Boston High School: Ryan Shea

BC High's Shea just hitting his stride

January, 28, 2015
Jan 28
Finding your footing on a sheet of ice isn’t always the simplest task. Just don’t tell BC High junior defenseman Ryan Shea that.

Three years after the Milton native moved to the Eagles’ blue line after playing up as a forward throughout middle school, the 6-foot, 168-pound defenseman has never appeared more comfortable – especially when the puck is on his stick.

Behind the play of Shea, who has maintained his offensive aptitude to score six goals with 17 assists this season, No. 3 BC High has skated to a 9-2-1 record.

“He has the offensive ability and the offensive instincts — he sees the ice as well as anybody,” said BC High coach John Flaherty. “He had that ability when he moved back to defense and now he’s really working on his craft back there, defending well and using his stick well. His development has come leaps and bounds and he continues to get better.”

Flaherty, who took over at BC High after Joe McCabe resigned prior to the 2010 season, isn’t the only one who has been impressed with Shea’s play as a junior. Just last week the defenseman was ranked No. 172 among North American skaters on the NHL’s Central Scouting mid-term rankings.

While college coaches flocked to watch him play during his first two seasons, it’s now NHL scouts who come to see the junior — who committed to play at Northeastern in September — dazzle opponents with the puck.

Although Shea recognizes he’s now under the spotlight as much as ever, the focused defenseman said he never gives much thought to the attention he garners.

“I don’t even know where my dad sits at the games because I don’t really look up in the stands,” said Shea. “It’s a lot of pressure if you play bad and you think someone is up there, but you kind of have to move on. I play like there is nobody in the stands other than the fans of BC High and the parents.”

Skate like nobody is watching? The philosophy has undoubtedly worked for Shea, as his offensive production this season is on pace to nearly match the 12 and 23 point totals he put up as a freshman and sophomore, respectively.

But while his game-changing ability to create scoring chances has clearly helped his team’s offensive attack, so too, has it elevated the defenseman’s confidence.

“I definitely feel more comfortable,” said Shea. “Freshman year, I was afraid to make plays because I was afraid of making a mistake. The last few years I’ve really come into my own and found my rhythm and identity.”

If there was one decision Shea was forced to make which would shape his identity and hockey future more than any other, it was choosing where he’d attend school and play hockey at the collegiate level.

“My dad played at BC, so that was obviously up there, he wanted me to go there at first,” said Shea of his father, Dan, a 1988 graduate of Boston College who registered 66 goals and 124 assists in four seasons with the Eagles. “But after seeing Northeastern, I loved the coaches and the school. It was between them, Providence, BC and BU, but Northeastern seemed like the best fit and will hopefully give me the best opportunity to play at the next level.”

Even with so much to look forward to in his future, Shea’s focus never wavers from the task at hand.

In the team’s most recent game, the defenseman netted BC High’s final two goals in its 5-0 win over Reading on Jan. 21. That performance came after Shea helped the Eagles blank No. 6 St. John’s Prep, 6-0, with two assists on Jan. 17.

The defenseman’s ability to show up in big games is something his coach said the team counts on amidst the grind of a grueling schedule.

“We don’t have an easy schedule,” said Flaherty. “You need everybody to play their best hockey when you’re playing against the best teams. We need our guys to beat their best, and Ryan is obviously one of our best guys. I need him to play within himself, play to his capabilities, and while he’s not trying to do too much, he needs to make plays.”

As if BC High’s fierce competition isn’t enough motivation for the defenseman, the junior also uses another source of inspiration to help spark his play—his team’s desire to capture the Super 8 championship.

After Catholic Memorial eliminated the Eagles in the best-of-three first-round series of the tournament during his freshman year, Shea has longed to help his team capture the Division 1A title ever since Austin Prep knocked the Eagles out of the semifinals last March.

“It’s getting down to that part of the season where it’s all about the seniors,” said Shea. “It’s their last year and they gave everything for four years—some guys three—but it doesn’t matter. They worked hard this whole time and it’s our job to give it to them.”

While many of the leaders on BC High the past two seasons — including forwards Patrick Kramer, Tim Larocque, and Patrick Riley, as well as defenseman Alec Flynn — remain on the team as seniors, there’s also a talented crop of juniors and underclassmen who share the same dreams as Shea.

The aspirations the Eagles hold are heightened by the way the team has suffered defeat. Last year, after 2-1 and 4-0 wins over Xaverian advanced the team to the Super 8 semifinals, BC High lost a heartbreaking 2-1 shootout loss to Austin Prep at Tsongas Arena on March 13. The loss came only a year after Catholic Memorial edged the Eagles with 3-2 wins in the last two games of their best-of-three series the year before, the first of which also came in a shootout.

But while those losses still hurt, Shea believes this year’s team has the talent to produce a different ending.

“The last two years we’ve had great teams and great leadership,” he said. “The shootouts really got to us a couple of times. I think we have the team — just like the last two years — to win it. I’m just hoping we’re able to pull it off.”

If the Eagles are able to reach the Super 8 final this season, the junior defenseman can count on pretending as though an onslaught of onlookers aren’t in attendance.

After all, that seems to be when Shea’s footing is at its best.

Recap: No. 4 BC High 6, No. 6 St. John's Prep 0

January, 17, 2015
Jan 17
BOSTON -- Even before the team’s recent two-game slump, BC High was in somewhat of a funk. The team was searching for an identity for the new season and was unable to put together a complete game. On Saturday, the Eagles might have turned the corner and found the identity they were intently looking for.

