Boston High School: Tim Sweeney

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
2:06
AM ET
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.

Super 8 play-in: Xaverian 6, Archies 5 (2 OT)

February, 25, 2014
Feb 25
1:26
AM ET


STONEHAM, Mass. -- The level of pressure just partaking in a Super 8 tournament play-in game can be excruciating enough. But when that game needs to exceed regulation to decide a winner, well, let's just say it is not for the faint of heart.

Monday night, inside Stoneham Arena, No. 8 seed Xaverian and No. 9 Archbishop Williams laid down the gauntlet to decide which of them would earn the right to play top-seed BC High in Sunday's opening round of the state's most-coveted high school hockey tournament.

In a wide-open offensive contest from beginning to end, a second overtime was needed before Ricky Smith, flying down the right boards, ripped a shot from the circle past goaltender Steve Jenner at 1:15 of the second overtime period to send the Hawks to the Super 8 tournament at TD Garden with a 6-5 victory.

"I had a good feeling coming onto the ice during that shift," said Smith, a senior defenseman, who missed the last two seasons due to injury. "I just felt that I needed to step up and do my job as a senior captain and step up for the team. We were pretty nervous but we could never get down. We needed to stay positive throughout. We just came out and played Xaverian hockey."

The Bishops (12-6-3) season still continues as they move into the Division 1 South tournament.

New rules this season indicate that during the first six minute overtime period, both teams play 5-on-5. In the second overtime, still six minutes in length, the number of players is reduced to 4-on-4.

Given a little more freedom to move the puck around the ice with one less player seemed to benefit the Hawks (12-3-6). While both teams were showing signs of fatigue both physically and mentally, this contest eventually would come down to which club would be the strongest inside the attacking zone. With this triumph, that nod goes to Xaverian, which finished the evening with 47 shots.

Late in the third period, the Bishops were desperately clinging to a 5-4 lead. But at 11:10, junior Jack Cook deadlocked things with a shot from the left wing that trickled through the pads of Jenner. It marked Cook's third goal of the night. During the first overtime frame, the Hawks managed six shots on Jenner but to no avail. Except for the opening period, when it registered 13 shots, Archbishop Williams' offense was experiencing difficulty trying to match Xaverian's. Yet, despite all that, the Bishops were still even after 51 minutes and change.

"I felt like we got better and better throughout the game," Hawks coach Dave Spinale said. "They had a fast start and are a very dangerous team. I give them a ton of credit. Their top six is as good as anyone we've seen all year. But I just felt after each period our team was gaining more confidence and more momentum. We really started pressuring them and they seemed to be sitting back more in that third period as if they were playing not to lose and I was telling my guys to keep going after them. We certainly got a good bounce to tie it up in that period."

In spite the Bishops dictating the play for much of the opening period it was the Hawks who converted a score on their first attempt to grab the lead. Senior forward Tony Marini took a well-placed behind-the-net pass from Tim Sweeney and one-timed it past Jenner (41 saves). The score was initially set up by Marini, who intercepted the puck along the right half wall before moving himself to the slot as he awaited Sweeney's feed.

Three minutes later, the Bishops tallied for two goals in a span of only five seconds to move in front. Ryan Dunn, a senior, beat Aidan Murphy (22 stops) with a hard wrist shot from the left circle. Then, off the face-off, senior Mike Davis moved into the right circle and lofted a shot into the top right corner. But with just 37 seconds remaining in the period, Xaverian answered. Cook notched his first, showing a burst of speed down the right wing, before letting go of a hard wrist shot into the net and send both teams into the first intermission tied at 2 apiece.

The offensive fireworks seen during the first 15 minutes carried into the middle period. Just 4:19 in, Eric Keefe put Archbishop Williams back in front with a rebound goal. It only took 20 seconds for the Hawks to grab the equalizer. Andrew Durkin, standing just outside the crease, poked in a pass from Connor McCarthy to make it 3-3.

A few moments later, the Bishops were whistled for back-to-back penalties. After a 20 second 5-on-3 advantage went by the boards, Xaverian still continued to play with a man up. However, a costly turnover at mid ice led to a 2-on-1 break for Archbishop Williams. On the play, Dunn hit Garrett Foley in stride with a centering pass. The senior capped things off with a shot between Murphy's pads coming at 7:37 to put the Bishops back on top by a goal. They would extend the advantage to 5-3 thanks to Colin Boyle's power play marker at 10:20. But with just over two minutes left in the period, Cook was able to re-direct Smith's long-range shot off the post and into the net, sending Xaverian into the break trailing by one.

