Boston High School: Ricky Smith

Marshfield's Cataldo leads South in romp of All-Star Classic

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Team members of Saturday's 5th annual Aleppo Shriners/Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association All-Star Classic show up knowing little about the strengths and weakness of their fellow linemates. Having not practiced together, the only thing to do is learn on the fly.

The South stars were the quick learners, as all of its lines meshed brilliantly en route to a one-sided 7-1 triumph at the DCU Center.

"You don't really see an all star game finish 7-1," said South and Braintree head coach David Fasano. "It's usually 8-7 or 9-8. But all of our goaltenders played great. We were putting lines together an hour before the game so to come out and move the puck around the way we did was pretty incredible. There was some very good play making out there. There is no system in place so to speak and the goaltenders know they are going to see a lot of shots so to their credit they made some great stops. The way our kids were moving the puck around they looked like they had been playing together for a very long time."

After racing out to a 4-1 lead after the first period, this game was never in doubt. Despite facing 43 shots, South's three goaltenders (St. John's of Shrewsbury’s Mario Pizzeri, Framingham's Al Lynch and Brookline's Jake Paul) were outstanding between the pipes.

"We got an early goal on them and I think that sort of set the momentum for us," said Pizzeri, who will play at Assumption College next year. "This was certainly a fun way to go out and a great way to end my high school career."

Offensively, Marshfield forward David Cataldo led the attack as he found the back of net twice. His rebound goal coming at 6:46 of the opening period set the gears in motion for the South squad. Three minutes later, Braintree's Nick Ward made it a two-goal affair after taking a diagonal pass from Trevor O'Brien and beating Springfield Cathedral goaltender John Liquori low glove side.

Wachusett Regional's Marc Happy, taking a well-executed behind the net feed from Jim Currier, ripped a one-timer past Pizzeri to bring his team to within a goal at 10:21 but that is as close as the North stars would get.

"I'm disappointed in regards to the final outcome but this is truly a great event and the fact that it is helping a great cause with Shriners Hospitals," said North and Winchester forward Brendan Greene.

Just 32 seconds after Happy's score, Duxbury's Nick Marrocco, standing in front of the crease, back-handed a shot by Liquori to give South back its two-goal advantage.

Things seemed to snowball from there. With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Cataldo, off a well-timed pass from Robbie Souza, ripped a shot into the back of the net from the left slot to send South into the first intermission leading by three goals.

"Surprisingly we had some very good chemistry among all of us despite having never played together," Cataldo said. "All of the lines seemed to be clicking today. You are going to develop chemistry with all of these kids coming to this game. All of them can play hockey, they can adjust and they learn to play with other kids very quickly. That is why they are here.

“It's cool to play with all of these guys because you read about them during the season."

Early in the middle frame, South picked up right where it left off to end the first. Just 2:21 into the period, Archbishop Williams forward Mike Sorenti, taking a pass from Xaverian's Antonio Marini down low, skated across the front of the crease and patiently waited for St. Mary's of Lynn goalie Bailey MacBurnie to commit before sending a shot beyond the senior's out-stretched right leg pad to make it 5-1.

With North seeing its opportunities being stoned regularly, South continued to maintain its offensive charge. Xaverian's Ricky Smith padded the lead to five at 13:56 with a laser from 20 feet out that MacBurnie never saw.

"It was fun to go out there and play with a bunch of new guys," said South defenseman and St. John's (Shrewsbury) standout Bryan Nelson. "A lot of the guys I knew from playing with or against in squirts and pee-wees. It was nice to see them and catch up on things with them. This felt more like a summer tournament game. It was a lot of fun."

To its credit, North wasn't about to go down easily during the final period. Opening up the offense a bit more, they sent 19 shots toward Paul but none got past him. Meanwhile, Dartmouth's Joseph Correia added to North's misery by tallying an unassisted goal at 13:10. South also finished with 43 shots.

"The real surprise in all of this is the one goal by them on the other end," Fasano said. "That is unheard of in these types of games whether it be high school, college or the NHL. Usually those kinds of games have some pretty-big numbers. This was a lot of fun to be apart of and was a great show put on by both the Shriners and the Worcester Sharks."

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Super 8 play-in: Xaverian 6, Archies 5 (2 OT)

February, 25, 2014
Feb 25

STONEHAM, Mass. -- The level of pressure just partaking in a Super 8 tournament play-in game can be excruciating enough. But when that game needs to exceed regulation to decide a winner, well, let's just say it is not for the faint of heart.

Monday night, inside Stoneham Arena, No. 8 seed Xaverian and No. 9 Archbishop Williams laid down the gauntlet to decide which of them would earn the right to play top-seed BC High in Sunday's opening round of the state's most-coveted high school hockey tournament.

