Boston High School: Springfield Cathedral

The United States Hockey League (USHL) hosted the first phase of its two-day draft proceedings on Monday.

Here's a list of players with New England ties who were selected Monday, listed by overall selection:

14. Jake Ryczek (Ludlow, Mass.), D, Selects Hockey Academy - Sioux City.

23. Jamie Armstrong (Warwick, R.I.), LW, Neponset Valley - Muskegon.

38. Luke McInnis (Hingham, Mass.), D, Hingham - Youngstown.

54. Johnny Leonard (Amherst, Mass.), F, Springfield Cathedral - Green Bay.

59. John DeRoche (Lynnfield, Mass.), F, Boston Junior Bruins - Cedar Rapids.

63. Liam Murphy (Killingsworth, Conn.), F, Avon Old Farms - Waterloo.

81. Michael Fahie (Pembroke, Mass.), F, Noble & Greenough - Youngstown.

83. Logan Drevitch (Middleborough, Mass.), F, Boston Bandits - Des Moines.

90. R.J. Murphy (Needham, Mass.), LW, St. Sebastian's - Dubuque.

91. Mike Young (Medford, Mass.), D, Rivers - Cedar Rapids.

98. Monte Graham (Hanover, Mass.), F, Thayer Academy - Tri-City.
Springfield Cathedral hockey freshman defenseman Dan Petrick gave his verbal commitment to Northeastern this afternoon.

The Wilbraham, Mass. native finished fourth on the Panthers in points this season with five goals and 32 assists for 37 points. It was Petrick’s second season with the Panthers, after seeing time as an eighth-grader.

““His growth and improvement has been tremendous,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said Thursday. “He came to us as an eighth-grader and that time allowed him to go into the offeseason knowing what he needed to do to improve his game as a freshman.”

News of Petrick’s commitment was first reported by Annie Maroon of

While other teams expressed interest in Petrick, Northeastern was Petrick’s top choice, giving his commitment after visiting campus on Thurdsday.

“I really like the city and being abel to be a part of the Beanpot had a big effect on my decision,” Petrick said. “I love the campus and me and the coaching staff clicked right away.”

Petrick logged major minutes for the Super 8 tournament semifinalists, which packed a potent offensive punch, featuring four of the top 11 ranked scorers in Division 1.

At the second week of the season, Petrick joined Cathedral’s power-play unit, allowing him to showcase his skill.

“It was a good fit for me being an offensive defensemen,” said Petrick, who added he’s considering architecture as his field of study. “Coach Foley gave me the chance to play in those situations and I tried to play my game.”

Given the opportunity, Petrick also seized the responsibility.

“The whole unit started to take off after the first month,” Foley said. “As a freshman, you would think that as a coach you wouldn’t put him out there, but from the first week, he showed he belonged.

“He has a lot of confidence for a kid that young and he took advantage of the chance given to him.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Super 8 highlights and analysis

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
LOWELL, Mass. -- It's a rematch!

We've got a rematch in the Sunday's Super 8 final as three-time defending champion Malden Catholic and repeat finalist Austin Prep won their semi-final round games Thursday night at the Tsongas Center.

MC moved past a young and talented Springfield Cathedral squad, 3-1, while the Cougars sweated out an eight-round shootout to dispatch tournament No. 1 seed BC High, 2-1.

Kelly Emerson has the highlights and is joined by ESPN Boston High Schools editor Scott Barboza in breaking down the action and taking a look ahead to Sunday's final:

Super 8 semi: Malden Catholic 3, Cathedral 1

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13

LOWELL, Mass. – Malden Catholic did what it's done for years in March – win.

All three Lancers lines chipped in a goal as MC punched its fourth straight ticket to the Division 1A, Super 8 championship game, and fifth since 2008, with a 3-1 win over Springfield Cathedral, Thursday at Tsongas Center.

Pat Wrenn's Harlem Globetrotter-inspired goal late in the second period that saw the senior finesse the puck through a gaggle of Panthers before roofing it over the glove of Keith Petruzzelli proved to be the game-winner.

“I'm yelling at him to shoot, shoot, shoot,” Malden Catholic head coach John MacLean said. “He's stick-handling, he's toe-dragging whatever he does, typical Charlestown kid – street hockey player. It was a great shot. I thought it picked the team up.”

