Boston High School: Tom Coleman

ESPN Boston MIAA All-State boys' hockey team

March, 24, 2011
3/24/11
4:59
PM ET
First Team
F - Colin Blackwell, St. John’s Prep
The senior center and captain led the Eagles with 45 points (24 G, 21A) while earning MVP honors from the Catholic Conference. Playing on Prep’s top lines, in addition to power play and penalty kill units, the Harvard commit was a +42 this season for the Super Eight finalists.

F - Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic
Collier was perhaps the most versatile player in the state. The junior BU commit scored the game-winning goal in the Lancers’ Super Eight championship, but the winger was also a mainstay of MC’s penalty kill units, playing defense. The Charlestown native tallied 63 points (24 G, 39 A) during the regular season while guiding the Lancers to their first D1A title.

F - Mike Vecchione, Malden Catholic
The Lancers captain and UNH signee led their potent offense with 70 points (26G, 44A) during the regular season. The senior winger also broke the Catholic Conference’s all-time single-season scoring record during MC’s run in the Super Eight. The Saugus native is looking at playing in either the British Columbia Hockey League or the United State Hockey League next year.

D - Connor Evangelista, Malden Catholic
The junior blue liner was perhaps the most underrated element to the Lancers’ Super Eight title run. Whether it was through an outlet pass springing the rush or on the penalty kill, the Wakefield native did it all. Evangelista was among the state’s top-scoring defensemen and contributed 25 assists during the regular season for the D1A champion Lancers.

D - Marc Hetnik, Catholic Memorial
The Knights senior was like having a fourth forward out there, who also readily handled the opposing team’s top players night after night. The Chestnut Hill native is considering BU, Holy Cross and Merrimack among his college choices and is likely to play in the British Columbia Hockey League next year.

G - Kyle Williams, Central Catholic
The junior netminder spearheaded the Raiders’ run to the Super Eight. With Williams carrying a bulk of the load, Central Catholic surrendered just 43 goals this season while posting a goal differential of +45. He was also a driving force behind the Raiders’ Super Eight run and turned in a strong performance in a near upset bid against Malden Catholic.

“Line Change” Second Team
F - Tim Driscoll, Hingham
After scoring the winning goal in the Harbormen’s Super Eight championship in 2010, the Holy Cross commit captained Hingham to a D1A return in 2011. The senior winger led the Harbormen with 34 points (12 G, 22A) during the regular season and is exploring opportunities to play a prep postgraduate year of hockey before enrolling at Holy Cross.

F - Ryan Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic
The talented sophomore was the fulcrum the Lancers’ prolific top line, centering Collier and Vecchione. The BC recruit was MC’s second leading scorer during the regular season, netting 66 points (24 G, 42 A) for the Super Eight champions.

F - Tyler Piacentini, Weymouth
The senior captain was the sparkplug to the Wildcats’ Super Eight run. While he was often the smallest player on the ice, Piacentini was typically the most visible, letting his play to the talking. With a 61-point regular season (31 G, 30 A), he finished fourth in the state in scoring to MC’s dynamic first line.

D - Chris Joyce, Needham
The senior blue liner was the Rockets’ third leading scorer and a stalwart on defense who seldom left the ice. Joyce tallied 24 points in the regular season (7 G, 17 A) while leading Needham to yet another Super Eight appearance.

D - Alex Pompeo, Hingham
The senior was among the state’s leading point-getters among blue liners and finished second on the Harbormen in scoring to Driscoll. Pompeo was an integral part of the Harbormen’s Super Eight title run in 2010 and their repeat appearance in 2011.

G - Donald Hesse, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
The Spartans netminder was among the state’s leaders in all goaltending statistical categories, including a measly goals against average of 1.90 during the regular season. Hesse spurred St. Mary’s to its first Super Eight appearance this season. The Salem native is considering playing hockey at several postgraduate prep schools next season.

