Boston High School: Norwood

D1 Baseball Final: Leominster 6, Norwood 1

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The sun was setting in the distance behind Fitton Field’s left field foul pole as Leominster’s Neil O’Connor was putting the finishing touches on his team’s season.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Norwood’s John Galvin stepped into the batter’s box. The senior had himself a strong tournament run until that point. He went 4-for-4 at the plate and threw a complete game against Andover in the Eastern Mass. Finals. He was 1-for-3 with an RBI and pitched three strong innings until that point.

[+] EnlargeRich Barnaby
Brendan Hall/ Leominster won its first state title since 1996 under first-year coach Rich Barnaby -- a starting third baseman on that 1996 team.
His team’s season was in the balance and he was able to work a full count. O’Connor went with a high fastball and it was enough to put Galvin away. O’Connor threw his glove high in the air, higher than the protective netting behind home place.

Leominster defeated Norwood 6-1 in the Division 1 State Baseball Final. It is the fourth baseball state title in school history.

“Leominster is a baseball town,” said Blue Devils coach Rich Barnaby. “I was on the 1996 team, which is the last state title team we had. It’s the fourth time we’ve been here and the fourth time we’ve won it. It means a lot to the community.”

Barnaby played third base on that state championship team. Leominster also won state titles in 1986 and 1988.

His team got on the board first in the top of the third on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Brett Corliss. Nick Cordio opened the inning by hitting a rocket to deep left that one-hopped the wall. He advanced to third on a groundout before being knocked in on a well-placed bunt down the first base line.

Norwood tied it in the bottom of the inning when Denis Drummey scored from second on Galvin’s base knock to center. There was going to be a play at the plate, but Corliss’ throw was high enough for Drummey to slide in under the tag.

Leominster tacked on four more runs in the fourth, two coming on wild pitches. Another came on a Corliss sacrifice bunt.

The Blue Devils were able to use small ball tactics to move runners over and put them in position to capitalize on Norwood’s mistakes. When it appeared the bleeding was going to be stopped after one run in the fourth, David Barry’s grounder to second was mishandled by Connor Flynn. All runners were safe and it went on to score two more runs in the inning.

“Since the first practice, Coach has always been preaching small ball, do the little things to get the runs,” said O’Connor. “It payed off. We had a couple of big hits and a couple of big squeezes that helped us out today.”

Neil is nifty: O’Connor threw 98 pitches in the complete game effort, striking out six and only surrendering 4 hits and two walks. His most effective pitch Saturday was his curveball. The University of New Hampshire football commit was able to throw it at any point in the count and keep hitters off balance. He controlled it enough so it caught the inside corner of the plate against right-handed hitters.

“Coach was calling a good game and my curveball was working,” he said. “They’re a very good fastball hitting team and when they sit on the curve they can hit that too. I was just trying to mix it up and keep them guessing as much as I could.”

O’Connor’s curve was so nasty that it began fooling righties into thinking the ball was coming at them. Normally, a hitter takes his first stride toward the pitcher in order to generate power upon contact. Some Norwood hitters were taking their first step backwards away from the plate, believing the pitch was coming in high and tight before it eventually drifted back over the plate for strikes.

“He almost has more confidence in his curveball,” said Barnaby. “The one thing about playing a team we’ve never played before, it took us one or two times through the lineup to adjust to their hitters. They’ve got some good hitters, and they put some good contact on it. That’s a good team.”

Case for Super 8? Entering this postseason, there was discussion and complaints from Central and Western Mass. baseball fans and media regarding no Division 1A “Super 8” tournament representation from those regions. Many had differing opinions of how strong a Central Mass. schedule was in comparison to Eastern Mass. teams. When it came time to select the field, Leominster was one of the teams caught on the outside looking in. The tournament selection committee chose to nominate St. John’s of Shrewsbury for consideration over the 16-4 Blue Devils.

This state title win will only strengthen the argument that Leominster should have been in the “Super 8,” but players were not using the win as an opportunity to gloat Saturday.

“We were just trying to play baseball,” said O’Connor regarding the win. “We tried to do whatever we could. Whatever games we played, we tried to win. We just left it at that. We’re happy with where we are right now.”

Throughout the season, coaches have been more outspoken than the players regarding their teams’ respective candidacy. Of the teams left out, Leominster certainly has the ability to say “See? I told you so.”

“All year, our philosophy was control what you can control,” said Barnaby. “If we’re in the Super 8, we’re in the Super 8. If we’re not, we’re going to try to beat everyone the MIAA wants us to beat. We kind of kept a positive spin. On the bus today, I said, ‘Hey, if we don’t beat this team, the Super 8 is right, we don’t belong. If we beat them, maybe next year they’ll consider a Central Mass. team.”

D1 South: Barnstable 5, Norwood 4 (OT)

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – For the second night in a row, the Barnstable faithful had to endure an overtime finish.

But unlike the girls squad that fell on Tuesday night, the Red Raiders boys’ hockey team came through in the overtime period, with Kyle Rood notching the game-winner with 36.5 seconds remaining and leading No. 6 Barnstable to a 5-4, come-from-behind win over No. 7 Norwood in the Division 1 South semifinals.

Barnstable will play top-seeded Braintree in the Div. 1 South finals on Sunday (1:45 p.m.) at Gallo.

“This team is a hell of a lot better than we gave them credit for at the beginning of the year,” Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson said. “They don’t quit, they don’t panic, and they get a little excited sometimes and take penalties but that goes both way.”

After a Barnstable hand pass put the face off back in their own end, the Red Raiders cleared their zone. With the icing call waved off, Donnie Brodd chased down the puck and fed the puck to an open Kyle Rood who went far-post, ending the marathon event.

“I was kind of chilling on the weak side wing. Donnie Brodd, great hockey player won the battle took them deep down around the net and I was wide open in front of the net and I tapped it in,” Rood said over his overtime winner.

It was only fitting that the first line of the Red Raiders would put an end to the game.

In the three games Barnstable has played in this postseason, they have been the heart and soul of the squad and Wednesday night was no different as they accounted for four of the five goals.

However, the Red Raiders were once again plagued by their own penalties. Heading into the second period, Barnstable held a 1-0 lead but penalties let the Mustangs right back in it.

John Galvin tied the game at 6:56 of the second period and four minutes later Mark Powers put Norwood on top with a power play goal.

With momentum clearly swinging over to the Mustangs side, Brodd took it upon himself to tie the game nine seconds later with a wrist shot over Denny Drummey’s shoulder.

Adding insult to injury after their penalty-plagued period, the Red Raiders allowed the Mustangs to get the go-ahead goal with 50 seconds left in the second period on a breakaway goal from Jack Sheehan.

Barnstable came out on the offensive to begin the third, tallying the first five shots on net, but it was Norwood that struck first.

