in the third minute with Riley Flanagan chipping home a centering pass from Tyler Piacentini. Steve Bristol also added a helper on the play.

“Tyler’s done that all year long,” Flanagan said of Piacentini’s wizardry with the pass. “I don’t know how he does it, he just does.”

Hingham finished the second period with a flurry, however, and outshot the Wildcats, 9-2. Dan Griffin netted his fifth goal of the season with 6:24 to play in the second and the Harbormen struck once again in the final minute, for the second straight period, with Ryan Linehan redirecting James Gordon’s pass past Weymouth netminder Brian Brady (16 saves).

“The goal was to get the puck deep and forecheck the D before they could get the puck up,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. I think we did that well for the first two periods.”

The ice shifted in the other direction during the third, however, as Weymouth outshot Hingham, 11-4. The line of Flanagan, Trevor King and Piacentini again left its imprint on the game. Midway through the third, Flanagan netted his second goal of the game, set up by yet another perfect touch pass (or was it intended as a shot?) from Piacentini.

Then, it was King’s turn to get in the fray. The converted forward, turned defenseman, turned forward again, potted the game-winner with 2:45 remaining with a set up from Flanagan, who completed his three-point game.

“We’ve had a big rivalry with them over the years,” Flanagan said, “and that was huge for us getting the split against them … That gave us confidence.”

10's a crowd: A Super 8 primer

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
3:28
PM ET
We’re hours away from dropping the puck in the postseason with tonight’s Super Eight play-in games.

But we took a little time to sort out the Super Eight field, providing a primer on the teams.

Take a peek:

1. Malden Catholic (16-2-2)
Marquee wins: Lancers had wins over five of the 10 Super Eight teams and that doesn’t even include what might have been their most impressive win, an early season triumph over New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Mike Vecchione, F Ryan Fitzgerald, F Brendan Collier, D Connor Evangelista, F Nick Roberto.

The skinny: Wire to wire, unquestionably the top-ranked team in the state. As in the last couple of seasons, the Lancers enter the Super Eight with lofty expectations and seemingly nothing short of a title will satisfy. MC’s depth reaches far beyond its top line of three Division 1 college recruits (Collier, Fitzgerald and Vecchione) and its team speed and passing ability are without parallel. Not only can they score, they can defend as well, led by top defensive pairing of Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray.

X-factor: It’s funny how the postseason seems to shave away certain goals into missed chances and oftentimes it due to a hot netminder. So if those once plentiful goals start to ebb away, it will be left to senior goaltender Pat Young to shine. Young is capable between the pipes and he might just show that he’s been the most overlooked element to MC’s success.

2. St. John’s Prep (14-5-1)
Marquee wins: As the runners up in the Catholic Conference, the Eagles nabbed a pair of league wins against both BC High and Catholic Memorial, but it might have been Prep’s win against the Knights on Friday that showed they can truly be a threat in the Super Eight. Playing against a CM team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Eagles ratcheted up the D in a playoff-like atmosphere.

Players to watch: F Colin Blackwell, F Shane Eiserman, F Sam Kurker, G David Letarte, D Joe Currie.

The skinny: Outside of MC, the Eagles have the deepest collection of eye-popping offensive talent. Blackwell, a Harvard commit, is equally adept as a playmaker as he is a sniper. Eiserman is wise and mature beyond his years as a freshman while Kurker provides grit and a nice scoring complement. The blue line was the perceived weakness of the squad, but they’ve come a long way with Currie providing veteran leadership, in addition to Scott Derrickson who played a strong second half.

X-factor: Kurker. When the junior winger gets hot, he’s hard to stop and creates a dynamism to Prep’s offense.

3. BC High (13-4-3)
Marquee wins: The Eagles finished strong, winning their final six games in addition to the Cape Cod Classic tournament to end the season. Their 5-4 shootout with Catholic Memorial was also a classic, as usual. Does a tie against Malden Catholic count as well? Sure.

Players to watch: F Mike Cashman, F Terence Durkin, F Andrew White, D Jack Buckley, D Brendan O’Malley.

The skinny: The Eagles play with plenty of speed, a point of emphasis for first-year head coach John Flaherty when assembling this year’s varsity roster, and the young roster has gelled together quickly. More than anything, BC High has taken play to their opponents. They’re aggressive on the forecheck and know how to use their speed to their advantage.

