Boston High School: Ryan Linehan

Super 8 recap: BC High 4, Hingham 2

March, 4, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- It was the Super 8’s version of when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object.

On one side you had Hingham, a team that has made it a ritual this season at finding the back of the net, scoring 72 times. On the opposite end stood BC High goaltender Peter Cronin. Regarded by many as one of the best at his trade holding down a miniscule 1.94 goals-against-average.

With these intangibles in place you knew something had to give in Sunday’s first-round contest at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena.

On the strength of three power play goals, the fifth-seeded Eagles pulled away for a 4-2 victory. BC High (11-5-5) advances to the second round where it will take on top seed Malden Catholic Tuesday at a time to be determined. The Harbormen (16-5-2), seeded fourth, will meet No 8 St. John’s of Shrewsbury Tuesday, also at a time to be determined.

With the game knotted 2-2 after 30 minutes, sophomore forward Tom Besinger, on the man-advantage, opened the third by racing down the right side beating Hingham netminder John Grenier top shelf coming at 2:55 to give the Eagles the lead for good. It was Besinger’s second marker on the afternoon.

In the final minute, with Grenier (17 saves) pulled and BC High’s Bartley Regan in the penalty box for hooking, the Harbormen looked to benefit on their 6-on-4 advantage. But a blocked shot from the perimeter resulted in Matt Sullivan scoring an empty-net goal to close things out.

“In this tournament everyone is pretty even so anytime you get a man-advantage you almost have to take it and capitalize,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “Fortunately for us we capitalized on our man up situations and propelled past a very good Hingham team. Right now we’re playing confident when we are a man up.”

After a scoreless opening frame things heated up considerably in the second period. The Eagles fired the first salvo just 0:43 in with a power play blast by Besinger from the right point over Grenier’s right shoulder to make it 1-0.

“I felt nervous on my first shift but then our line started clicking and we started getting scoring opportunities and started to put the puck in the back of the net,” Besinger said. “We played [Grenier] earlier this season [in the Cape Cod Classic, won by BC High in a shootout] and I noticed he dropped his blocker to the ice when you get in close so I knew I had to go high on my shots.”

BC High had little time to enjoy its lead however as Ryan Linehan, off a turnover, scored shorthanded for Hingham just 22 seconds later knotting things at 1-1.

But at 4:52, senior defenseman Brian Furey was able to push the Eagles back in front with a laser over Grenier’s right shoulder from just inside the blue line, again coming with the man-advantage. Grenier, much like Cronin, had been stellar this season with a 1.88 GAA.

“They scored on their power play chances and we didn’t,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said after his club went 0-for-4 on power play opportunities. “We had great penetration and good control of the puck in their zone but they did a good job blocking shots and keeping stuff out on the perimeter.”

Yet again the Harbormen stormed back. Just one minute after Furey’s tally, senior forward Patrick Mannion caught Cronin (17 saves) out of position and stuffed a shot low right corner to deadlock the contest at two goals apiece.

ESPN Boston Super 8 primer

March, 2, 2012
There are less than 48 hours remaining before the puck drops on the real Super 8 on Sunday at Merrimack College.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight:

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Marquee wins: Pretty much all of them, minus the Lancers’ one loss to New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Brendan Collier (22-34-56); F Ryan Fitzgerald (26-14-40); F Mike Iovanna (14-23-37); F Tyler Sifferlen (9-14-23); F Ara Nazarian (10-16-26); D Casey Fitzgerald (1-15-16); D Colin MacGillivray (2-8-10); Brendan White (2-16-18).

The skinny: As in the last couple of years, this year’s Super 8 is viewed as the Lancers’ tournament to lose. Again, they have the best line in the state with Collier, Ryan Fitzgerald and Iovanna saddling into Mike Vecchione’s former spot. But MC’s true strength is depth. Sifferlen and Nazarian would occupy a spot on mostly any team’s top line. Super frosh and BC commit Casey Fitzgerald has filled Conor Evangelista’s role dutifully as a puck-moving defenseman.

X-factor: Goaltending. Connor Maloney watched last year’s Super 8 from the BC High bench behind Peter Cronin. Now, it’s his time to shine.

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Marquee wins: Malden Catholic (Kasabuski Tournament tie); Hingham (5-1); Cathedral (3-2).

Players to watch: F Bobby Mullins (9-20-29); F Jarrod Fitzpatrick (14-7-21); F Cam O’Neill (14-15-29); F Brendan Mageary (13-11-24); F Tim Aylward (10-10-20); D Nikko Markham (6-12-18); D Bryan Wilkins (1-7-8); G Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA, 94.1 save %).

The skinny: So what were the Spartans to do without perennial league all-star Donald Hesse as their backbone? Well, Mark Lee found a more-than-legitimate starter in MacBurnie, a sophomore, who’s played well along with a defensive corps led by Markham. Fitzpatrick has been another revelation in his first season with the Spartans. St. Mary’s has greater scoring depth than in year’s past. And they’re young, as freshman Eric MacAdams (4-14-18) has impressed seeing top-line action.

X-factor: How do the Spartans react in a tight game. In last year’s Super 8 play-in stab, and the Div. 1 tournaments of year’s past, one-goal games have come back to haunt them. If they can sweat out a couple of close decisions in this tournament, they might find themselves at the Garden.

3. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Marquee wins: BC High (3-1); Hingham (2-1); Central Catholic (4-0).

Players to watch: F Sam Kurker (26-26-52); F Brian Pinho (14-20-34); F Tyler Bird (9-5-14), F Andrew Brandano (8-6-14); D Nick Pandalena (6-10-16); D Brent Murray (0-4-4); G David Letarte (2.02 GAA, 91.5 save %).