Best of the Rest
F Garrett Allen, Dartmouth
F Mike Cashman, BC High
F Liam Centrella, Andover
F Tom Coleman, Needham
F Ryan Connors, Marshfield
F Liam Coughlin, Catholic Memorial
F Joe Czarnota, Reading
F Ryan Dempsey, Marblehead
F Ryan Doherty, Tewksbury
F Terence Durkin, BC High
F Kevin Emmerling, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Tommy Evangelista, Central Catholic
F Riley Flanagan, Weymouth
F Dan Graham, Arlington Catholic
F Anthony Hardy, Bridgewater-Raynham
F Mitch Hamor, Beverly
F Alex Holland, Woburn
F Jack Jenkins, Billerica
F Sam Kurker, St. John’s Prep
F Chris Leblanc, Winthrop
F Nick Leonard, Central Catholic
F Conal Lynch, Boston Latin
F Chris Maguire, Waltham
F Jim McGrath, Medfield
F Dan O’Hear, Catholic Memorial
F Ross Olsson, Billerica
F Cam Owens, Wilmington
F Drew Oxley, Saugus
F Kurt Roderigues, Saugus
F Nick Roberto, Malden Catholic
F Jason Salvaggio, Xaverian
F Joe Scarfo, Winthrop
F Casey Shea, Woburn
F Devin Smith, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
F Andrew Taylor, Oliver Ames
F Zach Wells, Barnstable
F Andrew White, BC High
F Garrett White, Malden Catholic
D Steven Bellew, Hingham
D Steven Bristol, Weymouth
D Sean Kavanagh, Springfield Cathedral
D Cam Kennedy, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
D Jake Kulevich, Marblehead
D Ryley MacEachern, Austin Prep
D Eric Muise, Peabody
D Alex Taddeo, Franklin
G Joe Cerulo, Wakefield
G James Cox, Braintree
G Peter Cronin, BC High
G Zac Rondeau, Springfield Cathedral
G Kyle Jacobs, Pembroke
G Chris Treon, Westwood

All Rookie Team (Top 5 to Watch for Next Year)
  1. Shane Eiserman, F, St. John’s Prep
  2. Tyler Sifferlen, F, Malden Catholic
  3. Tom Besinger, F, BC High
  4. Sean Cleary, G, Barnstable
  5. Nolan Redler, F, Winchester
Coach of the Year
John Flaherty, BC High
It took just one season for Flaherty, who took over for legend Joe McCabe, to get the Eagles back to the Super Eight after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons. The BC High graduate guided the Eagles to a 15-6-3 record that included an appearance in the Super Eight crossover round. Flaherty also works at the school as its Director of the Fund.

BC High blanks Needham in Super 8 opener

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
5:06
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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- No. 3 seed BC High passed its first playoff test in over two years with flying colors in a 2-0 win over No. 6 Needham in the first game of the 2011 Super Eight Tournament on Saturday at Lawler Arena on the campus of Merrimack College.

The Eagles (14-4-3) controlled play for most of the game, but had to survive a flurry of quick-striking scoring opportunities by the Rockets.

Luckily for the Eagles they were armed and ready with sophomore Peter Cronin, who made 14 saves for his first playoff shutout.

“We did give up some chances, but Peter Cronin is a very good goalie,” Eagles head coach John Flaherty said. “We scored two goals, but he easily saved three or four on his end.”

The first period was more like the beginning stages of a championship-boxing match. Neither team wanted to be the ones to leave itself open and make the first mistake, but in the second period the Rockets let some big shots fly.

Tom Coleman got a quick shot on Cronin on the first shift of the second period, and D.J. Walsh and Coleman broke out on a 2-on-1 opportunity, but an offside call wiped out the scoring chance.

Cronin had to use his facemask to fend off another Coleman blast later in the period, and he was able to poke the puck away from Sam Nickles on the doorstep when it looked like Sam Nickles was ready to get enough daylight for the game’s first goal.

But it may have been his save on Nickles in the third period that truly was the game saver. Nickles came barreling down the right side of the ice, but Cronin was able to cut off the angle and trap the puck in his armpit to keep the Rockets off the board.

“He was coming down and I knew I had to get an angle on him,” Cronin explained. “He was a (right-handed shot) so I kind of squared up to the puck and after that it was just reaction.”

“Thank God Peter played his head off,” senior captain Mike Cashman said. “He played really well for us.”

All of those saves by Cronin and missed opportunities from the Rockets allowed Cashman and the Eagles to take advantage of a power play in the third period.

The spacing on the Eagles first two power plays was a little bunched up, but a few adjustments from Flaherty and his team got Cashman wide open in the right circle and he went top shelf to beat Connor Murray (23 saves) with 6:28 left to play.