The first period saw the teams tread lightly and neither forced the issue on the other. The Lancers finally broke through when Ara Nazarian fluttered a pass over a Cathedral player's stick to Tyler Sifferlen who banged it home.

[+] EnlargeSifferlen
Brendan Hall/ESPNMalden Catholic's Tyler Sifferlen continued his strong play in the Super 8, as the UMass Lowell commit scored on his future home ice at the Tsongas Center.
“Coach [McLean] just tells us to shoot on the net,” Sifferlen said. “You never know, it could go in.”

The teams upped the tempo in the middle period and Malden Catholic got the better of the action. The Lancers continually pinched in from up high and threw a hard, constant forecheck at Cathedral. The Lancers hampered themselves, taking a pair of penalties in the first half of the second period.

The Panthers made them pay when Riley Prattson rocketed home a power-play goal just over six minutes into the period.

“Riley's got a lot of energy; he's got a great heart,” Cathedral coach Brian Foley said. “He's like a lot of our kids. He works and he works. He's young and exciting. He had a great season.”

That was as close as Cathedral would get as the Lancers kept on the pressure. Malden Catholic outshot Cathedral 22-10 over the final two periods and junior goalie Alex Reissis coolly handled his duties between the pipes, racking up 14 saves.

“We limited their shots,” Wrenn said. “We usually give up too many shots and it backfires on us. We wanted to cut down on their shots and opportunities so we could get going.”

A Matt Felipe goal just before midway in the third period gave the Lancers all the insurance they would need and took the wind out of Cathedral's sails.

The Panthers pressed to close the gap but their efforts proved fruitless. Malden Catholic continued to press so hard that Cathedral was unable to pull the goalie until there were only 67 seconds left in the game.

“Once they got that third goal they're tough to play against with a lead,” Foley said. “The second half of the third period we had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, getting pucks to the net. Malden played a real strong game.”

Experience a factor: It's a tired trope, but Foley was the first to admit that experience plays a role in tournaments like the Super 8. That routine of playing the best teams at the highest level while every mistake is punished only gets more manageable after gone through it several times.

“I think experience is big in this tournament,” Foley said. “They have it, we have some. This is our first trip to the semifinals. I think we took a step forward and hopefully we'll be back here next year.

“We made a step this year to make it to the semis. They're a great team and a respected opponent. It was a great season.”

For the Lancers, the win earns them another finals date with Austin Prep; AP lost by a goal to Malden Catholic in last year's final.

McLean said that having a team that has played on the Garden ice multiple times can only help them in the season finale.

“This is four or five years that we've been in this situation, and it helps,” MacLean said. “The kids played well, they knew what they had to do. We'll see what happens on Sunday.”

Super 8 semifinals notes and picks

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
Before the puck drops on tonight’s Super 8 semifinals matchups at Tsongas Center (6 and 8 p.m.), here’s a smattering of note from the tournament along with picks:

Panthers’ prowess: Springfield Cathedral flexed its offensive muscle in its close-out victory over Duxbury a week ago, scoring three goals on the power play in a 6-3 final.

The key to the Panthers’ near perfection on the man-advantage in the tournament is both in its scheme and its personnel.

Let’s start with the scheme. Brian Foley has implemented an umbrella-style power play – meaning there’s a single “blue-liner” -- in the case of Cathedral, that’s talented freshman defenseman Dan Petrick – who plays in the middle of the ice sheet. The pivot men are two players who play along the half-wing boards and have the choice of making passes into the slot, back to the point man, or across the sheet to the other wing.

Lastly, in Foley’s unit, there are two forwards who are positioned in the slot, stacked on top of each other. The low man is tasked with setting the screen on the goaltender and creating traffic, while looking for rebounds and low-slot opportunities if the half-wings decide to move play down below the dots. The high-slot forward can either slide down on point shots, or look for deflection attempts, while providing the main outlet for half-wing passes.

What really makes Cathedral’s unit hum, however, is that the Panthers have the perfect personnel to run the umbrella.

In the Super 8, the responsibility of playing the half-wings have gone to UMass-Amherst commit Johnny Leonard and brother tandem Riley and Zac Prattson. Meanwhile, the Panthers have a pair of true “power forwards” in Quinnipiac recruit D.J. Petruzzelli (the low man) and Holy Cross commit Peter Crinella (high slot).