The skinny: We still haven’t gotten over last year’s championship game; it was simply amazing hockey. There’s no Colin Blackwell, but Kurker (BU commit) has really blossomed this season and has taken this team on his back the way his former linemate did last year. Pinho and Bird, along with Kurker, are a formidable first line to skate against, and are strong in all three zones. Pandalena is a mountain of a defenseman, but beyond him, the Eagles blue line was green entering the season. Murray has elevated his play to comprise a formidable top pairing.

X-factor: Letarte. I believe we said this last year as well. When the senior is on his game, he can be airtight.

4. Hingham (16-4-2)
Marquee wins: Marshfield (6-2); Catholic Memorial (3-2); St. John’s of Shrewsbury (4-0).

Players to watch: F James Gordon (21-17-38); F Matt Brazel (11-20-31); F Matt Hughes (13-11-24); F Ryan Linehan (8-12-20); F Patrick Mannion (6-12-18); F Sam D’Antuono (6-19-25); D Nolan Driscoll (2-7-9); G John Grenier (1.88 GAA, 90.1 save %).

The skinny: If this team had a motto, it would be “lacking experience, but not young.” During the Harbormen’s most recent Super 8 runs, a good portion of this year’s roster watched from way down the bench, or up in the gallery. But this team has collectively raised its game and is benefitted by great coaching. Gordon’s 20-goal season has been a pleasant surprise and Brazel is one worth watching for the next two years. The real revelation has been Grenier between the pipes. The Xaverian transfer is among the statewide leaders in goals against average.

X-factor: Grenier. He doesn’t fit the current mold of a big, butterfly goaltender. Instead, he relies on aggressively challenging the shooter and cutting down angles. We’ll see how it matches up with the precision passing games of MC and St. John’s (S) in pool play games.

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Marquee wins: St. John’s (twice); Prep (5-3); Cathedral (3-0).

Players to watch: F Matt Sullivan (9-15-24); F Tom Besinger (10-15-25); F Bartley Regan (7-6-13); F Steve DeForge (6-13-19); D Brian Furey (3-6-9); D Sam Topham (1-9-10); G Peter Cronin (2.00 GAA; 91.5 save %).

The skinny: Cronin lead this team to the crossover round last year, falling just short of an upset of MC. He was the revelation of last year’s tournament and, as usual, the Eagles will look to their goaltender to continue his strong play. Besinger might be the shiftiest forward in the tournament not named Kevin Emmerling. He’s not big, but he sure can skate. Furey has done a nice job leading a young Eagles blue-line corps this season. ‘Moe’ Regan has produced some dirty goals and has thrived in his role as a power forward, coming off his EMass D1 Super Bowl win.

X-factor: Sullivan. The Eagles’ soft-spoken leader is a lead-by-example type, but thrives in big-game atmospheres. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s a player we’re talking about months after the tournament.

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Marquee wins: BC High (4-3); Needham (1-0); CM (3-1).

Players to watch: F Frank Crinella (13-15-28); F Thomas Quinlan (11-5-16); F Peter Crinella (5-8-13); F Brendan Ashe (7-7-14); D Matt Foley (0-12-12); G John Liquori (2.40 GAA, 88.9 save %).

The skinny: The Panthers cracked the top six this year after getting bounced in a play-in game last year. This is a team that isn’t very flashy, but is consistently tough to play against, playing a brand of hockey that can be frustrating to opponents. Sophomore John Liquori has been steady, taking over for old stalwart Zac Rondeau. Liquori is the benefactor of a sound defensive squad that likes to play the body and takes care of its defensive assignments with diligence.

X-factor: Frank Crinella is perhaps the most talented player in the state who receives the least amount of deserved credit. This tournament could be a statement for him.

7. Central Catholic (13-3-5)
Marquee wins: Burlington (6-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Ryan Daigle (8-15-23); F Mike Kelleher (10-7-17); F Lloyd Hayes (15-8-23); F Alex Lester (7-9-16); F Zack Cote (10-4-14); D Jake Donahue (3-4-7); G Kyle Williams (2.13 GAA, 91.1 save %).

The skinny: Stop me if you’re heard this one before, but the Raiders again used a spirited second-half push after a slow start to get back into the top tournament. If they continue the fast and physical brand of hockey they played against Burlington, the Raiders will provide a tough test. Kelleher’s natural hat trick is a big boost to Central’s chances going forward; if he gets going, he’s one of the most potent pure scorers in the state.

X-factor: Williams. Shocking, right? As the goaltender goes, so goes the Raiders. And it’s no coincidence that Central played its best while last year’s ESPN Boston All-State netminder was at his finest.

8. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (15-4-3)
Marquee wins: Needham (5-4, play-in game).

Players to watch: F Kevin Emmerling (25-28-53); F Vin D’Amato (23-14-37); F Jay Duquette (11-22-33); F Hunter Burdick (6-9-15); D Nick Rutigliano (1-10-11).

The skinny: Akin to Central Catholic, the Pioneers took perhaps their biggest win of the season on Monday. In that shootout with Needham, they showed why they can go toe-to-toe with any team across the state with the top line of Emmerling, D’Amato and Duquette running and gunning …

X-factor: … but then there’s the defense. The Pioneers are going to need to tighten up in their own end. If they allow their three future opponents to enter the zone as they allowed the Rockets to run in the third period, there could be some lop-sided scores.

Final Super 8 field projection and mixtape

February, 24, 2012
On the final day of the regular season, and with less than 24 hours remaining before Saturday’s Super 8 committee selection meeting, we’ve cobbled together our final field projection for the state’s premier hockey tournament.