X-factor: Experience. The Eagles haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, so a good portion of their roster hasn’t experienced playoff hockey. How long will it take them to acclimate? A period? A shift? “Hopefully, not even that,” Flaherty said. “At the end of the day, it’s just another hockey game. It’s not different from any others.”

4. Weymouth (17-3-2)
Marquee wins: The Wildcats’ 5-2 win over fellow Super Eight entrant and longtime rival Hingham at Pilgrim was about as good as it gets for the Weymouth seniors who’d never beaten the Harbormen before. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs,” head coach Matt Cataldo told ESPN Boston after the game.

Players to watch: F Tyler Piacentini, F Riley Flanagan, G Brian Brady, F/D Trevor King, D Andy Sheridan.

The skinny: When are people finally going to stop saying that Piancentini is too small to play on the big stage? He can flat out score. Hey, it worked for Nathan Gerbe, right? Not only does Weymouth have scoring punch, they’re well suited for a long postseason run with Brady, a senior, in nets. Outside of MC, the Wildcats were perhaps the state’s most consistent team from start to finish and that means something coming in a year of great parity.

X-factor: King has played on the blue line and stepped up front to play center as well this season. Whether it’s moving the puck out of his own end, or stepping in to win a faceoff, versatility always comes in handy this time of year.

5. Hingham (13-5-4)
Marquee wins: It might not look as impressive as their upset over Malden Catholic on paper, but the Harbormen’s 5-3 win over St. Mary’s of Lynn on Feb. 5 got them going. After upsetting the Lancers, Hingham went through a tough 0-3-1 stretch before turning things around with a comeback win that had the intensity of Super Eight matchup.

Players to watch: F Tim Driscoll, D Alex Pompeo, F Matt Hughes, F Austin O’Connor, D Steven Bellew.

The skinny: Let’s call spades a spade: the Harbormen are the defending champions, so that has to count for something. Simply put, they’ve been there and done that, so nerves won’t be an issue. Although there was a good amount of turnover from last year’s roster, a few of their stalwarts remain in Holy Cross commit Driscoll and Pompeo, who is among the best defensemen in the state. They are terrific building blocks to a Super Eight champion-caliber squad.

X-factor: Derek McInnis was superb during last year’s run to the title, but head coach Tony Messina likes to roll his goaltenders and senior Kevin Granatino has been solid in the second half of the season. That gives the Harbormen perhaps the greatest depth in goal in the tournament.

6. Needham (12-6-4)
Marquee wins: Where would the Rockets have been without their 3-2 win over Weymouth on Feb. 9? It was a season-turner. Their 4-3 win over Springfield Cathedral was their raison d’Ítre to the tournament.

Players to watch: D Chris Joyce, F Tom Coleman, F Jeff Rosata, D Scott Atkinson.

The skinny: Who’d have thought the Rockets would end up with the sixth seed after (literally) being left off the table in the first round of Super Eight voting. Of course, head coach Bill Guisti has built Needham into one of the state’s premier public school programs and is evidenced by their tough out-of-conference schedule which includes several Catholic Conference teams. So the Rockets are used to playing the best. Joyce is in the conversation when it comes to the state’s best defensemen and we’ve always loved the jam Needham’s forward play with. They’re truly a tough team to play.

X-factor: Akin to the Harbormen, it will be interesting to see how Needham’s goaltending tandem of Evan MacDonald and Connor Murray shapes up. They’re both talented and capable of carrying the load.

7. Woburn (17-3-1)
Marquee wins: Life in the Middlesex League night in and night out is no easy thing, so we take the fact that the Tanners were 14-2-0 against league competition as a marquee accomplishment.

Players to watch: F Casey Shea, F Alex Holland, F Daniel Holland, F Eddie Aprile, D Brian Dulong.

The skinny: We had the Tanners pegged for the top six, which means they would have avoided playing Cathedral in tonight’s play-in game. But so is life and Woburn enters the tournament as one of the most consistent teams throughout the season …

X-factor: … However, the Tanners haven’t played much in the way of their out-of-conference schedule (a Their 6-0 thumping at the hands of St. John’s Prep was a good harbinger.

