Boston High School: Ryan Hall

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

March, 16, 2012
Pinkerton Academy's greatest strength this winter can be summed up in two words: potting pucks.

New HampshireYet a defensive play in the closing minutes of the Division I boys' hockey final helped the preseason-favorite club from Derry hold on for a nail-biting 3-2 win.

“The crowd was so loud, it was (about) settling them down (during a time out),” Pinkerton coach Casey Kesselring said. “I said, 'Hey, we're up one. We're in the driver's seat. All we need to do is play a solid 5 minutes and bring it home.”

Ryan Hall – in front of an estimated 3,000 fans – made the stop that cemented the victory March 10 at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The senior defenseman disrupted a golden chance for Manchester Memorial High to pull even with a furious third-period comeback. Brady Bilodeau on a mini-breakout charged toward netminder Matt Marchman with three minutes, 25 seconds left in regulation.

Hall, trailing the play, stretched and poke the puck away. Bilodeau never had the chance to launch the potential game-tying bid.

“That was big. He's going in to tie it. Ryan gets all puck,” Kesselring said. “He probably would tell you, honestly, that he got caught out of position a bit. But he made up for it. That was the main thing.”

The top-seeded Astros (19-2-0 Div. I) controlled play for the majority of the contest. They built a commanding three-goal lead with markers from J.D. Dudek (first period), Zach Sanford (second period) and Dominic Corsetto (third period).

But, as the clock dipped below the 7-minute mark, the second-seeded Crusaders (16-5-0 Div. I) erupted for two goals in a 25-second span.

“We got down three goals. We talked to the kids,” Memorial coach Mark Putney said. “There was no quit in this team.”

Colin Williamson one-timed Bilodeau's back-door feed. Jacob Boylan, on the next shift, lofted a backhand shot from the slot.

The comeback was on. Memorial – seeking its first hockey title since 1995 – was within striking distance with 6-plus minutes to play.

Then, the bid to tie emerged. Memorial's senior captain, the club's heart-and-soul leader, had the puck on his stick with the game up for grabs.

But he never pulled the trigger. Hall didn't allow it.

“We definitely put on the pressure,” Bilodeau said. “We fought hard. They played a great game defensively, even offensively. Great coaching. You really can't say anything bad about them.”

Division II – Sophomore goaltender Stevan Tempesta made 26 championship-game saves, the last 11 stops nothing short of sensational. Top-seeded Bedford High, also on the strength of Kurt Mitchell and Jason Campbell goals, dethroned defending champion and 3-seed Dover High, 2-1.

Bedford (17-3-0 Div. II), as a result, skated to its first hockey crown March 10 at Verizon Wireless Arena. Dover, unable to bury the equalizer in the final minute, finished 14-6-0 in league action.

Tempesta turned back multiple game-tying bids with the state title at stake. Dover's odd-man rush generated a golden chance. A scrum for the puck in heavy traffic also gave the Green Wave hope.

“You hold on for that final 10 seconds and it's the longest 10 seconds in your life. I just didn't want to blow it,” Tempesta told the New Hampshire Sunday News. “That was probably my best game all season.”

Division III – Kennett High of Conway claimed its third championship, each of them won during an unprecedented run of league dominance. The top-seeded Eagles, appearing in a league-record fifth straight final, edged No. 2 seed Alvirne High of Hudson, 4-3, in overtime.

Anthony LaRusso locked up the win. The junior forward buried a feed to the back door with 26.3 seconds remaining in the extra session March 10 at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The goal was LaRusso's second of the contest. Kennett capped its campaign at 20-1-0 overall (19-1-0 Div. III) and secured hardware to go with the 2009 and 2010 NHIAA plaques.

Alvirne, playing for its first hockey championship, finished with an 18-2-0 league record.

Division I (girls) – The first line of Maddie Dewhirst, and twin sisters Madison and Tessa Hill all closed their careers as 100-point scorers.

The senior trio also factored in all five goals of the final, fueling second-seeded Hanover High's 5-1 championship win over Upper Valley rival and top seed Lebanon High March 10 at Verizon Wireless Arena.

Hanover (16-2-0 Div. I) celebrated its third consecutive championship, and fourth No. 1 finish in the five years of NHIAA girls' hockey. Lebanon ended its season 16-2-0 in league play.