The top six seeds have remained pretty consistent down the stretch, but we see two new squads slipping in the back door to nab the final play-in game positions.

Also, we thought it was fitting to take a cue from friend, colleague and longtime Super 8 supporter Chris Forsberg, by way of John Buccigross, with a little musical tribute to each team, chronicling some of our favorite (or not so much, or otherwise noteworthy, whatever fits, right?) songs of the last year or so.

1. Malden Catholic (15-1-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 1

Why they’re in this spot: Lancers’ only loss of the season came against an out-of-state opponent (New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton), in addition to one of their ties (Hamden, Conn.). MC’s also been at No. 1 in our poll from “box to wire” to steal one of Chris Serino’s expressions. Plus, the Lancers will be a motivated squad headed into the tournament, playing for their ailing former coach.

Song that fits: Coldplay, “Us Against the World.” I’m a much bigger fan of the Brit-band’s early catalogue and was in attendance for one of their first U.S. shows. Not a huge fan of Mylo Xylato (or the last two albums for that matter) but this song fits, not to mention we know a couple Lancers will appreciate the nod. The message is clear, they’re doing it for Serino this year.

Lyric that fits: “Through chaos as it swirls/ It's us against the world.”

2. St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-1-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 2

Why they’re in this spot: The Spartans lone loss of the season came to the aforementioned Lancers in the first game of the high school hockey season; they even improved upon their first result, tying MC at the Kasabuski tourney. Perhaps the most steady team of the season, playing in front of sophomore goaltender Bailey MacBurnie (1.30 GAA in 21 games), who’s been a revelation.

Song that fits: My Morning Jacket, "The Day is Coming." Last year's "Circuital" wasn't one of my favorite band's best efforts (you see a pattern beginning to emerge here?), but this one's a gem from one of the most imaginative bands working today.

Lyric that fits: "If opportunity, rears its head/ Will you answer, or stay home in bed?"

3. Hingham (16-4-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 3

Why they’re in this spot: The wildcard of the season. Obviously, the Hingham brand of hockey is synonymous with the Super 8, but not even head coach Tony Messina knew exactly what he had coming into this season. The inexperienced, but talented Harbormen haven’t missed a stride this season. There’s no single sensation that’s carried the load, but Hingham is deep, evidenced by their five forwards (Sam D’Antuono, James Gordon, Matt Hughes, Ryan Linehan and Patrick Mannion) with 18 or more points on the season.

Song that fits: Real Estate: "It's Real." My favorite break-out band of the year. Their sophomore effort "Days" was one of the best albums of last calendar year. A must-listen for anybody who enjoys The Smiths, or songs about the Jersey coastline.

Lyric that fits: "I skated on the frozen Sea/ It's real as far as I can see."

4. St. John’s Prep (13-5-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 4

Why they’re in this spot: This spot could be a toss-up between the Eagles and the Eagles of BC High. In this instance, we’re going to slot Prep ahead of their Catholic Conference rivals on the tail end of their schedule. Although Prep and BC High tied their season series, both claimed two-goal victories, the committee might look at BC High’s recent ties at the Cape Cod Classic (wins for tournament purposes) as reason to slide them to No. 5. Looking beyond the play-in games, Prep’s top line of Tyler Bird, Brian Pinho and Sam Kurker is one of the few lines in the state that create problems for MC’s vaunted top line.

Song that fits: Avicii "Levels." A staple of Prep's warmup mix this season, and as ubiquitous a dance song in society this side of anything off of Daft Punk's "Discovery." Fully expect to hear this song about 1,000 times during the Super 8 at Lawler. Get ready.

Lyric that fits: "Oh, sometimes/ I get a good feeling." (Well, come to think of it, that's about all there is for lyrics.)

5. BC High (10-5-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 5

Why they’re in this spot: As we explained, there’s little separating the Eagles of Morrissey Blvd. and the aforementioned Eagles. It’s just that the Eagles’ two shootout wins and one-goal win over Archbishop Williams in the Cape Cod Classic this week might cost them a higher seed than this spot. In either case, they’re a shoo-in and a dangerous squad at that as goaltender Peter Cronin (.915 save percentage) has only matured since his eye-opening performance in last year’s tournament. Let’s not forget either, the Eagles a relatively young squad as well, with only four seniors (Adam Conway, Brian Furey, Bartley Regan and Matt Sullivan) on the roster.

Song that fits: M83, "Intro." This is the lead-in to Anthony Gonzalez's masterpiece "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" (yes, the song you skip over to get to "Midnight City"). My favorite album of last year, for those of us who still actually believe in the concept of the album.

Lyric that fits: "The battle's fought/ The deed is done/ Our silver hum runs deep and strong."

6. Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 9

Why they’re in this spot: Outwardly, the Panthers don’t have the most striking record, but only three of their losses have come in-state. And all of those losses came against teams ranked before them in this projected field (BC High, MC, St. Mary’s). They’ve shown they can skate with the best in the state, albeit, they coughed up a point in a 5-5 with Prep after holding a 4-goal lead. But Wednesday’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Needham in their host tournament showed how difficult this team can be to play against. As in that game, sophomore John Liquori has been solid and senior captain Frank Crinella (13-15-28) is as tough to play against as he is talented.

Song that fits: The National, "Conversation 16." Trying to figure out what lead singer Matt Berninger's lyrics are about is like trying to do a Rubik's cube blind-folded. But they sure are interesting, if not entirely depressing. Great band, the band that Coldplay wishes they could be but are not, what with adoration of critics everwhere (including me).