"I thought we were the better team and things came down to some key saves at key moments," said Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis. "Tough way to lose in overtime because I think Steve makes that save most of the time. I thought my team played well all the way through and we were in it to win it. I think the goaltending dictated why this game was so wide-open. I think shots that most of time these guys would save. That opened things up at both ends. Take nothing away from Xaverian, they played very well but I thought my team played great too."

The Hawks dominated the third period in all facets. The offense continued to attack the Bishops end of the ice on every shift. But all of their shots were off-line. That was before Cook delivered with his tying goal late and Smith closing things out later on.

"Ricky has been a great leader for us," said Spinale. "I'm really happy and proud of him to be able to get that goal for us tonight. Jack is probably the fastest guy on our team so we like to use his speed and try to play fast. That's been our system to play fast, be physical and pressure the puck."

Recap: No. 5 Xaverian 9, No. 12 St. John’s (S) 2

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
12:25
AM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Jon Beniers scored twice in the second period as Xaverian broke open a tie game on its way to a blowout over visiting St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in Wednesday’s meeting of teams with Super 8 aspirations at the Foxboro Sports Center.

“This was a critical game because both teams were on the board for a potential Super 8, whether it’s a play-in game or right in,” said Xaverian coach Dave Spinale. “I think it gives us a lot of momentum. Our offense has really been clicking lately and to see it against a real quality club like this was really impressive.”

The Hawks jumped all over the Pioneers early in the first period tallying the first nine shots of the game and establishing a two-goal lead on scores by Tim Sweeney and Trevor McQuade. Sweeney also had a shot cleared off the line and Antonio Marini and Beniers each saw shots ring off the post.

St. John’s managed to turn the game around with a pair of goals in the final 4:05 of the first. Michael Parente’s shot from the point went through a number of bodies in front before finding the top corner and then Chris Adams buried a rebound to tie the game at 2-2.

Xaverian took over the game in the second period. Andrew Durkin got it started with 10:55 remaining as he raced past the defense on a delayed penalty call to give the Hawks back the lead. Five minutes later it was Beniers’ turn.

The sophomore tapped in a goal after a great feed by Marini to make it 4-2 and then that combo worked its magic once again just a little more than a minute later to make it a three-goal cushion.

“After getting the two goal lead and then kind of giving that back, we needed to come back so it was big to get that three-goal lead going into the third,” said Beniers after the game.

He added, “It shows that we can persevere through adversity, you know. We kind of came in and calmed down. Everybody was intense after letting them back into it so just come ourselves down and get back out there and have that big second period.”

“He’s the kind of young man that plays so hard and plays so fast that it really just picks everybody else up. He can create offense because of the speed that he plays at.” said Spinale about Beniers, who started the year as the second line center, but was moved up to the top line early in the season.

In the third period, the Hawks continued to dominate and tacked on extra goals to pad the lead and ensure that there would be no late comeback that might steal the points. Connor McCarthy celebrated his senior night with a pair of goals in the third, Ryan Walsh blasted a rocket of a slap shot from the right face-off circle and senior Dean Adams finished the scoring with a late goal.

“We’ve given up a lot of goals at the end so we wanted win the third period and win the game,” said Spinale. “We didn’t change anything -- we wanted to just keep the pressure up. That’s the key is using our speed and I thought we did a good job of that.”

St. John’s head coach Mike Mead was blunt in his assessment of his team’s performance and took most of the responsibility for how the game went.

He said, “We weren’t ready -- that’s my fault. I needed to get them ready for a playoff game --today was our first playoff game -- and I didn’t have them ready.”

This was the third win in a row for Xaverian, which has high hopes of being included in the Super 8 when the field is announced on Saturday. According to Beniers, wins like this give the team a lot of confidence as it looks towards the tournament.

“The last three games have been really big [to go] into whatever tournament…rolling,” he explained. “You know, we want to get a lot of goals and get everybody going.”

Recap: BC High 2, Xaverian 2

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
4:32
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – BC High was badly in need of a spark entering the third of period of its Catholic Conference matchup with Xaverian. The Eagles trailed by a pair of goal at the Foxboro Sports Center Saturday morning, as it appeared they’d hit the “snooze” bar a couple of times.