Midway through the third, Sheehan struck again when he collected his own rebound and went around Red Raider goalie Kevin Huska to put Norwood on top, 4-2.

“I thought typical of the way we have been playing, we played very well in the first period and we were taken off our game in the second period by taking penalties and it changed our whole momentum,” said Nickerson.

With their season staring down a two-goal deficit, the quick-strike Raiders responded again, this time 11 seconds later when Cody Pasic jammed a loose puck home from the doorstep.

Three minutes later, Barnstable completed the comeback when Max Lambert took control of a failed clear attempt and rifled off a shot from the right dot to tie the game at four.

“At this stage anybody can beat anybody and I thought we were in trouble but we fought back and we were able to win,” said Nickerson.

D1 South: Norwood 5, Archies 3

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Where the hearts goes, the body will follow.

Entering Saturday’s Division 1 South quarter-final matchup against No. 2 seed Archbishop Williams, Norwood senior captain Jack Sheehan kept an altruistic mentality.

“We had to believe, first off, that we could do it,” he said.

The No. 7 seed Mustangs got the start they needed, taking a 2-0 lead to the first intermission. But, after a lackluster second, they found themselves down a goal entering the third.

That’s when Norwood showed its heart, climbing back and finishing out a 5-3 win.

“We had to win those one-on-one battles and get the puck to the net,” Mustangs head coach Bill Clifford said. “We did that and I thought we had a great third period.”

Fresh off a double-overtime loss to Xaverian in a Super 8 tournament play-in game, the Bishops (12-7-3) look jetlagged in the first as Norwood (13-5-4) jumped out to a two-goal lead.

Mark Powers was first on the board at 12:32 of the first, with a nice cutback shift to the slot and a stick-side wrister. Just 58 seconds later, the Mustangs worked for their first of two power-play goals with Sheehan letting go a slap shot from the point.

However, with a power play that spilled into the second, Archies was able to get right back in the game with a power-play goal of its own 32 seconds into the period on Ryan Dunn’s redirect of an Ed Riley point shot. With the goal, Dunn hit the 100-point plateau for his career.

Midway through the period, the Bishops pulled even on a Mike Davis goal at 7:06, before Sean Keenan’s go-ahead goal at 12:48, with Dunn picking up his second point of the game on the assist.

“The second period was rough for us and we got down,” Sheehan said. “But our first period was great, that might have been the best period we’ve had all year that first period.”

Norwood drew even with its second goal on the man-advantage at 3:16. Matt Hajjar hit Jake O’Rourke with a back door pass, allowing O’Rourke to step in and beat Bishops goaltender Matt McCaughey gloveside.

John Galvin score the game-winner at 10:55, sneaking behind Archies’ blue-liners on a sneak away pass from O’Rourke, and beating McCaughey on a partial break.

Sheehan capped scoring with his second of the game on an empty-netter with 19 seconds play, while fighting off the forecheck of a Bishop defenseman.

“Their forwards are very quick and they like to get it up to their forwards right away,” Clifford said. “We were very weary of that. I thought our defense did a good job of staying up on our blue line and forcing them to try to dump it in, instead of carrying it in all the time.”

The Mustangs advance to play Barnstable in the D1 South semifinals at a time to be announced.

D1 South: Barnstable 4, Milton 3

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Notice to the remainder of Division 1: When Barnstable's first line is clicking, watch out.

No. 3 Milton found that out in the first period of Saturday's Div. 1 South quarterfinal with the Red Raiders when Mike McDonough and Donnie Brodd each scored two goals. Cody Pasic also added assists on all four goals as Barnstable held on for a 4-3 win.

“That first period was the best we’ve ever played and the best I’ve seen a high school play,” said Brodd. “I’ve known Cody since I was about six years old with baseball and hockey we know each other real well and we know where the other is so it works out real well.”

Donnie Brodd had the first two goals for No. 6 Barnstable at 7:35 and 9:06 of the first period, while McDonough had a power-play goal 27 seconds later and again at the 13:42 mark.

“We’ve got five or six kids that are very good and when they are on the ice they control the whole game, Barnstable coach Scott Nickerson said. “The last few games our first line has been dominate and five-on-five, they play exceptionally well.”

Despite four Barnstable goals in the first period, Milton got a boost from Jack Halloran right before the end of the period.

With 2.3 seconds left, Halloran went streaking down the left wing, and sent a wrister past Barnstable goaltender Kevin Huska inside the far post.

The Red Raiders offense sputtered in the second and third periods, mainly due to penalties. Barnstable outshot the Wildcats 15-6 in the opening stanza, but over the final 30 minutes, it was Milton that owned the advantage. Four Barnstable power plays gave the Wildcats a 16-11 shot advantage to end the game.

“I think penalties hurt us not in the fact we gave up power play goals but the fact it took away from our momentum,” Nickerson said. “On five-on-five, we dominated but when you have to kill three penalties in a row with you top guy killing penalties, it starts to slow things downs.”

On their fourth and final power play, the Wildcats’ special teams unit broke through. At 2:01 of the third period, Owen Bligh took a shot from right wing that Huska made the initial stop. The puck popped straight up into the air, landed behind Huska and crawled past the goal line to bring the Wildcats within one.

“I credit my senior and the captains for taking change and going down fighting and leaving everything on the ice,” Milton coach Paul Noonan said.

Milton got the first eight shots on net to open the third, but Huska rose to the occasion, keeping the Red Raiders on top. His two biggest saves came with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game when Connor Richard scooped the puck up behind the net and attempted the wraparound.

“I think [Huska] played well enough to win us a game but I think it was a team win,” said Nickerson. “But when needed to he made the saves.”

Onto the semifinals: With the win, the Red Raiders are two wins away from hauling in the Div. 1 South hardware and moving onto the T.D. Garden. They will match up with No. 7 Norwood, who knocked off No. 2 Archbishop Williams on Saturday night.

But whoever Barnstable is playing, Nickerson feels confident in his team that they can take on anyone.

“I honestly feel that we’ve had better teams in the past but I don’t think we’ve had teams playing as well as this team is right now or in a situation that is lined up as well to win a state tournament.”
Winthrop/Lynn made a late-season move in our statewide MIAA girls' hockey Top 25 poll this week, vaulting up to No. 11 this week.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Note: Records are as of Wednesday, Feb. 5.)

Hangin' with the big Dawgs: Winthrop/Lynn's ascent in this week's poll was marked by a couple of important Top 25 victories in recent play, with wins over Beverly/Danvers and St. Mary's, both of which were ranked in the Top 10 in our last update.

Also new to the poll this week is No. 25 Framingham. The Flyers also claimed a couple of Top 25 wins, having beaten Wellesley and formerly ranked Norwood while making the program's debut in the rankings.