Lyric that fits: "I was less than amazing/ Do not know what all the troubles are for."


7. Central Catholic (12-3-5)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 7

Where they ranked in last projection: 6

Why they’re in this spot: We had the Raiders avoiding a play-in game in our previous field, but given their play down the stretch (3-0 loss to Andover stings), it feels like that’s exactly what they’re staring down for a second straight year. Still, as in year’s past, Central has made a Super 8 push with a strong second half and things seem to be falling into place with ESPN Boston preseason All-State goaltender Kyle Williams (2.00 GAA) playing his best hockey down the stretch.

Song that fits: At the Drive-In, "Rolodex Propaganda." OK, not a new song, but the reunion of the late-90's greatest band has me excited.

Lyric that fits: "Pinch history feel the pinch blistering/ Pinch me in my dreams cause I'm still not listening."

8. Burlington (14-1-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: 8

Why they’re in this spot: An emphatic 7-3 win over a quality Chelmsford team Thursday night in the Cahoon Tournament championship is exactly the kind of emphatic statement that can help a team this time of year. As the winner’s of the Middlesex League’s small schools division, we believe the Red Devils will be the lone team representing one of the state’s toughest conferences. The only thing that could work against them is a high amount of ties. They’re also a little light in the marquee win category. Senior forwards Trevor Cimino and Brett Romkey were two of my favorite players to watch this season.

Song that fits: Bon Iver, "Minnesota, Wi." Just because Justin Vernon's Grammy acceptance is still one of the most priceless moments in recorded internet history.

Lyric that fits: "Never gonna break/ Not for a part in any gamut of the dark."

9. Needham (16-4-1)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking
: 8

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: You could make the case that Wednesday’s Springfield Cathedral Tournament game against the Panthers was a battle for the right to take the sixth seed. Given that the Rockets played well, but came away with a 1-0 loss, that’s why they’re here. This isn’t an offensive juggernaut, and hopefully the Rockets’ recent goal-starved performances will not negatively affect them, but they play solid team defense. It starts from the goalmouth out with a dependable, experienced goaltender in Connor Murray. Senior captains Lucas Davis and D.J. Walsh are equally adept in the offensive zone as they are in their own end.

Song that fits: Jack White, "Love Interruption." As soon as we lost The White Stripes, White came back with this solo effort that cuts to the bone. After a couple tough Super 8 appearances, Needham's looking for more than just another appearance.

Lyric that fits: "Yeah, I won't let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me anymore."

10. Westford Academy (12-2-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking:

Where they ranked in last projection: Out of Top 10

Why they’re in this spot: Alright, so this is our boldest prediction, given that the Grey Ghosts still have one paramount game to play (as of the time of publication) against another Super 8 Watch List team in Milton at the Irish-American Shootout championship. We’re going to project that the Grey Ghosts make the DCL/MVC the only public school league with two representatives; you can make the case the DCL/MVC was the strongest public conference this season, top to bottom. In addition, I like the way the Grey Ghosts attack with speed. They also have one of the most underrated D-men in the state in senior captain Pat Houghton (1-15-16) in front of senior goaltender Zach Webert.

Song that fits: Holy Ghost!, "Hold On." Ghosts, get it? Plus, they're a Brendan Hall favorite.

Lyric that fits: "It seems like I've been here before."

Cape Cod Classic: Super 8 preview?

February, 19, 2012

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- One week from Saturday, the Super 8 hockey committee will convene and assemble the field of the state’s premier tournament. Both No. 4 Hingham and No. 7 BC High almost assuredly will be among the teams making the cut.

But if Saturday’s matchup between the two clubs to open the Cape Cod Classic tournament was any indication of what is to come, Bay State hockey fans in for one might fine tournament.

The Eagles and Harbormen skated to a 1-1 tie, as it will be entered in the MIAA’s scorebook. Hingham’s Ryan Linehan scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

After a five-minute overtime period, BC High netminder Peter Cronin and Hingham counterpart John Grenier continued trading saves. Finally, Eagles senior captain and defenseman Brian Furey sent BC High along to the winner’s bracket with the first and only goal of the shootout in its seventh round.

“[Grenier] was playing aggressive, so I figured I’d fake the shot and have some room stuff it in, and I did,” Furey said.

BC High (9-5-4) claimed the lead at 12:54 of the second period with defenseman Sam Topham rifling a slapshot past Grenier, glove side.

The Eagles appeared to be well on their way to two points in the third period, controlling play in Hingham’s end for the bulk of the stanza. BC High continued to hem the Harbormen, even in the minute. Hingham (14-4-2) had been unable to pull Grenier for an extra attacker when senior captain winger Matt Hughes made his way through the neutral zone with about 30 seconds remaining.

After the puck was chipped up the boards, Hughes gained the blue line and played a perfect cross-ice pass onto Linehan’s stick. Linehan’s one-timer slid past Cronin for the tying goal.

“We had an injury on that play, the guy jumped over the boards, he kind of got caught in no-man’s land,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “If he’d gotten a piece of him, maybe it doesn’t happen. It was just a good hockey play by Hingham. [Hughes] made a great pass, [Linehan] one-timed it and it ended up in the back of the net.”

Hughes missed part of the second period with a shoulder injury, after he was ridden into the boards awkwardly on a check. He returned later in the game, playing in pain. Although his status going forward is day-to-day, Hughes’ returned paid dividends.

“It was a nice pass, and it was a lot of guts coming back," Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. "I don’t know what the extent of his should injury is going to be, but he said he could play with the pain. And he did a great job.”