BC High scored a goal in the first 80 seconds of each period en route to a dominating 6-0 win over St. John’s Prep in a Catholic Conference game at UMass-Boston’s Beacon Arena.

“We wanted to get on top first, get an early one and get the momentum going our way. It was an early morning game so the momentum was big for us,” said Merrimack recruit Pat Kramer, who had two goals and an assist.

“You want to jump on a team, especially playing in your own building. We know they’re a good team and they’re going to work hard. We knew we had to capitalize and get out on top early if we were going to have a chance today,” added BC High coach John Flaherty.

The strong effort didn’t just stop after the first few minutes of each period. It was a dominant win for the Eagles from start to finish as they pulled back to 500 in the league at 2-2.

“Today was our best effort front to back. We played a complete 45-minute hockey game for the first time in a long time," said Flaherty. "From the drop of the puck until the final buzzer we played hard and we played smart. We protected pucks when we needed to and made good decisions."

Picked almost unanimously to win the Catholic Conference, the Eagles stumbled to two consecutive league losses against Malden Catholic and Xaverian before snapping the losing streak against Arlington Catholic Thursday night.

“We took a couple days there to refocus, watch some film and figure out what it is we need to do to be a better hockey team,” explained Flaherty. “We took one step forward with Arlington Catholic and another step forward today. We still have a ways to go, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Big Game Players: There was no question who the two best players on the ice were Saturday morning. Kramer, the team’s first line center, had two goals and added an assist while Northeastern recruit Ryan Shea picked up a pair of assists and played very well defensively.

“You need your best guys to be their best, and I think our guys were today,” said Flaherty.

The first line was on the ice for five of the team’s six goals. It only took 1:10 into the game for the trio of Kramer, Jack Nisbet and Christian Simeone to assert their dominance. Nisbet sprung Kramer through the neutral zone after picking up a breakout pass from Shea. Kramer quickly buzzed right between two Prep defenders and deked goaltender Kyle Martin before tucking a backhand into the net.

BC High made it 2-0 with 3:19 to play in the opening period when Nisbet tipped home a Billy Roche blast from the point.

The Eagles struck early again to start the second period, needing just 1:16 to gain a 3-0 advantage. Kramer and Simeone connected on a pretty give-and-go, but it was an unselfish play by Simeone that allowed Kramer an easy tap home goal.

“That goal was all [Simeone]. He could have selfishly shot the puck, but he drew the defenseman to him and he kicked it back to Pat. All Pat had to do was tap it in,” said Flaherty.

Just a few minutes later Kramer showed off his immense vision and passing skills. On the right boards he sent a cross-ice pass to Roche who was cheating in the backdoor. Roche quickly sent a wrist shot past Martin for the 4-0 lead that chased the Prep goaltender from the game.

“Billy Roche had a strong game today, both offensively and defensively,” said Flaherty.

“These are the games that you need Patrick Kramer to be himself and be the elite player that he is. You need your best guys to be your best and I think our guys were today,” Flaherty commented.

Nisbet scored his second goal of the game in garbage time after collecting a saucer lead pass from defenseman Alec Flynn.

“[Nisbet] is a younger guy, but he plays strong on pucks. He’s tough and he can skate with [Kramer and Simeone]. He compliments those guys great. He’s the next big name from BC High hockey. He’s going to step out of the shadows of the guys here now and be a Division I player at some point,” Flaherty said.

As has been the case for most BC High games this season, there were several NHL scouts in the building, all of whom were treated to another strong performance from the defenseman they came to watch.

“Ryan Shea just dictates the play from the back end all the way up. His gaps were strong. His stick was very good. He didn’t give anybody any room,” said Flaherty.

Heart of Fein: When talking about BC High Justin Fein rarely gets mentioned with guys like Kramer, Shea and Nisbet garnering much of the attention. Fein doesn’t have the size or puck skills that some of his teammates possess, but he has as big a heart as anyone.

“Justin is a leader. He’s not big in stature, but he’s big in heart. He makes little plays. He just doesn’t stop. He’s the heartbeat of our team. When he’s going we’re going,” explained Flaherty.

Fein did a terrific job on face-offs, on penalty kills and in creating energy for his team to feed off.

“He’s strong. He makes the right decisions, he kills penalties and he wins face-offs. He does all the little things,” said Flaherty.

On St. John’s Prep’s first power play, it appeared as if BC High was the team with the man advantage. That was mainly due to Fein buzzing all over the ice and playing keep away from Prep defenders chasing after him.

“He can flat out fly,” said Flaherty.

Punctual Payzant: In a game that was so thoroughly dominated by BC High, it might seem to be a stretch to say that junior goaltender Brandon Payzant played his best game of the season. However, he was solid when he faced the minimal rubber that he did see Saturday, including a miraculous glove save in the second period.

“There’s a timeliness to his saves. We had a couple breakdowns early on and he made two or three big saves. He made a highlight reel save down there when it was just him. Their guy was alone and put a great move on him and he somehow got back and made that great save,” said Flaherty.

Payzant and the Eagles return to action Wednesday night with a non-conference game against defending Division 1 State Champion Reading.

Recap: No. 4 BC High 5, No. 9 AC 3

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16
ARLINGTON, Mass. – Need to break out of a losing slump? Call Jack Nisbet.

The sophomore scored two goals and added an assist to power BC High to a 5-3 win over Arlington Catholic and break a two-game losing skid. The win was the Eagles' first over an MIAA school since beating St. John's Prep on Dec. 27.