It was at that time that head coach John Flaherty turned to his fourth line, consisting of a group of senior Adam and Aidan Foley and freshmen Ryan Doolin and Jack Nisbet. Flaherty threw the line out there to start the third against the Hawks’ high-flying top line of Jake Farrell, Antonio Marini and Tim Sweeney.

The group infused some life and set the tone for the final 15 minutes, as the Eagles came back to salvage a point in a 2-2 with the Hawks. Both teams, which entered the season unbeaten, dropped their first points of the season, but both felt fortunate – in their own way – to have survived with a point.

“They capitalized on their chances, Flaherty said. “At one point, they had two shots on goal and they were beating us 1-0. Then another point, they had maybe five or six shots and they were beating us 2-0.”

Adam Foley scored the equalizer with Doolin adding the assist, coming off a Xaverian (6-0-1, 0-0-1) defensive zone turnover with 3:59 remaining.

At nearly all other points, the Hawks defense endured, with freshman goaltender Aidan Murphy making 20 saves.

“Poise and composure are two words that characterize him immensely,” Hawks head coach Dave Spinale said. “He’s a competitor, he’s got great angles. He battles hard and he loves to play—you can tell he loves to play. And he has a lot of maturity for a freshman.”

Despite being outshot, 9-2, in the first period, Xaverian claimed an early lead with Marini using a dazzling outlet pass from sophomore defenseman Matt McGlynn. Marini finished the breakaway bid on the backhand at 4:03 of the first.

The Hawks added to their lead in the second when Sam Scanlon deposited the carom from Kevin McInerney’s wrist shot off the dasher at 8:44.

BC High finally broke through Murphy in third, as Ryan Shea guided in a point shot just as an Eagles power play expired at 4:57.

Hockey teams kick off season at Regan Summitt

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
1:42
AM ET
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is never easy replacing a legend, but that is the task which has been handed down to first-year St. John's (Shrewsbury) coach Mike Mead.

Mead's Pioneers, along with many of the state's other top-echelon programs, took part in Sunday's Fifth Annual Garrett Regan Hockey Summit at New England Sports Center. The event is named after the former 26-year Hingham High coach and Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame inductee who passed away in June 2008.

Mead, who was appointed to the position last September, takes over for Brian Murphy, who stood behind the St. John's bench for 29 seasons, posting an overall record of 392-217-63, including a pair of Division 1 state titles (1999, 2004) and a handful of Super 8 appearances.

Mead is no stranger to St. John's. He served as an assistant under Murphy for 16 years, leaving in 2007 to spend more time with his family. He is also head of the Math Department at the school.

"Brian is a great friend and was a great mentor," said Mead. "He kind of broke me in. When this opportunity happened I jumped at it. My kids are little older now so everything sort fell into the right place at the right time for me."

Mead exudes the fact that the Pioneers have a plethora of depth, including a freshman team with 25 members. "We have a lot of kids who came back and tried out," he said. "We have good numbers and good depth. I don't really know the kids yet so with our tryouts I did things by grade. I didn't do it with returning players. We did juniors and seniors one day and freshman and sophomores the next. What I have seen so far I have been pleasantly surprised."

St. John's will, again, be paced by senior defensemen Bryan Nelson (23 points last season), Connor McCann, senior forward Kevin Butler and senior goaltender Mario Pizzeri.

Mead is also counting on senior forward Chris Adams and junior forward Dan Barlock to make their presence felt.

"We'll try to be aggressive on the forecheck and having two men on the puck," Mead said. "The biggest thing for us will be on offense. I feel we are a strong defensive team. I'm going to need some of our seniors to put the puck into the net."

Lancers quest for four: Malden Catholic began its quest for a fourth consecutive Super 8 crown, taking on Springfield Cathedral, another Super 8 qualifier from a year ago.

The Lancers controlled the opening frame, building a 4-1 lead before the Panthers rallied for three unanswered tallies to earn a 4-4 tie in the 2-period scrimmage.

By most people's observations, MC is the prohibitive favorite to claim another Super 8 crown again this season.