With most of BC High’s forward options exhausted in the shootout, and with no end in sight, John Flaherty glanced down his bench at his available shooters. Furey nodded back toward the Eagles bench boss. Flaherty signaled back toward center ice.

After watching six of this teammates fail to convert against Grenier, Furey knew exactly what to do with the puck.

Although the thought of letting a Chara-like slapshot from the between the circles did cross his mind.

“I don’t quite have a 108-mile-per-hour slap shot though,” Furey added.

In the Classic's nightcap, Archbishop Williams (8-8-1) completed half of the work they needed to accomplish on Cape Cod with a 4-1 win over the host Falmouth Clippers (12-4-5).

Archies head coach Derackk Curtis was not very pleased with his team’s overall effort, but the Bishops did enough to pull to within one win of qualifying for the MIAA state tournament.

“That wasn’t our best game…I thought that we’d come out with a little more urgency,” Curtis said.

AW was outshot by the Clippers 26-12 for the game, but did the most of with the pucks they did put on Falmouth’s Petey Negri as the scored goals on 3 of their first 5 shots on net in the contest.

With a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart in the first period AW took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after one. Mike Sorenti sniped one inside the near side post at the 6:42 mark of the first. Then, before the dust settled on that one, Sean Leblanc chopped one in from the doorstep to give the visitors at 2-0 lead.

Falmouth came out like gangbusters to start the second period and picked up the tempo, but AW held the fort as goalie Joe Vinay (25 saves) made a handful of big stops, the best of which was on a doorstep bid by Cyrus Wickersham at the five minute mark.

With a goal on their first shot of the second period, at 5:24 by Falmouth resident Mike Jessman, AW was in the driver’s seat.

FHS broke through at 13:36 of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1 when Nick Lineaweaver netted a power play goal off a nice feed across the crease from Ben Taylor. The air quickly left the Clippers’ balloon, though, as AW got a power play goal just 15 seconds later, off the stick of Bill Sweezey, that made it 4-1. AW scored its four goals all on their first eight shots on net.

AW will meet surprise winner Waltham, Monday at 7 p.m.. Falmouth squares off with Arlington Catholic at 3 p.m.

BC High will face Austin Prep on Monday after the Cougars qualified for the Division 1 North tournament in a 4-1 win over Duxbury.

Cam Russo, Nolan Vesey and Scott Corcoran all scored in the first period, putting AP (9-6-3) in the driver's seat.

Although the Hawks are out of postseason contention, they put on an impressive display early on against the Cougars.

Waltham (4-11-3) ran out to a 3-0 lead by the second intermission, before the Cougars (9-6-4) scored twice in the third to make a game of it.

(Reporting from Rich Maclone was included in this story.)

Recap: No. 3 Hingham 4, No. 10 Cathedral 4

February, 5, 2012
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Springfield Cathedral did what no team has been able to do since mid-December. And that’s keep Hingham from leaving the ice with a win. Saturday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, two of the state’s best clashed for 45 minutes, only to end the game with a 4-4 tie.

The two teams returned to the ice for the third period with Cathedral (7-4-4) clinging to a 3-2 lead. But in the early minutes of the third, Hingham (12-2-1) captain James Gordon, who had two assists in the first two periods, continued his strong play.

Two minutes in, Gordon tied the game off a nice fed from Sam D’Antuono. Just over three minutes later, Gordon gave Hingham its first lead of the game with his second goal of the period.

“It was just great play by my linesmen,” Gordon said. “I just found the right spots and he gave me the puck. I was really just lucky out there.”

Cathedral responded a few minutes later when senior defenseman Thomas Quinlan ripped a shot from the point past goalie John Grenier, tying that game at four apiece.

“We would have liked to keep the lead there at the end,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “But a couple of goals, from both teams, that went in were probably not tailor-made goals. But that’s what happens in a tight game like that.”

This was unlike the first two periods, which saw Hingham trying to answer Cathedral’s goals.

Cathedral started off the scoring in the first period when senior Jordan Kozub rebounded a miss shot and wrapped it around Grenier, squeezing it right inside the left post.

That lead would not last long. Just over a minute later, Gordon’s shot was tipped perfectly by D’Antuono, which went over the shoulder of Cathedral goalie John Liquori.

The second period began the same as the first with Cathedral scoring first. The Panthers came out of the gate as the aggressor, scoring in the first 42 seconds. Cathedral captain Frank Crinella, left all alone, took Brendan Ashe’s pass and put one past Grenier.

Midway through the period, the Harbormen would tie it on a power play goal from Ryan Linehan. Once again, Gordon got credit for the assist, as he fired a shot from the blue line, which was tipped down and in by his fellow captain.

A Hingham penalty late in the period, set up Cathedral’s go ahead goal. Defenseman Matt Foley placed the puck right in front of the net to Dominic Blad, who immediately tapped the puck behind him to freshman D.J. Petruzzelli, who gave Cathedral a one-goal lead with 54 seconds remaining in the period.

“It was a good battle between two evenly matched teams,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. “They outshot us in the first. We outshot them in the second. They outshot us in the third. It was just one of those games.”

On Dec. 21, Hingham’s record fell to 1-2 after a 5-1 loss to St. Mary’s of Lynn. The Harbormen went on an 11-game win streak after that game, which lasted until Saturday night.

Hingham still has not be beaten since the St. Mary’s loss, but the tie is an empty feeling for the Harbormen locker room, who feels the game they played Saturday was enough for the two-points.

“I felt that was the most complete game we’ve played so far,” Gordon said. “It just didn’t turn out our way, but it was still a great game.”

For the coaching staff and the players, this run has been great, but not something that was envisioned to go this far.