“We talked about kind of waiting and moving the puck around and finding the guy that is open,” Flaherty said. “First couple of ones we were forcing it. We weren’t allowing ourselves to find guys open. We were just forcing and forcing.

“We just talked about making a couple of adjustments, but the kids on the ice are the ones that delivered.”

Andrew White delivered the second goal of the game, when he intercepted a pass with the Eagles facing a 6-on-5 and put home and empty-netter with 32.2 seconds remaining.

The chances were there for Needham, and although the Eagles outshot the Rockets 26-14, the bulk of the best scoring opportunities were in its favor.

“You are not going to win if you don’t score,” Rockets head coach Bill Guisti said. “I don’t care who you are playing. I thought we played a pretty good game. I thought our defense kept them at bay for the most part.”

10's a crowd: A Super 8 primer

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
3:28
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We’re hours away from dropping the puck in the postseason with tonight’s Super Eight play-in games.

But we took a little time to sort out the Super Eight field, providing a primer on the teams.

Take a peek:

1. Malden Catholic (16-2-2)
Marquee wins: Lancers had wins over five of the 10 Super Eight teams and that doesn’t even include what might have been their most impressive win, an early season triumph over New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton.

Players to watch: F Mike Vecchione, F Ryan Fitzgerald, F Brendan Collier, D Connor Evangelista, F Nick Roberto.

The skinny: Wire to wire, unquestionably the top-ranked team in the state. As in the last couple of seasons, the Lancers enter the Super Eight with lofty expectations and seemingly nothing short of a title will satisfy. MC’s depth reaches far beyond its top line of three Division 1 college recruits (Collier, Fitzgerald and Vecchione) and its team speed and passing ability are without parallel. Not only can they score, they can defend as well, led by top defensive pairing of Evangelista and Colin MacGillivray.

X-factor: It’s funny how the postseason seems to shave away certain goals into missed chances and oftentimes it due to a hot netminder. So if those once plentiful goals start to ebb away, it will be left to senior goaltender Pat Young to shine. Young is capable between the pipes and he might just show that he’s been the most overlooked element to MC’s success.

2. St. John’s Prep (14-5-1)
Marquee wins: As the runners up in the Catholic Conference, the Eagles nabbed a pair of league wins against both BC High and Catholic Memorial, but it might have been Prep’s win against the Knights on Friday that showed they can truly be a threat in the Super Eight. Playing against a CM team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Eagles ratcheted up the D in a playoff-like atmosphere.

Players to watch: F Colin Blackwell, F Shane Eiserman, F Sam Kurker, G David Letarte, D Joe Currie.

The skinny: Outside of MC, the Eagles have the deepest collection of eye-popping offensive talent. Blackwell, a Harvard commit, is equally adept as a playmaker as he is a sniper. Eiserman is wise and mature beyond his years as a freshman while Kurker provides grit and a nice scoring complement. The blue line was the perceived weakness of the squad, but they’ve come a long way with Currie providing veteran leadership, in addition to Scott Derrickson who played a strong second half.

X-factor: Kurker. When the junior winger gets hot, he’s hard to stop and creates a dynamism to Prep’s offense.

3. BC High (13-4-3)
Marquee wins: The Eagles finished strong, winning their final six games in addition to the Cape Cod Classic tournament to end the season. Their 5-4 shootout with Catholic Memorial was also a classic, as usual. Does a tie against Malden Catholic count as well? Sure.

Players to watch: F Mike Cashman, F Terence Durkin, F Andrew White, D Jack Buckley, D Brendan O’Malley.

The skinny: The Eagles play with plenty of speed, a point of emphasis for first-year head coach John Flaherty when assembling this year’s varsity roster, and the young roster has gelled together quickly. More than anything, BC High has taken play to their opponents. They’re aggressive on the forecheck and know how to use their speed to their advantage.

X-factor: Experience. The Eagles haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, so a good portion of their roster hasn’t experienced playoff hockey. How long will it take them to acclimate? A period? A shift? “Hopefully, not even that,” Flaherty said. “At the end of the day, it’s just another hockey game. It’s not different from any others.”