Madison Hill struck for a title-game hat trick. Dewhirst delivered two goals and two assists. Tessa Hill tallied five assists.

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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.

Stathopoulos carries No. 5 CM over Hawks

January, 26, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Make no mistake about it, No. 5 Catholic Memorial’s 5-2 win over Catholic Conference rival Xaverian Tuesday night wasn’t a one-man show. Even though, at times, it may have appeared as such.

Chris Stathopoulos’ four-goal outburst helped the Knights out of an early 2-0 hole. Three of his goals were of the unassisted variety. But it wasn’t just Stathopoulos who led CM to victory. A persistent forecheck, some clutch penalty kills and the consistent play of Stathopoulos and linemates Tom Barrett and Kevin McCarthy were the driving force behind a crucial midseason victory.

“We just came out and played hard,” Stathopoulos said. “It’s not an individual effort, it’s a team effort. So I went out there with the boys and we got shots on net and we put it in the net.”

The fourth-ranked Hawks responded to head coach David Spinale’s call to carry play early in game with two goals within the first two minutes of play.

Xaverian (7-2-1, 2-1-0) scored on two of its first three shots on goal. Greg McWade was on the finishing end of some pretty transition, taking Billy Hildebrand’s feed and beating Knights netminder Shane Starrett (17 saves) stick side. Ryan Hall followed less than a minute later, banging home a rebound from the top of the crease off of Jason Salvaggio’s shot.

CM (7-5-0, 2-2-0) also scored on its first shot of the game, answering with Stathopoulos’ first marker of the evening 2:43 in.

After a fast start, neither team could find the net – despite some golden opportunities for the Knights to tie the game – until the nine-minute mark of the second period, when Barrett scored with assists from McCarthy and Stathopoulos.

“That line has really played terrific and they’ve carried for two games,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said of his second line.

As in the teams’ first meeting of the season, a 3-2 Xaverian win, Hawks goaltender Dave Michaels (32 saves) was again strong in net. But that didn’t stop Stathopoulos from taking over the third period, when he netted even-strength, short-handed and empty-net goals.

However, Hanson was most pleased with his team’s effort with a man-down in the third. He’s self-admittedly changed philosophy, allowing his team to play more aggressive on the penalty kill to take advantage of his team’s athleticism. The changes paid off with three successful kills within a five-minute span midway through the third.

“I thought we beat ourselves,” Hawks head coach Dave Spinale said. “On that fourth goal, we were on the power play. We turned it over and then we came back in our end and gave up a softy. We didn’t have poise, we didn’t have composure.”

Hanson labeled the game a “must-win” for the Knights, noting his team can match No. 2 Malden Catholic in the win column in the Catholic Conference standings with a victory over the Lancers on Saturday (2 p.m. at Walter Brown).

And while one player might have shouldered the load during last night’s test, the most encouraging sign was effort starting with his second line and permeating the roster — something Hanson knows is paramount if the Knights are to make a deep postseason run.

“I told the kids, just because one guy scored four goals, that doesn’t mean that he won the game,” Hanson said. “The whole team played terrific.”

No. 1 Xaverian rallies past No. 9 Prep

January, 19, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- According to Ryan Hall, anybody could’ve scored any of his four goals in No. 1 Xaverian’s 6-4 win over Catholic Conference rival St. John’s Prep on Wednesday.

The Hawks’ senior captain took a selfless approach to explaining the reason for his success, while scoring the final two goals in a comeback victory at Foxboro Sports Center.

“It was a lot of [Jason Salvaggio], [Tommy Jenkins] and the defensemen getting the puck down low,” Hall said. “That allowed me to bang home some dirty goals, definitely all the credit to my linemates.”

Xaverian’s top line of Hall, Jenkins and Salvaggio accounted for all but one of the Hawks points (sophomore forward Bobby Hall also tallied an assist). Hall added two assists in a six-point performance, while Jenkins and Salvaggio had four-point efforts with a goal and three assists each.

“They’ve been red hot,” Hawks head coach Dave Spinale said of his top line. “Ryan Hall’s been fabulous and the other two guys are skilled playmakers.