8. Central Catholic (16-5-1)
Marquee wins: It was early, but the Raiders’ 4-3 win over St. John’s Prep is about as good as it gets.

Players to watch: F Tommy Evangelista, G Kyle Williams, F Nick Pelrine, F/D Nick Leonard, D Ricky Sheehan.

The skinny: The Raiders looked like they might have been on the bubble with fellow DCL/MVC co-champion Billerica coming down the last couple weeks of the season, but Central showed what they are capable of with a huge 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Weymouth on the next to last day of the season. If that team shows up, the Raiders will be extremely dangerous. Evangelista is simply fun to watch.

X-factor: Williams is that type of goaltender who is capable of stealing games for his team.

9. St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-5-3)
Marquee wins: The Spartans had some tough luck in their out-of-conference schedule and had just a 7-5-3 record against fellow playoff teams. However, they were simply dominant in the Catholic Central (7-0-3), allowing just 12 goals in 10 games.

Players to watch: G Donald Hesse, D Cam Kennedy, F Bobby Mullins, F Christopher Surrette, F Tim Aylward.

The skinny: There’s no bones about why the Spartans are in the fold and that is their defense, which all starts in net with Hesse. Among the elite netminders in the state, Hesse is a game-changer and showed in last year’s Division 1 North tournament that he’s capable of putting a team on his back. Kennedy is an underrated blue-liner who is equally adept leading the breakout from his own end as he is clearing out the crease.

X-factor: It comes down to the ability for the Spartans to get those mucking-type goals in key situations and then shutting teams down.

10. Springfield Cathedral (12-9-1)
Marquee wins: All but one of the Panthers’ games was against a playoff opponent, so they’re battled tested and held their own against teams that were considered for the Super Eight, going 4-4-0.

Players to watch: G Zac Rondeau, D Sean Kavanagh, F Frank Crinella, F Dante Christofori.

The skinny: The Panthers always seem to find a way into the Super Eight field and play one of the toughest schedules in the state. They might not be as talented as their previous Super Eight predecessors, but they play good defense in front of Rondeau, who is capable of stealing games on his own.

X-factor: Kavanagh is one of the great hidden jewels in the state.

Handicapping the Super 8 'Watch List'

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
5:32
PM ET
Over the weekend, the Super Eight “Watch List” was compiled by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association. In what has proved to be a particularly wild year, 21 teams made the initial list for observation during the final two weeks of the season. The mere number of teams on the list is a testament to how truly even competition has been through the year.

Aside from our weekly Top 25 state hockey poll, we’re going to take a little time to break down the Watch List, making a case for each team and their chances at the big dance while ranking the likelihood they will be among the field in addition to couple of X-factors to their postseason success.

It goes without saying that there’s a lot of hockey left to be played, but here’s how we see them stacking up as of right now.

As always, feel free to sound off and leave a copy of your rankings in the comments section.

TOP OF THE HEAP
1. Malden Catholic (13-2-2)

Why they’re in: Wire-to-wire, the Lancers have been the state’s most consistent team, minus one hiccup against Hingham. The top line of Brendan Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Mike Vecchione is without parallel. Not only that, the Blue Blades have depth throughout. Simply stated, they’re the team to beat.

X-factor: So much has been written (we’re included) about the Lancers offense, but they have a defensive corps to boot led by Connor Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray, not to mention the very steady Pat Young in net.

TOP GUNS
2. Hingham (10-4-4)
Why they’re in:
There’s been some turnover from last year’s Super Eight championship team, but the Harbormen still have some important cogs in the fold from that squad starting with their captains: winger Tim Driscoll and defenseman Alex Pompeo. They form the nucleus of a group that’s been there and done that, evidenced by some clutch late season wins, like last week’s comeback win against St. Mary’s of Lynn.

X-factor: Rangy junior winger Matt Hughes (6-foot-2) has exhibited a quick release and knack for finding the back of the net. The Harbormen have gone through stretches where they’ve struggled to score. If Hughes is on his game, Hingham will be all that much tougher to beat.

