Boston High School: Ryan McDonough

Super 8: Austin Prep 3, Central Catholic 0

March, 1, 2015
Mar 1

LOWELL, Mass. -- As Austin Prep opened up Super 8 tournament play against Central Catholic, perhaps it was commandeering of them to rest its hopes on a young prodigy goaltender.

For the majority of the season, Dylan Regan, a freshman, has manned the position quite well, displaying a certain kind of fearlessness not often seen from kids his age. His ability to snuff out shots and limit rebound chances had more than convinced the Cougar coaching staff that he was the proper choice despite the fact that AP also carries a senior and junior at the same position.

But this wunderkind, albeit nervous at the start of Sunday's contest, proved to be the right man for the job. Regan was not engrossed by the bright lights and big stage of the state's most prestigious postseason high school hockey tournament. He simply shook off the butterflies early and went to work.

Regan held his ground throughout, stopping all 21 shots he faced to help lift the Cougars to a 3-0 victory in the first game of this best of three series played at Tsongas Center.

"In the second period especially, I thought (Dylan) played sensational," said AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro, whose team defeated CC in a regular season meeting back in January. "He is a goaltender who makes timely saves which is important. He had a great game tonight."

Third-seeded AP (20-1-1) will look to advance to the semifinal round when it plays the sixth-seeded Raiders (15-6-2) once again either Wednesday or Thursday night here.

The Cougars are no strangers to Super 8 play, having reached finals the past two years before bowing to Malden Catholic both times.

Hardly tested during the opening period, Regan, with his team clinging to a one goal lead, saw a different Raider team in the second. CC controlled the pace throughout the frame, putting up 10 shots. Yet none reached the back of the net.

"It was pretty cool playing here in a big rink with all of these people here," Regan said. "I was pretty nervous at first but once we got out there and got the warm up in I felt a lot better. The defense did a nice job keeping their forwards to the outside and really didn't give them that many chances."

Adding to the Raiders frustration in the middle frame was watching junior forward Eric MacAdams, on a feed from Ryan McDonough, slip between the defense and lift a backhand shot over Patrick Schena's catching glove with six seconds remaining to send AP into the final intermission on top 2-0.

"That goal gave us some fire because we were struggling throughout that period," MacAdams said. "We couldn't get the puck out of our zone. It was a nice goal but I couldn't have done it without Ryan McDonough's pass. It was a good pass by him and I was able to bury it."

To a player, the Cougars will tell you they were in survival mode throughout the second, progressively fending off CC's furious attack. But given the fact, they were able to score late in the frame to go up by a pair can do wonders for a team's subconscious.

AP looked more like themselves in the third in terms of being more efficient with the puck and shutting down the passing lanes. The defense continued to extend the Raiders' sharpshooters further out along the perimeter and guarded the area between the face off circles like a fortress. CC did get a couple of quality opportunities to narrow the deficit but Regan pushed them aside.

With 7:43 left, all hope for the Raiders was lost after MacAdams blasted a shot from 25 feet out that Schena had initially stopped. However the puck continued to trickle through his pads and across the goal line. At that point, CC was out of options in its attempts to get back into this one.

"That third goal was the nail in the coffin," Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski said. "From there it is tough to come back from. Give their goalie credit. When he needed to make stops he did. Prep is a good team and when they had opportunities to capitalize they did. At the end of the day, us not finishing really hurt. In the second period we needed at least one goal and I thought we executed pretty decently but just couldn't capitalize. When we play them again, we need to use our speed and be able to generate more offense as far as getting more quality shots to the net. If we can find the back of the net then good things will happen and maybe change the swing of things."

The Cougars wasted little time moving out in front. Just 1:12 into the initial period, Mark Egan re-directed a Dan O'Toole shot past Schena. The remainder of the frame saw AP continue to dominate down at the offensive end but could not get another shot past the junior netminder.

"It was good to get an early lead but to be honest we haven't had a lot of success when we score early," Finocchiaro said. "Obviously we did that two years in a row in the (Super 8) finals and we lost those games. I told our guys when you are able to maintain the lead and finish the game and not give anything up that is big. I thought in the first period we played well but they out-played us in the second. In the third we were able to bounce back a little bit. I felt CC trapped us pretty good and didn't let us generate a lot of speed through the neutral zone which we are very good at doing. They ran a 1-2-2 and did a good job answering us tonight."

CC's inability to gain strength within the attacking zone also became an area of concern. The Raiders went nearly the entire period without a shot on net. Their first one didn't come until there was 1:48 to go. CC certainly changed its tune in the second. The Raiders, showing more aggressiveness, began to spread out the offense more in an effort to create some open ice spacing. Chances were there but because of Regan, they had nothing to show from it. They now must regroup for their next encounter with Regan, hoping for a better scenario this time around.

Recap: Austin Prep 4, Arlington Catholic 2

January, 10, 2015
Jan 10
STONEHAM, Mass. -- In victory or defeat, the protocol remains the same. Whether Austin Prep wins or loses, head coach Louis Finocchiaro always takes his stance just outside the team dressing room, offering words of wisdom and encouragement to each team member as they pass by making their way toward the exits.

Saturday night was no different. On this particular evening, Finocchiaro was handing out compliments as if it was candy. And why not? The Cougars had just upended Catholic Central Large Divisional nemesis Arlington Catholic, 4-2, inside Stoneham Arena to take sole possession of first place in the conference.

AP out-played the visiting Cougars over the final 30 minutes, rallying back from a one-goal deficit by scoring three times in the third to improve to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the CCL.

The entire momentum of this tilt took a shift AP's way at the start of the middle frame and never left. In the second, the host Cougars fired 15 shots on AC netminder Matt Anderson. However, none found their way past the sophomore, who finished the evening with 29 saves. His efforts alone allowed AC (5-1-2, 3-1-1) to hold onto its slim 2-1 advantage going into the second intermission.

"I was most impressed with our willingness not to lose," Finocchiaro said. "We had an enormous second period but we were still down. Our kids never packed it in. They had the will to not quit and that is important. We want to build off of that. We've got speed and want to utilize our speed. We also want to keep our gaps tight because it eliminates teams from coming after you 100 miles per hour. That's what we work on and it creates turnovers. I thought our effort overall was very good tonight."

Having exasperated a period's worth of energy with nothing to show for it, had AP come out for the final period somewhat dejected, no one would have disputed it. Yet, the Cougars looked to feed off of momentum gained minutes prior and carried it with them into the third.

Just 5:30 into the last frame, an AC turnover inside the neutral zone set up senior defenseman Dan O'Toole to notch the equalizer. AP continued its relentless attack within the AC defensive zone, displaying a physical forechecking style which would lead to AC's inability to control the puck.

As a result, AP would strike again. This time, senior forwards Anthony Cieri and Ryan McDonough broke in on Anderson. With Cieri carrying the puck into the left circle, he fed a crossing pass to wide open McDonough, who promptly whistled a shot past Anderson at 10:09 putting AP ahead to stay at 3-2.