“He's a young kid and he's got a lot of skill,” BC High coach John Flaherty said. “Game in and game on Jack Nisbet can and will show up on the score sheet. He can compete and he's tough. That's a reason why he's on our top line.”

Nisbet's first goal came in the first period to tie the game at one during a strange opening 15 minutes. The Eagles outshot AC 11-3, but Arlington Catholic's suffocating forecheck forced two defensive zone turnovers by the Eagles turned into a pair of unassisted goals sandwiched around Nisbet's score to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Ryan Smith and Paul Frisoli had the Arlington Catholic goals.

Despite being outscored Flaherty and Nisbet said it was nothing but good vibes in the locker room during the break.

“We knew we were in good shape,” Flaherty said. “That's a good team, but I liked how we played. A couple mistakes, and they capitalized as good teams do, but we were comfortable with how we were playing. We just tried with staying with the process and good things would happen.”

“We were upbeat,” Nisbet said. “[It was] just stupid mistakes. It's all right. We fixed them real quick and came out strong.”

Good things did happen for the Eagles as they eliminated the turnovers and turned a pair of man advantages into two power play goals. The first came off the stick of Patrick Kramer and Nisbet netted his second just under seven minutes later to put BC High up for good.

The Eagles were able to use their superior speed to break the Cougar forecheck. The defensive pairs, led by Ryan Shea, quarterbacked the offense by skating to openings and feeding the puck ahead to the forwards and let their quickness flourish.

“We got good defensemen back there, Ryan being one of them, and they move the puck well,” Flaherty said. “The forwards get open and you rely on the speed up front. Everyone contributed today. Everyone played well. We'll take the two points and get ourselves back in the win column.”

Tim Larocque added a third power-play goal for the Eagles 6:20 into the third period and assisted on a Kayser Raei goal less than two minutes later to give BC all the insurance it would need.

“I think not smart playing forced us into penalties,” Arlington Catholic coach Dan Shine said. “We had six penalties, and you give them that many opportunities a man-up you're rolling the dice. They took advantage.”

Smith added his second goal of the game, off of a BC High defensive-zone turnover, with four minutes left in the game.

Recap: Malden Catholic 2, BC High 0

January, 7, 2015
Jan 7

BOSTON – While rattling off a string of four straight Super 8 tournament championships, Massachusetts hockey revelers have become accustomed to Malden Catholic’s breathtaking offensive displays, simply overpowering teams with shock and awe.

And yet, here are the Lancers of 2014-15. Things look a bit different now. Let’s not get it wrong; the Lancers still have more offense to must than most. But it’s how MC has gotten along winning its games this campaign that has a different look.

The greatest testament on the young season to the Lancers’ New Year’s new philosophy came Tuesday night at UMass-Boston’s Clark Center. Even as MC has gone on to postseason glory in recent years, the Lancers have struggled in BC High’s home arena. With a true proving ground to showcase its commitment to grinding out a defensive-minded 45 minutes, the Lancers put the proof in the pudding with a commanding 2-0 win over their Catholic Conference rivals, with goaltender Alex Reissis making 18 saves in the shutout.

The Lancers haven’t allowed a goal in their last three games.

“This year we’re more focused on playing defense, getting the puck out, working as a team,” Reissis said. “We have to work harder this year, I think, if we want to win it again.”

The Lancers (5-0-0, 2-0-0) set out systematically shutting down the Eagles’ rush with a dogged forecheck, rolling their forwards high into BC High’s defensive end. As a result, the Eagles defensemen, which typically handle on-coming pressure with aplomb, were never able to get comfortable and spent more than half of the first period without registering a shot on goal.

“They have a couple of real good, skilled defenseman, especially No. 5 [Ryan] Shea,” Lancers head coach John McLean said, “so you just try to take their time and space away and you hope that they’ll make a couple of mistakes. And they didn’t, but at least they can’t find that free open guy.”

Meanwhile, as MC stymied the Eagles (6-1-1, 1-1-0), the Lancers staked an early lead as sophomore center Justin Collins scored his first goal of the season, breaking in over the blue line and letting off a wrist shot from the left wing circle at 3:13.

Neither team was able to get on the board in the second period, despite two power-play chances for MC.

In the third, the Lancers again got a quick start. Nick Botticelli led a 2-on-1 rush off a BC High neutral zone turnover and then slid a feed over to winger Jack Adams for a 2-0 lead at 2:12.

Although MC outshot the Eagles 20-18, Reissis would be challenged. He stoned Kayser Raei on a partial breakaway late in the second period, following a Lancers power play. The Lancers’ senior goaltender was also under siege late in the third period as BC High pulled goaltender Brandon Payzant (18 saves) a little inside of two minutes remaining in the game.

“It’s definitely a team effort,” Reissis said of the Lancers’ commitment to playing team defense. “They’ve kept everything to the outside, so they’ve made it a lot easier.”

Extending the ice: The Lancers’ ability to shut down the BC High attack actually began in its own attacking zone. Time and time again, the Eagles were simply not allowed to step past their own blue line. MC’s forwards were quick on the forecheck and, for long stretches of time, didn’t allow BC High out of its own end.

“A couple of times we had times to zip up the ice, when we didn’t get clogged in the middle,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “But they extended the ice, they made you come 200 feet. And, like every MC team, they make you pay the price when you come around their cage.”

It all stems from MC’s team mentality.