Matignon adds girls' hockey, introduces coach

October, 29, 2013
There will a new entrant in MIAA hockey as play begins in December. Today, Matignon athletic director Tim Alberts announced the school is adding girls' hockey to its 2013-14 offerings and, in the process, introduced former Norwood standout Paige Hackett as the program's first head coach.

Here's more from today's release:
"Hockey has an incredible tradition at Matignon High School as our boy’s teams have won 10 State Championships over the years," said Alberts. "The regional growth of girls' ice hockey makes this exactly the right time for us to move forward with girls' ice hockey as a varsity sport at Matignon High School. We are confident we can build a program that competes successfully for State Championships."

The team will be coached by Paige Hackett, who played Div. 1 Varsity hockey at UMass-Amherst. During Hackett’s four years at UMass-Amherst, the women’s ice hockey teams were invited to the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament every year because of their outstanding league records. Hackett’s team advanced to the semi-finals of the ACHA her freshman and senior years. “I have always loved the game of hockey and I am so thrilled to be given the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for the game with young female athletes,” says Hackett.

Hackett coached for Rob Barletta's Hockey School at Iorio Arena in Walpole, MA. During the fall semester of her junior year, Paige studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. There, she had the opportunity to coach and play with the FC Barcelona Men’s National Ice Hockey team.

Hackett played her scholastic hockey at Norwood High School where she was a four-year starter and senior Captain of her Mustangs’ team. She was a four-year Bay State League All-Star and was presented the Hobey Baker Award following her senior year. Hackett played for the Mass Spitfires, whose U16 team was National Bound State Championship Finalists. In her junior year, Paige was invited to the 2007 NAHA College Showcase in Burlington, Vermont. This opportunity paved the way for Paige to attend UMass/Amherst. In addition to playing ice hockey, Hackett was a four-year varsity starting pitcher and senior captain of her Mustangs softball team. She was a four-year Transcript News All-Star.

In 2012, Hackett graduated from UMass-Amherst with Honors and is part of the Mathematics Department at Matignon High School.

Girl’s Ice Hockey will become the 23rd sport to be offered at Matignon High School. The Warriors will play as an independent their first season of competition and all home games will be at the Stoneham Arena, where the boy’s team plays as well.

Matignon High School is a private, Catholic high school located in Cambridge, MA. Matignon High School is member of the Catholic Central League. For more information on Matignon High School, visit

ESPN Boston Girls Lacrosse MIAA All-State Team

June, 29, 2013

Isabella O'Connor, Jr. A, Notre Dame (Hingham)
The Plymouth resident racked up both U.S. Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American honors as the Cougars grabbed their first Division 1 state title in program history. O'Connor registered 56 goals, 15 assists, 40 ground balls and 33 forced turnovers on the season. She is verbally committed to the University of Florida.

Maddie Stenberg, Sr. A, Needham
Stenberg was named the Bay State Conference's MVP after leading the Rockets to a 20-3 campaign and D1 South semifinals appearance. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and leaves Needham with 439 career points. She will continue her career next year at Penn State.

Amy Arnold, Sr. A, Masconomet
The Cape Ann League's Player of the Year registered 71 goals and 19 assists as the Chieftains reached the semifinals of the D1 North tournament. Arnold was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and will continue her career next year at the University of Florida.

Alex Dalton, Sr. M, Notre Dame (Hingham)
The recipient of this year's prestigious ESPN Boston Miss Lacrosse Award, Dalton led an explosive Cougars attack to their first D1 state title in program history. She registering 76 goals, 15 assists, 79 ground balls, 69 draw controls and 61 forced turnovers, and leaves the program with 303 career goals and 44 career assists. Dalton was named both a U.S. Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American, and will play next year at Notre Dame.

Marina Burke, Sr. M, Westwood
Burke totaled 48 goals and 39 assists for the Wolverines as the long-time Tri-Valley League juggernaut once again reached the D1 South Final. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, and will continue her career next season at Harvard University.

Megan Hennessy, Sr. M, Winchester
A three-time selection, Hennessy had a career-high 91 goals and 55 assists in leading the Sachems to the Division 2 State Final. She leaves Winchester with 290 goals and 163 assists for her career, and will continue her career next season at Harvard.

Bailey Mongillo, Sr. M, Westford Academy
Mongillo took the competitive Dual County League by storm this spring, recording 108 goals and 33 assists as the Grey Ghosts captured the D1 North title to cap an unprecedented season. She leaves Westford with 420 career points, and will continue her career next year at Villanova University.

Ela Hazar, Jr. M, Westwood
A repeat All-State selection, the dynamic speedster led the Wolverines' potent attack with 90 goals and 40 assists, to garner U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors. Hazar is verbally committed to the University of North Carolina.

Alexa Cambi, Jr. M, Longmeadow
The Lancers dominated the Western Mass. scene once again, and Cambi was at the forefront, leading the way with 57 goals as they reached the D1 State Final. Cambi was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American for her efforts.

Taylor O’Connell, Sr. D, Algonquin
One of the top one-on-one defenders around, O'Connell led the Tomahawks to a second straight Division 1 Central title as they allowed 8.2 goals per game on the season. Named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, O'Connell will continue her career next year at Loyola University (Md.).

Aileen Kelly, Jr. G, Framingham
Allowing 10 goals per game, the Flyers defense was solid, and it started in the back with Kelly. She was named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, as the Flyers reached the semifinals of the D1 North tournament. Kelly is verbally committed to UMass.


Meghan Collins, Sr. D, Marblehead
Catherine Conley, Jr. M, Needham
Tess Chandler, Sr. M, Hopkinton
Shannon Fitzgerald, Jr. M, Newton North
M.J. Keefe, Sr. A, Andover
Hannah Murphy, Sr. M, Duxbury
Mary O'Connell, Sr. M, Norwell
Annee O'Connor, Jr. G, Needham
Zoe Ochoa, Sr. G, Longmeadow
Abby Quirk, Sr. A, Lincoln-Sudbury
Alison Ryan, Jr. M, Norwood
Kristina Schaefer, Jr. A, Longmeadow
Jillian Scyocurka, Jr. M, Longmeadow
Mariel Teague, Sr. M, Notre Dame (Hingham)
Maddie Ward, Sr. M, Norwell

ESPN Boston MIAA All-State Baseball Team

June, 28, 2013

RHP – Tommy McDonald, Sr., BC High
The ace and the workhorse of BC’s rotation, which saw the Eagles make their first D1 South Final appearance since 2009, McDonald often went late into games to pick up a win. He was 7-0 on the season, with a 1.90 ERA, five complete games and just 10 walks. The Quincy resident will continue his career next year at UMass.

LHP – Ben Bowden, Sr., Lynn English
The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, Bowden is a repeat selection, having also made the starting rotation of the All-State Team in 2012. On the season he was 4-2 with 84 strikeouts in 52 innings, with just 10 walks for an ERA of 0.67. He also recorded a .459 on-base percentage at the plate, with 13 RBI. Bowden will play at Vanderbilt next year.