“We take them one-by-one,” Messina said. “We have a tough schedule. You can’t think too far ahead.”

“You don’t expect to do this,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t always play out like this, but we worked very hard in the offseason to get to this point. I feel that we did a great job and it’s paying off for us.”

Hingham heads into Monday night with another tough opponent in Westford Academy.

“There’s no time to hang out head that’s for sure,” Messina said.

The month of February is unforgiving for Brian Foley’s team. Cathedral has hit the hardest part of the schedule with games this week against BC High and Hingham. Down the road, Cathedral has contests with several of the state’s best teams, including another matchup with BC High. The Panthers also have St. Mary’s of Lynn and St. John’s Prep.

“It’s tough. We’re going into the stretch here with six games against the top five teams in the state,” Foley said. “We’re just trying to get as many points as we can out of them and try to stay in contention to get a Super 8 berth.”

A win over Hingham could have lifted Cathedral into serious Super 8 talk, but the Panthers will have more chances against the state’s elite in the coming weeks.

Ten of Hingham’s 11 wins during their winning streak came at home.

The road game against Cathedral will help the Harbormen adjust to the last leg of the season, which has the Harbormen at home just once the rest of the way, Monday night against Westford Academy.

After that, Hingham has Malden Catholic, Winchester, and Coyle-Cassidy all on the road before heading to Falmouth for the final three games of the season at the Cape Cod Classic.

Recap: Ed Taylor Holiday Tournament

December, 27, 2011

HINGHAM, Mass. -- No. 5 Marshfield won the Division 1 state hockey title last season and the Rams are looking to take the leap to the Super 8 level and compete with the very best in Massachusetts.

Hingham gave Marshfield a sample of what that might be like on Monday.

The No. 9 Harbormen posted three goals in the first 1:13 of the third period in a flurry of offensive power to take a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Rams in the nightcap of the Ed Taylor Holiday Tournament doubleheader at Pilgrim Ice Arena.

Dual senior captains Matt Hughes and James Gordon provided the third period barrage with a pair of goals apiece, with Hughes scoring bookend goals and Gordon sandwiching in two of his own in the four-goal barrage.

“Great effort by both [Hughes and Gordon] of them and Ryan Linehan, all three of our captains contributed and they scored five of the six goals,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “The first two periods, we had equal pressure and were just fortunate enough to get some 2-on-1s and some breaks there. We only scored four goals in the first three games, so it’s not like we were putting the puck in the net so it was good to get a chance to do that.”

Despite controlling the puck for most of the first two periods of play, Hingham (2-2-0) found themselves clinging to a slim 2-1 lead after two periods.

At 10:15 of the first, Matt Brazel went to the backhand off a pass in front from Sam D’Antuono to finally beat Marshfield’s netminder Kevin Moran, who played extremely well in net with 15 saves in spite of the final score, to help Hingham break the scoreless tie.

Right out of the gates of the second period, Hughes filled the right slot and fired a mid-air pass to Linehan off the left post and Linehan slapped the puck out of the air for the quick 2-0 lead 33 seconds into the second stanza.

But Marshfield made things interesting, as Mike Carbone scored his third goal of the season in as many games at 9:35 of the second period off a scrum out in front of the crease. Brennan Quackenbush was credited with the assist and Carbone’s goal cut the Rams’ deficit in half heading into the decisive third period.

“I mean we have size, but we just weren’t playing the way we are supposed to,” Marshfield head coach Dan Connolly said. “We have to play better, not a little better, a lot better and honestly we were lucky to still be in it after two periods. Hingham just wanted it more.”

Hughes’ first tally was 20 seconds into the period right off the opening faceoff on a quick tip-in out in front of the crease. Gordon immediately followed with his two tallies at 13:59 and 13:47 of the third on back-to-back goals, and the rout was sealed.

The Harbormen outshot the Rams 11-1 in the first 7:20 of the third and were on cruise control the rest of the way with a final 21-15 shot advantage.

Even though the season has barely kicked off, Connolly was hoping this was a litmus test of sorts for his squad to take the next step on the ladder and compete for a Super 8 title as Hingham has been to the big dance nine out of the last 10 seasons.

“We are not even close to being ready to compete at this level and the gap there is so big,” Connolly said. “Unless our kids change things around and start listening to what we need to do, we are in some trouble.”

In the opener, Tom Goodwin netted the game-winner with 2:08 remaining in regulation as Weymouth edged Duxbury 2-1 in the opener of the Taylor Holiday Tournament at Pilgrim Arena.

Weymouth (1-1-2) picked up their first win on the young season and advance to the tourney finals to face the host Hingham on Thursday night at 8 p.m. Duxbury will face Marshfield in the consolation tilt at 6 p.m.

“I thought we battled pretty good, got some pucks to the net, but we have a lot of new guys here and lost some size due to graduation, but I think we will get better and better as the year goes along," Green Dragons head coach John Blake said. “We have to keep in the back of our minds that we are young, we play a very tough nonleague schedule, but we do that to find out where we are at and what we need to work on.”

After a scoreless first period, Duxbury (1-3-1) took the lead at 6:48 of the second as Cam Daley put the puck in the back of the net but the lead vanished as Joe Flanagan tied it up only 1:29 later as the Duxbury defense couldn’t clear the zone.

Kevin Stevens, former Bruin and 15-year veteran of the NHL also with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers, was in attendance to watch his son, freshman Luke Stevens, compete for ice time with the Duxbury Dragons.

Stevens, who played his high school hockey at Silver Lake and is now a pro scout in the New England area for the Penguins, likes the way Coach Blake handles the rotations on the ice and knows it will only take time for his son to adjust.