"Our motto all year has been to keep working and dump pucks in," said McDonough. "We weren't worried (after the second intermission) because we knew we were going to score and keep going and we did."

With less than a minute to go, and AC feverishly trying to tie things up, senior John Rogers, controlling the puck along the right half board, tried to backhand a pass across the circles. However the puck found its way into the net left vacated when Anderson was pulled for the extra man, to seal the victory. The goal was credited to AC junior Jake McKenelley, as he was the last AP player to touch the puck for his team.

AC grabbed the lead in the opening period on a pair of power play goals from Cam Geary and Ryan Tierney. Geary, a sophomore, blasted a shot from just inside his own blue line which deflected off of goalie Dylan Regan (12 saves), bouncing behind him and across the goal line at 4:43. Five minutes later, AP tied things up following a turnover in which Kevin Kiley and Louis Finocchiaro skated in on a 2 on 1, with Finocchiaro finishing it off with a shot just past the out-stretched glove of Anderson.

But with just 38 seconds remaining in the frame, and playing with the man advantage, AC received a bit of luck. O'Toole gained control of the puck behind his own net. Looking to dish a pass out towards the middle of the ice, the puck, instead, deflected off of Tierney, positioned just to the left of Regan, and past the freshman goalie, sending AC into the first intermission ahead by a goal. O'Toole would redeem himself two periods later for his mistake.

"It felt good to get that goal," O'Toole said. "It felt we had two fluke goals scored against us but equaling it up in the third and then getting momentum back on our side and being able to net another one was huge. It's big to come back from a deficit against a big rival because they are a team we will probably be going back and forth with the whole season. It's certainly great to get the win that's for sure."

The host Cougars, albeit angry over the late score, played relentless throughout the second period. Passes were crisp and lanes were left open once they reached AC territory. Out of AP's 15 attempts in the frame, several were quality shot, but credit Anderson for his brilliant play between the pipes to keep AC ahead.

That all changed in the decisive final frame as AP, playing without top center Cam Russo who suffered an injury earlier in the week vs. Matignon, took advantage of AC's carelessness with the puck. The end result being three third period goals and a very important regular season triumph.

"They took it to us in the second period but we still managed to hang on at that point," said AC 37-year head coach Dan Shine. "In the second and third periods they were just all over us and we couldn't get possession of the puck. We couldn't make plays and when we made plays we made them to the wrong guys. We made a lot of turnovers in our end of the rink. It came down to who wanted it more and I thought Austin Prep showed they were tougher than we were physically. They were behind and came back to win the game. More power to them."

Having reached the Super 8 tournament final in each of the last two seasons, losing to Malden Catholic both times, questions were raised in regards to AP ability to maintain its high level of play. With the departure of prominent winger Bobo Carpenter (24 goals last year), who's now playing for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL, such questions became more enhanced.

But over the first half of this season, AP doesn't look much different than those teams of the past two years. It is a program that continues to stockpile players -- all of whom have proven capable of playing at a high level.

"We have some depth," said Finocchiaro, now in his 12th season here. "Obviously losing a player like Bob would hurt any team but we have a lot of good guys in our program. It's like any year. Every team loses guys but we have others who have stepped up. We are playing well as a team. We also had Russo out but we can't feel sorry for ourselves because of it. With us, it's the next guy up and and we move on. Tonight, as a team, we rose to the occasion."

Recap: Austin Prep 3, Central Catholic 1

January, 6, 2015
Jan 6
STONEHAM, Mass. – Austin Prep put the pedal down from the jump and never relented as the Cougars rolled up an early lead en route to a convincing 3-1 win over Central Catholic, Monday night.

The Cougars’ prowess coming through the neutral zone set themselves up for success early and they converted. Eric MacAdams tipped in a Mike Disciullo shot five minutes into the game. Austin kept the pressure up and a flurry six minutes later was capped when Ryan McDonough poked home a rebound to double the lead.

“I liked our game tonight,” Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchario said. “We were aggressive, we were fast, we were physical. I thought we were disciplined. Our goal was [to win] a non-league game that will be recognized later on if we are in the mix at the end of the year. I thought the effort from everyone was [for] 45 minutes.

“The last two games [MacAdams has] been a beast. With him not only is he good offensively he does a tremendous job in the defensive zone. To play at the next level, which I think he can, you've got to play defense.”

MacAdams got on the score sheet again in the second period when he sent an outlet pass to Mike Egan who found himself on a breakaway which he buried under Ben Zargaj's arm.

Egan had a goal and an assist for the Cougars.

“It's definitely a confidence booster,” Egan said of the win. “It's always good to start off the week right. If you don't start the week right you're kind of screwing yourself for the rest of it.”

Austin outshot Central, 25-17, and freshman Dylan Regan put in a quality performance between the pipes for AP.

Central did find some mojo in the third period and took over the tempo of the game. The Raiders outshot Austin, 9-6, and Cam Gendron scored the team’s lone goal, on a breakaway.

“I thought we lost our game awareness,” Finocchario said. “We let a guy stand on our far blue line and our defensemen had no idea he was there. That should never happen in a 3-0 game. We've got to mature, understand situations, but that happens. Other than that I didn't think our third was that bad.”

FINDING D: Through Central Catholic's recent rise to the state’s elite the team was always anchored by a physical defensive corps. On Monday, however, Austin cut through the Raiders like butter.

Raiders coach Mike Jankowski said that the problem was larger than just defense.

“We're still fighting for an identity,” Jankowski said. “We're waiting for things to happen instead of making things happen.”

Egan's breakaway goal was sprung by a defensive lapse in the neutral zone, and the Raiders were beaten to pucks throughout the game. At one point during a clearance setup Central almost netted an own goal.

“We have [Sean] Holly back there, [David] Sheehan back there, but we haven't been able to find our groove back there,” Jankowski said. “One of the brightest lights tonight was [Cam] Boudreau. He was great back there. Nothing against Boudreau, but if your freshman is stepping up and being one of your better D, we've got to start looking at what's going on and dial it down to basics. We go into Hingham Wednesday so we better figure it out and fast.”

Recap: No. 4 Austin Prep 5, Waltham 1

February, 16, 2014
FALMOUTH, Mass. – “We should have just stayed on the Bourne Bridge.”

Waltham head coach John Maguire was not enthused about his team’s first few shifts against No. 4 Austin Prep (12-3-4), Sunday at the Buddy Ferreira Classic. The Cougars established their dominance right out of the gate, scoring three times over a span of just under three minutes early in the first period and never looked back as they rolled to an easy 5-1 victory in the opening round of the annual Cape Cod tournament.

“For us to hand them three goals like that. We didn’t really show up, that was depressing,” Maguire said. “They’re probably three or four goals better than us, but I didn’t like the way we played early. After that we settled in okay.”

AP’s bunched first period goals started just 84 seconds into the contest when Jake McKenelley broke the seal, cutting across the middle and wristing a quick one past starting goalie Brendan Develin.