“We preach speed,” McLean said. “There’s no reason to glide around, so we work hard to take their time and space away.”

The Lancers’ style of play Tuesday night was predicated on a few factors. First, there is the consideration of how MC’s roster is built this year.

As hasn’t been the case in recent years, the Lancers’ returning experience lies on the blue line, not the forwards. MC had five returning defensemen coming back from last year’s time, while only returning five varsity players up front.

“I think that was probably out strength now with returning players, and the way Reese [Reissis] played tonight, I thought he did an outstanding job, particularly at the end,” McLean said. “We preach five-man defense and I thought, outside of a little running around at the end, I thought the kids did a good job.”

Playing beyond his stature: Reissis, a second-year starter, is listed at 5-11 on the MC roster, but he’s playing as tall in the net as Ben Bishop.

“You think he looks bigger, I don’t know what it is,” McLean said. “He didn’t grow, but he’s playing bigger. He’s staying up, he’s not giving up rebounds, he’s eating the pucks. He’s just playing with confidence.”

Recap: No. 2 BC High 4, No. 13 St. John's Prep 3

December, 28, 2014

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The game moved in fits and bursts, but BC High had enough bursts in them to hold off St. John's Prep, 4-3, in the opening round of the Pete Frates Winter Classic at Merrimack College.

BC High will play Springfield Cathedral tomorrow for the tournament title.

The story of the game was BC High staying just one step ahead of Prep. BC outshot Prep, 26-11, and never trailed. After a sluggish start to the game from both teams BC broke through nine minutes into the game when Pat Riley roofed one shorthanded over Zach Laramie.

“Pat Riley was all over the ice,” BC High coach John Flaherty said. “He set tempo and he was a guy who really responded when we were standing around.”

BC continued the pressure into the second period with Kayser Raei poking him his own rebound less than two minutes into the period. Four different Eagles scored for BC and 10 total players reached the score sheet.

“It was a good high school hockey game,” Flaherty said. “It was a Catholic Conference hockey game; they're all going to be tough. They outworked us in spurts, and we were fortunate enough to get one more goal than they did.”

Prep found its mojo later on as Kristian Hanson's squad mounted a spirited comeback. Billy Falter tipped in a shot from Seth Murray late in the second period. Teddy McNamara tied the game at two after the puck took an odd carom off the end glass and left him a layup at the top of the crease.

“I thought we had a good second half of the second period,” Hanson said. “I thought we played pretty well from that point on. We're a young team, an inexperienced team; this was our first big test of the year. We lost so we certainly didn't pass our test, but I thought the kids played well.”

BC stopped the Prep comeback in its tracks less than three minutes after McNamara tied it when Jack Nesbit snapped off a wrist shot that snuck under Laramie's arm. Ryan Shea extended the lead back to two when he buried a snapshot from the point on a power play two minutes later.

Prep's Anthony Quartieri scored an extra-attacker goal with 10 seconds left but it wasn't enough.

“As of right now we haven't played anyone that great except for Prep, and we have Springfield tomorrow which is going to be a huge game,” Shea said. “We haven't played heavy competition yet so it was questionable how we were going to come out. It surprised me that we came out that good.”

PLAYING FOR SOMETHING BIGGER: Pete Frates, the namesake of the tournament, was a standout athlete at St. John's Prep at the beginning of this century. Two years ago, Frates was diagnosed with ALS and became a vocal advocate in spreading awareness about the disease.

Now Hanson, and St. John's Prep, wanted to give back and the Christmas tournament was born which features four of the top teams in the state.

“Our kids are pretty familiar with Pete and the ALS battle he's fighting right now,” Hanson said. “The Ice Bucket Challenge brought a lot of attention to that fight and Pete. The kids were very aware of that coming in. that was our goal in the third: don't give up. Pete's not giving up. You try to look at the big picture, certainly the bigger picture than a high school hockey game. The kids knew what we were playing for.”

BC High and Prep have one of the deepest rivalries in Massachusetts hockey, but Flaherty said that when Hanson asked him if his squad was interested in participating it was a no-brainer.

“It's an amazing honor for us,” Flaherty said. “We've been fortunate enough that every game we play at their place has been in honor. The last couple of years it's been to honor the military alums, and they year when Christian called and said he wanted to do a special tournament we kind of kicked around the teams, and once he said these four teams I said we're in. Add to that that we get to honor Pete Frates, ALS research, and everything they've done this year it's simply amazing.”

Recap: Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) 5, Franklin 1

December, 26, 2014
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Bishop Hendricken’s roster lists forward Ryan King as a sophomore.

A case could be made that his class year is a typo especially given the performance he delivered Saturday in a first-round game of the 19th annual Mount St. Charles Holiday Faceoff Tournament at Adelard Arena. King played like anything but a sophomore as he posted the first hat trick of his young interscholastic career which enabled the Hawks to skate by defending Hockomock League champion Franklin, 5-1.

“He’s capable of that,” said Hawks coach Jim Creamer. “He got what he deserved today. Ryan’s had a great year so far. He’s working hard. He’s put in a lot of effort in the summer and through the fall. Today was a day that he deserved. He’s sort of been building to this.

“Maybe his weakness at some points has been his inconsistency. But overall I’ve found him to be really consistent from day one all the way through. I’m thrilled that he had that success today.”

The fact that King dropped a hat trick on Franklin (1-1-2) as opposed to a lesser team made his play all the more impressive.