“We can really run any kind of power play and it’s going to be effective with the way they move the puck,” Cathedral head coach Brian Foley said of his unit last Thursday.

To beat three-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic in the teams’ semi-final tilt, the Panthers will have to have a vibrant power play once again.

However, there is recent precedent, as Cathedral knocked off MC, 5-2, in the championship game of its host February vacation tournament.

“It was a great game in our tournament,” Foley said, “but it’s a whole new ballgame. They’re the three-time champs, they’re the team to beat as far as I’m concerned.”

Get back: While finishing off its first-round series sweep of Central Catholic, Austin Prep was able to lull the Raiders to sleep in the third period of a 4-1 win.

Although the Raiders finished the game with 20 shots on goal, only six came in the final period, when AP constructed a virtual brick wall along its blue line.

Throughout their Game 2 win, and in particular the third period, the Cougars showed a killer’s instinct on defense, with their defense standing up to meet whatever Central could create on the rush through a sticky neutral zone.

“We did a nice job of holding the neutral zone and staying back, not falling back,” AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro said after last week’s win. “That’s what we’ve talked about, we don’t down want to sit on [a lead], they’re going to have to take chances and try to stretch the zone. You just have to make sure you stay back.”

Keeping a third man high to eliminate their opponents’ transition game, the Cougars forwards – to a man – were tremendous during their best-of-three series in snuffing out Central’s D-men from stepping up in the play and creating on the rush, with a robust backcheck.

Everything else was left to Elijah Harris was played with ease, as the junior goaltender has been on point throughout.

Now, the key for AP is replicating that performance against top seed BC High, which beat the Cougars, 6-2, during the final week of the season.

“They like to stretch it through center zone also,” Finocchiaro said of the Eagles, “so doing a good job with that here in the third period, and holding on to the lead, and playing with confidence, I think is important.”

Picks: Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for, here are my Super 8 semi-final picks.
BC HIGH 3, Austin Prep 1 – Pat Kramer’s return could be the difference here.
MALDEN CATHOLIC 5, Springfield Cathedral 4 – Did you really think I’d pick against the three-time defending champions? That being said, this one sure is going to be entertaining.

S8 Highlights: AP, Cathedral close out series

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
LOWELL, Mass. -- The higher seeds won out in convincing fashion in the first-round matchups of the Super 8 tournament, as both No. 3 seed Springfield Cathedral and No. 4 Austin Prep closed out quarter-final series Thursday night at the Tsongas Center.

Mike Riley has the highlights from the action and was joined by ESPN Boston High Schools editor for a look back at the first-round action and preview of Wednesday's semi-final tilts:

Super 8: No. 3 Cathedral 6, No. 6 Duxbury 3

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6

LOWELL, Mass. -- Springfield Cathedral's recent track record in the Super 8 tournament has been nothing to write home about.

Two years ago, the Panthers lost all three of their games in the state's most-renowned high school hockey event. Last year, Malden Catholic bounced them with back-to-back victories.

Cathedral was back for yet another try again this year and hoping for a different scenario.

Already holding a 1-0 edge over Duxbury in this best 2-out-of-3 opening round format, the Panthers had an opportunity to exorcise some of the demons of previous seasons in Thursday night's second meeting at Tsongas Arena. Refusing to leave anything up to chance, Cathedral struck early and often as it built a five goal lead before settling for a 6-3 triumph.

"To have that early lead was huge for us," Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. "Duxbury is a great team. I was really impressed with them and they are well-coached. They gave us a heck of a series and made us battle for everything."

The third-seeded Panthers (17-2-5) move on to the semifinal round against Malden Catholic beginning Wednesday night here at a time to be determined. The Lancers, the No. 2 seed, are 18-4 after knocking out Catholic Memorial in its opening-round tilt Wednesday night. Back on Feb. 20, Cathedral defeated MC 5-2 in the championship game of its own tournament.

"It is the first time in school history that we are advancing into the semifinals," said junior Pete Crinella, who scored a pair of goals (Nos. 30 & 31) and also added an assist. "Last year's loss really crushed us because we had a bunch of seniors. This year we only have one senior [goaltender John Liquori] so it's nice to get him to the final four of this tournament."