3. St. John’s Prep (10-5-1)
Why they’re in:
The Eagles have assured themselves a second-place finish in the Catholic Conference with a 4-3-0 record thus far. Quite frankly, that should be a good enough resume to gain Super Eight entry in any season. In addition, Prep has Top 25 wins out of conference against Austin Prep, St. John’s (Shrewsbury), Springfield Cathedral and Woburn.

X-factor: The question entering the season was how far Harvard commit Colin Blackwell could lead the Eagles. But he hasn’t just had to do it alone. Freshman Shane Eiserman could soon follow Blackwell’s footsteps as a D-1 recruit. In net, Prep has it covered with junior David Letarte who’s underrated.

4. St. Mary’s of Lynn (12-3-3)
Why they’re in:
The Spartans aced their Catholic Central schedule with a 7-0-3 record, out-scoring their opponents 37-12. It all starts from the goal out with netminder Donald Hesse sporting a sub-2.00 goals against average. Sophomore Bobby Mullins has stepped up to shoulder the offensive load and leads the squad with 12 goals.

X-factor: The Spartans don’t have too many marquee out-of-conference wins, but we’re looking past that in this panel’s consideration of their merits on the strength of their conference schedule which includes three Top 25 squads in Archbishop Williams, Arlington Catholic and Austin Prep. St. Mary’s pushed Malden Catholic on Monday before losing, 3-2, but the Spartans have a couple more high profile non-leaguers on the docket with Springfield Cathedral and Weymouth.

TOP EIGHT BUBBLE
5. BC High (9-4-3)
Why they’re in:
First-year head coach and longtime Eagles assistant John Flaherty set a goal to get his team back into the postseason this season. Not only has BC High qualified for the state tournament, it very well looks like they’re Super Eight bound. The Eagles started Catholic Conference play 0-3-1, but were able to salvage two wins down the stretch. Their 3-3 tie against Malden Catholic seemed to be a springboard for the team to believe in itself.

X-factor: A big tip of the cap goes to the Eagles’ senior leadership in keeping the young squad together, led by captain Mike Cashman, and assistant captains Jack Buckley, Brendan O’Malley and Andrew White.

6. Weymouth (15-2-1)
Why they’re in
: We expect that the Wildcats will put their finishing touches on Bay State Carey league title on Wednesday against Braintree despite a recent bump in the road with a loss to Needham. It’s hard to imagine Weymouth not being a shoo-in for the field of eight having been so dominant wire-to-wire. We could get a glimpse at how the Wildcats could play in the field with a string of late season tests against Catholic Memorial, Central Catholic and St. Mary’s in the next two weeks.

X-factor: It all comes down to defense in the postseason and with defensemen Andy Sheridan and goaltender Brian Brady, the Wildcats have senior leadership covered.

7. Woburn (12-3-1)
Why they’re in:
The Tanners hold a slight 1-point lead over Winchester in the tight race to the Middlesex League crown. Their demonstrative 4-1 win over Reading on Saturday could go a long way toward punching their ticket. The Tanners control their own destiny with two more scheduled league games (Stoneham and Winchester) and, if they take care of business, they should be in.

X-factor: Woburn seems to be peaking at the right time and hasn’t lost since their first meeting against Reading on Jan. 8. Juniors Eddie Aprile and Bobby Smith played up for their latest big game against the Rockets last week.

HARD TO FIGURE
8. Catholic Memorial (7-7-1)
Why they’re in:
Bar none, nobody plays a harder schedule in the MIAA than the Knights every year. They’re accustomed to playing Super Eight-caliber hockey every time out and they get everybody’s best. For a CM team, they’re young, but they’re also plenty talented with defenseman Marc Hetnik leading the way. Sophomore Liam Coughlin (8-8-16) has been a revelation.

X-factor: Quite frankly, whether or not they have enough points to get to the tournament. It’s not often you’re taking a serious look at a .500 club come this time of year, but it again speaks to the quality of schedule in the Catholic Conference as well as out-of-conference. So here’s the gauntlet, five points in five games and they’re in.

9a. Central Catholic (12-4-1)
Why they’re in:
Less than a week ago, we had the Raiders ticketed for the top four of the eight-team field. After a lack-luster 1-1 tie against Billerica last Wednesday, Pandora’s Box opened. Now, as it stands as of publication time, the Raiders hold a 1-point lead over Billerica in the DCL/MVC with four games to play. The Indians also have four games to play. We’ll hedge that the winner of this pre-postseason mini tournament will have a chance at the Super Eight.