“He did it in a good spot and in key areas,” said Creamer. “The three goals were outstanding. He also did great on faceoffs. He did a great job in the defensive zone. All those little things, when he does them well he’s going to have a tremendous amount of success and I’m thrilled that he did today.”

Better late than never: As far as King was concerned he was due for an outburst like this one against the Panthers.

“I was feeling good today,” said King. “I came in and needed a big game. I was kind of dry the last few games. I wasn’t putting the puck in the net.

“I just wasn’t moving my feet and today I felt good.”

King commenced moving his feet before the game was barely two minutes old.

After Ryan Shea (8 saves on 11 shots) blocked a Jason Comeau shot, King back-handed the puck into the upper-left corner. Franklin tied the game at 5:10 when Ryan Spillane slid a backhander under Matt Kenneally (20 saves). But King put the Hawks (5-1-0) ahead for good at 7:13 during a power play. King stole the puck in the left faceoff circle, skated in on Shea and beat him top shelf.

From a team perspective, that was a premonition of things to come because Hendricken out-scored Franklin 3-0 and outshot the Panthers 12-6 in the second period.

“We all look at it and go ‘They tied Springfield Cathedral’ and we scrimmaged CM (Catholic Memorial) last week,” said Creamer. “We want to get better as the year goes on.

“(Franklin) is a veteran group. There are a lot of seniors on that roster. They’re big, strong kids. It’s a very good team and they’re going to have a lot of success as the year goes on. “

Back-breaking goal: Arguably the goal that de-clawed the Panthers came 39 seconds into the middle period when Hendricken was skating short-handed – and which, again, resulted from a Franklin turnover.

This time Alex Leite stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated in and had his shot blocked by Shea. But Brandon Mitchell pounced on the rebound and slid the puck into an open net for a short-handed goal.

That score prompted coach Chris Spillane to remove Shea in favor of Nick Jasinski (11 saves on 13 shots) who had his own problems with the Hawks.

Andrew Hopgood upped Hendricken’s lead to 4-1 at 4:10 with an assist from Reilly Miller. Miller was positioned behind the cage when he threw the puck in front and it deflected off Hopgood’s stick and past Jasinski.

King then completed his hat trick at 11:52. After Matt Rickard tried to score on a wrap-around, Jasinski blocked the shot but King stuffed home the rebound.

“We got some ugly goals today,” said Creamer. “But we got a couple that just because we were working hard we created some turnovers. We had a little puck luck at some points. But when you’re working hard those things go your way.

“We really have been consistently working hard. We call it keeping things simple. We talk about it all the time and that’s sort of what happened today.”

From a more subjective standpoint, a victory over a team the caliber of Franklin should help the Hawks when the Rhode Island Division I Tournament begins and they make a run at dethroning perennial state champion Mount. St. Charles.

“I think it definitely will help our team,” King said of the conquest of Franklin. “We’re going to come out (Saturday) and we’re going to play big and, hopefully, win again.”

Our preseason MIAA boys' hockey All-State team

December, 21, 2014
Presenting our MIAA boys' hockey preseason All-State team:

1st Line
F – Peter Crinella, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Matt Filipe, Jr., Malden Catholic
F – Pat Kramer, Sr., BC High
D – Ryan Shea, Jr., BC High
D – Mike Seibold, Sr., Reading
G – Brandon Collett, Jr., Catholic Memorial

2nd Line
F – Johnny Leonard, Jr. Springfield Cathedral
F – D.J. Petruzzelli, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
F – Riley Prattson, Soph., Springfield Cathedral
D – John McLean, Sr., Malden Catholic
D – Dan Petrick, Jr., Springfield Cathedral
G – Keith Petruzzelli, Soph., Springfield Cathedral

3rd Line
F – Eric MacAdams, Jr., Austin Prep
F – Ryan Smith, Sr., Arlington Catholic
F – Tim Sweeney, Sr., Xaverian
D – Frank Cosolito, Jr., Catholic Memorial
D – Ryan Walsh, Sr., Xaverian
G – Aidan Murphy, Soph., Xaverian
The NHL Central Scouting Service today unveiled its "Players to Watch" list, providing the first evaluations for the draft eligible class ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.

To little surprise, a few local products checked in with "A" grades, including North Chelmsford native and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, who is projected as a top five selection by many draft observers. Former St. Sebastian's defenseman and Norwood native Noah Hanifin (Boston College) also collected an A grade, as did former Noble & Greenough center Colin White (U.S. NTDP).

"A" grades are assigned to prospects expected to be selected in the first round, B for second through third round picks and C grades given to players who are likely to be taken between the fourth and sixth rounds.

On current MIAA player received mention as well, as recent Northeastern commit and BC High defenseman Ryan Shea holds a C grade. Former Malden Catholic turned U.S.A. U-18 defenseman Casey Fitzgerald garnered a B grade.

