Boston High School: Matt Kenneally

Recap: No. 2 BC High 2, Hendricken (R.I.) 2

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – BC High coach John Flaherty was content to exit Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium with a point on Saturday afternoon and not wonder about what might have been.

As a means of explanation: The No. 2 Eagles and perennial Rhode Island power Hendricken played to a 2-2 tie which was the official result. But because Massachusetts schools don’t play overtime, Flaherty and Hawks coach Jim Creamer decided in advance that, if the game was tied after regulation, the teams would play a five-minute, sudden-death overtime in hopes that one team would emerge “victorious.”

Patrick Kramer’s second goal, at 3:43 of OT, enabled the Eagles (6-0-2) to prevail, 3-2.

“We’ll take the point,” Flaherty said. “Obviously, we wanted a better fate. But down 2-0 going into the third period against a very good team, to get two goals and a point especially when we killed as many penalties as we had to kill – especially a 5-on-3 – it was an uphill climb against a very good hockey team."

Since Massachusetts schools must win 50 percent of their games in order to qualify for their respective state tournaments, the Eagles now have 14 of the 20 points required to extend their season.

A case could be made that the Eagles preserved their chances of earning a point when they killed off a 5-on-3 penalty for 1:45 in the third period with the game tied 2-2. During that span, BC High limited the Hawks (8-0-2) to one shot on goal.

“The fact that we got out of there without giving up one was huge,” Flaherty said. “We had all the momentum going for us and then a couple of calls (holding on Alex Flynn and hitting from behind on Pat Riley) put us down 5-on-3. To be able to kill that and only give up one shot was a great job by the guys on the ice that we used to kill the penalty.

“We’ve done a pretty good job on the PK all year. But the two goals we have up today were power-play goals (each came off the stick of Jamie Armstrong). It just seemed like we were killing a lot of penalties today. We gave up two power-play goals but killed probably another four or five.”

The Eagles were 2-for-4 on the PK.

Hendricken scored its initial power-play goal at 13:25 of the first period when Armstrong, the son of former Providence Bruins coach and current St. Louis Blues scout Bill Armstrong, gunned home a slap shot from the left circle.

Then, at 6:10 of the second, Armstrong beat Brandon Payzant (16 saves) on a wrist shot from the slot.

The Eagles commenced their rally early in the third period when Ryan Shea beat Matt Kenneally (27 saves) with a slap shot from outside the top of the right circle at 2:15.

Kramer went to work shortly thereafter when he whipped home a shot from the right circle after a set-up by Kayser Raei at 3:35. He then ended the game in OT when he blasted home a slap shot from the high slot.

“[Kramer] was a major difference out there,” Flaherty said. “He scored a nice goal to get us even. And Ryan Shea had a real nice goal to get some momentum going our way.

“There isn’t an easy game on our schedule and we don’t schedule easy teams. We came down here in a tough environment and played a very good team. They worked hard in slowing us down. They didn’t give us lanes and didn’t allow us to get into a flow in the game.

He continued, “They scored two very nice power-play goals and we had to play catch-up. Again, down 2-0 after two periods with only 15 minutes of hockey to play, we’ll take a point.”

Conversely, Creamer realized his Hawks let one of New England’s top teams off the proverbial hook.

“We were in a good spot coming into the third,” he said. “But they’re a really good team – probably the best team we’re going to play all season. We made some poor choices coming into the third period.

“We let them off the hook a little bit and they stepped it up a little bit so credit to them. But it’s frustrating.”

That being said, Creamer also admitted it wasn’t all doom and gloom on a rainy afternoon.

“It was a positive day for us in general,” he said. “We certainly would have liked to have had the third period back. But we’ll learn from that and get better. Our compete level was outstanding. That’s the real thing I can take away is our compete level was top-notch. We certainly didn’t shy away."

One Hawk who definitely didn’t “shy away” was Kenneally who kept his team in contention especially during the second and third periods when BC High outshot Hendricken by a combined margin of 22-10.

“We got great goaltending today,” Creamer said. “He did a great job of making the first save and eliminating rebounds. That’s something he’s really worked on. It was really noticeable today. I thought he was outstanding.”

