Boston High School: Mike Bibbey

Recap: No. 13 Burlington 2, No. 20 Reading 0

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
11:56
PM ET
BURLINGTON, Mass. — Nearly six weeks ago, the Burlington Red Devils walked out of Burbank Arena in Reading with their heads down after being on the wrong end of a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Reading.

Since then, the Devils have gone on an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) including a methodical 2-0 shutout of the Rockets on Monday night at the Ice Palace behind a second straight shutout by senior goaltender Mike Guleserian.

“It was an important win for our kids because they handled us very easily back in December,” Burlington coach Bob Conceison said. “I think it was important to have a good performance tonight and I thought we played a real good all-around game and I thought Mike (Guleserian) was tremendous.”

Senior captain Joey Scali scored the game’s first goal late in the first period when he buried the rebound of a Josh Boulos point shot past Reading goalie, Ian Lapham.

Scali, who went without a goal in the first seven games of the season, would also set up the Devil’s second goal.

He cruised into the offensive zone down the right wing board and sent a cross ice pass to Robby McLean who ripped a slap shot inside the left post from a tough angle below the left face-off circle to give Burlington a cushion with 8:22 left in the game.

“I thought this was a big win for us,” said Scali. “I have really meshed with my line mates over the last few games. We got to keep it going. We have a big stretch of games coming up.”

After mustering just three first period shots, the Rockets turned up the pressure in the second and third periods but could not solve Guleserian (20 saves) who continues to provide the Devils a solid backstop.

Rockets sputtering: The Rockets are on a streak of their own but headed in the wrong direction, as the loss put the always respected Rockets at 0-5-2 over their last seven games and 6-7-2 overall.

Make no mistake about it, the Rockets play one of the toughest schedules in the state for a public school team but their recent lack of punch has coach Mark Doherty looking for answers.

“We are getting chances but are just not finishing,” said Doherty. “Their goalie was strong tonight and they are always tough in their barn. I thought we had a good amount of chances but we just need to keep working at it.”

The Rockets have seven games to turn things around and will be a real tough out should they land in the Division I North tournament.

Line of defense: While Guleserian continues his strong season, the Red Devils four defensemen have provided little breathing room for opponents.

Having two shutdown pairs of defensemen is a luxury for coach Bob Conceison.

Senior captain Adam Crowley is paired with sophomore Shane O’Halloran while junior Mike Bibbey and sophomore Josh Boulos provide a second shut down pairing. They were all part of last year’s Division I state champions and their experience has stabilized the Devils defensive zone.

The numbers bear out the impressive results as Burlington is allowing just 1.6 goals per game and have allowed opponents to score three or more goals just twice this season.

“They have been so good in front of me,” said Guleserian. “They make my job a whole lot easier back there and I am lucky to have those guys playing in front of me.”
Bay State hockeyCourtesy Bob Conceison Jr.Team Northeast claimed the gold medal of the scholastic boys' hockey competition at the Bay State Games last weekend in Marlborough, Mass.
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Bob Conceison Jr. stepped into his team’s locker room on Thursday morning at the New England Sports Complex, he saw a group of bleary-eyed hockey players. After 20 minutes of play, the Burlington High assistant coach saw his Bay State Games Northeast team come to life and, perhaps, come together.

His team went on to win the gold medal in the scholastic boys’ hockey competition, outlasting a Metro team in a shootout after skating to a 4-4 tie in regulation. The accomplishment was familiar territory for eight of Conceison’s players who earned MIAA state championship medals with their respective Burlington and Wilmington High School squads.

“They’re obviously an experienced and a talented group,” Conceison said after his team’s 8-7 first-round win over the Southeast team on Thursday.

On a team rife with talent from a host of the Middlesex League’s top hockey programs, the gold medal squad had a distinct Red Devil and Wildcat tinge. Burlington’s Mike Bibbey, Derek DeCastro and Shane Morgan were joined by Wilmington’s Anthony and Joe Castellano, Cam Collins, Cam Owens and Jake Rogers.

All were champions with their high school teams, Burlington in Division 1 and Wilmington in Division 2, respectively. All claimed gold in their Bay State Games’ experience.

“It’s a good time, good friends and good hockey,” said Owens, who scored a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in the Wildcats’ triumph over Franklin at the TD Garden in March. “This has been a great experience.”

Owens played alongside Wildcats linemate Jake Rogers, forming a fearsome scoring duo for the Northeast team. One that DeCastro, who backstopped the Red Devils to their state title, was happy to watch operate in the opposing zone.

“Usually, I’m seeing those guys takes shots on me,” the Burlington rising senior said. “At least this time, I don’t have to worry about stopping their shots.”

DeCastro split the Northeast’s netminding duties with Reading standout Evan Morelli, creating depth in goal and presenting Conceison with a good problem to have.

“I think we had nine goaltenders come out for tryouts,” said Conceison, who was in his third year of Bay State Games coaching experience, his first as a head coach. “It was a tough competition; it was tough making those cuts because it shows you how much talent there is in the area.”

While in the midst of a summer heat wave, local rinks remain busy with a host of offseason tournaments filling up the schedule in the coming weeks.

Both DeCastro and Owens have taken part in other summertime tournaments during their high school careers, but chose to play in the Bay State Games for the first time this year. Both cited the ability to play with a group of their high school teammates as an enticing possibility.

“A lot of tournaments that you play in, you’re playing with people from all over the place,” Owens said. “Here, I get to play with all of my teammates, you’re playing for your region and that’s kind of cool.

“Even the guys from other teams, you know a lot of them from playing against them during the [high school] season. Now, you get to play with them and get to know them.”

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