LHP – Scott Tully, Sr., Reading
Another repeat All-State selection, Tully dominated the Middlesex League en route to winning the Liberty division’s MVP. For the season he went 7-1 with 96 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.54. For his career, he has 29 wins and over 400 strikeouts. Tully is headed to Notre Dame next year.

RHP – Evan Flanagan, Sr., Hingham
The Patriot League’s Co-MVP saved his best stuff for the playoffs, as the Harbormen won their first Division 2 state title in school history. On the season he was 6-2 with 79 strikeouts in 56 innings, with five complete games, a 1.75 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93. Flanagan will continue his career next year at the University of Rhode Island.

LHP – Mike Gaughan, Sr., Walpole
One of the state’s most elusive lefties, Gaughan helped lead the Rebels to the No. 1 overall seed in D1 South. He was 10-2 on the season with 117 strikeouts and a 1.88 ERA, and held opponents to a .180 batting average. Gaughan is headed to Division 2 Rollins College (Fla.) next year.


C – Joe Freiday, Jr., Bridgewater-Raynham
One of the state’s leaders in runs plated, Freiday finished the year batting .425, with a .573 on-base percentage, 31 RBI and five home runs. He also drew 21 walks and struck out just 10 times. Freiday is fielding interest from an assortment of Division 1 programs.

INF – Nick Bragole, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Part of one of the state’s most prolific hitting lineups, Bragole put up .403/.532/.758 totals with 21 RBI and six home runs, along with 10 stolen bases, as the Eagles captured the No. 1 seed in D1 North, won 22 straight games and made an appearance in the D1 North final. Bragole is headed to Division 2 St. Anselm College (N.H.) in the fall.

INF – Kenny Michael, Sr., Norwood
Michael catalyzed the Mustangs late in the season when they snatched the Bay State Conference’s Herget Division title in the last week of the regular season. He was named the Herget MVP as he hit .429 with 27 RBI and a home run. Michael will continue his career at Division 2 Southern New Hampshire University.

INF – Alex Toomey, Sr., Beverly
Toomey beat out a number of high-profile players to take the MVP in the Northeastern Conference’s Large division, and deservedly so. For the season he his .431 with eight doubles, 31 RBI and five home runs, only striking out five times. On the mound, he went 6-2 with a 1.33 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. Toomey is headed to Salem State University next year.

INF – Brandon Bingel, Sr., St. John’s Prep
This year’s recipient of the prestigious ESPN Boston Mr. Baseball Award, Bingel was a force in all three phases of the game to take Catholic Conference MVP for the second straight year. He batted .302 with 20 RBI and two home runs, and went 9-0 on the mound with 76 strikeouts in 58.2 innings, walking just 10 batters, for a 0.97 ERA. Bingel will continue his career at Bryant University.

OF – David MacKinnon, Sr., Oliver Ames
MacKinnon took Hockomock League MVP honors after hitting .500 with 16 RBI. One of the best pure athletes of the bunch, MacKinnon is also an All-American soccer player, and will play both sports at the University of Hartford.

OF – Ian Strom, Sr., Hopedale
Strom was a monster on both the mound and at the plate as the Blue Raiders reached the Division 3 State Final. He hit .514 on the year with 21 RBI and 15 stolen bases, and didn’t strike out all season. On the mound, he was 9-2 with 107 strikeouts in 67.2 innings, for a 1.45 ERA. Strom will continue his career next season at UMass-Lowell.

OF – Mike Bruemmel, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Co-MVP of the Old Colony League saved his best stroke for last, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning to lead the Trojans to their first Division 1 state title in school history. On the season he batted .341 with a .505 on-base percentage, with 21 RBI and 11 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 6-1 with 69 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, with a 1.82 ERA. Bruemmel is headed to Wheaton College next year.

DH – Malcolm Nachmanoff, Sr., Boston Latin
The Dual County League’s MVP of the Large division, Nachmanoff carried a heavy bat, hitting .507 with 26 RBI and five home runs. He also recorded a 1.45 ERA in 53 innings pitched. Nachmanoff is headed to Loomis Chafee (Conn.) next year for a post-graduate season.


OF – Dan Avery, Sr., Blackstone Valley Tech
Avery excelled both ways for the Beavers, recording .492/.579/.689 totals at the plate with three triples, 26 RBI, 28 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 7-2 with a 1.02 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 62 innings, with just eight walks. He will play both football and baseball at Massachusetts Maritime Academy next year.

3B – Ryan Baldwin, Sr., Fairhaven
One of the state’s leaders in home runs, Baldwin hit eight and batted in 34 runs, to finish the season with a .500 average and take South Coast Conference MVP honors. Baldwin will continue his career next year at Barry University (Fla.).

2B – Tommy Buonopane, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Another key cog to the Eagles’ impressive hitting order, Buonopane registered .354/.457/.585 totals with 21 RBI and three home runs, as the Eagles won the Catholic Conference outright. Buonopane is headed to the University of Rhode Island next year.
.354/.457/.585, 21 RBI, 3 HR

2B – Dan Connors, Sr., Danvers
A three-time Northeastern Conference All-Star, Connors captured the Small division’s MVP award after hitting .390, as the Falcons were the top seed in Division 2 North and reached the district final. Connors, a career .365 hitter, will enroll at UMass-Amherst in the fall.

LHP – Mac Curran, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
A repeat selection, Curran was once again a force on the mound, going 5-2 with a 0.98 ERA as the Warriors captured the Eastern Athletic Conference outright. He also batted .402 with a home run. Curran is headed to Niagara University next season to continue his career.

C – Kyle Devin, Sr., Lynn Classical
One of the state's best arms behind the plate, Devin threw out eight of 12 steal attempts and also had 11 pickoffs. He also hit .410 with 16 RBI, five doubles, two triples, a home run and six stolen bases for the Rams. Devin is headed to Stony Brook next season to continue his baseball career.

SS – Isan Diaz, Jr., Springfield Central
One of the top defensive talents outside of Eastern Mass., Diaz showed off quite a bit with his bat as well, plating 19 runs and registering three home runs as the Golden Eagles once again reached the Division 1 West tournament.

RHP – Drew Foster, Sr., Nashoba
One of the steadiest starters in Central Mass., with a 4-1 record and 0.97 ERA, Foster led the Chieftains through a loaded Division 1 Central field to capture their first district title in program history. Foster is headed to Ohio University next year, where he intends to play club hockey.

RHP – Dustin Hunt, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Arguably the state’s top closer, Hunt embraced the role as the Eagles reeled off 22 straight wins before falling in the D1 North Final. On the season he struck out 31 batters in 27.1 innings, with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Hunt, an Andover resident, is headed to Northeastern University next season.