X-factor: Kyle Williams is that type of goaltender that can carry a team on a postseason run, but the Raiders can be dangerous if Tommy Evangelista and playmaker Nick Leonard are on point.

9b. Billerica (7-1-7)
Why they’re in:
If the aforementioned Raiders tail off and the Indians can pull of the DCL/MVC title, that’s it. On the plus side, the Indians have lost only one game, a 3-2 loss to Burlington. On the negative side, they’ve also only won less than half of their games as well.

X-factor: Health. The Indians were down five players in their 1-1 tie against Central Catholic, but the job head coach Mike Mastrullo pulled mixing and matching lines was masterful, plus his team came to play. It’s that side of Billerica that makes you believe.

ON THE FRINGE (WORD ASSOCIATION ROUND)
11. Needham (10-5-3)

Why they’re in: Building steam.

X-factor: Experience, Super Eight that is.

12. Springfield Cathedral (11-7-0)
Why they’re in:
Aren’t the Panthers always in?

X-factor: Zac Rondeau = game-changer.

13. Winchester (10-5-1)
Why they’re in:
Surviving the Middlesex League.

X-factor: Ryan McGoff.

14. Xaverian (8-5-2)
Why they’re in:
A Catholic Conference team on the outs?

X-factor: Dave Michaels.

BEST OF THE REST
15. Braintree (10-4-3)
16. Reading (12-4-1)
17. Arlington Catholic (8-3-6)
18. St. John’s Shrewsbury (10-6-1)
19. Barnstable (11-1-3)
20. Austin Prep (9-5-3)
21. Marshfield (10-2-4)
HINGHAM, Mass. -- If the Hingham boys’ hockey team is to make another run at a Super Eight title when the 2010-11 season is said and done, you can go ahead and circle Feb. 5 as the date the Harbormen turned things around.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup at Pilgrim Skating Arena against No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn, Hingham was trying to regain measure of momentum. Ever since their upset of Malden Catholic on Jan. 15, the seventh-ranked Harbormen had hit a rough patch, going 0-3-1 in their last four contests.

Again, Hingham fell behind against St. Mary’s and, despite battling back twice to tie the game, trailed with less than five minutes remaining. That’s when they regained their scoring touch, tying the score once again on Ryan Linehan’s power play strike, then potting the game-winner with 49 seconds to go on Alex Pompeo’s wrister, his second of the game. Tim Driscoll’s empty-net, short-handed goal iced it, giving a Hingham an emotional 5-3 win.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Pompeo, a senior defenseman and team co-captain. “We’ve been in a little bit of a slump and they’re definitely a Super Eight team, or close to it. This was just absolutely huge for us.”

Hingham (7-4-4) stopped their skid with a little help from their power play unit. The Harbormen took advantage on three of seven man-advantage situations.

“We’d been struggling on the power play lately and we’ve been struggling all season to score goal,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “Every game’s been a grind.”

Their latest battle was no different as St. Mary’s (9-2-3), which returned to game action after a 10-day layoff, pressed play in the first period. Bobby Mullins picked up where he left off, tallying his 12th goal of the season with 7:11 remaining in the first. Hingham tied the game 7:21 into the second period with their first of three power play goals on Matt Hughes’ wraparound.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 until a wild third period.

The Spartans regained the lead on Cam Kennedy’s slapper through a screen with 7:20 remaining. Pompeo drew the Harbormen even once again on a goal assisted by Steve Bellew and Linehan via a 5-on-3 power play chance with 5:07 left.

Once again, St. Mary’s forged ahead with Tommy Braswell’s goal off an offensive zone face-off win by Christopher Surrette with the teams playing 4-on-4. Linehan tied the game, 3-3, while falling backward and depositing the rebound from Hughes’ wrist shot.

Pompeo tallied the game-winner with 49.4 seconds on the clock with assists from Bellew and Linehan.