In a wide-open offensive contest from beginning to end, a second overtime was needed before Ricky Smith, flying down the right boards, ripped a shot from the circle past goaltender Steve Jenner at 1:15 of the second overtime period to send the Hawks to the Super 8 tournament at TD Garden with a 6-5 victory.

"I had a good feeling coming onto the ice during that shift," said Smith, a senior defenseman, who missed the last two seasons due to injury. "I just felt that I needed to step up and do my job as a senior captain and step up for the team. We were pretty nervous but we could never get down. We needed to stay positive throughout. We just came out and played Xaverian hockey."

The Bishops (12-6-3) season still continues as they move into the Division 1 South tournament.

New rules this season indicate that during the first six minute overtime period, both teams play 5-on-5. In the second overtime, still six minutes in length, the number of players is reduced to 4-on-4.

Given a little more freedom to move the puck around the ice with one less player seemed to benefit the Hawks (12-3-6). While both teams were showing signs of fatigue both physically and mentally, this contest eventually would come down to which club would be the strongest inside the attacking zone. With this triumph, that nod goes to Xaverian, which finished the evening with 47 shots.

Late in the third period, the Bishops were desperately clinging to a 5-4 lead. But at 11:10, junior Jack Cook deadlocked things with a shot from the left wing that trickled through the pads of Jenner. It marked Cook's third goal of the night. During the first overtime frame, the Hawks managed six shots on Jenner but to no avail. Except for the opening period, when it registered 13 shots, Archbishop Williams' offense was experiencing difficulty trying to match Xaverian's. Yet, despite all that, the Bishops were still even after 51 minutes and change.

"I felt like we got better and better throughout the game," Hawks coach Dave Spinale said. "They had a fast start and are a very dangerous team. I give them a ton of credit. Their top six is as good as anyone we've seen all year. But I just felt after each period our team was gaining more confidence and more momentum. We really started pressuring them and they seemed to be sitting back more in that third period as if they were playing not to lose and I was telling my guys to keep going after them. We certainly got a good bounce to tie it up in that period."

In spite the Bishops dictating the play for much of the opening period it was the Hawks who converted a score on their first attempt to grab the lead. Senior forward Tony Marini took a well-placed behind-the-net pass from Tim Sweeney and one-timed it past Jenner (41 saves). The score was initially set up by Marini, who intercepted the puck along the right half wall before moving himself to the slot as he awaited Sweeney's feed.

Three minutes later, the Bishops tallied for two goals in a span of only five seconds to move in front. Ryan Dunn, a senior, beat Aidan Murphy (22 stops) with a hard wrist shot from the left circle. Then, off the face-off, senior Mike Davis moved into the right circle and lofted a shot into the top right corner. But with just 37 seconds remaining in the period, Xaverian answered. Cook notched his first, showing a burst of speed down the right wing, before letting go of a hard wrist shot into the net and send both teams into the first intermission tied at 2 apiece.

The offensive fireworks seen during the first 15 minutes carried into the middle period. Just 4:19 in, Eric Keefe put Archbishop Williams back in front with a rebound goal. It only took 20 seconds for the Hawks to grab the equalizer. Andrew Durkin, standing just outside the crease, poked in a pass from Connor McCarthy to make it 3-3.

A few moments later, the Bishops were whistled for back-to-back penalties. After a 20 second 5-on-3 advantage went by the boards, Xaverian still continued to play with a man up. However, a costly turnover at mid ice led to a 2-on-1 break for Archbishop Williams. On the play, Dunn hit Garrett Foley in stride with a centering pass. The senior capped things off with a shot between Murphy's pads coming at 7:37 to put the Bishops back on top by a goal. They would extend the advantage to 5-3 thanks to Colin Boyle's power play marker at 10:20. But with just over two minutes left in the period, Cook was able to re-direct Smith's long-range shot off the post and into the net, sending Xaverian into the break trailing by one.

"I thought we were the better team and things came down to some key saves at key moments," said Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis. "Tough way to lose in overtime because I think Steve makes that save most of the time. I thought my team played well all the way through and we were in it to win it. I think the goaltending dictated why this game was so wide-open. I think shots that most of time these guys would save. That opened things up at both ends. Take nothing away from Xaverian, they played very well but I thought my team played great too."

The Hawks dominated the third period in all facets. The offense continued to attack the Bishops end of the ice on every shift. But all of their shots were off-line. That was before Cook delivered with his tying goal late and Smith closing things out later on.

