Boston High School: Nick Latham

Recap: No. 6 Cathedral 10, No. 8 Prep 2

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15
10:15
PM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- This one was way too easy.

Following Springfield Cathedral's 10-2 dismantling of St. John's Prep Saturday at Ristuccia Memorial Arena, two things were learned. First and foremost, the sixth-ranked Panthers, a lock for Super 8 berth, have to be considered a legitimate threat for the state's most-esteemed high school hockey title. Secondly, whatever thread of hope the eight-rated Eagles had in securing an invite to the Super 8, are history. In fact, for a team on the verge of missing the postseason completely, this was hardly a performance to write home about.

Junior center Peter Crinella scored four goals and Devan Tongue, an eighth-grader, contributed three to lead Cathedral (13-2-4).

Leading by a goal after one period, the Panthers found the back of the net four times in the middle frame to run away with it.

"St. John's is obviously in desperation mode for a playoff," said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley. "They’re big and physical and came out hard. Coming out for the second period we hoped our speed and skill would take over as the game wore on. We've got some guys who can put some pucks into the net. The three lines we've settled in on just keep getting better and better. I think we are starting to gel at the right time."

The Panthers led 2-1 heading into the first intermission, as Crinella's power play redirect score at 12:58, as it turned out, put them ahead to stay.

Cathedral gained control during the middle period. Crinella bagged another at 6:27 with a short side wrist shot past freshman goaltender Zach Laramie. Two minutes later, Tongue got into the act after taking a clean pass from Johnny Leonard and finishing it off with a nifty back hand goal stick side, making it 4-1. Only 13 seconds later, D.J. Petruzzelli added to the Panthers' lead after sniping a 25-foot blast, thus extending the margin to four goals.

"St. John's is a very good team," Foley said. "As far as I'm concerned they're still a Super 8 caliber team. They can compete with anybody so coming into this game, this was big for us. Overall, I thought we got a complete team effort from everybody today."

At 10:12, freshman Dan Petrick managed to strip the puck away from new goaltender Brian Conry's catching glove and slip it into the net, giving the Panthers a commanding 6-1 advantage after 30 minutes.

Cathedral's offensive onslaught continued into the third period. An odd-man rush with Petrick and Tongue was finished with Tongue slipping a shot into the back of the net at 5:56. The Panthers weren't through. Petruzzelli, standing just outside the Prep goal crease, added his second tally, pushing the puck past Conry's reach. Less than a minute later, Crinella, conceivably the best player in the state, recorded his fourth marker on the afternoon after burying a hard wrist shot that Conry never saw. Tongue attained his first hat trick as a Panther moments later after stealing a pass inside the Eagles defensive zone and rifling a shot past Conry (3 saves), making it a 10-1 contest before Prep senior Zach Pearce managed a score in the game's final minute.

"We started moving the puck, especially in that second period and were getting some good shots on net," Tongue said. "For me, I just tried to get pucks on the net as best I could and fortunately some were able to bounce through. Our team chemistry is a lot better than at the start of the year. It is really showing and hopefully that will get us to the Super 8."

At the outset, Crinella (team-high 24 goals) wasted no time in getting the Panthers on the board. Just 2:02 in, the Holy Cross commit ripped a shot from just outside the left circle that sailed past Laramie.

Despite recent victories over Austin Prep and Arlington Catholic, Prep still had its back firmly are against the wall in its quest for a postseason bid. Late in the first, the Eagles (7-9-2) stormed back. Nick Latham, as part of a 2-on-1 break with Mark Etherington, beat freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli (20 saves) to tie things at 1-1.

However, just moments following the score, Prep was whistled for a questionable too many men on the ice infraction. As a result, it would lead to Crinella's go-ahead score late in the frame.

"(The officials) really had no explanation for that call," said puzzled Eagles head coach Kristian Hanson, whose club sits four points out of securing a Division 1 North playoff spot, and must now win its final two contests in order to qualify. "Our captain was out on the ice asking one of the referees regarding the circles and the other ref turns and calls us for too many men on the ice. I don't understand it.

"Was it the difference in this game? Probably not. But it certainly changed the complexion at that time because we had just scored to tie it. Obviously we got a little rattled after that and so did my goalie. We tried to compete today but we just weren't getting it. It was a bad match up for us. Now it is up to us to step up and play a better game on Wednesday (versus Winchester) and on Friday (versus Wakefield) to get into the playoffs. Hypothetically the tournament has already started for us starting this week."

Recap: No. 8 Prep 4, No. 12 St. John's (S) 4

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
1:21
AM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. – After 45 minutes of sizzling hockey, St. John's Prep and St. John's of Shrewsbury skated off the Ristuccia Arena ice nonplussed about a 4-4 tie.

