Boston High School: Storm Fotiu

Barnstable wins, era ends in Falmouth

March, 1, 2013
BOURNE, Mass. – All Buddy wanted to talk about was his opponent.

After seeing his 33-season coaching career behind the bench of Falmouth High boys’ hockey come to a close in a playoff defeat to archrival Barnstable, the Clippers’ head coach spent a good portion of his postgame talk recollecting the finer points of one of Massachusetts’ great public school rivalries.

The Red Raiders beat Falmouth, 4-2, Thursday night at the Gallo Arena in their Division 1 South first-round tournament game. It marked the third time this season that Barnstable beat its Cape adversary.

After the game’s conclusion, a misty-eyed Buddy Ferreira told his team that it was his last. He walked down the corridor to the Red Raiders’ room, congratulating them on the victory and wishing them luck in their playoff journey. He shared a long embrace with longtime counterpart, Barnstable head coach, Scott Nickerson.

He then sat alone for a time in contemplation, as a cavalcade of well-wishers offered handshakes and pats on the back, before meeting with the assembled media. He fought back tears with each step.

While it wasn’t a fairytale ending, Ferreira maintained afterward that it couldn’t have been scripted any other way. He talked about how difficult it is to step away from something he did every day for so long. But everything he’d built led to this very moment.

“It’s not that I want to,” said Ferreira, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Sunday, “but it’s time to.”

In his career, Ferreira joined the state hockey coaching legends and exclusive company in the 400-win fraternity. He guided the Clippers to four state championships, the most recent in 1995-96. Under Ferreira, Falmouth hockey won 16 of its 22 all-time league titles.

But until the bitter end, Ferreira found teaching moments.

The Clippers found themselves in a deep hole. Goals by Eric Rogorzenski, Frank Oakley and Pat Besse built a 3-0 lead for the sixth-seeded Red Raiders (13-4-4) at the tail end of the second period. In the third, Falmouth (10-8-5) clawed their way back, making it a one-goal game with 2:21 to play on Storm Fotiu’s goal after Durham Ghelfi opened the period with the Clippers’ first.

The comeback fell short, and Barnstable defenseman Drew Kaski’s 180-foot clearing attempt, which sailed into a vacated Clippers’ net clinched it.

That’s when the lesson began.

“I told them to carry what they did in that third period into the rest of their lives,” Ferreira said. “I told them if they do that in their lives, they will be successful.”

He continued, “These kids played so hard, I’m so proud of them. For me to go out with them playing this hard … I didn’t want to tell them until after, especially going out to a team that I respect more than anybody in Barnstable. It’s a good way for our seniors to go out.”

While the sting of a loss to a rival isn’t lessened, both sides were able to bury the hatchet this time.

Ferreira and Nickerson sat side-by-side on a bench as the newly retired Falmouth coach regaled anyone within earshot with the best stories he’d collected from the rivalry. Nickerson, who led the Red Raiders to a state championship win over Falmouth on the Boston Garden ice in 1980, listened intently as Ferreira told a story of two former football players — one from Barnstable, one from Falmouth — who ended up rooming together in college and became friends.

The rivalry is a tie that binds.

“You could sit down ten years later with any Barnstable kid, I don’t care if it’s football, or basketball, or hockey,” Ferreira said, “and they’re going to talk about the Falmouth game. With any other teams you play against, you don’t have that.”

Having lived another chapter, Nickerson resounded the sentiment.

“For our kids to play Falmouth at any time is a big game. With it being the state tournament, it’s an even bigger game.”

Despite the animosity, there’s still room for reconciliation. Ferreira confirmed that while heaping praise on the offensive skill of the Red Raiders’ forwards, calling them “the better team” at each turn.

With his hockey coaching career now in the past tense, Ferreira will not retire from the rivalry.

But every so often, even for a man who is as large a reason as anybody for the building of Falmouth’s sparking new ice arena, there’s reason to call a rival a friend.

“Are you kidding me?” Ferreira darted back when asked if he’s rooting for Barnstable to win the tournament. “The only time I’m not pulling for them is when we’re playing them.”

Cape Cod Classic: AP, Falmouth set for final

February, 19, 2013

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro couldn’t hide his emotions. With the locker room door open for everyone to hear, he exclaimed, “There is no quit in this team and that was the best win I’ve ever coached."

Finocchiaro was not exaggerating one bit.

The No.5 Cougars stunned No.3 BC High 3-2 in the first of two semifinals at the Cape Cod Classic at Falmouth Ice Arena. Austin Prep trailed by two goals and were being shut out in the final minute of the second period, only to post three unanswered goals to steal a much-needed victory in the eyes of the Super 8 voters.

Nolan Vesey pulled the rug right out from under the Eagles (12-3-3) with two third-period goals, the tying and game-winning tallies, after freshman Jake McKenelley gave the Cougars some hope with 31 seconds left in the second period.

"For us to come back against a team like that is a big time learning experience and character builder,” Finocchiaro said. “We were down but there is no quit in that locker room so I’m so proud of every one of those kids in their and it was a big time effort from everyone.”

All was not rosy for the young Austin Prep (12-1-6) squad in the first 30 minutes of play as two glaring miscues contributed to their early deficit.

Goaltender Peter Cronin recognized an out-of-synch line change by Austin Prep and fired the puck up the left side of the boards to Patrick Kramer, who then found Connor Noonan on the doorstep of the crease for the 1-0 Eagles’ lead. Prep was caught as they switched out defensemen along with the forwards and left the far side of the ice wide open.

Noonan was at it again only minutes later as he stole a bouncing puck in the neutral zone off a Cougars defenseman’s stick and went in untouched for the unassisted tally and a 2-0 BC High lead with just under three minutes to play in the second stanza.