At 3:55 the Cougars went up by a pair with a power-play goal from Mike Egan, who collected a rebound in the left wing corner and bounded in a Plinko chip from there. Eighteen seconds later Ryan McDonough broke with speed up the seam and beat Develin with a nifty crossover move to make it 3-0.

AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro liked the early hop that his club had.

“We came out strongly. After that I thought we were a little complacent,” the coach said. “In any tournament, the most important game is the first one and I thought we had had good puck movement and puck possession.”

Waltham (7-7-5) had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the game in the first period. AP outshot the Hawks 13-1 for the frame, with the first bid to reach the net coming with just 15 seconds left in the first, off the stick of Jake Miller.

The Hawks got their skates under themselves in the second and played a much better frame. A Brendan Hopkins power play goal at 5:08 cut the deficit to two goals, as the forward jammed in a rebound of a Kevin Snow shot.

AP got that one back late in the period, regaining their three-goal lead when Bob Carpenter floated a wrister from the high slot. Cam Russo, camped in front with his back to the net, redirected it past Waltham goalie Shamus Egan, beating the relief netminder to the stick side to make it a 4-1 game. Carpenter later capped the scoring, with seven seconds left to play, with a power play goal sniped from high in the zone.

AP squares off with No. 2 BC High Monday at 1 p.m., in what promises to be the game of the tournament at the Classic.

The Hawks are back at it tomorrow against Falmouth. They need to pick up three points in their last three games to qualify for the MIAA tournament.

On Tuesday, Waltha squares off with Westford Academy and will have one more Buddy Ferreira Classic contest later in the week.

Recap: No. 4 Austin Prep 3, No. 6 Central Catholic 2

February, 4, 2014
SALEM, N.H. -- Saturday's brutal draw against St. Mary's left Austin Prep battered and short -anded going into their tilt at Central Catholic last night. Top-scoring forwards Bobo Carpenter and Cam Russo were out, as was Eric MacAdams.

No problem. The No. 4 Cougars were held to only nine shots but converted when they had to and escaped with a tight 3-2 win over the No. 6 Raiders.

With the game tied at two five minutes into the third period, a Central turnover sprung Jake McKenelley and Ryan McDonough on a shorthanded two-on-one. McKenelley fed McDonough who buried it over a sprawling Colin Soucy.

“Guys stepped up tonight who don't usually play,” Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “I'm so proud of our guys tonight. They're a very good team. [It was] a tough road game for us.

“What I liked most importantly was at the end of game was our poise with the puck. We didn't panic. We were able to hold on to the lead and make good choices with the puck.”

The Raiders set the tone early as the Lloyd Hayes knocked down a rebound and chipped it over Austin goalie Elijah Harris for the goal. Three minutes later, Soucy left a bad rebound loose atop the crease and Louis Finocchiaro Jr. lifted it over him to tie the game going into the first intermission.

The Raiders set the tone and tempo for the bulk of the game, outshooting AP 23-9 overall and 11-2 in the second period alone, but were unable to finish many of the chances they had.

On Austin's first shot on goal of the second period, with just over five minutes left, Scott Duarte wristed home a shot in the shot to put the Cougars up 2-1. It took a while for AP to find its bearings on the Olympic-sized sheet at the Icenter, but once they did they worked it to their advantage.

“It's an Olympic-sized rink so it's hard to get things going,” McDonough said. “We're not used it, but when they made a mistake we capitalized.”

The Cougar defense was able to keep Central to the outside in the offensive zone and off-balance. When the Raiders did attack successfully Harris stood tall in goal, turning aside 20 shots.

“I thought our defensemen did a nice job, defending the middle, forcing them to the outside, and not giving up quality shots,” Finocchiaro said. “ I thought [Harris] was on his game tonight. I thought he played a sharp game form sharp to finish. He did what we need him to do and what he usually does.”

Corey Webber had Central's second goal, sliding a backhander home early in the third.

MIX AND MATCH: After getting thumped 8-2 by Malden Catholic on Jan. 20, Central coach Mike Jankowski changed up his offensive lines in an attempt to mix things up. The most noticeable change was the second line of Zach Cote, Webber, and Kevin Regan.

Webber has played much of the season on the top line with Hayes and Alex Lester while Regan got his ice time on the “white” line alongside Richie Greenberg and Eric Robbins.

Despite the loss, Jankowski said he was pleased with the reworked lines.

“We're just trying to spark a few things,” Jankowski said. “It's just balance; we have some great balance up there. Corey got one today, Lloyd got one today so each line got one today. We played really, really well we just couldn't find the back of the net.”

In Central's two games before last night's game they scored eight and four goals respectively.

“They're coming it's just at different times we get snake-bit there and can't make the conversions,” Jankowski said. “We've been able to find the back of the net for the most part. Tonight just wasn't our night.”

Recap: No. 3 Austin Prep 3, No. 7 Cathedral 3

January, 29, 2014
TEWKSBURY, Mass. -- During this past week, Austin Prep has been living life on the edge. If you think that is something the Cougars are rejoicing in, think again.

For the second time in as many games, No. 3 Austin Prep needed to crawl out from under the weight of a two-goal deficit, this time salvaging a 3-3 tie against No. 7 Springfield Cathedral Tuesday night at Breakaway Ice Center.

On Saturday night, the Cougars were held scoreless during the first 30 minutes before storming back with three third period goals to slip by Arlington Catholic. Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro realizes his club is playing with fire right now, and falling behind early, especially come playoff time, is something that needs to be fixed rather quickly.

"It's going to catch up to us eventually and we all know that," said Finocchiaro, his team standing at 8-2-3. "Obviously I'm proud of the kids and the character they've showed in that we don't quit.

“But we cannot keep spotting teams two-goal leads like this. It's something that we need to keep on talking about and we have to learn to fight through it fast. We know how to play coming from behind but I want us to learn how to play with a lead."

Austin Prep trailed by a pair until late in the second period. That is when junior forward Bobo Carpenter, at 11:14, beat Panther goaltender John Liquori (18 saves) with a quick wrist shot to get the Cougars on the board.

"Our motto is to keep on working hard all the time," Carpenter said. "That's the only thing we can control so that is what we want to work off of every game. Coming back like this shows how great a team we can be when we want to be. Our next goal in what all of us believe is we need to come ready to play in the first period and keep it going from there."

But just 1:12 into the final frame, sophomore Johnny Leonard netted his second goal of the evening after blistering down the left lane and beating Cougar goalie Elijah Harris glove side, giving the Panthers back their two-goal margin. Leonard's two goals now gives him 18 on the season and ties him with Peter Crinella for the team lead.

But as they did against Arlington Catholic three days earlier, Austin Prep never showed panic. The Cougars stuck with their method of cycling the puck inside the Cathedral zone and putting as many shots possible on Liquori. With nearly a full period remaining, Austin Prep's objective was to create traffic in front of the senior netminder in the hopes of picking up a loose rebound.

The strategy came to fruition after Liquori could not snag a shot with his catching glove. As the puck rolled out to the crease, Dan O'Toole pushed it into the net at 5:20 to make it a 3-2 contest.