4. Weymouth (17-3-2)
Marquee wins: The Wildcats’ 5-2 win over fellow Super Eight entrant and longtime rival Hingham at Pilgrim was about as good as it gets for the Weymouth seniors who’d never beaten the Harbormen before. “It’s a monkey they’ve wanted to get off their backs,” head coach Matt Cataldo told ESPN Boston after the game.

Players to watch: F Tyler Piacentini, F Riley Flanagan, G Brian Brady, F/D Trevor King, D Andy Sheridan.

The skinny: When are people finally going to stop saying that Piancentini is too small to play on the big stage? He can flat out score. Hey, it worked for Nathan Gerbe, right? Not only does Weymouth have scoring punch, they’re well suited for a long postseason run with Brady, a senior, in nets. Outside of MC, the Wildcats were perhaps the state’s most consistent team from start to finish and that means something coming in a year of great parity.

X-factor: King has played on the blue line and stepped up front to play center as well this season. Whether it’s moving the puck out of his own end, or stepping in to win a faceoff, versatility always comes in handy this time of year.

5. Hingham (13-5-4)
Marquee wins: It might not look as impressive as their upset over Malden Catholic on paper, but the Harbormen’s 5-3 win over St. Mary’s of Lynn on Feb. 5 got them going. After upsetting the Lancers, Hingham went through a tough 0-3-1 stretch before turning things around with a comeback win that had the intensity of Super Eight matchup.

Players to watch: F Tim Driscoll, D Alex Pompeo, F Matt Hughes, F Austin O’Connor, D Steven Bellew.

The skinny: Let’s call spades a spade: the Harbormen are the defending champions, so that has to count for something. Simply put, they’ve been there and done that, so nerves won’t be an issue. Although there was a good amount of turnover from last year’s roster, a few of their stalwarts remain in Holy Cross commit Driscoll and Pompeo, who is among the best defensemen in the state. They are terrific building blocks to a Super Eight champion-caliber squad.

X-factor: Derek McInnis was superb during last year’s run to the title, but head coach Tony Messina likes to roll his goaltenders and senior Kevin Granatino has been solid in the second half of the season. That gives the Harbormen perhaps the greatest depth in goal in the tournament.

6. Needham (12-6-4)
Marquee wins: Where would the Rockets have been without their 3-2 win over Weymouth on Feb. 9? It was a season-turner. Their 4-3 win over Springfield Cathedral was their raison d’Ítre to the tournament.

Players to watch: D Chris Joyce, F Tom Coleman, F Jeff Rosata, D Scott Atkinson.

The skinny: Who’d have thought the Rockets would end up with the sixth seed after (literally) being left off the table in the first round of Super Eight voting. Of course, head coach Bill Guisti has built Needham into one of the state’s premier public school programs and is evidenced by their tough out-of-conference schedule which includes several Catholic Conference teams. So the Rockets are used to playing the best. Joyce is in the conversation when it comes to the state’s best defensemen and we’ve always loved the jam Needham’s forward play with. They’re truly a tough team to play.

X-factor: Akin to the Harbormen, it will be interesting to see how Needham’s goaltending tandem of Evan MacDonald and Connor Murray shapes up. They’re both talented and capable of carrying the load.

7. Woburn (17-3-1)
Marquee wins: Life in the Middlesex League night in and night out is no easy thing, so we take the fact that the Tanners were 14-2-0 against league competition as a marquee accomplishment.

Players to watch: F Casey Shea, F Alex Holland, F Daniel Holland, F Eddie Aprile, D Brian Dulong.

The skinny: We had the Tanners pegged for the top six, which means they would have avoided playing Cathedral in tonight’s play-in game. But so is life and Woburn enters the tournament as one of the most consistent teams throughout the season …

X-factor: … However, the Tanners haven’t played much in the way of their out-of-conference schedule (a Their 6-0 thumping at the hands of St. John’s Prep was a good harbinger.

8. Central Catholic (16-5-1)
Marquee wins: It was early, but the Raiders’ 4-3 win over St. John’s Prep is about as good as it gets.

Players to watch: F Tommy Evangelista, G Kyle Williams, F Nick Pelrine, F/D Nick Leonard, D Ricky Sheehan.