Here's a list of the New England-based skaters appearing on the preliminary ranking:

"A" Grade:
Jack Eichel, Boston University (North Chelmsford, Mass.), 6-2, 195, C
Noah Hanifin, Boston College (St. Sebastian's - Norwood, Mass.), 6-2, 201, D
Colin White, U.S.A. U-18 (Noble & Greenough - Hanover, Mass.), 6-0, 183, C

"B" Grade:
Taggart Corriveau, Westminster (Conn.), 6-1, 176, RW
Casey Fitzgerald, U.S.A U-18 (Malden Catholic - North Reading, Mass.), 5-10.5, 186, D
Erik Foley, Cedar Rapids - USHL (Mansfield High), 5-11.5, 185, LW
A.J. Greer, Boston University (Kimball Union Academy), 6-2.5, 204, LW

"C" Grade:
David Cotton, Cushing Academy, 6-2.5, 200, C
Liam Darcy, Berwick Academy, 5-10.5, 175, D
Trevin Kozlowski, The Gunnery, 6-3.75, 186, G
John McDermott, Westminster (Conn.), 6-1.25, 185, C
Shane Sellar, Canterbury, 6-1.25, 186, LW
Eric Shaw, Middlesex School, 6-2, 215, C
Ryan Shea, BC High (Milton, Mass.), 6-0, 168, D
Will Somers, Hotchkiss School, 6-4, 228, LW
Luke Stevens, Noble & Greenough (Duxbury High), 6-3.75, 184, LW
Spenser Young, Dubuque - USHL (Phillips Exeter - Brentwood, N.H.), 5-9.75, 177, D
Ryan Shea had plenty of options put before him, but the BC High junior defenseman ultimately settled on Northeastern this weekend, giving his verbal commitment.

The Milton native (1997 birthdate) had whittled down a field of more than a dozen scholarship offers to a final four – including Boston University, Miami (Ohio), and Providence College – before giving his word to the Huskies.

Shea intends to enroll at Northeastern as a true freshman for the 2016-17 year.

We caught up with the 5-foot-11, 180-pound blue-liner today to talk about his commitment and the former forward turned defenseman’s on-going adjustment

On Northeastern: “I really like the coaches. Also it helps that I have four, five friends who will be there when I’m there, plus I have a friend [Thayer Academy D Jon Barry] who will be there before me, too. That was a big factor.

“They told me they weren’t going to change my game, they want me to play my game – just get the puck and go -- and they want me to run the power play. I liked hearing that. The defense is still new to me, so it’s still an adjustment. I don’t think I’m where I could be on the defensive side of the puck, of course, and my offense can get better, too. There’s a long way to go.”

On joining USHL Youngstown Phantoms and U.S.A. Hockey Development camps this summer: “The competition was great. I was lucky enough to make Youngstown and, to experience all of that felt like being in college or even in the NHL. Buffalo [U.S.A camp] was just great to play against the best players your age and see what you do. When I was out there last year I don’t think I did as well as I did this year. It was a good learning experience.”

On working on elements of his game: “I think my speed can definitely get better, and I’m always looking to work on the defensive side. I’ve just been working out, trying to get stronger. I’ve been working with Brian McDonough in Foxboro and that’s really helped me. He’s worked with all kinds of players – the Hayes [brothers], Johnny Gaudreau – it’s been good to be around players like that.”

BC High's Shea commits to Northeastern

September, 14, 2014
BC High hockey junior defenseman Ryan Shea announced Sunday evening via his Twitter account that he's given a verbal commitment to Northeastern

During his sophomore season with the Eagles, the Milton native finished second on the team in points with 27 (4 G, 23 A), while earning First-Team ESPN Boston All-State honors. A two-year varsity player, Shea was also named a Catholic Conference All-State last year.

At the time of his commitment, Shea held more than a dozen offers, with a host of ECAC schools in the mix, but narrowed the field down to a final three of Boston University, Miami (Ohio) and Northeastern.

"I'm very happy for Ryan and his family," Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. "I am proud of him for how well he handled the whole process over the last year. He earned himself scholarships at some amazing schools and has chosen the best fit for him, Northeastern.

"Ryan has worked very hard to improve all aspects of his game and I truly believe he's just scratching the surface of how good he will be. His best hockey is ahead of him and I'm very excited to see it."

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: BC High in two.

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: MC in two.

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

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

Previous meetings: N/A.

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

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

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 2 BC High 6, Falmouth 0

February, 16, 2014
FALMOUTH, Mass. – Speed kills.

That was apparent on Sunday night as No. 2 BC High showcased an intensity that couldn’t be matched by Falmouth on their way to a 6-0 opening round victory in the Buddy Ferreira Classic.

The Eagles dominated possession of the puck all game long with a fluid offense while their fore check kept the Clippers on the defensive.

Their advantage on time on attack can be seen in their shots, as the Eagles (13-1-4) outshot the host team 46-3 in the game.

“Just possession, you don’t want to give up the puck when you have it but also you want to make the puck dangerous,” BC High coach John Flaherty said. “Sometimes guys can get complacent and try to do too much with the puck but at the end of the day unless you get it to the net you are not going to score.”

After seven minutes of flirting with the game’s first goal, the Eagles finally got on the board. Their offensive unit peppered Jake Beaton with three consecutive shots, which concluded with Kayser Raei’s put back goal. Ryan Shea, who was named player of the game for BC High, was credited with one of his three assists.

Three minutes later, Steve DeForge drew a tripping penalty and scored the power-play goal on a backhander from the slot and 27 seconds after than, Justin Fein was the beneficiary of Tim Larocque’s feed on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

“One of the things we’re blessed with is depth,” said Flaherty. “We have depth and guys that play different roles for us. We are pretty comfortable with the balance that we have.”

The Eagles got a pair of goals in the second period from Patrick Kramer, Falmouth native Connor Noonan and a last-minute, third-period goal from Larocque.

“We want to play teams like that,” Falmouth coach Paul Moore said. “That is part of Buddy Ferreira’s legacy’s too, is Buddy always went after the tough teams. Win loose or draw you left it out there and the kids did. I’m proud of them for that.”

