Boston High School: R.J. Murphy

Recap: St. Seb's 3, Catholic Memorial 0

December, 24, 2014
Dec 24
ALLSTON, Mass. -- St. Sebastian’s was just too much for Catholic Memorial on Tuesday night at Harvard’s Bright Landry Rink.

The Arrows capitalized on three plays in transition and were stingy in their own end as they shut out the Knights, 3-0, to win the Kevin T. Mutch Cup.

“[St. Sebastian’s] is an exceptional team,” said longtime Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson. “We’ve played Delbarton, Mount Saint Charles and Bishop Hendricken. They’re by far and away the best team we’ve played. We don’t have enough real good players like they have.”

The Arrows’ top line featuring Yale recruit Will D’Orsi centering R.J. Murphy and John Rourke provided much of the offensive spark. Murphy drew first blood at the 6:07 mark of the first period when he finished off a nice cross crease pass from D’Orsi on a two-on-one.

With a power play carrying over from the end of the first period the Arrows extended their lead to 2-0 just 38 seconds into the second frame. The top power play unit was moving the puck around the Knights zone with ease when Eric Jeremiah’s shot was blocked and seemingly landed right on D’Orsi’s stick for an easy goal.

Paul McAuliffe gave St. Seb’s a 3-0 advantage with 1:19 to play in the second period on a transition play. McAuliffe picked up a pass from Christian Reenstierna before driving to the net. As he was falling down he lifted a backhand that snuck between CM goaltender Brandon Collett and the near post.

St. Sebastian’s senior goaltender Danny Higgins held down the fort against minimal pushback from a Catholic Memorial squad that mustered little in the way of offense. It was the first shutout of the season for the Arrows’ captain.

“It’s great to have him back there,” St. Sebastian’s head coach Sean McCann said. “He’s a senior. He’s an older kid and has experience back there. He’s a calming force for us. I feel comfortable with him back there. He makes the saves that we require out of him.”

Speed Kills: D’Orsi, Murphy and Rourke put on quite a show in the first period with their speed and chemistry. The three really feed off each other and seem to know where to look to find the others.

“The reason is because they can skate,” said McCann. “They can handle the puck and be creative offensively. They’ve all been centermen before. They feel comfortable filling each other’s roles. They do it well coming up the ice. They have a good sense of each other.”

D’Orsi is the most well known of the group, having committed to Yale. He’s got tremendous speed and is crafty with the puck.

“[Speed] is a huge asset for his game,” McCann said. “He surprises defensemen because it doesn’t look like he’s going that much faster when he hits that next gear. He’s just such a smooth skater he’s able to keep that next gear and get by defensemen.”

Murphy has above average speed, but brings a little more physicality and power to the offensive zone than D’Orsi’s more finesse style. Murphy who made the team last year as a freshman has stepped up his game to a whole new level in his second varsity season.

“He’s always had tremendous skill. He can really shoot the puck. The thing he’s done is become a better skater overall. He’s had more patience with the puck. He’s finding his spots. He’s doing a better job as we go along,” McCann said of Murphy who was an invitee to last summer’s USA Hockey Select 16 Festival in Amherst, NY.

Work in Progress: It’s not often a coach sees positives from a 3-0 shutout loss in which his team had little in the way of scoring chances, but Hanson came away with some optimism for the future from Tuesday’s outing.

“The positive I can take out of that game is that in our end of the ice, they never bottled us up for any long stretches. We didn’t turn the puck over which kept them from coming away with easy scoring opportunities,” said Hanson. “The last period they only had two shots on goal. We played with a lot more courage and enthusiasm.”

On the other hand, Hanson was concerned with his team’s inability to play physically and prevent the transitional success that the Arrows enjoyed.

“They got their three goals in transition. It was a real lack of us being physical enough in our offensive zone which led to them having numbers,” said Hanson.

As he was much of last season, Collett will be the driving force between this year’s Knights. The junior goaltender made several nice saves including one midway through the second period on Murphy where he went post-to-post before sticking out the glove.

“Our goaltending will definitely be a strength all season,” Hanson said.

Hanson’s defense did a fairly good job containing the Arrows’ high-powered attack outside of the transitional plays and the power play tally. Led by juniors Frank Cosolito and Declan O’Malley, the Knights have some good size on the backend, but are still very much a work in progress.

“Our defensemen, the young guys that we’re bringing along, are a work in progress,” Hanson said. “As a coach my goal is by February 1st to have them much better than they are now.”

The Knights will look to take some of the lessons learned from tonight’s game and move forward starting with a nonconference tilt against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) at Loring Arena on Saturday in the first round of the Silverback tournament.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) hosted the first phase of its two-day draft proceedings on Monday.

Here's a list of players with New England ties who were selected Monday, listed by overall selection:

14. Jake Ryczek (Ludlow, Mass.), D, Selects Hockey Academy - Sioux City.

23. Jamie Armstrong (Warwick, R.I.), LW, Neponset Valley - Muskegon.

38. Luke McInnis (Hingham, Mass.), D, Hingham - Youngstown.

54. Johnny Leonard (Amherst, Mass.), F, Springfield Cathedral - Green Bay.

59. John DeRoche (Lynnfield, Mass.), F, Boston Junior Bruins - Cedar Rapids.

63. Liam Murphy (Killingsworth, Conn.), F, Avon Old Farms - Waterloo.

81. Michael Fahie (Pembroke, Mass.), F, Noble & Greenough - Youngstown.

83. Logan Drevitch (Middleborough, Mass.), F, Boston Bandits - Des Moines.

90. R.J. Murphy (Needham, Mass.), LW, St. Sebastian's - Dubuque.

91. Mike Young (Medford, Mass.), D, Rivers - Cedar Rapids.

98. Monte Graham (Hanover, Mass.), F, Thayer Academy - Tri-City.