The skinny: The Raiders looked like they might have been on the bubble with fellow DCL/MVC co-champion Billerica coming down the last couple weeks of the season, but Central showed what they are capable of with a huge 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Weymouth on the next to last day of the season. If that team shows up, the Raiders will be extremely dangerous. Evangelista is simply fun to watch.

X-factor: Williams is that type of goaltender who is capable of stealing games for his team.

9. St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-5-3)
Marquee wins: The Spartans had some tough luck in their out-of-conference schedule and had just a 7-5-3 record against fellow playoff teams. However, they were simply dominant in the Catholic Central (7-0-3), allowing just 12 goals in 10 games.

Players to watch: G Donald Hesse, D Cam Kennedy, F Bobby Mullins, F Christopher Surrette, F Tim Aylward.

The skinny: There’s no bones about why the Spartans are in the fold and that is their defense, which all starts in net with Hesse. Among the elite netminders in the state, Hesse is a game-changer and showed in last year’s Division 1 North tournament that he’s capable of putting a team on his back. Kennedy is an underrated blue-liner who is equally adept leading the breakout from his own end as he is clearing out the crease.

X-factor: It comes down to the ability for the Spartans to get those mucking-type goals in key situations and then shutting teams down.

10. Springfield Cathedral (12-9-1)
Marquee wins: All but one of the Panthers’ games was against a playoff opponent, so they’re battled tested and held their own against teams that were considered for the Super Eight, going 4-4-0.

Players to watch: G Zac Rondeau, D Sean Kavanagh, F Frank Crinella, F Dante Christofori.

The skinny: The Panthers always seem to find a way into the Super Eight field and play one of the toughest schedules in the state. They might not be as talented as their previous Super Eight predecessors, but they play good defense in front of Rondeau, who is capable of stealing games on his own.

X-factor: Kavanagh is one of the great hidden jewels in the state.

No. 13 Needham holds off No. 10 Cathedral

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
11:43
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Needham’s Chris Joyce had seen it all before. Earlier in the season, the Rockets had led against top-notch opponents late in the third period, but they had faltered in the final frame to wind up with ties.

“In the past we played BC High and Hingham and we’d blown [the lead] in the last 19 seconds to tie it,” Joyce said after Wednesday night’s game against No. 10 Springfield Cathedral. “And that’s what was going through my head.”

The 13th-ranked Rockets watched a 4-1 lead evaporate in the third period again, but this time escaped Olympia with a 4-3 victory over the Panthers in the opening round of the Springfield Cathedral Tournament.

Similar to the games Joyce recalled, two Cathedral goals made it a one-goal game and with one minute to play, the Panthers had control of the puck on a power play.

With a 6-4 advantage on the ice, the Panthers took their best opportunity and fired a shot in traffic on Needham goaltender Evan MacDonald. The puck banged off the post to MacDonald’s right side and the goalie fell on his back to try to save the puck from slipping in.

“Don’t let this puck in the net, don’t let this puck in the net,” Joyce thought to himself as MacDonald went to the ice. “And thank God it hit the post and never went in.”

As the Cathedral players raised their arms in triumph and argued for a goal, the referees on the ice waved off the equalizer, and Needham avoided yet another tie and advanced to the tournament final against Malden Catholic.

“I was just hoping that we would come up here with a good effort and come away with a win,” Needham head coach Bill Guisti said about the importance of the game. “Whatever team took this game was going to be one step closer to the play-in game.”

Needham (125-5-4) clearly owned the early part of the third period with a wrap-around goal from Tom Coleman 46 seconds in, and a goal from Joyce in front of the net 5 minutes, 37 seconds into the period. But somewhere in the middle of the third, the Panthers found a spark.

While Cathedral (12-8-1) trailed by three goals and was shorthanded, Panthers’ defenseman Sean Kavanaugh played heroically on two breakaway Cathedral goals. Kavanaugh beat out a Needham defenseman for a puck and stopped short of the net to set up Frank Crinella for a score, and then one minute later he tossed the puck off of the boards to evade a defender and eventually beat MacDonald for a goal.

However, the comeback came too little and too late, and Needham picked up an important win in one final push toward a Super Eight berth.

“We’ll take the win, the kids hung on and played tough,” Guisti said. “Overall, I think we played well.”