Prep showed chutzpah, battling back against four one-goal deficits to escape with a much-needed point in its quest to make the state tournament.

“I thought for the most part we controlled the time of possession,” Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “I think we outshot them by a pretty wide margin, but none of that matters. The scoreboard is what matters. In a way in the end you feel fortunate to get a point out of it because I felt we were constantly trailing tonight and the puck wasn't bouncing our way. It's an important point for us; it keeps us in the running.”

The Pioneers broke the ice early when Garrett Lehan scooped up his own rebound and scored 48 seconds into the game. The Pioneers played consistently strong hockey across the board. Despite being outshot 37-19, nine different players reached the score sheet for the Pioneers.

“You hope you can play three lines, you have depth,” SJS coach Michael Mead said. “As long as every line contributes that's a good thing.”

While the Pioneers rolled deep offensively, the Eagles rolled as their first line rolled and the line of Mark Etherington, Jim Currier, and Nick Latham steamrolled. The trio combined for 10 of Prep's 11 points.

Latham shined brightest, scoring a pair of goals and assisting on the other two. His exuberance showed bright after his second, Prep's third, goal when we skated to the Prep student section and climbed the glass to cheer with them.

“I can't make anything happen without my linemates to back me up,” Latham said. “They're awesome. They see the ice so well. You don't even know if they're going to get it to you and it winds up on your stick. We just have pretty good chemistry out there.”

Currier also had a four-point night, with a goal and three assists. Etherington had a pair of assists.

SJS suffered a massive blow in the third period when senior captain Bryan Nelson received a game misconduct penalty for a hit-to-the-head penalty. Prep's Ryan Byrne scored on the ensuing four-minute power play.

“Brian's our captain, he's our leader,” Mead said. “To lose him for the rest of the game it effects you, but the guys bent but didn't break. That's a life lesson for Brian; that's a lesson we learn going towards playoffs. Hopefully it won't happen again.”

PICTURE PERFECT PIZZERI: It's rare for a goalie to give up four goals and still be one of the game's biggest stars, but St. John's (S) goaltender Mario Pizzeri kept the Pioneers' heads above water.

Pizzeri looked spectacular several times, but it was his expert positioning that kept those situations few and far between. The best example of that came in the third period when a Prep defenseman fired a shot from the point that Pizzeri never saw but still went right into his glove.

“Mario kept us in the game,” Mead said. “Mario's been our rock all season long. He keeps us in every game. If he sees the puck he's going to stop it.”

For the bulk of the game Pizzeri kept the puck and did not give up bad rebounds.

“He makes all the first saves,” Latham said. “We capitalized on our rebound goals; that's how we got them in. He's a real good goaltender. He stood on his head.”

THE DASH BEGINS: While neither team picked up two points both picked up a massive point in their run to March. Now sitting 7-8-2 (16 points) the Eagles need four points over their last three games to qualify for the state tournament. That helps lessen the pressure a bit for Prep as it means the Eagles could go pointless for a game and still qualify.

With a new cast of characters leading the way, Hanson said it's a new era with a new team and they'll write their own legacy.

“It's an entirely new group of kids this year from what we've had the past three years so it's their team and their year,” Hanson said. “They've certainly felt the stress frequently, at one point being three games below .500. It's stressful. You don't want to be the team that doesn't make the tournament.

“I feel like our tournament started last week with Austin [Prep] and since then we're 2-0-1. Keep that type of play up.”

For the Pioneers, the tie puts them at 9-4-5 (23 points) with four games to go and keeps them in the running for a spot in the Super 8 tournament. Either way, the Pioneers will play hockey in March, it's just a matter of if its’ in Division 1 or 1A.

“It's important to play well,” Mead said. “Our goal this season was to have more points than last year and we've accomplished that goal. Control what we can control. Super 8, if we can get in is great. If we can't we can't.”


WILMINGTON, Mass. – It’s not about the finish, it’s about the start. Right?

No. 1 BC High took control of Saturday’s Catholic Conference clash with No. 9 St. John’s Prep from the get-go, scoring first little more than a minute in and running to a 2-0 advantage by the 5-minute mark.

Behind a pair of goals from senior captain Steve DeForge, BC High held on for a 4-2 win over Prep in the annual Derek Hines Memorial Game.

“It’s an honor to play in this game for Derek Hines and his family,” DeForge said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it. When we come up here, we want to play for them as well, especially in my four years of coming up here, we’d never gotten a point.”

With the victory, BC High (8-0-2, 3-0-1 Catholic) has now earned a point in each of its first 10 games on the season.

Junior center Tim Larocque had BC High running out of the gate with a rebound putback of a Connor Noonan shot at 1:28. DeForge then followed with his first at 3:15, a power-play goal with assists from Ryan Shea and Sam Topham.