"Ricky has been a great leader for us," said Spinale. "I'm really happy and proud of him to be able to get that goal for us tonight. Jack is probably the fastest guy on our team so we like to use his speed and try to play fast. That's been our system to play fast, be physical and pressure the puck."

Recap: No. 1 St. John's Prep 7, No. 10 Xaverian 3

May, 1, 2013
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- As St. John's Prep ace Brandon Bingel spoke to reporters after the Eagles' 7-3 victory over Xaverian, an assistant coach tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Don't worry Mr. Catholic [Conference] MVP, I've got your bag.”

The senior righty picked up the win for Prep (12-1), and also scored a run and had an RBI on the afternoon. Bingel said the Eagles were looking for a little revenge –- Xaverian (5-7) beat Prep 6-5 on April 4 for its only loss of the season.

“I think we woke up a little. Last time, it was one of our first games, and they kind of out-powered us,” Bingel said. “We came out today, and we were ready. We wanted revenge on them since they were our only loss, so we came ready.”

The Eagles didn't waste any time getting after Xaverian starter Worth Walrod. Prep senior Nick Bragole hit a first-inning home run to left field during the second at-bat of the afternoon. Paul Crehan, one of the Eagles' most-feared hitters, hit a two-run single in the third.

Despite going to the bullpen early in the fourth inning, Xaverian pitchers gave up a run an inning for the rest of the game.

“That's a pretty relentless attack, and they got it done today,” said Xaverian head coach Gerry Lambert. “We did a good job minimizing, but they just kept coming at us, and that's a sign of a really good team that's playing really well. They're both of those things. They're a really good team, and they're playing really well.”

The Hawks scored three runs off Bingel in the bottom of the sixth, capped off by a Ricky Smith two-run home run, but they were unable to carry the momentum. Prep reliever Jack Burke came in with two outs and retired four straight Xaverian batters with three groundouts and a strikeout.

“He's been really good all year. I think he's only allowed one baserunner in eight or nine innings,” said Prep head coach Pat Yanchus.

High and Dry: Xaverian had a number of chances to cut into Prep's lead, but time and time again left runners on base. During the bottom of the fifth inning, Adam Chochrek was on first, and Smith was on second with no outs. Bingel proceeded to strike out both Tyler Wolfe and Aidan Desrosiers before forcing Connor Longley to groundout to second.

A similar situation happened in the third, but Aaron Drummey hit into a double play to end the inning.

“One of the things we are fighting right now is that we're having a tough time getting a big hit in a big spot. Sometimes you go through that as a team, and rarely is that only a one-game thing,” Lambert said.

Prep's skipper praised Bingel for working his way out of a number of jams.

“He usually settles down, and I think he did today,” he said. “During a few innings they had guys on first and second with no outs, and almost always that's at least a run. He worked out of a couple of them.”

Back to Front: Bingel had a tough outing during Prep's 6-5 win over B.C. High on April 24, giving up three runs on three singles and a couple of infield errors during the first inning. Since then he's been trying to lead with his off-speed pitches before dishing out a fastball.

“I started to pitch backwards earlier,” he said. “Against B.C. High I was throwing too many fastballs early, and they capitalized. Early in the game (against Xaverian), I threw more sliders –- more backdoor sliders -– and kind of surprised them with my fastball more.”

When Bingel gave up the two-run home run to Smith in the sixth, he got away from pitching backwards and left a 1-0 fastball up at the letters. He indicated that he still wants to use the fastball when there are men on base.

“I wasn't going to throw a slider because they had a lot of baserunners, so I wanted to pound the zone as much as I could, and he capitalized on it,” he said.

Best in Show: While Prep is the No. 1 team in the state and currently sits alone atop the Catholic Conference, Lambert isn't ready to say they're far and away the best team. Right now, he thinks little separates Prep from B.C. High, who Xaverian lost to, 3-1, on Monday.

“(Prep) is a better athletic team, top to bottom. That doesn't mean that they're the best team, but they put a lot of pressure on you,” he said. “It looked like they had seven guys on their team that can run the bases, and that's a lot for a high school team. I think you have to give them the edge by a whisker.”

Keeping them Grounded: While Prep may have a closer in Dustin Hunt, Burke may be one of the more reliable relief pitchers on the roster. The senior has allowed only one baserunner this season and consistently keeps the ball low in the strike zone to draw grounders.

“Whenever I get in, I just go and throw my pitches. We have a lot of pitchers, so whenever you can get in you just need to do your job,” Burke said. “I used my fastball and curveball and tried to mix it up as much as I can. I try to keep the ball low – that always helps. I was just hitting my spots, and the fielders were doing the rest.”