Despite the losses of two of their most prolific players (Casey Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, who combined for 56 points a year ago), there is still plenty of talent to carry the Lancers again this season. Junior forward Ara Nazarian (26 goals, 24 assists) leads the way. Senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, junior forward Austin Goldstein, sophomore forwards Matt Filipe and Jake Witkowski along with defensemen John McLean, Nick Rolli are solid. As of now, Alex Reissis appears to be the front-runner between the pipes replacing departed Connor Maloney.

"We lost some major contributors but we have a good bunch of younger kids who have come in that should fill those spots fine," MC head coach John McLean said. "The issue is you cannot replace a Casey Fitzgerald (who joined the United States National Team Development Program). He was a special player but the guys that are going to play need to step up.

“As far as our expectations I just worry about the next game. We don't think about the Super 8. Right now we're rolling everyone and everyone is getting to play. When we work we're good and when we don't want to work then we're just average. All that matters is winning the last game of the year. Last year was a long learning curve for us. Hopefully our leaders this year will step it up and take us to the Garden again. We have a lot of good, young strong players. It's just a matter of them gaining the confidence to play at this level."

Against Springfield Cathedral, Sifferlen netted a pair of goals, with Goldstein and Rolli accounting for one apiece.

"I think we have a good group of young core guys on this team," said Nazarian, a UNH commit. "We have good leadership from our older guys. It's a good mix of young and older guys. I think things are looking good so far. There is one goal here and that's to win the whole thing. That is our mindset. We won last year so we know every team we play is going to give us their best so we need to give it our best every game. This is a whole new season so we're just focusing on winning it again and not look back on last year."

Raiders on the rebound: Having reached the third round of last year's Super 8 before falling to St. John's Prep, Central Catholic remains hopeful for another stab at the big dance. Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski is a main reason as to why this program has emerged as a driving force statewide.

With Central everything begins from the net outward. Senior goaltender Colin Soucy, arguably the best high school netminder in the state, will be relied on heavily to get the Raiders back into Super 8 contention.

"We've had a lot of success of late," Jankowski said. "The culture has changed here and we are getting kids coming back from juniors and prep schools and believing in this program and high school. We want kids to enjoy their high school experience here. The schedule we play keeps is very competitive and it keeps our kids engaged and maintains them playing at a high-level. There's nothing like high school hockey in terms of the relationships and friendships the kids build. It's an awesome brotherhood that all teams should experience."

For years, Central often flew under the radar, constantly being overshadowed by other programs. But due to their recent success, that is no longer the case. Jankowski wishes it was not like that but when you win consistently, you now have a target on your back.

"Now, instead of coming in as a dark horse which we like to ride, there is a new expectation level which has been set here but I think we're ready for it," he said. "Colin is back and what he did for us, especially at the end of last year, was remarkable. For the kids to have that confidence in him at his position just gives us that added advantage. The goalie position where it makes a difference in a team's won-loss record. Colin is just a great example of being a great character kid."

Panthers on the prowl: With the loss of two key contributors last year, Springfield Cathedral will be looking to its youthfulness to help them make a return visit to the Super 8. Gone are defenseman Matt Foley and forwards Artie Potter and Dominic Blad. But who returns should play a key role in the Panthers postseason hopes. It all starts with goalie John Liquori. The team's lone senior, Liquori played himself into a top-level talent a year ago. Forwards Peter Crinella (a Holy Cross commit), Johnny Leonard, D.J. Petruzzelli, Cole Foster, Zac Prattson and Riley Prattson will give Cathedral the ammo it needs on offense.

Defense will be a work in progress, but Bryce Peritz, Jordan Tetreault and Cam Griffin return.

Also make note on freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli over the next couple of years.

"We've got babies but they're all good," Panthers coach Brian Foley said. "Our first two lines are going to score goals. We had a great first week of practice and you noticed how much they improved in just one week. It'll be fun over time to see how these guys mature this year. I think this will be our most-offensive team that we've had ever. All of those kids did a lot of work on their strength and speed during the off-season. I also think our defense and goaltending will be outstanding as well."

BC High movin’ on: With the loss of all-everything goaltender Peter Cronin, all is not lost at BC High. Brandon Payzant, a sophomore, was Cronin's understudy a year ago and by the looks of things, he appears to be a quick learner after playing solid between the pipes today against St. Mary's of Lynn.