RHP – Thomas Jankins, Sr., Quaboag
Jankins was dangerous on the mound and in the batter's box this season for the Cougars. He hit .473 with 19 RBI and two home runs, and was 5-3 with a 0.53 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 52.1 innings. Jankins will continue his career next season at Quinnipiac University.

OF – Tom Landry, Sr., BC High
Landry registered .348/.378/.493 totals at the plate and added 16 RBI and two home runs for the Eagles, who reached their first D1 South Final since 2009. He also struck out just 11 times and drew four walks. Landry will play for Wheaton College next year.

SS – Steven Lee, Sr., Braintree
Lee manned the middle of the Wamps’ order for the last three years, and put up impressive numbers in his senior season. He batted .376 with 26 RBI, one home run, 27 runs scored and 10 stolen bases as Braintree captured its fourth straight Bay State Carey title. He also committed just five errors in the field. Lee is headed to Stonehill College next year.

RHP – David Longstreeth, Soph., Smith Academy
Longstreeth is already over the 300 career strikeout mark, with 21 wins, in his still-blossoming career for Smith. On the season, he went 11-2 with 132 strikeouts in 80.1 innings, as the Falcons reached the Division 3 West Final.

RHP – Mike Lundin, Sr., Silver Lake
Lundin helped lead the Lakers to a Patriot League Fisher division title with his proficiency on the mound, going 7-2 with 86 strikeouts in 65.1 innings with a 0.67 ERA. Lundin will continue his career at Massasoit Community College next season.

OF – Tyler Lyne, Sr., Agawam
Lyne was a catalyst for the Brownies, who won the Valley League and reached the Division 1 West Final. For the season, he registered 16 RBI and two home runs. Lyne will continue his career at Merrimack College next year.

RHP – Donny May, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
The other overpowering ace for the Warriors’ staff, May went unbeaten as they captured the Eastern Athletic Conference outright. He was 11-0 on the year, with a 0.44 ERA and 89 strikeouts, along with a .438 batting average at the plate. May is headed to Fordham University next year.

SS – David Murphy, Sr., Plymouth North
The Atlantic Coast League’s MVP helped the Blue Eagles to another league title, hitting .429 with 29 RBI and three home runs. He only struck out twice all year. Murphy will take his talents to Massasoit Community College next year.

SS – Noah Parker, Sr., St. Mary (Westfield)
One of the more underappreciated talents across the state, Parker was the catalyst for the Saints, who reached the Division 3 West quarterfinals. Parker registered 28 hits, 20 RBI and two home runs on the season. He will head to Seton Hall University next season as a preferred walk-on.

OF – Anthony Perriello, Sr., Norwood
A powerful hitter manning the middle of the Mustangs’ order, Perriello led the Bay State Conference in batting average (.507) and added 15 RBI and a home run.

RHP – Alex Person, Sr., Xaverian
The Foxborough resident manned the top of the rotation, as the Hawks tried to defend their D1 state title. On the season he struck out 52 batters in 51 innings, going 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA. Person will continue his career at Southern New Hampshire University next year.

C – Matt Phelan, Sr., Northbridge
Phelan was a force at the plate for the Rams, who reached their fourth straight Division 2 Central Final. On the season he hit .484 with 28 RBI and four home runs, and on the mound was 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA. Phelan is headed to St. Anslem in the fall, where he will play football.

RHP – Brendan Ryan, Sr., Newton North
Ryan earned MVP honors in the Bay State Conference’s Carey division, after going 7-1 with a 1.64 ERA and six complete games. Ryan also batted .347 with 17 RBI. He will enroll at the University of South Carolina in the fall.

RHP – Endy Sanchez, Jr., Holyoke
Another member of the 100-K club, Sanchez had one of the best strikeout-to-ratios in Western Mass., fanning exactly 100 batters in 62 innings pitched for the Purple Knights.

RHP – Kevin Superko, Sr., Wellesley
Following in the footsteps of his brother Tim, Superko carried on the name holding down the front of the Raiders’ rotation. On the season he recorded 67 strikeouts in 49 innings, with a 1.02 WHIP and holding batters to a .184 average. He will do a post-graduate season at Philips Andover next year.

RHP – Ryley Warnock, Sr., North Reading
Warnock was dynamic both on the mound and on the basepath for the Hornets, who captured the top overall seed in D3 North. On the mound he was 10-1 with a 0.44 ERA and 72 strikeouts, and at the plate he was .360 with 17 stolen bases. Warnock will continue his career next year at the University of Rhode Island.

LHP – Cody Younger, Sr., Middleborough
Younger came on in the second half of the season and led the Sachems through a gauntlet en route to the Division 3 state title, their first since 1997. On the mound, he was 4-2 with 53 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA, and delivered wins over the top two seeds in D3 South. At the plate, he had .415/.482/.507 totals with 27 RBI. Younger will do a post-graduate season at Bridgton Academy (Maine) next year.

RHP – Zach Zona, Sr., St. Peter-Marian
Zona led the top of the Guardians’ rotation as they came on late in the regular season to make the Division 1 Central tournament. On the season he was 5-2 with 64 strikeouts in 46.2 innings, with a 1.05 ERA and two no-hitters. Zona will continue his career next season at UMass-Lowell.

D1 South Baseball: Norwood 9, Xaverian 7

June, 1, 2013
NORWOOD, Mass. –- More often than not this year, Norwood has ridden on the shoulders of senior Kenny Michael to lead them to a victory on the mound.

But on a night where Michael, by his own admission, struggled with his accuracy at times, his teammates helped pick him up, giving the Mustangs a 9-7 victory over defending Division 1 state champion Xaverian.

Michael, a future college player at Division 2 Southern New Hampshire, pitched six innings, giving up six earned runs. Joe Rydzewski, who picked up the win, got the ball in the top of the seventh and was lights-out for the rest of the game, giving up just two hits in the last three innings to hold off a Xaverian squad looking to make one last charge.

“We knew we needed three [outs], and we knew Joe fit in the second slot," Norwood coach Kevin Igoe said. "He’s a horse, we’ve developed the off speed—his change-up and his curve. The energy from him is great. He’s a great ballplayer."

Michael also had high praises for his teammate.

"I didn’t have my stuff tonight," Michael said. "For him to come in and do that, especially for a junior, it take a lot of 'you know what' -— a lot of it. For him to come out and do that, I’m happy for him, I’m happy for our team. That was just a great win."

Rourke Flynn hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to give the Mustangs an early 2-0 lead, but that lead was short lived. Xaverian starting pitcher Alex Person, also a Southern New Hampshire University commit, hit a two-run homer of his own to lift the Hawks to a 3-2 lead in the third. In the fifth, following a leadoff double by Person, the Hawks plated two more runs to extend the lead to 7-2 going into the bottom of the fifth.