Although the Panthers got caught puck watching, they too, kept constant pressure inside the Cougar zone. But Harris was able to turn aside all 10 shots he faced in the frame to keep his team in it.

Only a minute after O'Toole's score, Cougar center Cam Russo forced a takeaway just inside the Austin Prep blue line. The junior then found Ryan McDonough open in the lane and delivered a perfect lead pass. McDonough did the rest, beating Liquori with a backhander to deadlock this tilt.

"There were some coverage breakdowns in the defensive zone," Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said. "We've got to do a better job on the defensive side of the puck. We played good and didn't make a ton of mistakes but when we did they capitalized. All we can do now is keep working. I like this team and the way they are working. I think we'll continue to get better and I think we'll be a very good team by the end of February."

Cathedral (10-2-3) grabbed the opening period lead after Devan Tongue put in his own rebound from the short side at 4:15. The score stayed that way until the early moments of the second. With Austin Prep's J.J. Layton in the box for cross checking, the Panthers' line of Leonard, Zac Prattson and Cam Peritz played tic-tac-toe with the puck in front of Harris (27 stops), before Leonard finished it off by roofing a shot over Harris' glove, extending the lead to 3-1.

"Springfield is a very good team,'' Finocchiaro said. "They are very patient with the puck and never seem to panic. They were much-better defensively than I first thought as well."

Following Leonard's second tally, Cathedral's offense went stone cold silent from that point. Much of that had to do with the Cougar's tight defense and the play of Harris. While this was taking place, the Cougars finally decided to awaken their offense, enough so, to grab a point in this one.

"It all begins in the net and Elijah made some very nice saves for us tonight at crucial times," Finocchiaro said. "We knew Springfield is an explosive team with some very quick forwards so credit Elijah [Harris] in how he played them."

Recap: No. 3 Austin Prep 3, No. 9 AC 2

January, 25, 2014
ARLINGTON, Mass. -- The postseason is still a few weeks away, but Catholic Central League rivals Austin Prep and Arlington Catholic may have given the large throng of vocal fans inside Ed Burns Arena Saturday night a taste of things yet to come. We can only hope the dramatics that were on display will be seen again in late February.

Arlington Catholic was in control of a two-goal lead through the first 30 minutes only to watch in anguish as Austin Prep stormed back with three unanswered third period markers to squeak out a 3-2 triumph.

"It shows we've got some character," Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro said. "This is a tough building to come into and win a hockey game in. Not to mention going into the third period losing 2-0. The kids showed no quit and those are the type of kids you want on your hockey team. We played a God-awful second period but were able to rebound in the third. We just need to find it for three periods instead of one."

Sophomore winger Mike Egan's goal at 12:12 proved to be the difference as No. 3 Austin Prep, winners of five straight, improve to 8-2-2 and 5-0-2 in the CCL. Egan's tally was the pinnacle of a dominating closing period by the visiting Cougars. For the first two periods, Austin Prep's offense was at a standstill as ninth-seeded Arlington Catholic (8-2-1, 3-2-1) was in constant check mode, knocking Austin Prep off its skates along the boards and in the open ice.

In between, the hometown Cougars were able to find the back of net twice. At 10:05 of the first period, forward Ryan Tierney got a gratuitous bounce of the puck off the blocker of Austin Prep goaltender Elijah Harris and swiftly knocked it past the junior while on the power play. Despite being out-shot in the frame, Arlington Catholic dictated the tempo for much of it.

Junior Ryan Smith increased Arlington Catholic's lead to two goals at 8:40 of the middle period. The goal was set up by sophomore forward Andrew Somerville, who stole the puck along the left half wall, skated behind the Austin Prep goal and dished a pass to Smith in front of the net, who sent a one-timer past Harris (21 saves).

"During those first two periods I thought we played as well as we had in a long time," said Arlington Catholic head coach Dan Shine, who was denied career win No. 500 and will try again on Wednesday when Arlington Catholic travels to Archbishop Williams. "Credit to Austin Prep, they were down 2-0 and waited for their opportunities to capitalize. It was a great high school hockey event and obviously our kids are disappointed. I told them that we have to learn from this, be willing to accept what happen and move on from it. We can't do anything about tonight. It's over and we have to be ready for Wednesday. As much as we took it to them in the first two periods they obviously took it to us in the third."

Shine, who celebrates a birthday on Sunday, downplayed the quest for 500, stating he is more concern about his team attaining victories and doing well in the postseason instead of personal accolades.

Coming into the third, you had a sense that Austin Prep would not go down quietly. There is too much talent on this club for that to happen. Just 1:24 into the period, Austin Prep proved it. Ryan McDonough, a junior forward, was able poke in a rebound to put his team on the board.

A few minutes later, with Arlington Catholic defenseman Jon-Luke Dee sitting in the penalty box for interference, Austin Prep sniper Bobo Carpenter knotted things at 2-2 with a blast coming from just inside his own blue line that sailed over goalie John Richard's right shoulder.

Suddenly, every ounce of momentum inside this old barn had shifted to the side of Austin Prep.

But it didn't last long. Just seconds after Carpenter's goal, Austin Prep's J.J. Layton (roughing) and Anthony Cieri (interference) were whistled into the box simultaneously giving Arlington Catholic a 5-on-3 opportunity. Austin Prep did a yeoman-like job killing it off.

Then, moments later, Mike Disciullo was nailed for a tripping violation putting Arlington Catholic back on the power play. Once again, Austin Prep rose to the challenge, frustrating Arlington Catholic inside its defensive zone, blocking shots out front and allowing Harris to become a stop-gap between the pipes.

"Our penalty kill was phenomenal at the end," Finocchiaro said. "We rolled into a diamond defense and took the shooter away from the middle and we defended off of the shot. Decent teams will get shots off, especially in 5-on-3 situations. What you have to do is defend off the shot afterwards, clear out, pick up the rebounds and let the goalie get a clear look at the shooter.

“This is a big win for us because it is against a league rival and a big league game. We could've easily rolled over tonight and gotten blown out but we didn't."

With time winding down and all indications pointing to a well-deserved tie by these two state powers, Austin Prep had other ideas. Egan received a long pass from Andrew Cross at Arlington Catholic's blue line and out-worked defenseman Brian Goggin inside the zone toward the net before beating Richard (24 saves) with a backhand shot sparking a wild eruption from the Austin Prep bench. Arlington Catholic worked in vain to notch the equalizer but would be denied as time ran out on them.

"After the second period our coaches told us that we needed to pick it up," Egan said. "We needed to come out and play with more heart. We did that and we were able to finish. After Bobby's goal, the intensity off of that really carried us from there. We just need to continue to play hard from here on out and let things come together."

Recap: Austin Prep 3, Arlington Catholic 3

January, 5, 2014
STONEHAM, Mass. – Any tie leaves the game’s competitors wanting more. And in the case of Saturday’s contest between Catholic Central Large rivals Arlington Catholic and Austin Prep, both squads could have found things that were lacking.