The Panthers, who defeated the Dragons in Sunday's first meeting 4-1, raced out to a 2-0 lead after the opening 15 minutes of Thursday night's contest. Cathedral began the scoring by forcing a Dragons turnover inside their own zone. That led to the first of two Johnny Leonard goals coming at 2:16. Later in the frame, Crinella bagged his first on the power play after D.J. Petruzzelli won the face off in the left circle and pushed the puck over to the center/forward who one-timed a shot past Duxbury goaltender Tucker Kelly.

The sixth-seeded Dragons (16-4-3) tried to hang with the more-talented Panthers as best they could. But Cathedral's offensive firepower from all three of its lines won out and proved too much for them to handle. In addition, the chances on net the Dragons did have were snuffed out by Leonard, who finished with 21 saves, holding Duxbury scoreless over the first two periods.

Cathedral jumped out to a three goal cushion just 1:35 into the middle period. Leonard snatched an errant pass inside the Duxbury zone, skated in on Kelly and beat the senior with a quick wrist shot. With his two tallies, Leonard, a UMass-Amherst commit, now has 29 for the season. Two minutes later, with the Dragons again playing short-handed, freshman Riley Prattson put his name on the scoring sheet after wiring a shot from the left wing circle under the cross bar to make it 4-0.

"Duxbury is a good team and were coming in with a lot of confidence," Crinella said. "They're were desperate and those are the hardest teams to beat. We tried to crush their spirits early and were able to get off to a good start and keep it rolling."

Cathedral's offensive assault wasn't finished. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, another Dragons penalty led to another score for the Panthers.

This time, it was freshman Dan Petrick getting into the act. The winger, standing inside the left circle, fired a shot over Kelly's right shoulder and into the back of the net to send Cathedral into the second intermission in-control leading 5-0.

"I thought we moved the puck pretty well on our power play chances tonight," Foley said. "We had some nice opportunities and some good finishes. I think we still need to do a better job inside our own end moving the puck a little cleaner on the five-on-five. But any way you mix up our top six forwards we are going to have two lines that can score. We've also been getting great production from our third line as well. Our forwards are playing very good but I think our defense has improved a lot throughout the year. We also have gotten some great goaltending from John and Keith [Petruzzelli]."

The third period, for the Panthers, did not follow the same script as the previous two. Cathedral appeared somewhat listless to start the period, not showing the same kind of offensive aggressiveness witnessed during the first two frames. Duxbury took notice of this as well, and in the process, made a mild comeback bid to show for it. Goals from Tyler Powers and Matt Saia early in the frame had them trailing by three goals with still plenty of time remaining.

But Crinella, who is bound for Holy Cross, dashed Duxbury's comeback hopes with a breakaway before beating Kelly (19 saves) with a hard wrist shot at 9:23 to put Cathedral back in front by four goals. Matt Hammel, a sophomore, added a score late for the Dragons but by then their solid season was done.

"Springfield tonight showed what they can do when clicking on all cylinders," said Duxbury head coach John Blake. "When they're clicking on all cylinders they are a dangerous team. We gave them some power play and you can't do that against a team with that kind of ability and power they have. Our guys didn't quit and took us on a great ride. The puck bounced our way a lot this season but tonight it didn't bounce our way. The kids played a good third period and finished the year off the way the way it should've been finished off."

S8 Highlights: Cathedral vs. Duxbury

March, 3, 2014
Mar 3
BOSTON -- No. 3 seed Springfield Cathedral took a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three Super 8 first-round series against No. 6 seed Duxbury with a 4-1 win Sunday at TD Garden.

ESPN Boston correspondent Greg Story has the highlights:

Video: Wrapping up Super 8 Game 1s

March, 3, 2014
Mar 3
BOSTON -- Four teams are off to a 1-0 lead and four teams are on the brink of elimination, following Sunday's Super 8 tournament first-round games at TD Garden.

Mike Riley joined ESPN Boston High Schools editor Scott Barboza in breaking down all of the Game 1 action and looked ahead to the make-or-break Game 2 action at UMass-Lowell later this week:

Super 8: No. 3 Cathedral 4, No. 6 Duxbury 1

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2

BOSTON – Springfield Cathedral has had trouble getting over the hump in the first game the past few Super 8 tournaments, but the Panthers had no such problem this year.