Person appeared to be cruising through another inning, but Anthony Perriello’s hustle on a two-out infield single extended an inning that both teams’ coaches agreed was the potential turning point in the game. Michael came up next and hit a two-run homer to help ignite some energy into his team and home crowd.

“That hustle play by Perriello is huge," Igoe said. "If he dogs it down the line Kenny never gets up."

Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert seconded Igoe’s comments.

“I thought he was going to be safe anyways, we had it ruled as an infield hit," Lambert said. "The kid beat it out though, and Michael hits the home run—that’s a huge play, even though at the time we still had a three run lead. If we can get out of that inning with a zero, I think the rest of the game momentum-wise is different. But that’s a championship-caliber team executing when they absolutely had to have it.”

Anthony Delmonaco, who got the start at DH and scored two runs of his own, hit a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Mustangs their first lead since the third inning. He later came around to score on a sacrifice to bring the lead to 9-7.

Rydzewski slammed the door shut from there.

“We put [Delmonaco] in there and he got two big hits," Igoe said. "He’s been that way all year long -- he’s a great athlete and a composed hitter. He doesn’t get flustered, it’s a great matchup when he goes up against a kid like Person."

Lambert said he was impressed by Norwood’s intensity and willingness to fight back late in the game and take the lead for good.

“We had them on the ropes in the fourth and fifth innings, and they fought us," Lambert said. "They got back off the mat and got on top, re-established momentum and they took it from us. That’s why they won the game: they had the mental toughness to handle that punch in the mouth and bounce back from the adversity and be able to get through."

Michael smirked when asked about how much it means to beat the defending state champion twice in five days—mentioning that the only team they would want to beat more than Xaverian is archrival Walpole.

“They’re a good team, they always show up in the playoffs, and they came out and played us hard--but we fought back," Michael said. "Like we always do, we always fight back in the end—we never give up.”

Bay State Conference baseball All-Stars announced

May, 29, 2013
Here are the baseball All-Stars for the Bay State Conference.

League all-stars can be sent to either Brendan Hall ( or Scott Barboza (

Braintree - Adam Chin, 1B
Braintree - Steve Lee, SS
Brookline - Zack Moss, 2B
Brookline - Nate Speilvogel, P
Framingham - Matt Cronin, P
Natick - Brady Furdon, P
Newton North - Alex Joyce, C
Newton North - Ben Porter, OF
Newton North - Brendan Ryan, P - Carey Division MVP
Norwood - Mark Saulnier, C
Norwood - Kenny Michael, SS - Herget Division MVP
Norwood - Rourke Flynn, 3B
Norwood - Anthony Perriello, OF
Norwood - Tyler Gover, OF
Walpole - Johnny Adams, SS
Walpole - Cam Hanley, 3B
Walpole - Matt Bender, OF
Walpole - Mike Gaughan, P
Wellesley - Peter Stabnick, OF
Wellesley - Kevin Superko, P
Weymouth - Ryan Ainslee, OF

Recap: Norwood 3, No. 6 Newton North 2

May, 23, 2013

NEWTON, Mass. -- As Anthony Delmonaco approached a pod of reporters, he looked down at the tape recorders and said, “Sorry guys, I'm not really that good under pressure.”

He couldn't keep a straight face.

With two strikes and two outs in the top of the ninth inning, the Norwood High School senior hit a two-RBI shot to left field to give the Mustangs (15-4) a 3-2 lead over No. 6 Newton North (16-3). Norwood ace Joey Rydzewski finished the job and retired the Tigers in order for a complete-game victory.

Delmonaco, who sat on the bench for most of the game, also had an RBI in his first pinch-hit at bat during the top of the seventh inning.

“It's tough to sit on the bench for six innings, and then, when I call on you, go have three RBI. He's got that right mentality,” said Norwood head coach Kevin Igoe. “He should be starting, but there's only nine spots. When we called on him, he delivered. That's something he can take with him the rest of his life.”

After watching Newton North's Brendan Ryan pitch, Delmonaco knew he would have to wade through a series of looping off-speed pitches. He decided to sit and wait for a hittable fastball. With the game on the line, he got one.

“He had a good deuce, so when it was 2-2 I was looking fastball, and he gave me one. I was able to get a good piece of it, and it went over the shortstop's head,” he said. “It felt great. It's a great feeling.”

Rydzewski, Norwood's reliable righty, took a little while to get into a groove. During the first inning, the junior gave up two runs on a walk and four hits. He saw eight batters in the inning, but was able to strand two runners when he forced Newton North's Philip Biancuzo to pop out to deep center.

After the first inning, Rydzewski struck out eight batters and used increasing velocity on his fastball to keep the Tigers on their heels.

“It's tough playing on the road. You've got a long bus ride through traffic, and everyone's is sitting there,” Igoe said. “Then you have 20 minutes to get loose. We tried to get him as ready as we could, and he's a horse. He could have gone two more innings.”

Newton North head coach Joe Siciliano, who is gearing his team up for a run in the tournament, said the game was a great learning tool.

“That was a great high school game –- no errors. They just battled and made pitches, both pitchers did. We were one strike away, and that thing drops in. We're just hoping for breaks like this when the tournament comes around,” he said. “I'm not taking anything away from them. That's a good team. It will be fun if we face each other in the tournament, but that's far away still.”

Moving on Up: Norwood is in the midst of one of its best seasons in recent memory. The Mustangs have relied on their senior-laden roster to rise to the top of the Bay State Conference's Herget Division.

While Igoe said the team has made adjustments throughout the season, it's the guys on the field who have made the difference.

“We've got a great coaching staff. These guys battled back. We just kind of point them in the right direction. We got off course, and now we're heading in the right direction,” he said.

The Mustangs have spent most of the season chasing No. 4 Walpole High for division's top spot. However, Igoe isn't doing much scoreboard watching –- he just wants his team to concentrate on winning.

“Every game we go out there we expect to win, and we recognize that that probably won't happen, but we go out there and expect to win every game,” he said. “We don't worry about Walpole. We worry about getting the job done between the lines, and whatever happens, happens.”

Siciliano, whose Tigers are looking to claim the Bay State Conference's Carey Division title, said it's about time the Mustangs get their due.

“When is someone going to rank those guys?” he said. “That's one of the top 25 teams in the state. When is someone going to rank them?"

Almost Perfect: After Norwood boarded its bus to go home, and most Newton North players left the field, Ryan sat on the bleachers behind the Tigers' bench – head down – and iced his tired pitching arm.

The senior, who came into the day with a perfect 7-0 record, had just recorded his first loss.

Ryan was lights-out for the first six innings and used a combination of pitches to keep Norwood off-balanced. Until Delmonaco's seventh-inning RBI, Ryan had not faced more than four batters in an inning.