“Ryan’s kind of the power forward, he grinds it out. His game is hit, shoot and pass. And, if he keeps shooting, he’s going to get his share.”

Xaverian (7-0-1, 2-0-0) climbed back from two, two-goal deficits in the second period to tie the score, 4-4, with one minute remaining in the second. Hall completed the comeback with two third-period goals to down the ninth-ranked Eagles (5-3-1, 1-2-0).

Prep carried play in the first period, out-shooting the Hawks, 16-4. However, the Eagles were only able to sneak one past Xaverian goaltender Dave Michaels (24 saves). Matt McDonald had Prep out to a 1-0 lead on a give-and-go set up by Tyler Bird.

The Eagles built a two-goal lead on with Jon Farrow netting a goal on a deflection of defenseman Matt West’s shot from the point.

Xaverian returned fire two minutes later with the first of its three power play goals.

The play started with a terrific save by Michaels, who robbed Derek Palm on a two-on-none chance with a toe save. The Hawks quickly worked the rebound up ice ahead of the Eagles’ backcheck Hall buried his first goal of the night on a glove-side wrister.

“He’s made timely saves all year,” Spinale said of Michaels beauty of a stop, “certainly, that’s been big for us. He does that a lot. That was a two-goal swing for us there.”

The teams then went back and forth for the remainder of the second.

Prep responded on Colin Blackwell’s rebound put back 8:46 into the second. The Hawks again cut the deficit to one on Hall’s second tally on a pretty pass from Salvaggio. Devin Murray put the Eagles ahead 4-2, pulling the puck out of a scrum in front of Michaels and out-working a group of Xaverian defenders.

Salvaggio scored the Hawks’ third goal while falling backwards into the boards, after knocking home Hall’s centering pass in front of Prep goalie David Letarte (24 saves).

Jenkins knotted the game, 4-4, with 54 seconds remaining in the second. He batted home the puck from midair on a play that appeared to be played with a high stick.

Hall completed the comeback in the third period — when the Hawks out shot Prep, 13-3 — with a pair of power play goals.


Spinale had high praise for the Eagles, who he called the “most skilled team” the Hawks have seen all year.

“Off the rush, they’re deadly,” he added.

A lot of those accolades can be attributed to Harvard commit Colin Blackwell. The senior sniper scored Prep’s third goal of the night, banging home a rebound on Joe Currie’s shot.

However, Blackwell was knocked out the game for a portion of the first period after a grizzly looking hit along the attack zone boards. The Eagles captain lay motionless on the ice for couple of tense moments and then skated off under his own power. He missed one shift and returned later just before the first intermission.

No. 1 Xaverian flies under the radar

January, 19, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ryan Hall pointed at Tommy Jenkins, cracked a half smile and said, “This guy thinks he’s pretty good at pool.”

The Xaverian hockey senior captains have regularly incorporated pool into their team outings away from the rink. And, as a team, the Hawks spend a lot of time together. Head coach Dave Spinale thinks that time spent together has been no small part of the reason why his team has made appearances in each of the last three Super Eight tournaments.

Even if his players can’t agree on whom the best pool player is.

“I actually beat him,” Hall added.

He then paused, “Well, it was on a technicality.”

While the Hawks sort out who’s king of the billiards, they’ve unassumingly gone about building another Super Eight run.

Off to a 6-0-1 start, Xaverian ascended to the No. 1 spot in this week’s ESPN Boston Top 25 after Catholic Conference rival Malden Catholic suffered their first loss (by score) of the season.

Most of the Massachusetts hockey world’s attention has been focused on Xaverian’s Catholic Conference counterpart early in the season. Although their recent track record is impressive, few were predicting the Hawks would relive their success of past seasons, especially after the graduation of three-year starting goaltender Kyle MacDonald.

“I kinda like being the underdog in big games,” said Jenkins, a Catholic Conference all-star last year. “It takes the pressure off of you and there’s more pressure on the other team. We just go out and play our game.”

This year’s simply been an extension of what Spinale’s preached in his time at Xaverian.

“We’re going to play this game fast, that’s what we do,” Spinale said after a Hawks practice at the Foxboro Sports Center last week. “We don’t slow down for anybody, we don’t change what we do. We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve had guys who can play fast and play physical as well.”