The Panthers defeated Duxbury, 4-1, in the first game of the best-of-three series on Sunday afternoon at the TD Garden. It was a closer game than the final score would indicate with two late goals skewing the appearance.

“There are always so many nerves in game one of this tournament,” said Cathedral head coach Brian Foley. “We got a game one win and that’s something we’ve been searching for the last couple years. We’re happy with the result.”

“We played a great game as a team. We came out hard in the beginning,” said junior forward Zac Prattson.

Brotherly connection: Springfield Cathedral has three pairs of brothers on its team and one of those pairs came up with the first two Panthers goals.

Zac Prattson, the older of the two Prattson brothers, scored the game’s first goal on a shorthanded bid at the 2:36 mark of the opening period. Holy Cross commit Peter Crinella broke up a pass in the neutral zone and led Prattson who took a step inside the blue line before taking a slap shot on goal that found the five-hole.

“I was busting down the side and saw a shot opportunity. I just threw it on net and slipped it five-hole,” said Zac Prattson.

After Duxbury had tied the score in the second period, younger brother Riley helped Cathedral regain the lead for good. Just after a power play had expired, Riley Prattson found himself alone on the right side. UMass recruit John Leonard sauced the puck over a Duxbury defender’s stick to Prattson who took a step in before raising the puck past Duxbury goaltender Tucker Kelly.

“[Riley] always steps up to the challenge. He played really well today,” Zac Prattson said of his brother’s play.

“They’re great,” Foley said. “Zac got the first goal for us, which was huge. He’s a captain and a leader. He’s more of a lunch pale, blue-collar type guy where his brother Riley is more of a skill guy. I was happy to see them both score.”

The other two sets of brothers are Bryce and Cam Peritz and D.J. and Keith Petruzzelli.

Goaltending controversy: Springfield Cathedral has the luxury of having two very good goaltenders. Freshman and Quinnipiac commit Keith Petruzzelli got the nod in goal Sunday. He made several very nice stops, including a flurry in the second period where he stuck his toe out for a nice kick save.

“Keith was 5-0 as a starter coming into today,” said Foley of his freshman. “He’s now 6-0 on his young career. He stepped up today and played really well for us.”

“Game two is up in the air. I can’t tell you that one yet,” said Foley when asked who his game two starter would be. “[Senior] John Liquori is a great goalie and they both had a great week of practice. You talk about competition. To see how they competed this week was really good.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny [Liquori] takes game two,” added Foley.

Power forward: Crinella, a junior captain, might not be the fastest player on the ice, but his physical presence along with his heavy shot make him one of the most dangerous players with the puck in high school hockey.

His third period tally put the game out of reach when he once again used his body to fend off a Duxbury defender after having received a home run pass from defenseman Matt Cieboter.

He shot the puck high and wide on a power play attempt in the second period after he was left alone in the slot, but it was the type of play that shows his ability to make space and create havoc for the opposition.

Youth is served: Springfield Cathedral is without a doubt the youngest team in the tournament. Foley’s team dresses just one senior and he doesn’t play when Petruzzelli occupies the crease.

The starting lineup consisted of four freshmen and two juniors, and many more young players, including eighth grader Devon Tongue, see significant ice time.

“You never know how your kids are going to come out,” Foley said. “I thought we played a little nervous early on, but as the game moved along we had some good moments.

“We talked about being here before and not accomplishing our goal. That was a big thing before the game. We just wanted to play a solid hockey game and block out where we are.”

Dragons see some positives: Despite losing 4-1, Duxbury head coach John Blake felt there were several positives to take away from Sunday’s Super 8 opener.

“I think our guys have a sense of confidence that we can play with these guys going into Thursday now,” Blake said. “We were in the game late, but we’ll need to get it going right away.”

The Dragons might have needed a period to get their legs under them and let the magnitude of the game sink in, but a whole different team took the ice for the second stanza.

“I thought the first period, whether it was nerves a little bit, we were off as a team,” said Duxbury head coach John Blake.

Dragons senior forward Matt Saia scored his ninth goal of the season just 48 seconds into the second period on a nice individual effort. He stole the puck away from a Cathedral defender and beat him off the boards before roofing a shot over Petruzzelli’s blocker.