Arlington Catholic squandered a two-goal lead and had just one power-play goal on seven opportunities with the man-up. On the flip side, Austin Prep took too many penalties, spending too much time holding off AC’s rush.

“When you’ve got to come back after giving up a lead, you have to battle,” AC head coach Dan Shine said. “We did that and I’m really pleased with that.”

Conversely, AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro’s group is looking to find an identity, having compiled an 0-2-2 record in its last four games.

“We’re fighting it right now,” Finocchiaro said. “We’re not playing well, we’re not playing with confidence. We can say we have some guys out of the lineup, you try to maintain, keeping things simple and playing as a team, but we’re fighting it.”

AC (5-0-1, 3-0-1) claimed an early lead with John Rogers’ point-shot bomb on the power play at 4:17 of the first. Andy Somerville then padded AC’s advantage on a one-timer off of Ryan Smith’s feed at 3:33 of the second.

However, AP (3-2-2, 1-0-2) rifled back just 21 seconds later with Cam Russo’s first of two points on the evening – a goal at 3:54.

Not soon thereafter, AP stole a bit of momentum as goaltender Elijah Harris (20 saves) shut down Jason Smith’s breakaway bid.

AP finished the period on a groundswell, with a Ryan McDonough tally from an extreme angle at the right-wing circle.

AC reclaimed the lead at the seven-minute mark of the second as Ryan Spagnoli beat Harris on a partial breakaway.

But again, AP found a way. Bobo Carpenter tied the score, 3-3, on a short-handed bid with 2:19 to play.

It was the seventh AC power-play opportunity AP was tasked with defending, but after a nice cross-ice feed from Russo (1 G, 1A), the point was preserved.

“We have to build on the positives,” Finocchiaro said. “We were down 2-0 and we came back when we very easily could have quit to tie it, 2-2. Then, when we went down 3-2, we didn’t quit either. We have to build on that.”

Recap: No. 1 Austin Prep 4, No. 8 St. John's (S) 0

December, 24, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. -- For No. 1 Austin Prep, everything begins and ends inside the defensive zone. The Cougars take homage knowing they have superior strength in goal along with six top-notch defenders that are all capable of shutting down an opponent at anytime.

Tonight, versus No. 8 St. John's (Shrewsbury), Austin Prep's defense rose mightily to that challenge after posting a 4-0 shutout at the Holy Cross Hart Center. The Cougars improve to 3-0-0, while the Pioneers even their record at 1-1-1.

"This is a tough place to come into in terms of a long bus trip (from Reading) and against a very good team," said Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro. "St. John's is big and physical and I thought we did a pretty good job keeping ourselves under control. We have six really good defenseman that I wouldn't worry about putting on the ice at anytime. I have confidence in all of them and our goalie Elijah Harris has been excellent.

“When you build a team, you want to build it from your goaltender to your defensemen and then to your forwards. Having six defensemen, it allows us to stay fresh. At the high school level it's tough to find six good defensemen and fortunately for us we have that."

The Cougars defense, made up of seniors Brendan Leach, Andrew Cross, juniors Kevin Kiley, Mike Disciullo, Matt Morgan and sophomore J.J. Layton, kept St. John's in check throughout. The Pioneers were limited to just 16 chances on net, with only a handful of quality attempts.

That, in turn, opened up a solid transitional attack by their talented forwards. With the game scoreless for much of the opening period, sophomore Jake McKenelley changed that after ripping a hard wrist shot past Pioneer netminder Mario Pizzeri (31 saves) at 8:26. Just a minute and change later, while on the power play, junior forward Cam Russo took a cross-ice feed from Eric MacAdams and slipped a shot past Pizzeri to send the Cougars into the first intermission on top 2-0.

The Pioneers offense had their fair share of difficulty moving the puck up ice. Austin Prep took away the neutral zone and continuously tied up St. John's anytime it had the puck on its collective sticks.

The Cougars' offense continued to shine in the second period, putting up ample shots on net. However, they could not add to their margin due to the play of Pizzeri, who was doing everything possible to keep his club in this game. But at 12:50 of the frame, Cougar forward Ryan McDonough got behind the defense, and after taking a clean pass from Bobo Carpenter, the junior skated in alone on Pizzeri, beating the senior with a quick back hand to increase Austin Prep's advantage to three goals. Moments later, with the Pioneers again playing a man short, Russo notched his second marker of the evening, blasting a shot through traffic which sailed just under the crossbar to make it 4-0.

Both teams were whistled for seven infractions apiece. The difference being the Cougars were able to convert a couple of their man-advantage opportunities while the Pioneers could not.

"Our chemistry in our lines is really clicking right now," Russo said. "The power play contributed big-time tonight as well. We have great defense and they just move the puck up to our forwards and we get down in the offensive zone and do our dirty work and get as many chances as we can. We feel we are the team everyone wants to beat so we come into buildings and just continue to play hard like we did tonight."

Although there was no scoring during the final 15 minutes, Austin Prep knew a four-goal cushion at this juncture appeared safe. The defense, along with Harris, continued their mastery over the Pioneers, limiting them to only a few chances before finally closing the door on this one.

"Mario played great for us," St. John's head coach Mike Mead said. "They had two power play goals and one other goal went off his skate. Overall I thought he played very well. We matched up with (Austin Prep) at times. The difference was they capitalized on our mistakes and we didn't capitalize on theirs. We are learning together and need to stay together as group while moving forward."

Super 8: Catholic Memorial 3, BC High 2

March, 11, 2013

STONEHAM, Mass. -- It was too smooth. It was too easy. It was Liam Coughlin.

With less than 30 seconds left, Catholic Memorial’s Coughlin scooped up the puck behind BC High goalie Peter Cronin and circled around the net. With Cronin sprawled out and the BC High defense desperately out of position, Coughlin spun around, reset himself, and calmly lifted the puck over Cronin to put the Knights up 3-2 with 22.5 seconds left.

That’s how the game would end as CM defeated BC High 2-1 in the opening round of Super 8 to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals against Malden Catholic.

Coughlin, who led the Catholic Conference in scoring, had been held in check the first two games of the series before exploding for a pair of goals yesterday. He also had CM’s first goal.

“I was getting pucks to the net but they weren’t going in,” Coughlin said. “So I knew I had to go high. I always shoot low; I went high today and it worked.”

Coughlin and the Knights may have advanced to play on, but they did not make it easy on themselves. A slew of head-scratching penalties kept the Eagles power play on the ice, especially early in the game.

BC High made the Knights pay late in the first period when Patrick Kramer punched home a rebound past Brandon Collett.

“We did take a couple of needless penalties,” Catholic Memorial head coach Bill Hanson said. “The first one was a bad play by our kid, there was one down behind the net. We’ve been good at killing penalties all year long. We survived it.”

The Eagles assaulted Collett, peppering the freshman with 24 shots, but Collett buckled down when he had to and kept Tom Besinger & Co. at bay.