“He's done that all year. He was 7-0 coming into the game, and he was one strike away from going 8-0. He made some great pitches. You can tell what kind of player he is,” Siciliano said. “If I even went over to that line to take him out ... no, that wasn't going to happen.”

Recap: Norwood 2, No. 4 Walpole 1

May, 21, 2013

NORWOOD, Mass. –- Norwood’s one-run loss to archrival Walpole (16-2) on April 26 left Kenny Michael with a bad taste in his mouth. Under the lights at Balch Elementary School on Monday night, he was a man on a mission—driving in both of Norwood’s (14-4) runs and pitching a complete game four-hitter to carry the Mustangs to a 2-1 victory in front of a packed crowd.

Michael doubled in the top of the first inning to bring Rourke Flynn around to score. In the fourth inning, he smashed a home run over the fence in left-center field. Norwood didn’t score another run the rest of the game, and they didn’t need it—Michael finished the job with his performance on the mound, totaling 11 strikeouts.

“Last time we were in Walpole they got me. I was looking for redemption tonight,” Michael said.

Walpole lefthander Mike Gaughan got the start on the mound for the Rebels, pitching eight innings with 11 K’s of his own.

"Two great pitchers, Gaughan is top in our league, as is Kenny," Norwood coach Kevin Igoe said. "[It was] two of the best teams battling it out. Good Baseball, good defense--we’re pretty happy."

Igoe praised his senior star after the game. Michael, who will play ball at Division 2 power Southern New Hampshire University starting this coming fall, played his best baseball in front of a big hometown crowd and under bright lights. Michael didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning -- an inning when he gave up two hits and walked a batter without giving up a run.

"This is his third year of varsity--his heartbeat stays level," Igoe said of Michael. "He’s everything to us: shortstop, on the mound, you saw him hit that ball into the net--we go as he goes."

Michael saw a similar jam in the eighth inning, where one Walpole run crossed the plate. Johnny Adams stole second base and advanced to third after a base he hit a single that drove in Bobby Ivatts. Adams never had a chance to score though—Michael recorded three outs in order to get out of the jam.

"I was just trying to come out with everything I had," Michael said. "I wasn’t trying to pick corners, although I did sometimes tonight pretty well. I wasn’t trying to go around anyone...I was just trying to go in at everyone in the zone. Fortunately for me that didn’t get a lot of solid pieces off my pitches—a lot of strikes and I’m very happy with how I performed on the mound."

Added Walpole coach Bill Tompkins, "Kenny Michael was the star of the game. He was a bulldog on the mound and he was tough with men on base."

Gaughan, who will attend a Division 2 powerhouse as well at Rollins College (Fla.), had a near-flawless pitching performance of his own—throwing three pitches consistently for strikes throughout the game.

"He’s a good frickin’ pitcher," Michael said of his counterpart. "His curve down and in to a righty is just deadly."

Norwood is playing their best baseball at the right time---with the tournament just around the corner. Having won nine of their last ten games, the Mustangs have shown they should be considered a serious contender going forward. Their last two losses -- 3-2 to Silver Lake on May 11th, and the previously mentioned 11-10 loss to Walpole -- have come at the hands of two of the state’s best teams.

"We break [the season] out into four quarters...we try to get that wheel rolling," Igoe said. "We’ve got a tough game Wednesday against Newton North and then Xaverian’s coming in Saturday. We do that purposely so we’re battle-tested. Believe me we can beat anybody, or we can lose to anybody."

Tompkins said he cherished the electric environment of the game, and best summed up the always-thrilling Walpole/Norwood baseball rivalry:

"I’d rather play under the lights so that the league and all the people can see the Walpole-Norwood game," he said. "Usually it’s the best game of the saw one hell of a game tonight."

Recap: No. 7 Walpole 11, Norwood 10

April, 27, 2013

WALPOLE, Mass. -– Friday afternoon’s showdown was full of clutch hitting and timely defensive plays -- as any Walpole-Norwood matchup should be. Walpole took an 8-1 lead after three innings, watched Norwood (5-3) tie the game one inning later, and in the bottom of the ninth Johnny Adams drove in the winning run to seal an 11-10 victory for the Rebels (9-1).

Adams was 0-for-5 going into his last at-bat, but was able to put all that behind him with the game on the line. With a base knock up the middle, he drove in the winning run, doing just what his coach told him to do.

“He’s the man we’d want up every time, I don’t care if he’s 0-for-10," Walpole coach Bill Tompkins said. "[I told him] just take it up the middle, don’t try to do more than you can, just take it up the middle."

Adam’s game-winning single was just one of several big-hits in what was a spirited offensive affair. Walpole scored three runs in the first inning, then added five more in the third inning -— four of which came via a grand slam to left field by rightfielder Matt Bender.

"He just jumped on a fastball and got all of it...the reason why Matt got that hit and the other kid got a home run is that the balls are up," Tompkins said. "Not good location, and that’s what happens when you leave the ball up."

All the momentum was in Walpole’s dugout at that point, but Norwood refused to quit. The Mustangs put seven runs on the board to come back from what originally appeared to be an unanswerable deficit.

“We’re a real good team, we’re gonna’ be there when it’s all said and done," Norwood coach Kevin Igoe said. "Give [Walpole] credit too, when we came back they stole the momentum; we’ve got to step on their neck when we’ve got them. They’re too good a team to let them go."

Nearly all of Norwood’s lineup got involved in the rally: Anthony Perriello legged out an RBI-triple early in the inning, Mark Saulnier ripped a double to drive Perriello in, while Tyler Gover drove in a run on a base hit and Rourke Flynn drove in two of his own on a double to bring the score to 8-6.

Flynn scored on the next play when two Norwood runners came around on a wild play, tying the game at eight.

“That’s a very typical Walpole-Norwood game,” Tompkins said. “A lot of comebacks—give Norwood credit, they were down 8-1 and they didn’t quit. They bounced back for that big seven-spot in the fourth inning.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Walpole catcher Rick Ordway (4-for-4, RBI) smashed an RBI double to left field to give the Rebels a 9-8 lead. Norwood, on cue, came back once again, tying the game on a two-run homer by Saulnier in the seventh.

Walpole managed to tack on two runs to win the game. In the eighth, following a single, Ordway came around to score on a triple by designated hitter Jim Smith.

“Some big hits in that eighth inning, [Ordway] got his fourth hit of the game, right after a double play too. He didn’t give up,” Tompkins said.

In the bottom of the ninth, Walpole’s Mike Rando got on base on what appeared to be a controversial call by the homeplate umpire on a pop-up inbetween first base and right field. Rando reached base, and eventually came around to score the winning run on Adams’ RBI single. Tompkins appreciated the win and effort from his players, but emphasized that they should not get ahead of themselves.