Duxbury will need to be focused right from the get-go and concentrate on some of the minor details of the game in order to be more successful in game two.

“I think it’s got to be a full 45-minute effort on Thursday. We’ve got to play mistake free hockey in order to beat Springfield. We made a few mistakes and they made us pay,” said Duxbury head coach John Blake.

The two teams will meet again in the second game of the best-of-three series on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Tsongas Center on the campus of UMass-Lowell.

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: BC High in two.

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: MC in two.

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

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

Previous meetings: N/A.

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

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

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: AP in three.

Thoughts from Super 8 Selection Saturday

February, 22, 2014
Feb 22
FRANKLIN, Mass. – With the field set for the Super 8 tournament, here are a couple lingering thoughts from a somewhat speedy deliberation at the MIAA headquarters Saturday morning:

Somewhat according to script: An interesting subplot to the Super 8 selection process is how the tournament committee processes the recommendations handed on from the earlier Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association (MSHCA).

While there is recent precedent for the committee flip-flopping selections from the Top 10 recommendations, this year, the committee was in lockstep. After a lengthy deliberation between Catholic Memorial and St. Mary’s of Lynn during the MSHCA meeting, the Knights earned the 10th spot in the nominations and the committee selection.

The Spartans will start the Division 1 North tournament among its top seeds and a threat for the state championship title.

Interestingly, with the Knights taking the 10th and final play-in game spot, CM will have a rematch from their season-ending loss to Braintee (3-0) on Friday.

Publics have its piece of the pie: Speaking of those aforementioned Wamps, who ostensibly punched their ticket on the final day of the season at Walter Brown, they were among two of the hottest teams in the state – both of which happened to be public schools.

After questioning whether the Super 8 would be an all-Catholic affair for much of the year – myself included – Duxbury and Braintree played their way into the Top 10 in the final weeks of the season. Both teams left their best hockey for the final weeks, with the Dragons beating No. 1 seed BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic championship game, and the Wamps ending the regular season with a win over CM.

Duxbury slid into the No. 6 seed, assuring them Super 8 berth, while No. 7 seed Braintree faces their second straight tilt against CM in a play-in game, Monday (7:45 p.m.) at Stoneham Arena, before what is assured to be an overflow Braintree contingent.

“In the last five years or so, we’ve been in that 11-to-15 spot, or in the Top 20, but couldn’t make that last jump,” Wamps head coach Dave Fasano said. “Even though we started out of the gate slow, we made the run we had to make. Do we wish we could have had some game back early in the year? Yes, but what we did in the last two weeks shows we are a good team.”

The day was met with such optimism that a extemporaneous “viewing party” broke out at Fasano’s home – unbeknownst to the coach. When he left the meeting, his son sent pictures of Braintree’s team huddled around the living room television, watching the stream of Tweets from the meeting room from a connected computer feed.

For a group playing its best hockey at the right time of the year, Fasano was simply looking forward to getting back in the rink.

“The good thing is we’re playing next week,” he quipped.

Meanwhile, the Dragons have a few more days off before they begin their best-of-three, first-round series against No. 3 Springfield Cathedral.

“Our guys, they were just focused down the stretch,” Duxbury head coach John Blake said. “They wanted to play meaningful games. But I think our strength this year is that we’ve been able to focus on one game at a time, and we knew we had limited opportunities in our schedule where we needed to make some noise in big games. And our guys are battle-tested.”

Super 8 tournament field announced

February, 22, 2014
Feb 22
The MIAA Super 8 hockey tournament selection committee held its annual meeting at the organization's Franklin headquarters this morning to seed the state's elite hockey tournament.

We'll have more reaction a bit later on the blog.

Here is the field:

1.BC High

2. Malden Catholic

3. Springfield Cathedral

4.Austin Prep

5. Central Catholic

6. Duxbury

(Play-in game participants)

7. Braintree

8. Xaverian

9. Archbishop Williams

10. Catholic Memorial

Tournament Schedule:

First round:

Game 1s - TD Garden, Sunday, March 2

Game 2s - Tsongas Arena, Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6

Game 3s - To be determined.

Semifinal - Tsongas Arena, Wednesday March 12

Super 8 tournament projection (Version 2.0)

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
Here’s our final Super 8 hockey tournament, 10-team projection ahead of Saturday’s tournament selection committee meeting.