“It’s a BC High, CM game,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “A bounce one way, a bounce the other way, and it’s a difference in the game.”

Peter Cronin had a solid, 18-save showing in his final high school game. Flaherty said that he was sorry that Cronin, and the Eagles’ four other seniors, wouldn’t have a chance to continue on.

“Not every team makes it this far and I’m proud of my team for making it this far,” Flaherty said. “Disappointed for all my seniors; I think they deserved a better fate. Wish they could have a few more.

“I wish we could have him for more. [Michael] Brooks, [Ryan] McDonough, those guys have been around for a long time. They mean a lot to the program. They’ve done a lot of things for the program.”

Chris LaLiberte feathered a lazy wrist shot through some bodies and into the goal to put BC High up 2-1 early in the third. Catholic Memorial’s Aaron Clancy scored less than three minutes later to tie the game and set up the chaotic finish.

Collett does not yet have his driving license, but he already has the poise of a seasoned veteran.

Collett’s 22- save performance, in the biggest game of his fledgling career, earned much praise from his coach.

“He’s good,” Hanson said. “This is not a figment on anybody’s imagination, he can play the game.”

Hanson compared Collett to a couple of former CM greats.

“Jim Carey, Tom Noble they could have done it as freshmen, but didn’t have the opportunities to do it,” Hanson said. “This kid is the only freshman I’ve ever had that has played a full season of [varsity].”

After going through the grinder of playing against each other three times in a week, both coaches had varying opinions about the new format used in the Super 8 tournament.

“BC High and CM, that rivalry of schools actually supersedes the hockey game,” Hanson said. “We compete with them in everything.”

After competing with the Knights for more than 230 minutes of hockey spread over five games, Flaherty said that the new tournament format might create too much of a good thing.

“If they don’t like how it works, I’m sure they’ll change it,” Flaherty said. “It’s something new, something different. I think playing someone five times is a lot, but it is what it is.”

Recap: No. 3 BC High 3, No. 16 Duxbury 0

February, 17, 2013

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- In a day that could be labeled "Separation Saturday" in MIAA hockey, Duxbury needed to showcase their skills in the Cape Cod Classic despite rattling off an impressive 12-0-2 record since the start of 2013.

Too bad 2012 Super 8 finalist BC High happened to be their first-round opponent.

The No.3 Eagles shut out the Green Dragons for the first time this season in a 3-0 win behind 18 saves from Peter Cronin, along with two power-play goals at the Falmouth Ice Arena in the state’s premier regular season-ending tournament.

The Green Dragons (14-2-4) last lost on Dec. 27 to Norwood, but with playing in the Patriot League on the South Shore, the Super Eight competition committee needs to see some bigger wins in Duxbury’s nonconference play to impress the voters.

In the first of four quarterfinals, BC High scored the first of their two power play goals on the second Duxbury penalty of the game. Right off the opening man-advantage face-off, Ryan Shea shuffled the showdown behind him into the right slot where Tim Larocque cued up the lamp with a one-timer as Shea also provided the perfect screen in front.

“We got some good chances and we made some good saves, but Duxbury worked hard, they are well coached, so we knew we were in for a battle and got everything we thought we would get,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said.

The Eagles held a slight 21-18 shot advantage in the end, but had a difficult time generating offense in front of the net with Duxbury dominating the physical play and controlling the puck with their forecheck, especially in the second period.

The Eagles failed to record a shot on goal for the first 7:57 of the second stanza but were also able to fend off the deep Duxbury bench. Duxbury head coach John Blake features three tough and scrappy lines, but his team also had trouble in front of the net due to the rangy defense of the Eagles.

“[In the] first period, [Duxbury] only had four shots on net and we had eight so we outshot them in the first but they work hard, skate well, throw three lines over and very good lines,” Flaherty said. “So I’m not sure Duxbury limited us as much as they just worked hard and made us work hard.”

The score remained 1-0 to start the third period and it looked as if Duxbury finally caught a break. BC High’s Sam Topham was called for a cross-checking penalty on a failed Nick Marrocco breakaway to give Duxbury a golden power play chance only 30 seconds into the final period.

But the Dragons' again struggled to set up a solid power play, going 0-4 in the game, and the defense turned the puck over in their own end just as the power play was about to expire. Senior forward Michael Brooks' came in trailing the dumped pass from the neutral zone and stole the puck right off the right post and punched home the Eagles’ second goal between the pads of senior goalie Chris Johnson. The short-hander came with three seconds remaining in the penalty at 1:56 of the third period and was the backbreaker.

"You know going in that you're not going to beat BC High in a slugfest," Blake said. "You've got to bear down defensively and try to get out of it, one-nothing or two-to-one."

Brooks’ hustle goal put the Green Dragons on their heels as Tom Besinger put things away with BC High's second power play goal of the game off an easy pass into the slot from Shea, who also assisted on Larcque’s first-period tally.

“The pressure by Michael Brooks and Ryan McDonough was the difference," Flaherty said. "They are captains, leaders, and do little things well. They are short-handed specialists if you will and the turnover happened and Michael Brooks walked in and put it away.”

Recap: No. 5 Austin Prep 4, No. 6 Hingham 3

February, 16, 2013

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- No. 5 Austin Prep skated a near-perfect first period against No. 6 Hingham, but it still was almost not enough for the young Cougars.

Hingham scored three times in the third period, but Austin Prep held on to the 4-3 victory in one of four quarterfinals in the Cape Cod Classic at the Falmouth Ice Arena.

The Cougars (11-1-6) needed bookend goals from freshman Jake McKenelley to hold on in the final 6:34 of regulation in an all-important battle of top Division 1 squads looking to impress the Super 8 voters at the end of the season.

“I told them I don’t want to be good in the beginning but I want to be good in the end,” Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “I want to be mature at the end, I want to be disciplined at the end, but our puck possession was good in the defensive zone, our forecheck was good and we got into the body, we got shots off the cycle.”

The game looked well in hand in the first 30 minutes of play as George Sennott set up Andrew Cross to get Austin Prep on the board at 2:29 of the first period. McKenelley scored his first of two tallies moments later on perfect end-to-end defensive passing that picked up assists for Ryan McDonough and Bob Carpenter and handed the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead after one period.

More of the same in the second as the pesky Sennott set up off the right post just inside the slot and wristed home a rebound from a Brendan Leach slapper off the boards behind the net as Sennott’s stick could not have been in a better place at a better time.

John Grenier was playing well in net for Hingham (12-6-1), including stoning McKenelley on a breakaway with a pretty glove save in the second that would have given the Cougars a 4-0 lead with five minutes to go in the period. But Austin Prep held a 15-8 shot advantage and a 3-0 lead after the first two periods of play.

“We took that next step as in the past we would have given that up and ended up in a tie, but we finished, and we need to build off of that,” Finocchiaro said. “Hingham has a lot of experience, they are well coached, and believe me they are not going anywhere and they will be here for the third period and we will have to battle.”