“I like how [Blake] works the young kids in and it seems like he does a really good job but this is only my first year with the Duxbury program,” said the four-time NHL All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion. “The biggest thing with any of these programs is finding the balance to mix in the younger kids with the older kids and my kid is only 14 years old competing with 17-year olds, and [Luke]’s played at a high level all his life, but this year will be different.”

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The seniors of Weymouth hockey had never once beat South Shore rival Hingham until this year. Now, it seems the Wildcats have the Harbormen’s number.

Faced with a one-goal, third-period deficit, No. 4 seed Weymouth scratched their way back into the game to come away with a 4-3 win over fifth-seeded Hingham in their first-round Super Eight tournament game at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena on Saturday, marking their second straight win over the Harbormen.

“This says a lot about those kids and a lot about this team,” Wildcats head coach Matt Cataldo said. “We knew if we just kept working, we’d get the chances.”

Weymouth (18-3-2) was first on the board midway through the first period. Junior forward Jonathan Wilson had the Wildcats to a 1-0 lead with just his second goal of the season. Sophomore winger Ian Sheridan added an assist. But Hingham (13-6-4) tied the game with less than minute remaining in the period with Alex Pompeo’s seeing-eye slap shot from the point. Pompeo’s power-play goal was assisted by Steven Bellew and Matt Hughes.

The Wildcats got back to it in the second, reclaiming the lead in the third minute with Riley Flanagan chipping home a centering pass from Tyler Piacentini. Steve Bristol also added a helper on the play.

“Tyler’s done that all year long,” Flanagan said of Piacentini’s wizardry with the pass. “I don’t know how he does it, he just does.”

Hingham finished the second period with a flurry, however, and outshot the Wildcats, 9-2. Dan Griffin netted his fifth goal of the season with 6:24 to play in the second and the Harbormen struck once again in the final minute, for the second straight period, with Ryan Linehan redirecting James Gordon’s pass past Weymouth netminder Brian Brady (16 saves).

“The goal was to get the puck deep and forecheck the D before they could get the puck up,” Harbormen head coach Tony Messina said. I think we did that well for the first two periods.”

The ice shifted in the other direction during the third, however, as Weymouth outshot Hingham, 11-4. The line of Flanagan, Trevor King and Piacentini again left its imprint on the game. Midway through the third, Flanagan netted his second goal of the game, set up by yet another perfect touch pass (or was it intended as a shot?) from Piacentini.

Then, it was King’s turn to get in the fray. The converted forward, turned defenseman, turned forward again, potted the game-winner with 2:45 remaining with a set up from Flanagan, who completed his three-point game.

“We’ve had a big rivalry with them over the years,” Flanagan said, “and that was huge for us getting the split against them … That gave us confidence.”

HINGHAM, Mass. -- If the Hingham boys’ hockey team is to make another run at a Super Eight title when the 2010-11 season is said and done, you can go ahead and circle Feb. 5 as the date the Harbormen turned things around.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup at Pilgrim Skating Arena against No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn, Hingham was trying to regain measure of momentum. Ever since their upset of Malden Catholic on Jan. 15, the seventh-ranked Harbormen had hit a rough patch, going 0-3-1 in their last four contests.

Again, Hingham fell behind against St. Mary’s and, despite battling back twice to tie the game, trailed with less than five minutes remaining. That’s when they regained their scoring touch, tying the score once again on Ryan Linehan’s power play strike, then potting the game-winner with 49 seconds to go on Alex Pompeo’s wrister, his second of the game. Tim Driscoll’s empty-net, short-handed goal iced it, giving a Hingham an emotional 5-3 win.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Pompeo, a senior defenseman and team co-captain. “We’ve been in a little bit of a slump and they’re definitely a Super Eight team, or close to it. This was just absolutely huge for us.”

Hingham (7-4-4) stopped their skid with a little help from their power play unit. The Harbormen took advantage on three of seven man-advantage situations.

“We’d been struggling on the power play lately and we’ve been struggling all season to score goal,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “Every game’s been a grind.”

Their latest battle was no different as St. Mary’s (9-2-3), which returned to game action after a 10-day layoff, pressed play in the first period. Bobby Mullins picked up where he left off, tallying his 12th goal of the season with 7:11 remaining in the first. Hingham tied the game 7:21 into the second period with their first of three power play goals on Matt Hughes’ wraparound.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 until a wild third period.

The Spartans regained the lead on Cam Kennedy’s slapper through a screen with 7:20 remaining. Pompeo drew the Harbormen even once again on a goal assisted by Steve Bellew and Linehan via a 5-on-3 power play chance with 5:07 left.

Once again, St. Mary’s forged ahead with Tommy Braswell’s goal off an offensive zone face-off win by Christopher Surrette with the teams playing 4-on-4. Linehan tied the game, 3-3, while falling backward and depositing the rebound from Hughes’ wrist shot.

Pompeo tallied the game-winner with 49.4 seconds on the clock with assists from Bellew and Linehan.

Predictably, the Spartans didn’t go quietly with several quality chances in the waning seconds. With goaltender Donald Hesse pulled, St. Mary’s was playing 6-on-4 with an attack zone face off after a Hingham player was sent to the box with 10 seconds remaining. The draw came to the left of Harbormen netminder Kevin Granatino (who also stopped a St. Mary's penalty shot try by Connor Parent in the second) with Driscoll inside the circle. Messina entrusted the winger to take the face off, citing his strong hands. The senior co-captain and Holy Cross commit won the draw cleanly, lofting the puck on the backhand toward the vacated St. Mary’s goal. The puck trickled past the goal line with 4.3 to go.