Busy day in net: Arguably the best player on the ice was Falmouth’s (11-6-2) net minder. Beaton faced 46 saves on the afternoon and made countless head turning saves and was named player of the game for Falmouth.

“Jake Beaton stood on his head. He’s been doing that all season,” said Moore. “We wont see a better team no matter how far we go in the state tournament.”

Flaherty is familiar with Beaton as Beaton started his high school career playing with BC High before leaving after one year.

“Those guys battled hard, Jake Beaton played a heck of a game,” Flaherty said.

Setting the stage: The Eagles will kick off the second day of the Buddy Ferreira Classic. BC High starts Monday’s slate of games with Austin Prep, which beat Waltham, 5-1, earlier in the afternoon.

“They are a very good team,” Flaherty said of AP. “A lot of guys up front and a good goalie. At the moment I think we match up well, we have a lot of different guys but so do they.”

Falmouth gets the late game, dropping the puck with Waltham at 7 p.m.

Recap: No. 2 BC High 5, No. 3 CM 0

February, 13, 2014

DORCHESTER, Mass. – It happened again, and this time it was even more disparate.

With archrivals BC High and Catholic Memorial squaring off in a de facto Catholic Conference championship game at UMass-Boston, Wednesday night, the Knights were looking for a better effort than their 4-1 loss about a week prior. BC High had dominated that tilt at Conte Forum, at one point in the second period outshooting CM by a 22-4 margin.

The second leg of the teams’ league slate wasn’t all that different, as the Eagles again flexed their offensive muscle with a remarkable dominance in time of possession, en route to a 5-0 victory.

Through two periods, BC High had outshot the Knights 24-2 – a dizzying disparity between two of the state’s preeminent programs and bitter rivals.

The Eagles’ attack was balanced as well, as five different players scored, with eight players cracking the score sheet in total and, as a sum, they skated away with the Catholic Conference regular season crown in front of a capacity crowd on Senior Night.

“I think it’s big for whole school, everybody in the locker room,” Eagles senior captain Steve DeForge said. “That’s the first trophy you want to get, but there’s a couple more championships we want to get. There’s that one down in Falmouth [Buddy Ferreira Classic] and then we want to get the big one, the Super 8.”

Although BC High (12-1-3, 6-1-1) held the Knights (9-4-3, 3-2-2) without a shot in the first period, the Eagles were held off the board until its final minute. The Eagles peppered CM goaltender Brandon Collett (28 saves) with 12 shots in the first, but didn’t break through until there was 7.2 seconds remaining in the period, as Chris LaLiberte stuffed home a loose puck from the doorstep for his first on the season.

The Eagles’ momentum swelled in the second, when they scored four times in the span of two minutes and 11 seconds.

Three of those goals came during a stretch of 4-on-4 and an abbreviated power play. First, senior defenseman Sam Topham’s skillful keep at the point resulted in a DeForge goal at 12:07. Then, just 26 seconds later, Patrick Kramer was the beneficiary of a Ryan Shea pass on a 2-on-1 break.

On the power play, Topham rifled off a top shelf slap shot at 13:17, with Shea (2 A) and DeForge (1 G, 2 A) adding assists.

Connor Noonan capped the late-period flurry with the Eagles’ fourth goal of the second at 14:18.

While the Knights had several scoring chances in the final period, they didn’t come close to establishing pressure in BC High’s zone and the Eagles held a33-6 shot-on-goal advantage overall.

“They won every puck, they won every battle,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said.

“Passes went off sticks, but that’s because they were in our faces. It wasn’t for lack of effort, I thought we gave good effort. We’re just not as good as they are, it’s simple as that.”

Oh, what a night: Any hockey matchup between BC High and CM is memorable, but to the Eagles’ seniors it was much more than that.

“They knew this was a special opportunity, playing their last home game in front of an amazing crowd,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “It was a special moment.”

They seized the opportunity, controlling play from the get-go, in the same manner they had just a week ago, when they took control of the league race with a win at BC’s Conte Forum.

For the Eagles, it was a slight revision to an already effective script.

“You know he’s a good goalie, so we want to get traffic and you have to get shots,” Flaherty said. “We were trying to get pucks everywhere and anywhere to get them to the cage.”

On the flip side, while Hanson was less than thrilled with his team’s compete level in their first meeting with BC High, the same could not be said for Wednesday – even considering the margin of defeat.

“They’re just much better than we are,” he said. “They have much better personnel, highly-skilled and the way that they play forces us to look bad. It’s them.”

CM finishes out its Catholic Conference schedule Friday with a visit to No. 1 Malden Catholic.

Mastery on the breakout: A large element to the Eagles’ success this season has been their deep and talented defensive corps. It’s not unusual for BC High to roll seven defensemen in games, with perhaps the state’s best top two pairings.

While sophomores Billy Roche and Shea have generated a good amount of buzz, BC High has leaned on its senior pairing of Topham and Trevor Davis.

Topham, in particular, was excellent on Wednesday. Whether putting on a perfect pinch in the lead up to BC High’s second goal, or stemming the breakout with a tape-to-tape outlet pass, Topham typified the performance the Eagles have gotten from their blue-liners this year.

And that all starts with the work of BC High assistant coach Bob Roche.

“He’s very nit-picky,” Topham said of Roche. “But it’s good for all of us. He keeps us from the making the same mistakes over and over again.”

That is borne out of the incessant pursuit of perfection and attention to detail in practice.