Finocchiaro was right as Hingham drew their forwards towards the net and pulled their defense up right off the opening third-period face-off and the aggressive play paid dividends.

Only 50 seconds into the first shift, Sam D’Antuono found the back of the net for Hingham’s first goal of the game. The goal was nothing pretty but McKennelly answered for Austin Prep with a carbon-copy goal of his first tally --with assists from McDonough and Carpenter again -- to push the lead back to three goals at the 7:08 mark of the third.

“Ryan [McDonough] gave me a really good pass and I could have hit him back door too but [the defense] kind of went off but it was a really nice pass,” McKenelley said.

The up-front pressure from Hingham was a little too late, but John Carlson and Craig Hildreth would score goals 24 seconds apart to cut the Harbormen deficit to one, 4-3, as plenty of time remained with 6:24 left in regulation.

“Going into the third, we talked a lot about playing desperate because we were disappointed in the first two periods and came out a desperate team,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We showed signs in the first two [periods] but just not consistent enough and it’s been the story all year long. We needed three full periods today and we haven’t done that in any of the big games we have had.”

So was it No. 6 Hingham coming up short with No. 5 Austin Prep playing not to lose or did the Cougars have the Harbormen figured out just long enough?

“We played phenomenal in the first and second and in the third? We are young and that’s a natural thing to happen,” Finocchiaro said. “It’s something I am expecting but you know what – we finished tonight and that’s a learning process for our team.”

Freshman defenseman Luke McInnis showcased his skills up front and at the blue line with not much to show for it in the box score, but Messina knows he has a gem on defense for a few more seasons.

Luke is the son of former NHL-er and Boston College Hall of Famer Marty McInnis and Melissa Hug, who also starred on the lacrosse field for Boston College.

"[McInnis] is all worried that he hasn't scored a goal all season even though he's been on the Number-One power play unit from the start of the season, but he's proving to be a major asset for us," Messina said. "His mother was a great college athlete and he sure has his father's genes on the ice."

BOSTON – The most noteworthy element of the 2-2 tie Wednesday night between No. 1 Malden Catholic and No. 2 BC High is that the Lancers, for a third straight game, were again faced with a third-period deficit.

And again, perhaps predictably, MC pulled itself even with a late comeback. For the two-time defending Super 8 champions, playing from behind is a bit of unfamiliar territory. That comes with the fact that the Lancers haven’t lost a game to an MIAA opponent in nearly two calendar years now.

Yet, MC has still found a way to procure points out of some hairy situations. Down a goal to Hingham in their host Christie Serino Christmas Classic, MC pulled out a 2-1 win. A day later, they erased a two-goal deficit to come away with a point and shootout victory over Austin Prep.

As MC (3-0-2, 0-0-1 Catholic Conference) started play in its 2013 schedule, the Lancers continued to place themselves behind the 8-ball. This time out, it was slightly different as they were the aggressors, taking an instant 1-0 lead 10 seconds into play on Ara Nazarian’s goal, assisted by Casey Fitzgerald.

But MC was unable to stay out of the penalty box all night, racking up 10 minor penalties and providing BC High (5-0-1, 0-0-1) with eight power-play opportunities. The Eagles only found the back the net once during the man-up chances, but it was a costly goal, as Ryan McDonough scored from below the faceoff dot on BC High’s fourth power play of the game at 10:06 of the second period. Eagles captain Tom Besinger and Ryan Shea both added assists on the play.

“Special teams were the difference in this game,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “We had the opportunities, we didn’t capitalize on them. And if you let a good team hang around, they’re going to hurt you.”

Again, the Lancers worked the rope-a-dope act to their advantage, netting the equalizer at 6:25 of the third on a rising wrister from Tyler Sifferlen in the slot. Working on a perfectly executed breakout from defenseman Nick Rolli to winger Mike Iovanna, the Lancers stretched the ice sheet, resulting in Sifferlen’s chance, which beat Eagles netminder Peter Cronin (21 saves) blocker side.

“The third period, we picked it up like always, just like the last two games we’ve played in,” said Sifferlen, a UMass-Lowell commit. “We’ve been learning to come out the first two periods, but we can’t save it all for the third period.”

BC High’s tallies on the evening weren’t about to be cued up for the SportsCenter Top 10, but Lancers head coach John McLean admired the Eagles’ ability to do something his squad hasn’t been able to do of late.

“We need to start getting some dirty goals,” McLean said. “Sometimes, we tend to be too pretty. Their goals were pretty much when they threw pucks to the net and they went in.”

Case and point was Steve DeForge’s marker midway through the first period. DeForge knotted the score, 1-1, at 8:17 of the first, after collecting a loose puck at the MC blue line. He cut across the ice from the left wing boards toward the slot.

“The defenseman was giving me a little screen real quick, so I put it on my backhand and hope for the best,” DeForge said.

His fluttering backhander found its way past MC’s Connor Maloney (25 saves), proving that good things come to those who get pucks to net.

The Lancers’ penalty kill unit put in yeoman’s work, shutting down a stream of BC High chances on the man-advantage.

While McLean was displeased with his team’s discipline at times, he was encouraged by some gutsy work on the man-down.

“Our guys are committed to it,” he said of the Lancers’ PK unit, “they’re committed to blocking shots and playing their roles.”

And, while killing penalties often requires selfless plays – giving up the body to block a shot or cut of a passing lane – Sifferlen took that to another level.

MC entered Wednesday’s Catholic Conference opener with a bug moving around its room. Second-line winger Cameron Ferry and top-four defenseman John McLean III were forced to sit out due to illness. That’s when John McLean Jr. decided to get creative.

Given his son’s share of the penalty kill load, McLean wanted to keep legs fresh and, as a result, slid Sifferlen back to defense for several key kills. The tactic is nothing new to MC’s philosophy on the man-down, as McLean pushed last year’s ESPN Boston Mr. Hockey Award winner Brendan Collier back to the blue line when situations warranted.

However, there was one major difference. While Collier had experience playing defense, it was entirely foreign to Sifferlen.

“Coach came up to me today and said you’re playing defense on the [penalty kill],” Sifferlen said. “That was it.”

And, in the process, maybe the Lancers found some versatility they never knew they had.

Recap: No. 2 BC High 2, Mt. St. Charles 0

December, 23, 2012

BOSTON – In the box score of No. 2 BC High’s 2-0 win over Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles, you’d easily find the fact that Ryan McDonough scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the first period.

What you wouldn’t be able to find in that information, or any other quantified statistic for that matter, is what McDonough, a senior assistant captain of the Eagles, truly meant to his team’s shutout effort. It’s the same thing head coach John Flaherty has come to expect from McDonough, but it was all prominently on display Saturday at UMass-Boston.

In the final minute of BC High’s victory, the Eagles collectively put on a defensive clinic. McDonough led the charge with a key blocked shot, as did Chris LaLiberte. To ice the victory, Tom Besinger’s singular effort on the forecheck resulted in an empty-net goal with 5.3 seconds to play. With a 20-save performance from preseason All-State netminder Peter Cronin, the Eagles made it all stand up.