"Brandon was with us last year as a freshman," Eagles coach John Flaherty said. "Obviously he had a great kid to watch and learn from. Peter was great working with Brandon so he now has a year of experience under his belt in practice and being around these guys. Now he is able to get some game experience. He's a good athlete and someone who will be able to step in and carry the load for us. We are also carrying eight defense (spearheaded by Sam Topham) where we hope to find the right combinations in order to keep the puck out of our zone."

On offense, BC High will count on Patrick Kramer (25 points), Steve DeForge, Chris LaLiberte, Tim Larocque, Jake Lemanski and Connor Noonan to work the puck into opposing team's defensive zones.

"We have a lot of experience back," Flaherty added. "It is just now we need guys to play bigger roles for us. Overall we are returning seven defensemen, 11 forwards and one goaltender and most of them have been around for a few years and it is our hope this is the year they blossom."

Hawks a sleeper?: Don't rule out Xaverian as a potential candidate to do some big things this season. Reaching the Division 1 South quarterfinals last season, the Hawks should be a better unit this year in spite of the departures of Eddie Pratt (17 goals last year) and defenseman Mike Brennan. They are led by forwards Antonio Marini (35 points last year), Tim Sweeney (24 points) and Jake Farrell (14). Defensively, Rick Smith and Ryan Walsh will be keys in shutting down opposing offenses.

Shot in the arm for SMH: After spending last season at Brewster Academy, St. Mary's of Lynn head coach Mark Lee was overjoyed learning that goalie Bailey MacBurnie was returning for his senior year.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, MacBurnie secured a 1.38 goals-against-average in helping the Spartans earn a No. 2 seeding in the Super 8 Tournament. With him back in the crease, expect St. Mary's to make another solid postseason run.

"Bailey can certainly be a difference maker for us," Lee said. "I think with this team we are putting a lot of kids in a position to allow them to gain great experience because overall we are a young team. I think we'll get better as the season goes."

With another year under their respective belts, you can look for forwards Jordan Manthorne and Jon Powers, the only two players to reach double digits in scoring last season, to lead to carry this club offensively.

Burlington moves on from repeat: Defending back-to-back Division 1 state champion Burlington will count on its defense to help the Red Devils in their quest for a third state title.

"So far I'm happy with our progress even though it has only been a couple of days," said Burlington head coach and recently-inducted Mass. State Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bob Conceison. "We have a strong defense and some forward that are young so it will be a work in progress to get our offense going. This is kind of a similar team to last year in that our offense started to come together at the end of the year. It's going to take a while for our offense to gel. We lost some firepower on offense last year (losing C.J. Grinnell and Joe Bernardi) but our defense is back."

The Red Devils also lost goalie Derek DeCastro to graduation and hope to fill the void with senior Mike Guleserian.

The Hall calls: Longtime Hudson head coach Mike Nanartowich will be inducted into the Mass. State Coaches Hall of Fame in May, along with Murphy, Waltham head coach John Maguire and Stoughton front man Dan Mark. Two years removed from his Division 3 state championship triumph over Medway, Nanartowich, now in his 24th season, regards Shrewsbury as the favorite in Central Mass. this year.

The Colonials return a front line of Dan and Jack Quinlivan along with David Belbin. Last season the trio combined to score 125 points. However, never never rule out the possibility for the Hawks at making a serious charge by season's end.

"You still have to go out and show up for every single game," Nanartowich said. "Right now you have to give the edge to Shrewsbury because of the people that they are returning as well as Wachusett and its depth. But at this point, I just think Belbin and the Quinlivan brothers can be the most-dominant line in all of Central Mass. this year. How you take care of their speed and skill requires a lot of game planning. As for us, we will still go out and play everyone straight up like we always do."

In regards to going into the Hall of Fame, Nanartowich remains humble over the selection. He passes the credit over to the players and coaches he has worked with over the years as the reason for the honor.

"I'm going in with a bunch of great guys and guys who have won at a good level," he said. "For me, all that hard work of watching tape, going to various rinks to scout and those commitments you make in the off-season with your team has paid off in winning a state championship and now it has paid off in terms of being recognized by your peers."

Hawks longtime assistant coach Mike Correa added that the honor bestowed on Nanartowich is certainly well-deserved.

"There is probably no one who does more for his players or works harder at preparing kids, not only for the game but life lessons as well, than him," Correa said. "Winning the 2012 state championship is not the reason why he should be in the hall. It is all the dedication he has brought to all the kids who have played in this program over the years which stands out to me."

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