Hendricken emerges from pack at MSC Face-Off

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
Without question Mount St. Charles, La Salle Academy and Hendricken have fielded the state’s dominant boys’ hockey teams for decades. But for the most part, the only time each is under the same roof at the same time is when they play in the annual Mount St. Charles Holiday Face-Off Tournament at Adelard Arena along with five top teams from five different states.

Rhode IslandNot surprisingly, the fact Hendricken claimed the championship with a 3-0 record may indicate the Hawks could be the team to beat not only for the Division I regular-season championship but also for the tournament title.

In a span of 72 hours last weekend, the Hawks nipped Connecticut’s Fairfield Prep, 4-3; beat division rival La Salle, 6-3; and held off New York’s St. Joseph Collegiate, 4-3.

“It’s good to win a championship,” said Hawks coach Jim Creamer. “It’s never easy to win a championship – one reason being we only play two each season, this tournament at the Mount and then the league tourney. Just to win one is a major accomplishment.”

Tournament MVP Andy Fera scored twice in the finals and was voted to the All-Tournament Team along with fellow Hawks Jamie Armstrong (forward), Matt Kenneally (goalie) and Bryce Dolan (defenseman).

Fera’s second goal gave Hendricken a 4-2 lead and, obviously, proved to be the game-winner.

“He’s our go-to guy … our ‘Mr. Consistent,’” said Creamer. “You get the same thing out of Andrew all the time and that’s the best part about him. To say that fourth goal was big would be an understatement.”

It also would be an understatement to say that beating three quality teams will aid the Hawks in their pursuit of the state championship they last won in 2012.

“We had three good games with some highs and some lows,” said Creamer. “But over the course of those three days, we really did a good job. We got better as a team. We were put in some tough spots but we’re thrilled with (the championship).

“It was a grind to get through this tournament when you have teams like Fairfield, St. Joseph’s, La Salle and Mount. Really, it was a daunting task for our guys.”

Mount implodes: In baseball, batting .333 is excellent.

But in a three-game hockey tournament, batting .333 (i.e. one win and two losses) isn’t anything to brag about especially if you’re Mount St. Charles which has captured a mind-boggling 43 state championships.

The fact Mount was blanked, 4-0, by Fairfield Prep in the third game did little for coach Dave Belisle’s peace of mind.

In fact, Belisle kept the door to the Mount’s locker room closed for a good half-hour while he “addressed” his players about their lackluster performance in the tournament.

“We only played two-and-a-half good periods,” Belisle said of Mount’s loss to Fairfield. “That’s the disappointing part. When you only play two-plus periods against a good team like that, you’re not going to get it done.

“I’ve been preaching it for a long time, that you have to play three full periods of hockey. Even in our division (Division I-Cimini), we’ve only played hard for two periods in the games we’ve won.”

In retrospect, the Jesuits could have won by more than 4-0 if goalie Brian Larence had not made 47 saves.

“I know Brian wouldn’t want me to say he played a good game because we lost 4-0,” said Belisle. “He’d want me to say he didn’t get it done in the third period.

“Overall, we’ve had our fair share of injuries and we’re young. We have eight freshmen on our roster. But this is about giving the effort for 45 minutes – from the opening faceoff until the final buzzer.”

Smooth sailing for Clippers: Cumberland last won the Division II state championship at the end of the 2007-08 season. But Cumberland delivered the proverbial message by upsetting Division I foe Barrington, 3-2, in the opening round of the Burrillville Winter Classic on Monday.

If the Clippers had beaten a Division III team, the victory would have been expected. But to beat a Division I team is a completely different story.

“Barrington plays in the state’s top division,” said Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi. “For us to skate with Barrington and play well and get the win is definitely a feather in our caps.

“It was good to gain confidence … to know we could go out and play at their level.”

The story within the story was the fact Andreozzi played all three of his goaltenders en route to his team’s upping its overall record to 5-0-0. Leo Lake, Zack Kay and Liam Curren combined for a modest total of eight saves.

“I wanted to play all three because they work hard in practice and really could benefit from the experience of playing against a top team like Barrington,” said Andreozzi. “Granted, it was a non-league game. But it’s just as important as the ones we play in our division (II-North).”

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.