“We don’t get out of here with two points but for Chris LaLiberte blocking that shot and sacrificing himself,” Flaherty said. “Then, he gets off the ice and Ryan McDonough gets on and that was another huge block by him. Ryan just does that. Both of those guys, they bring that element to their game, every shift. They’re guys that pay attention to details.”

The Eagles (3-0-0) have now thrown two shutouts in the first three games with Cronin picking up all three wins. Between the pipes, Cronin has backstopped BC High to eight scoreless periods of the nine played.

“We’re relying on him too much, but he’s getting the job done,” Flaherty said of Cronin.

Both teams were victim to some early sloppy play getting out of their respective ends. Yet, the Eagles were able to cling to a 1-0 lead after McDonough slipped one past Mounties netminder Brian Larence (21 saves) at 9:15 of the first.

“I got the puck on the left boards and tossed it down to Steve DeForge, and he made a great play,” McDonough said. “I was lucky to get it past the goalie.”

But the Eagles collectively kept the best for last. BC High’s defense in front of Cronin helped keep Mount scoreless despite five man-advantages, collapsing down low and clogging shooting lanes. The Eagles brought the same ethic to the final minute of play with Larence pulled from the Mounties’ net.

“Whatever it takes to win,” McDonough said of his shot blocks. “I try my best for Pete [Cronin] because he does his best for us every single night.”

Cronin continued his hot play on Saturday, but wasn’t tested for long stretches of time. The senior netminder, who didn’t allow his first goal of the season until the third period of Monday’s 5-2 win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury, remained sharp despite a lack of activity in front of him, particularly in the second period when the Mounties got just six shots to the BC High cage.

“Those are tough games for goaltenders because he didn’t have a ton of shots, but when he did, they were good chances and he made some very good saves,” Flaherty said. “A couple of those came off deflections and those were tough, but he’s seeing the puck well.”

A perennial threat in the RIIL’s Division 1 title race, Mount has experienced a sort of power outage without top scorer Brian Belisle.

The Mounties’ top returning scorer from last season suffered an early concussion, but recently was dealt a second blow to the head, holding him out of play for at least the next couple of weeks. Brian’s father, Mounties coach Dave Belisle isn’t about to rush him back into action, even with a loaded field upcoming in Mount’s holiday week tournament upcoming.

“Our goaltending’s been good since the beginning and we have four good defensemen in front of [Larence],” Dave Belisle said. “We just need some scoring. We need some time to come together and we need Brian to get healthy and get back.”

Recap: No. 2 BC High 5, No. 19 St. John's (S) 2

December, 18, 2012

BOSTON, Mass. -- A highly anticipated matchup of two of the state's top netminders ended up taking a backseat to a couple of periods of tremendous BC High pressure and balance across the scoresheet.

Five Eagles scored goals and Chris LaLiberte dished out a pair of assists as No. 2 BC High broke the game open with four scores in the second period and held on for a 5-2 victory over the 19th-ranked Pioneers at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center Monday night.

Both Peter Cronin (BC High) and Mario Pizzeri (St. John's) were tabbed as ESPN Boston preseason All-State goalies and are expected to be key contributors as each club vies to return to the Super Eight in March. Pizzeri got off to a strong start, stopping 12 shots in the first period as the Eagles applied relentless pressure and outshot the Pioneers by a 13-2 margin.

The one that got through belonged to sophomore forward Connor Noonan, who stole the puck off the stick of a Pioneers defenseman, continued his momentum around the net and fired home a wrist shot to give BC High a 1-0 lead at 7:05 of the first.

Knowing that solving Pizzeri was no easy task, the Eagles looked to create chances by sending waves of bodies toward the Pioneers crease, hoping to create enough havoc to slip a couple through. They did exactly that in the second as freshman Billy Roche, junior All-Stater Tom Besinger and sophomores Tim Larocque and Jake Lemanski all knocked home pucks to help BC High extend its lead to 5-0 after two.

"He’s a very good goalie, he’s a big goalie, and he does a very good job of controlling the puck so we’ve been doing our best to try and get as many as we could to the net and get as many bodies to the net as we could," said Flaherty, explaining his team's gameplan against Pizzeri. "With a big kid like that, if you let him see the puck, he’s going to make the saves. Our hope was that we were going to get a lot of shots on him and we would get to the net with our sticks down and try to bang something home."

Roche's goal came courtesy of a beautiful pass from LaLiberte, who sent a perfect cross-ice pass to the freshman who was hustling from behind the play for the easy one-timer. Just under four minutes later, LaLiberte sent Besinger on a long rush, and the junior flashed across from the left wing to the middle to beat his man and catch Pizzeri down on the ice.

In the waning minutes of the second, the Eagles got another odd-man rush with Sam Topham flicking a pass across to Noonan in the middle for a tap over to Larocque for another open one-timer. 32 seconds later, Lemanski got into the act with assists from John Stillman and Aidan Foley.

"If you saw the goals, they were pretty much all right around the net," Flaherty continued. "That's what we knew we had to do because he’s a good goalie. We knew if we were going to have a chance to beat him it was going to be that way."

The Pioneers got one back early in the third as Chris Coveney and Danny Barlock executed a pretty, give-and-go with Coveney providing the finishing touch at 2:58. St. John's would another late as Connor Maloney tipped in a Bryan Nelson blast for the final margin.

The Eagles shorthanded unit had a particularly strong night, killing off all five power play chances for St. John's. With the extra man, BC High was 1-for-4 but created numerous scoring chances with only the strong play of Pizzeri keeping them from burying any more.

"We were moving the puck pretty well on the power play and guys were moving around, I think we got five or six shots on one power play alone," Flaherty said. "We felt comfortable and confident moving the puck around and getting pucks through. Man down, we have some guys who have been doing it for a couple of years with Ryan McDonough and Michael Brooks, Chris LaLiberte, Tom Besinger and Stevie DeForge. Those guys are up front, they work hard and they can fly so our hope that we were going to pressure them and make sure they didn't have clean shots and didn't have clean opportunities and I think we did that man down."

The Pioneers never let down for a second despite the 5-0 deficit and managed to control the tempo in the final frame while scoring a pair of goals. It was the kind of effort that coach Brian Murphy could smile about and gives his charges something on the plus side to take with them.

"It was a good test for us and I thought that we responded well, especially in the third period," Murphy said. "We've got some work to do and we're willing to put the time in and see if we can't improve as the year goes on. We've got these guys again at home at the last game of the season so if we can continue to progress and work hard and get a little bit better every day, we'll see where we are the end of the season.

Saturday afternoon at Clark Athletic Center, BC High hosts Rhode Island power Mount St. Charles in special contest designated as the Eagles 150th anniversary celebration game. The school has been in existence for 150 years and each team picks one game to serve as its special tribute.

Alumni, family and friends of the program are invited to come to a pregame skate from 3-4 p.m., followed by a special reception before the puck drops against the Mounties at 4:30 p.m.