Akin to the MacDonald-led teams, Xaverian’s solid play has built from the goaltender out.

Junior Dave Michaels, who was MacDonald’s backup last year, has logged a bulk of the minutes between the pipes and recently turned in a dazzling 34-save performance in a win over Catholic Memorial to kick off the Hawks’ Catholic Conference schedule. The Hawks have depth in net as well with senior Austin Miller in the fray.

“Kyle [MacDonald] was definitely somebody who you could build the team around,” Hall said. “He was a great leader in the locker room. But David Michaels has been doing an amazing job stepping into his place. He’s a quiet kid, but when he talks, everybody’s listens.”

Leadership in the room has largely been left to Jenkins, Hall and Xaverian’s seniors.

After all, the Hawks are still young. Spinale has 10 sophomores, led by talented second-year forward Jason Salvaggio, and a freshman who regularly see ice time. It’s a stark departure from last year’s when only one of those sophomores saw ice time alongside a deep, veteran core.

“It comes down to chemistry though,” Spinale said. “Our older players have always done a great job of working with the younger kids. They spend a lot of time together whether it’s at school, getting a bite to eat together before practice, or just hanging out.

“It’s a tight group and that translates to how they play together.”

Together, they’ve built something special to the point that it’s increasingly getting harder for the Hawks to fly under the radar.

“I think even when we got here, Xaverian wasn’t thought of as a hockey school,” Hall said. “I think that’s starting to change.”

No. 9 Xaverian rallies past No. 10 Needham

December, 29, 2010
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No. 9 Xaverian and No. 10 Needham have become mini rivals over the last four seasons, and their contest on Tuesday night was just the latest chapter between two of last year's Super 8 entrants.

“It’s become a fun rivalry, our guys get up for it and I know they [Needham] get up for it” said Xaverian head coach Dave Spinale.

“It’s one we always mark on our schedule to see what our status is, and it’s a good way for us to test ourselves.”

Needham (2-2-0) opened up a two-goal lead after the first period with goals from J.P. McHale, (assisted by Tom Coleman) and Timmy Parlato (Jeff Rosata).

But Xaverian (3-0-0) came out in the second period with guns blazing.

“We knew that the effort we had in the first, it wasn’t are best effort, so flat out we asked the to play with courage.” Spinale said referring to his team talk at the first intermission, “We got on them pretty good, pointed out their mistakes, and asked them to play the way they’re capable of. We asked for our seniors to step up and our captains to step up.”

Just 4:43 into the second period the Hawks cut the lead in half through a goal from senior captain Tommy Jenkins, Jason Salvaggio providing the assist. Xaverian scored again just under four minutes later when they broke out of their defensive zone on a 4 on 1 break away. It was the other co-captain Ryan Hall finishing off the nice move, Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt with the assists.

After the goal things turned physical. Two and a half minutes of hard-hitting and questionable non-calls on both sides lead to a scuffle in front of Needham’s net resulting in matching minors and misconducts on both sides.

Jenkins and Jack McClellan went to the box for Xaverian with 7:30 misconducts, 1:30 minute roughing calls and McClellan also receiving 1:30 for a cross check. Needham’s Lucas Davis received the same calls as McClellan while Sam Nickles received a 7:30 misconduct and 1:30 for cross checking.

The teams remained at 5 on 5, but Needham’s second line was crippled with Nickles and Davis in the penalty box.

Bobby Hall gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead at 11:33. Needham’s Connor Murray (11 saves) got his glove to Hall’s shot, which was heading into the top corner, but all he could do was tip the puck up and it trickled over the line. Off of the ensuing faceoff Ryan Hall scored his second of the night making it 4-2 just nine seconds later.

Xaverian’s fifth and final goal came 59 seconds into the third period, Jenkins scoring his second of the night.

Junior goalie David Michaels had 25 saves in the victory.

1st period
N - JP McHale from Tom Coleman, 5:04
N - Timmy Parlato from Jeff Rosata, 12:34

2nd period
X - Tom Jenkins from Jason Salvaggio, 4:43
X - Ryan Hall from Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt, 8:33
X - Bobby Hall from Eddie Martin, 11:33
X - R. Hall from Salvaggio, 11:42

3rd period
X - Jenkins from R. Hall and Salvaggio, 0:59