“It was a good win off the faceoff and the puck went back to Sam [Topham],” DeForge said, “he dished it back to me down low, passed it back to him and he gave a good D-to-D to [Ryan Shea]. He had a good line to me and I just put it home.”

However, St. John’s Prep (4-5-1, 0-4-1) got on the board just about a half-minute later with Jimmy Currier being the beneficiary of some slick transition play from Evan Leclerc and Nick Latham.

It remained a 1-goal game at the intermission, but BC High started the second period with fury as well. DeForge tallied his second, from Chris LaLiberte, just 40 seconds into the second.

“We just put ourselves in a hole all day by giving up, I think in the second period, another goal within the first minute,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “In the third period, [there was] a goal in the first minute. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t put a full game together – a lot of that credit goes to BC High.”

Yet, Prep was able to counter quickly again. Less than two minutes elapsed following DeForge’s second tally before Prep again cut the difference to a single goal. Latham earned his second point of the game with a power-play goal at 2:04, with Mark Etherington providing the assist.

But, according to script, BC High held serve, scoring for the third straight period in the first minute with Jake Lemanski potting his sixth goal of the season 59 seconds in.

Prep had a golden opportunity to claw closer once again, with 1:27 of 5-on-3 power-play around the 5-minute mark of the third. BC High’s defense tightened around goaltender Brandon Payzant (16 saves), allowing one shot-on-goal in the duration of the 2-man advantage.

“Now, you get out of there and you still have a two-goal lead,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said, “there was still a lot of time left on the clock, but you could have been tied or down at the end of a 5-on-3 like that.”

Honoring a hero: The true driving force behind Saturday’s matchup was the Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund. The game marked the sixth year Prep has honored its fallen graduate, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005, while deployed with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Division.

Hines, who was a standout in his time with Prep hockey, graduated to the U.S. Military Academy, where he served as a graduate assistant with the hockey team while completing Ranger and Airborne school.

In his memory, the Assistance Fund was presented with a $6,500 donation, a $2,500 increase over last year’s gift.

Saturday marked the first time in BC High’s seniors’ time playing in the game that they emerged victorious, having lost in the three previous years.

St. John's Prep is 4-2-0 in the six years of the Hines game.

Midway point: With its 10th game in the books, BC High reached the halfway marker of its season.

The Eagles hold the No. 1 ranking in our statewide Top 25 poll and they’ve only dropped points to conference rival Xaverian and Rhode Island power Bishop Hendricken in a pair of ties.

Even with its resume to date, BC High is an essential shoo-in for the Super 8 tournament, but Flaherty isn’t about to look any further down the line.

“With our schedule, we can’t look at what we’ve accomplished, we have to look at what’s ahead of us.”

D1 North Baseball: St. John's Prep 5, Peabody 0

June, 7, 2013
6/07/13
1:58
AM ET


LYNN, Mass. –- Brandon Bingel was lights out on the mound on Thursday night, throwing eight innings of shutout ball to lead St. John’s Prep (22-1) to a 5-0 victory over Peabody (20-5).

With the win, the Eagles will take on the winner of Westford Academy and Billerica for the Division 1 North championship.

Paul Crehan hit a two-out single to left field in the bottom of the first inning, while sophomore Nick Latham hit a two-run homer that narrowly cleared the right field fence to add some insurance in the fourth inning.

"That was a big two-out hit by Paul Crehan, and Bornstein had a good game with three hits. We jumped right out to 3-0, that was a confidence for us," St. John’s Prep coach Pat Yanchus said.

Bingel got a leg-up on hitters all night long, getting first pitch strikes, placing his faceball with pinpoint accuracy, and throwing Peabody off with his breaking ball.

"He was ahead of everyone, he did end up walking one guy finally, but he was keeping it down, getting a lot of groundouts and tipped strikeouts," Yanchus said.

Junior Andrew McLaughlin got the start on the mound for Peabody, giving up five runs over six innings. Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt made the decision to bring in star pitcher Pat Ruotolo in the seventh inning, explaining after the game that the Tanners’ gameplan was to try and get Prep on the ropes early so that they could build some momentum.

"That first inning them scoring those runs…especially that Crehan single that was a big hit," Bettencourt said. "If we get that out we get a zero on the board, Andrew comes back, and he settled down after that. We really needed that out, and give the kid credit, he fisted that ball out there and got that ball into left field and found some grass."

Eagles inspired by Frates: Former Prep baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS and stays close to the Eagles’ program, texted assistant coach Ryan Leahy a video message to give the team for a pre-game pep talk. Frates was on his honeymoon, in Turks and Caicos, after getting married last week.