Predictably, the Spartans didn’t go quietly with several quality chances in the waning seconds. With goaltender Donald Hesse pulled, St. Mary’s was playing 6-on-4 with an attack zone face off after a Hingham player was sent to the box with 10 seconds remaining. The draw came to the left of Harbormen netminder Kevin Granatino (who also stopped a St. Mary's penalty shot try by Connor Parent in the second) with Driscoll inside the circle. Messina entrusted the winger to take the face off, citing his strong hands. The senior co-captain and Holy Cross commit won the draw cleanly, lofting the puck on the backhand toward the vacated St. Mary’s goal. The puck trickled past the goal line with 4.3 to go.

Then and only then could the Harbormen celebrate an important victory.

“This type of game, coming from behind, even though they were power plays goals, it’s got to give them some confidence,” Messina said. “We’ve been trying to find something to grab onto while we’ve been struggling.”

He continued: “To come out and pull out a win in this situation, maybe that’s something we can build upon going down the road, at least I hope so.”

With power plays a factor (the Spartans were 0-for-4 on their chances), St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said it was only a matter of time before the Harbormen took off.

“What hurt us today was taking some penalties, you can’t beat a team like that short-handed. We just took a couple too many, especially at the end of the game.

“The odds are against you, they’re bound to score in those situations.”

Or maybe luck had finally just swung Hingham’s way.

“We haven’t had in the longest time,” Messina said, “but you also make your own luck in this game. We tell the kids that you’ve got to take and off-angle shot, you’ve got to look for rebounds, tough goals. We like dirty goals as much as the pretty ones, but we hadn’t been getting either. Today we did.”


HINGHAM, Mass. -- No, it’s not that pesky rally monkey from the L.A. Angels World Series run from a few years back, or even that evil monkey in the closet from “Family Guy.”

This was a monkey of a different sort.

For the 12 seniors on the boys’ hockey team of No. 2 Weymouth, they’d never once known victory against rival Hingham. With the Wildcats’ convincing 5-2 win over the seventh-ranked Harbormen Monday night at Pilgrim Skating Arena, consider it vanquished.

“We have a lot of seniors on this team and they’ve never beaten Hingham,” Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo said. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs.”

The Wildcats (12-1-1) set the tone early and resolved avenge the 3-2 loss they suffered to Hingham (6-4-4) in the Ed Taylor Tournament championship before the New Year. Matching the Harbormen’s intensity early was important and Weymouth came in with something extra in their stride.

“The past four years we’ve played them, they’ve jumped right out,” Wildcats senior captain Tyler Piacentini said. “I think we’ve gotten nervous or something. We just realized we could play with them and we came out flying.”

Weymouth also got yet another huge game from their spark plug leader. With a five-point performance, including two goals against Hingham, Piacentini now has a staggering 46 points in 13 games played. Coupled with goaltender Brian Brady’s effort (27 saves) and the Wildcats blue-liners, who kept things clear in front of Brady, Weymouth finally ridded its ghost.

“Both programs have done well in the recent past,” Cataldo said, “but it’s just a big rivalry game, the place is always packed.”

Piacentini helped get things started, setting up Andy Sheridan’s goal on a slapper from the point 6:36 into the first period. However, Hingham drew even before the period was out with Matt Hughes’ perfectly placed wrister off a face-off win.

Weymouth took a 2-1 lead with 5:43 to play in the second on Piacentini’s first goal with an assist from Riley Flanagan. Piacentini repaid the favor later in the second, setting up Flanagan’s goal with some dirty work in the corner and a dish to his linemate in the slot.

“We were trying to get to open spaces and shoot on the goalie,” Piacentini said. “That’s what we’ve got to do to score.”

Piacentini’s second goal of the night came on a penalty kill midway through the third, when he used speed to his advantage to fight through the neutral zone for a breakaway.

Joe Nardone capped the win with an empty-netter from center ice, with an assist from Piacentini.

Although Weymouth was out-shot, 28-19, Cataldo praised the efforts of his defensemen in keeping traffic to minimum in front of Brady and not allowing the Harbormen’s snipers access to high quality scoring chances.

“That’s how the defensive zone works, you give them the outside but you don’t let them in,” Cataldo said. “[Tim] Driscoll, you give him an inch and he’ll bury it, so when you play against any skilled team, you want to keep it to the outside and try to minimize their scoring opportunities from in close and down low. I thought the kids did a great job of that.”

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