Then and only then could the Harbormen celebrate an important victory.

“This type of game, coming from behind, even though they were power plays goals, it’s got to give them some confidence,” Messina said. “We’ve been trying to find something to grab onto while we’ve been struggling.”

He continued: “To come out and pull out a win in this situation, maybe that’s something we can build upon going down the road, at least I hope so.”

With power plays a factor (the Spartans were 0-for-4 on their chances), St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said it was only a matter of time before the Harbormen took off.

“What hurt us today was taking some penalties, you can’t beat a team like that short-handed. We just took a couple too many, especially at the end of the game.

“The odds are against you, they’re bound to score in those situations.”

Or maybe luck had finally just swung Hingham’s way.

“We haven’t had in the longest time,” Messina said, “but you also make your own luck in this game. We tell the kids that you’ve got to take and off-angle shot, you’ve got to look for rebounds, tough goals. We like dirty goals as much as the pretty ones, but we hadn’t been getting either. Today we did.”

No. 3 CM avenges '10, knocks off No. 2 Hingham

January, 8, 2011

BOSTON -- You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but there is nothing stopping the old pup from showing you a thing or two.

In a rematch of last year’s Super Eight championship, No. 3 Catholic Memorial avenged their title defeat with a 4-2 win over defending champion, No. 2 Hingham, at the Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University.

The Knights are the kings of the Super Eight with 13 titles in all, their last coming in 2009. But the Harbormen stunned CM, 1-0, in last season’s finale preventing the Knights from back-to-back championships for the first time since they won three in a row in 2003-05. The win was the Harbormen’s first banner and was also only the second Division 1A crown for a public school in the history of the tournament (Reading, 2008).

But this time, the Knights showed they are back to lay claim to the top spot, as junior Cody Kingston’s goal 3:47 into the third period proved to be the game-winner in a game Catholic Memorial never trailed. If there was any sort of revenge factor, Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson was not letting anyone in on that secret.

“Last year was last year, so (Hingham) have a Super Eight trophy at their school, but this is 2010-11 and no one has that trophy yet,” said Hanson.

Previously-unbeaten Hingham (4-1-3) controlled the first period, out shooting Catholic Memorial 11-5, and finding numerous scoring chances, as the Knights’ defense allowed the Harbormen to roam the slot and pick apart their blue line setup. Both teams, however, headed to the lockers without a tally.

After the scoreless first period, the Knights (5-3) finally broke through on a tip-in goal off the stick of junior forward Thomas Stanton at the 10:47 mark of the second. Sophomore defenseman Justin Ryder fired the puck from the left point, and Stanton had a perfect re-direct to beat Harbormen’s goaltender Derek McInnis (14 saves).

The lead didn’t last very long, as Hingham lit the lamp 2:42 later on a power play goal, courtesy of the Knights' third penalty of the second period alone. A tripping call on Stanton allowed Tim Driscoll, who had a goal and an assist, to punch home a rebound fired on net by fellow senior Marc Hetnik and the Harbormen were right back in the game.

But with only 40 seconds left in the period, sophomore Jack O’Hear gave the Knights a 2-1 lead on an assist from his brother, senior assistant captain Dan O’Hear (two assists).

“In the second (period) we adjust, in the third we adjust, and like I’ve told you guys before we just get better and better,” Hanson said about his team’s penchant for shutting teams down as the game progresses. “(We) were handling the puck better, made real good athletic plays, and we were opportunistic.”

No more so then in the beginning of the third period, when some great forechecking by senior Chris Stathopoulous on senior Jared Robichaud forced a loose puck out in front of McInnis and Kingston flipped the turnover into the Knights’ third goal of the game, a backhand tally right through McInnis’ five-hole.

“Kind of unfortunate, (Robichaud) was in the right spot down low, and we wanted him to center it,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “He picked up the puck and made the wrong move to the center of the net -- unfortunately a good team like (Catholic Memorial) takes advantage of those mistakes.”

Said Hanson: “That’s (all) Stathopoulous and (Miles) McCarthy and they work so well below the faceoff dots. Cody just made a quick release, got rid of the puck, just got it to the goal, and I think that’s one (Hingham) might want to have back.”

Hingham was not finished, though, as Austin O’Connor cut the deficit in half when Driscoll’s blast rang the left post and went behind Knights’ goaltender Tommy Knox (17 saves) to the waiting stick of O’Connor, who was sitting on the right post for the easy tap-in poke.

But senior Dan Griffin picked up an untimely contact-to- the-head penalty with 2:45 remaining in regulation which ruined any momentum for Hingham to tie it up before the final horn and allowed Hetnik to double up the score on the power play with 2:11 left to play.

“Obviously you can’t take penalties in a game like this, especially a senior, we are going to learn from it,” said Messina. “Hopefully we will see (CM) sometime down in the future.”

HIN(4-1-3) 0 – 1 – 1 - - 2
CM (5-3-0) 0 – 2 – 2 - - 4

FIRST – None.
SECOND - CM – Thomas Stanton (Justin Ryder, Tom Barrett), 10:47; HI – Tim Driscoll (Marc Hetnik, Ryan Linehan), 13:17 (pp); CM - Jack O’Hear (Dan O’Hear), 14:20.
THIRD – CM – Cody Kingston (Chris Stathopoulous), 3:47; HI – Austin O’Connor (Driscoll, Alex Pompeo), 8:33; CM – Hetnik (Jack O’Hear, Dan O’Hear), 12:49

CM – Tommy Knox (17)
HI – Derek McInnis (14)