“It’s a nice boost, but it’s still midway through the season," Tompkins said. "We talked about win or lose, this wasn’t gonna be the end of the season, there’s still a lot of baseball to play. We’re 9-1, and we haven’t played an A-game yet. We hung in there, we didn’t give up, just like Norwood didn’t give up, and we came back and go the W. Good win, but it’s just one win.”

D1 South: Hingham 5, Norwood 4

March, 4, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. -- For one fleeting second everything stopped.

With Norwood down one and the clock winding under 30 seconds, a freak bounce put the puck in John Galvin’s wheelhouse and Hingham goalie John Grenier completely out of position. Galvin whiffed on the shot and Hingham held on to win a wild 5-4 Division 1 South quarterfinal yesterday at Gallo Arena.

“They played a great game, with intensity and fired up,” Hingham coach Tony Messina said of the Mustangs. “For some reason we didn’t. I told them we have to work the whole first period. They came back every single time. They weren’t very hard shots but they got through. It’s tough to explain.”

Hingham set the tone early.

Sam D’Antuono scored 3:07 to put the Harbormen up early. D’Antuono and his linemate, Matt Brazel, combined for six points on the afternoon.

Norwood answered late in the period with goals from Dan Wiseman and Jack Sheehan to go up 2-1 after 15 minutes.

D’Antuono scored 28 seconds into the second period to tie it, and Hingham continued to control much of the possession, but Norwood was able to capitalize on their chances. Mike Roy scored midway through the second to tie it.

Brazel scored 73 seconds later to put Hingham up 3-2.

“They’re go-to guys, it’s obvious,” Messina said of D’Antuono and Brazel. “That line was out there the all the time.”

Justin Ryder buried a rebound at the 5:53 of the third to put Hingham ahead to give Hingham its third lead of the game. Norwood’s Jordan Davis stepped up between the pipes, turning aside 26 shots, but the Hingham attack was too much.

Luke McInnis tipped a shot in with just under two minutes to go. Sheehan scored 27 seconds later with an extra attacker on the ice, which led to the frantic final minute, but it wasn’t enough.

“We hung tough, kept plugging away,” Norwood coach Bill Clifford said. “If John gets that one at the end we’re tied at five.

“I told them to keep their heads up. They’re champs in my book. They won their league, and went down swinging.”

When asked about transitioning to the South tournament after the loss against Central Catholic, Messina smiled and said “What loss to Central?”

Messina said that his squad has taken a water-under-the-bridge attitude to the game and is full committed to winning D1 South and the state title.

“I think they probably think about it every day, but we tried to refocus the next day,” Messina said. “We’ve have had two games in this tournament so far so I’m hoping they’ve refocused and forgotten about that game.”

After Hingham won a defensive zone faceoff with nine seconds left, one of the Harbormen pinned the puck to the boards and killed the final seconds. In the ensuing scramble Norwood’s Rourke Flynn was dropped from a hit from behind.

Flynn took exception to the hit and after some pushing and shoving he, and Hingham’s John Carlson, dropped the gloves and started fighting while a fracas involving at least half a dozen players broke out that took over a minute to bring under control.

Flynn was assessed a game misconduct retroactively while Carlson was not assessed any penalty.

Recap: Framingham 5, No. 18 Norwood 1

February, 4, 2013
HYDE PARK, Mass. -- There is nothing worse for a team that is battling to get back into a game than to give away a power play, let alone more than one.

Twice in the third period of Monday’s Bay State Conference game at Bajko Rink, and both times while momentum was on its side, Norwood took retaliation penalties. Both times Framingham (11-6-0, 11-2-0) took advantage of the extra skater to turn an evenly played one-goal game into a comfortable win.

The Flyers went 2-for-3 on the power play and sophomore forward Drew McKinnon tallied two goals and an assist as Framingham earned a tournament berth with a 5-1 win in a BSC crossover game against the Mustangs (9-3-2, 8-2-2).

Heading into the third period, Norwood trailed 2-1, but the Mustangs stormed out of the locker room intent on finding an equalizing goal. After managing only 10 shots in the opening two periods, Norwood racked up 16 in the third. Its good play was wasted when goalie Jordan Davis was called for a slash after a collision in the crease.

Freshman forward Jamie Brigham made Norwood pay. He latched onto a rebound of a McKinnon and found the back of the net to make it 3-1. The Mustangs continued to dominate the play in the third, but with 4:10 remaining, John Galvin headed to the penalty box. Twenty seconds later, the Flyers had another goal on a deflected shot by sophomore Ryder Lessing and the game was effectively over.

McKinnon added an empty net goal as the final buzzer sounded to make the score final, 5-1.

“We’ve been getting stupid penalties all year and it finally bit us. They’re not even good penalties,” said Norwood head coach Bill Clifford, who was visibly frustrated with his team’s performance. “That’s been the story of the whole season. We don’t play three periods of hockey; it’s going to catch up to you sooner or later and it caught up to us tonight.”

Framingham started the game slowly and junior goalie made two great stops to rob Rourke Flynn within the opening five minutes. The Flyers picked up steam in the final minutes of the first and, just 16 seconds before the end of the period, McKinnon found himself alone in front to fire the team into the lead.

Flyers head coach Paul Spear wanted other players to step up on offense and was impressed by the play of his young forward.

He said, “In the locker room before the game, I told the guys that someone else has to show up on the score sheet besides our top one or two guys. As soon as Drew scored the first goal of the game for us, I thought, ‘Ok, this is good for us.’ He had a great game.”

Norwood tied the game in the second despite only mustering four shots in the period. Framingham failed to clear the puck and it was played off the boards by captain Tyler Gover to a wide-open Galvin in the slot. Lynch had no chance as the junior picked the top corner.

The Flyers took back the lead 9:04 into the second period on a mistake by normally reliable defenseman Dan Wiseman. The Norwood assistant captain tried to ice the puck but it hit a teammate and fell directly into the path of Framingham’s captain Aaron Acorn. The senior made no mistake and gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead heading into the final period.

Both coaches used the same word to describe how Norwood played the final 15 minutes.

“It was desperation,” said Clifford, whose team was on the Watch List for inclusion in the Super 8 tournament, but has now lost two games in a row.

Spear was grateful that he was able to call on his junior captain to protect the net during Norwood’s onslaught. This was especially true in the final two minutes when three Flyers wound up in the box

“They wanted to catch up and they were playing a little bit desperate,” he remarked. “They were playing really hard and that’s when we count on Al to make some big saves. We missed a few coverages out front, there were a couple of deflected pucks that Al [Lynch] got a hold of, but that’s why he’s good.”

The win moves Framingham into a very slim half-game lead over Braintree atop the Bay State’s Carey division (the Wamps play again on Wednesday).

Most importantly for Spear, it gets the Flyers back into the Division 1 state tournament.

He said, “The last two years we had tournament [caliber] teams, but this year we got enough wins. It’s really a nice feeling to know that our season won’t end at February vacation.”