Of course, we’d like to hear your input, and feel free to give us your 10-team field below in the Comments field or via Twitter (@espnbostonhs and @espnscottb).

Here’s a refresher of how we saw the field rounding out last week:

1. BC High

2. Malden Catholic

3. Austin Prep

4. Catholic Memorial

5. Springfield Cathedral

6. Xaverian

7. St. Mary’s (Lynn)

8. Arlington Catholic

9. Central Catholic

10. St. John’s Prep

Version 2.0:

1. BC High (14-2-4)

Last week’s projection: 1

Why they’re in this spot: The Eagles could have left no doubt about the top spot had they beaten Duxbury in the championship game of the Buddy Ferreira Classic on Thursday. But I like the Eagles’ completed resume the best, and the Catholic Conference championship should always count for something.

2. Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5)

Last week’s projection: 5

Why they’re in this spot: It’s been said that the Super 8 committee carries a “What have you done for me lately?” kind of mentality, and the Panthers’ 5-2 win over Malden Catholic in their host vacation week tournament should move them into the second spot.

3. Malden Catholic (16-4-0)

Last week’s projection: 2

Why they’re in this spot: The Lancers looked like they were going on another one of their runs going into the postseason, evidenced by 7-1 win over Super 8 hopeful St. Mary’s at the Cathedral tournament. But, even with the loss to Cathedral, there’s no reason to drop them any place past here.

4. Austin Prep (13-4-4)

Last week’s projection: 3

Why they’re in this spot: The Cougars had a chance to move up into the top two spots at the Ferreira Classic, with a duel with BC High, but after a somewhat flat performance, this feels about right. They still remain in the top four, regardless.

5. Xaverian (11-3-6)

Last week’s projection: 6

Why they’re in this spot: The Hawks earned some serious style points with a 9-2 thrashing of Super 8 hopeful St. John’s of Shrewsbury on Wednesday, eliminating any doubts of their placement in the top six and likely snuffing out the Pioneers’ dream in the process.

6. Central Catholic (15-3-3)

Last week’s projection: 9

Why they’re in this spot: The Raiders were among a handful of clubs making a serious move in the last week-plus of the season, rising out of the perils of a play-in game and into a top six seed. A 4-3 win over Catholic Memorial on Monday bumps the Raiders in.

(Play-in seeds, determined by winning percentage):

7. Duxbury (16-2-3)

Last week’s projection: N/A

Why they’re in this spot: By winning the program’s first-ever Ferreira Classic (formerly known as the Cape Cod Classic), with a dominating defensive performance against BC High, the Dragons proved they belong and can play the brand of hockey required to tplay in the tournament, despite a lack of other marquee victories.

8. Braintree (13-4-3)

Last week’s projection: N/A

Why they’re in this spot: Whoa. How about the Wamps finishing the regular season with a win over Catholic Memorial to put them over the hump, and leaving the slumping Knights out in the cold? It wasn’t Bay State Carey champion’s only marquee win, having already beaten two of these teams in this “play-in” group (Duxbury, St. Mary’s) – and by the margin that CM only had one win (Malden Catholic) against other teams considered here – I’m going with a Wamps-for-Knights swap. It only proves how flat the competition is beyond the top four seeds of the tournament.

9. St. Mary’s (14-6-2)

Last week’s projection: 7

Why they’re in this spot: The Spartans could have bolstered their chances for the tournament with closer date with MC at the Cathedral tournament, but we’re pulling in St. Mary’s making the tournament after a one-year absence on the grounds of its second-place finish in the Catholic Central Large.

10. Archbishop Williams (12-5-3)

Last week’s projection: N/A

Why they’re in this spot: With that being said, there was no CCL team hotter in the second than the Bishops, who claimed victories against both St. Mary’s and Arlington Catholic (x2) in the second half of the season. With a deep a talented group of forwards, the Bishops won the coin flip between them and AC – a team that had appeared a shoo-in during the first half of the season before cooling off and dropping a key rubber match against Archies at the Ferreira Classic this week. As I’ve written earlier in the year, the CCL would be the key to the Super 8 field, carrying three teams this year, with the Bishops making their second consecutive play-in game appearance.