Earlier this season, the Eagles debuted an alternate jersey in the pattern of the Houston Astros' iconic "sunrise" design from the early 80's, with the school's colors. They were designed with Frates in mind, and the right sleeve of each number bears his familiar No. 3.

“He just said that it was 10 years from the date of his last high school game when we lost to Peabody and Jeff Allison," Yanchus said. "He just said ‘play like your hair is on fire’. That was his final comment. They were visibly responsive. He doesn’t give an inch, he’s a fighter. We want to be the same way."

Brandon Bingel talked about the emotional effect the video had on the team. He took his eyes away from the video midway through, and looked around to see all the rest of his teammates with smiles on their faces.

"[The video] was huge, we got pretty pumped," he said. "We’re always pumped to see him talk, for him to send us a video on his honeymoon was big. He took time out of his day, time away from his wife."

The Prep’s star pitcher continued, showing his admiration for Frates’ courage.

“It just puts a smile on all of our faces," he said. "Everyone had a smile just kind of getting pumped up because he took time out of his day to do that. He didn’t have to, it was just a random act. That’s the kind of guy he is...So for us to wear these jerseys all throughout the tournament, we want to show that we’re doing it for him.”

Recap: No. 2 St. John's Prep 6, No. 1 BC High 5

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
10:14
PM ET
DORCHESTER, Mass. -– Dustin Hunt spun around, crouched and watched as a frozen rope launched by B.C. High's Dan Daugherty flew to deep center field with runners on first and third.

The St. John's Prep closer then pumped his fist and was swarmed by teammates when sophomore outfielder Keith Leavitt tracked it down, clinching a 6-5 win for the visiting Eagles.

"When it came off the bat I was like, 'Oh no.' It was hit so hard, and it kept going," St. John's Prep head coach Pat Yanchus said.

“It was a little nerve-wracking, but we definitely have faith in Dustin,” said Prep starter Brandon Bingel, who picked up a win after giving up four runs in five innings of work.

In the end, it was enough to propel No. 2 Prep (8-1) past previously undefeated No. 1 B.C. High (5-1).

After falling behind 3-1, Prep put together a five-run fifth inning to pull ahead of the host Eagles. Senior catcher Paul Crehan capped off the inning with a bases-clearing, three-run double to left field off of B.C. High starter Trent Berg, who left a fastball a little high.

Crehan had popped out in his previous two at bats and was looking for something he could hit a bit farther.

“I just didn't want to strike out, and the pitch came up high so I just hit it as far as I can. Anybody could be in that position, but I happened to be there,” he said. “I was pumped. I didn't know if the ball was going to go over (B.C. High left fielder Sean Webster's) head or not. The wind was blowing out, but I was pumped to see it go over his head.”

The B.C. High cut the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Tom Russo doubled in right fielder Tom Landry. They pulled within one with two outs in the seventh, but Hunt was able to complete the save with Daugherty's loud pop-out.

Berg effective in Losing Effort: Berg put together an impressive four-and-two-thirds innings for B.C. High. The lefty struck out eight Prep batters before senior Tommy Buonopane singled in pinch runner Nick Latham, kick-starting a five-run rally. Berg, who is more of a finesse pitcher, kept Prep off-balance with his two-seam fastball and looping curve.

Victory on the Basepaths: Latham's base running helped spark the Prep's fifth-inning surge. The sophomore pinch ran for Natty Cabral, who had been walked with two outs. He then stole both second and third base before scoring on Buonopane's in-field single.

“He's a smart baserunner, and he's pretty fast,” Yanchus said. “He's not just a good baserunner, but he's a good outfielder. We were going to put him in the next inning anyway, so might as well just have him run. It worked out nicely.”

Getting Away from the Heater: Bingel had a tough first inning for Prep, allowing three runs on three singles and a couple of infield errors. He said he used his fastball too much to start the game and was overthrowing. After the first inning, he settled down and used his slider to pitch three scoreless innings in a row.

“I started to pitch backwards, and that's what got be through the rest of the way,” he said

Injury Puts Damper on Win: Prep senior third baseman Tyler Noe suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the top of the fifth inning. After reaching second base on a Landry error, Noe stole third and B.C. High's Tom Russo landed on him awkwardly. He held his right arm and stood behind the Prep bench in a sling with ice on his shoulder. Yanchus said there was no timetable for his return, but his parents were taking him to the hospital to get checked out.

“That's his trowing arm and his good shoulder. It popped out, and it took him awhile to get it back in,” he said. “That's going to really hurt. He's great defensively, and he's our best baserunner. Hopefully he can come back.”

Enter Sandman: Hunt has had limited experience as closer for Prep but looked pretty solid against B.C. High. The Northeastern commit struck out three batters in two innings and had good control of the strike zone. He pitched two-thirds of an inning on Monday against Malden Catholic and needed only seven pitches to shut down the side.

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