Usually, a young team would fold after two huge mistakes resulted in two quick goals the other way, but Austin Prep stormed back with McKenelley’s third goal of the tournament right before the trip to the lockers for the second intermission. Bobby Carpenter fought behind the net taking on three BC High skaters to feed McKenelley in the right slot as the freshman forward popped in his own rebound after one of Cronin’s 20 saves with 31.4 seconds remaining.

“A line change cost us and then we fumbled one at center ice and cost us again,” Finocchiaro said. “I told them, the first period we played well and it was like a heavyweight fight and then in the second we were down two goals. But I came in the room and told them to stay positive because we didn’t really play that bad.”

Vesey picked up a penalty less then 30 seconds into the third period and it looked like BC High would add to their lead. But just as the Eagles’ man-advantage expired, the scrappy Carpenter was at it again, as he slid the puck out of the BC end trying to clear the puck only to find Vesey racing out of the box unchecked.

The senior captain leaped out of the penalty box for a 100-foot breakaway for the easy wrister just under Cronin’s outstretched glove to tie the score and send the pro-Prep crowd into a frenzy.

“Up 2-0, we make a mistake on the first goal they got, we have a breakdown we get beat to a puck – we just weren’t working hard enough,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said. “That team that was on the ice for Austin Prep is a very good team, we knew they were going to be good, we knew they were going to be desperate and we didn’t match that. We allowed them to come in and steal a game from us.”

Vesey was not finished as he captained a 3-on-1 breakout, only to keep the puck on his stick at the point and beat Cronin glove side with a pretty back-handed flip sliding by the right post for the game-winner with 5:15 remaining in regulation.

"Nolan [Vesey] is such a skilled player and usually you want to mix it up and drop the puck off across the ice for the easier look but you have to figure with skill like that, he gets the green light," Finocchiaro said. "You can't complain too much though because he finished it."

Flaherty added, "[It is] very frustrating as we have to know [Vesey] is coming out of the box, he's their best guy, and one of the most lethal in the state. Once it got to 2-0, the guys in this locker room thought it was over, but it was far from over, and it was proven by the way the game was finished."

In the second semifinal, Falmouth outlasted Waltham, 3-0, with a first-period barrage that only produced one goal.But Storm Fotiu had a stick on two of the three tallies as the Clippers advance to Thursday's final against Austin Prep at 7 p.m.

Waltham will face BC High in the consolation round on Wednesday night.

Robbie Souza scored for the Clippers (10-5-5) at 9:30 of the first, as Fotiu slid the puck on a perfect string to hit Souza on a break. Souza left Waltham senior goalie Nick Russo on the ice for the period's only goal despite outshooting the Hawks, 12-2.

The second period was a stalemate other than Falmouth racking up penalty minutes. Waltham (11-7-2) couldn’t muster much offense, even on the power play, as they finished the game 0-for-7 on the power play.

Fotiu doubled up the lead midway through the third period off a face-off in the Waltham end, as the senior forward dragged the puck across the crease for the top-shelf backhander. Cyrus Wickersham iced it with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.

Falmouth outshot the Hawks 32-15 overall as junior goalie Jake Beaton registered his first shutout of the season with numerous quality saves, including a picture-perfect glove save on a Bryan Longmoore breakaway in the final minute of regulation. Russo also played extremely well with 30 saves, including two huge glove saves in the third to keep things close before being pulled for the extra man.

Beaton didn’t see much in terms of shots, but has only allowed one goal in two tournament games and has Falmouth on the cusp of winning their own title for the first time since the Cape Cod Classic started.

"If they score with 52 seconds, it is going to be a huge lift for them,' said Falmouth head coach Buddy Ferriera about the breakaway save by Beaton. "He has been bounced around a bit and he's never had a chance to show he's a Number One, but now he is showing it."

Recap: No. 10 Chelmsford 2, No. 21 Falmouth 2

December, 29, 2012
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Ties are telling sometimes.

While skating even 2-2 through a full 45 minutes in the opening round of the Cape Cod Cup Friday at the Falmouth Ice Arena, Buddy Ferreira held an entirely different opinion of his Falmouth team’s performance juxtaposed against that of Mike McGrath and his No. 10 Chelmsford squad.

“The good news is that we finally played three, solid periods,” the veteran Clippers bench boss said.

On the other hand, McGrath wasn’t so enthusiastic, saying, “Our M.O. this season so far has been that we come out and play two periods of hockey and then we know a game was coming. We knew we’d get bit, and I don’t want to take anything away from Falmouth, they outworked us today.”

The No. 21 Clippers (1-1-2) emerged with a jump in their strides and claimed the first lead at 10:13 of the first on Durham Ghelfi’s score, with Cyrus Wickersham and Nicky Lineaweaver.

Falmouth took that lead to the room for the first intermission before reigning MVC/DCL Most Valuable Player Tommy Bishop extended his game points streak to five games with an unassisted goal at 9:40 of the second.

“All you get from him is hard work and hustle,” McGrath said of Bishop. “I think what he’s dealing with now is that he has a bull’s-eye on his back and every game, every team’s strategy is to take him out of the game.”

The Lions (4-0-1) tallied the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later as Derek Adamson broke in on Cody Garcia (17 saves) with a partial break and finished 5-hole.

Falmouth notched the equalizer 1:59 into the third with Storm Fotiu taking Matt Kinchla’s feed and sniping it underneath the crossbar.

“Even if we didn’t score, we needed some quality shots,” Ferreira said of the Clippers’ third-period charge. “It started on the wall with [Matt] Kinchla and Ronnie [Zampanti], and it was just boom, boom, boom and they’re in all alone.

“It’s good to see that. That’s a line that we just put together, so it was nice to see them come together.”