“Half of every practice, at least the practice before a game, we’re working on the neutral zone,” Topham said. “We’re looking to see where the open guy is. We do drills where we break it out, looking for each other. We’re working on it all the time.”

Recap: No. 3 Malden Catholic 3, No. 1 BC High 1

February, 9, 2014
MALDEN, Mass. —The impressive season long unbeaten streak is over for the BC High Eagles and Malden Catholic’s Ara Nazarian had a lot do with it.

Nazarian scored the go ahead goal in the second period and the insurance goal in the third period as the No. 3 Lancers put an end to the No. 1 Eagles’ 14-game unbeaten streak by a score of 3-1 at the Valley Forum.

The UNH commit finished off a sweet move to his forehand early in the second period to give the Lancers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He is a high end talent kid and you expect that,” said Malden Catholic coach John McLean. “I thought he worked really hard tonight and he was focused. We gear up for these guys so we look forward to playing them. I wish we could play them more during the year.”

The Lancers opened the scoring in the first period when senior Patrick Wrenn finished off a nice cross-ice pass from Nick Botticelli for a 1-0 lead.

Momentum shifted as the Eagles came out flying in the second period and tied the game when Tim Larocque tipped home a point shot from Ryan Shea to tie the game.

Despite the go-ahead goal by Nazarian just under a minute later, the Eagles kept the pressure on, aided by three power play chances including an abbreviated two man advantage but they could not solve junior goalie Alex Reissis (26 saves).

Nazarian put the finishing touches on the win with just under three minutes left.

Jake Witkowski had the initial bid that Eagles goalie Brandon Payzant turned aside but the rebound fell to the stick of Nazarian, who had an easy finish into the open side that put the game away.

MC's win avenged the Lancers' 5-3 loss at UMass-Boston back on Jan. 7.

“We just needed to focus on the small plays at the blue lines,” said Nazarian. “In the past games we haven’t been putting in our effort at the blue lines and that is where we have been losing games. I don’t think they have had a game where they have been down 1-0 in a while so getting that first goal was key.”

Only small in stature: When MC goalie Alex Reissis emerged from the locker room, the team’s fireman hat — given to the game’s MVP — rested on his head.

Despite his small frame, Reissis played large for the Lancers, specifically during a 16-shot barrage from the surging Eagles in the second period.

“The defense played really well for me today and kept everything to the outside,” said Reissis. “We took a lot of penalties but the penalty kill played well again.”

There was no bigger save then with just over six minutes left in the game when a defensive turnover led to Eagles top scorer Steve DeForge bearing down on Reissis but the junior goalie calmly turned the bid aside.

“I think this is a big step for him in a real big game,” added McLean. “That was huge for his confidence but he played huge tonight.”

Recap: No. 1 BC High 4, No. 2 CM 1

February, 4, 2014

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Who can stop the rolling train that is BC High hockey?

The No. 1 Eagles remained unbeaten in the Catholic Conference and overall, with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Catholic Memorial Monday at Conte Forum. In it, BC High dominated time of possession and the number of scoring chances and shots on goal – at one point of the second period, outshooting CM 22-4.

Although the Knights got their lone goal in the first minute of the first period, the Eagles were in control throughout.

“It was a good effort from everybody, top to bottom,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said.

BC High (11-0-3, 5-0-1 Catholic) netted the game-tying and game-winning goals on the power play.

After Zach Sullivan provided CM (9-3-2, 3-1-1) with a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game, it wasn’t until the final minute of the period that the Eagles found the equalizer. Patrick Kramer scored on the power play with 16.8 seconds to play to send the teams to the intermission tied.

BC High cashed in on the man-advantage (2-for-5) again at 9:32 of the second period on Steve DeForge’s goal.

“He’s a complete player – add on his leadership capabilities and he’s phenomenal,” Flaherty said of DeForge. “This is his locker room, this is his team. He’s a great leader and in games like this his size and his shot come in handy.”

Tim Larocque scored less than a minute later to extend the Eagles’ lead to two at 10:36. Sam Topham and Chris LaLiberte added assists.

Patrick Riley rounded out scoring with 1:56 remaining in the game.

“They were flat-out better than us,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said. “They showed up, they played hard, they played smart and they were flat-out, man for man, better than us.

“They forced the issue, we didn’t respond.”

Difference-maker: BC High sophomore defenseman Ryan Shea was awarded the Ed Wright Cup as the MVP of the game, after putting up a pair of assists.

For Shea, an ever-emerging Division 1 prospect who’s only played on the blue line for the last two years of his hockey career, the learning curve has been made easier by his teammates.

“Sam Topham and Trevor Davis, our two assistant captains, they really control it back there,” Shea said. “They settle it if me or Billy Roche gets aggravated, they settle us down. It’s a good corps, I like playing with them a lot.”

Shea’s game stands out most on the breakout of the defensive zone.

BC High was able to establish a crisp breakout throughout, negating the Knights’ usual aggressive and effective forecheck. But with a stable of slick-skating, strong passing defenseman, the Eagles found little resistance moving it up ice and into the attacking zone.

“They’re a tough team, they come in hard,” Shea said. “When they force behind the net, with the two wingers down low, it’s an easy breakout every time. They caught onto it at the end of the game, we had to switch it up a little bit.”

DeForge added, “Our biggest strength is our speed and it starts in our own zone. When we’re getting clean breakouts, we’re getting back in our zone, those back-checkers are getting back and taking care of the D side.”