Bingel likes having Burke as a late-inning guy. He said it takes some pressure off when he leaves the game.

“I'm pumped when Jack comes in. His ball moves so much that all they do is hit ground balls,” he said.

A record day at South of Boston Shootout

February, 24, 2011

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- It was the perfect time for a milestone.

As Bridgewater-Raynham captain and forward Anthony Hardy slid the puck from the blue line toward the open Coyle-Cassidy net, the Trojans could finally breathe a sigh of relief. While tallying his 21st goal of the season and his second of the night, Hardy not only netted an empty-net goal capping off B-R’s 3-1 win Wednesday at the Bridgewater Ice Arena, it also tied the program record for goals in a season.

The Trojans advance to face Marshfield in the championship game of the South of Boston Shootout, giving Hardy one more chance to break the record. But he was simply happy to come away with a win.

“They’re a huge rival,” Hardy said. “When we see them on the schedule, we want to go out and get it.”

Neither team could find the back of the net in a tightly checked first period. However, B-R (13-4-1) got things started quickly in the second period, when 48 seconds in Pat McNamara’s blast from the blue line found its way through a crowd and past Warriors netminder Seth Lavigne (25 saves).

C-C (9-8-2) countered less than two minutes later with Nick Cambria burying a wrister assisted by Mike Jessman and Ryan Jones.

The momentum shifted back once again in the Trojans’ favor as Hardy scored his first of the game with assists from Ted Buckley and Adam McGrath.

“Buckley hit it out front and the goalie wasn’t in position,” Hardy said, “it came out to me and I just shot it.”

The Warriors comeback fell short in the third period, partially because they spent a good portion of the period short-handed. C-C had three successful penalty kills in the period, but the Warriors were unable to beat Trojans goaltender Craig Pantano, who finished with 18 saves.

“We’ve got to get a rabbit’s foot in our pocket at some point,” Warriors head coach Dave Borges said. “We’re getting shots to the net, but not getting them through. We’re having a difficult time finishing.

“We need to get those mucking goals. We need more plumbers out there.”


Hardy wasn’t the only player setting records during the second day of the Shootout.

No. 21 Marsfield advanced to the championship game, beating 17th-ranked Xaverian, 4-2, thanks to a hat trick from senior forward Ryan Connors. While posting a four-point game, Connors also eclipsed the 100-point plateau for his high school career — although he was unaware of the milestone.

“Coach [Dan Connolly] came in, gave me the puck and said it was my hundredth,” Connors said.

Despite having no prior knowledge that he was on the cusp of the century mark, Connors left his imprint on the game.

Marshfield (13-3-5) went to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead Connors’ on first goal of the game.

The Hawks (9-8-2) tied the game, 1-1, on Joe Bina’s second-period goal. The puck deflected of a Rams defender’s skate into the net with assists from Ryan Hall and Ricky Smith.

Chris Perry restored Marshfield’s lead 6:46 into the second period on a goal assisted by Connors and Matt Entwhistle. The Hawks returned serve to tie the game once more, 2-2, on Billy Hildebrand’s tally.

Then, it was time again for Connors to take the center stage. He potted the game-winner 5:17 into the third period, gathering a loose rebound in the slot and burying into the open net. Matt Burchill and Chris Perry each picked up their second assists of the game on the play.

Connors completed the hat trick, netting an empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining.

“The last time, they tied us with a minute and 35 seconds left,” Connors said, “so it felt good to beat them.”

Rams head coach Dan Connolly found more to like in Connors’ play.

“He’s really starting to find the back of the net for us, which is good,” Connolly said. “He’s a good offensive player He’s got great speed and he showed that tonight on our second goal.”


Late-season tournaments, like the South of Boston, provide teams a final tune-up before postseason play.

If Franklin’s play during the Shootout has been any indication, they could be a very tough out in Division 2 South come March. The Panthers challenged Xaverian in a physical battle before falling, 2-1, to the Hawks on Monday. They followed up that performance with a 3-2 win over Old Colony League champion Barnstable (12-3-4).

“It’s our third year coming down here and it’s because of the competition,” Franklin head coach Chris Spillane said.

There are still a couple things Spillane would like to see the Panthers (13-4-2) tighten up in their final regular-season tilt against Oliver Ames on Thursday.

“We had a little let down tonight and I think both teams were a little bit off their games,” Spillane added. “We were just lucky to get a couple bounces and come out with the win.”

The meeting will be the third time the Hockomock League rivals have met.

Oliver Ames (8-8-4) punched their ticket to the Division 2 South tournament with a 4-3 win over St. Peter Marian in the early action on Wednesday.