MALDEN CATHOLIC ROMPS
No. 1 Malden Catholic’s Brendan Collier had a monstrous game, putting up four goals and two assists in the Lancers’ 9-2 victory over Rhode Island's Bishop Hendricken on Wednesday night.

“When they’re moving the puck with that line of [Ryan] Fitzgerald, [Mike] Vecchione and Collier, they’re awful good,” Lancers head coach Chris Serino said of his first line. “I thought our puck movement was really good tonight and we had some big scoring chances early.”

The Lancers (15-2-2) put up four goals both the first and second periods, and limited the Hawks to 17 shots in the game as they cruised to the win in a Super Eight tuneup.

“This is where we want to be,” Serino said. “We want to be playing our best going into the tournament, and I think right now, we’re playing pretty well.”

No. 14 Needham topples No. 2 Weymouth

February, 10, 2011
2/10/11
1:40
AM ET
WELLESLEY, Mass. -- After No. 2 Weymouth handed No. 14 Needham their first Bay State Conference loss in two seasons in January, the Rockets knew they’d have to step their game up in the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams Wednesday night at Babson College.

Despite coming out with their best effort, scoring two goals in the opening three and a half minutes, Needham needed a third-period goal from Jeff Rosata to come away with a 3-2 win over the Wildcats.

“We had a very good practice yesterday and they came out flying tonight," Needham head coach Bill Guisti said. "It was one of our better starts of the season."

Tom Coleman got the scoring started at 2:24 in the first, sticking home a rebound on a D.J. Walsh shot. Just over a minute later, J.P. McHale doubled the lead with a beautiful backhand pass from Lucas Davis.

Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo called their timeout immediately after the goal.

“I told them [they] deserve better than this,” Cataldo said of his timeout talk, “we worked too hard, we worked too much, and we’re too good of a team to put forth this type of an effort.”

And they were a different team after that, forcing pressure on Needham that eventually led to a goal at 12:58 in the first period. Riley Flanagan tapped in a rebound from a Danny White shot after some good forechecking by the Wildcats made it difficult for Needham to clear their zone.

After a physical and goal-less second period, Needham entered the third with a 2-1 advantage. That lasted only 44 seconds as Weymouth senior Nick Peatfield skated behind Needham’s goal and delivered a beautiful backhand pass to forward Jonathan Wilson who finished high into the top corner.

The Rockets didn’t take long to answer. At 4:10 into the third period, Coleman hit a long cross-ice pass from inside his blue line to Rosata, just across the redline, and Rosata was one-on-one with Weymouth goalie Brian Brady whom he deked once and backhanded high into the net for a 3-2 lead.

But Weymouth didn’t go out easy. With just over a minute left in regulation, the Wildcats pulled their goalie for an extra skater and forced four good saves out of Needham netminder Evan MacDonald, the first of which came on Flanagan straight off a faceoff.

“Coach Guisti warned me before the game of the shot right off the faceoff,” MacDonald said , “the kid (Flanagan) is a very good face-off man. I give credit to Weymouth, the tried their best and gave it their all. We came out flying tonight and had luck on our side.”

“Hopefully, we’ll enjoy this win for a day or two, but we have got to get back to business on Saturday night against Braintree,” Guisti said looking forward.

With the win Needham improves to 9-5-3 overall and 9-2-1 in conference. Weymouth suffers just their second loss overall (14-2-1) and their first conference loss of the season (11-1-1). The Wildcats hold a 1-point lead over Braintree in the Bay State Conference Standings.

SCORING
First
Needham 2:24 Tom Coleman from DJ Walsh
Needham 3:11 JP McHale from Lucas Davis

Third
Weymouth 12:58 Riley Flanagan from Danny White
Weymouth 0:44 Jonathan Wilson from Nick Peatfield
Needham 4:10 Jeff Rosata from Coleman

Player Diary: Tim Driscoll

January, 3, 2011
1/03/11
12:35
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Editor's note: Hingham High School senior Tim Driscoll checks in with his first Player Diary installment of the hockey season, highlighting the Harbormen's recent tussle with Needham and looking to what lies ahead for the defending Super 8 champions.

The hockey season is about a third of the way done, but it feels that it began just yesterday. So far we are 3-0-3 in the young season, which puts us right in the middle of things. As players, we would all like that to be a 6-0 record, but we are still undefeated and that is something to be proud of. Already we have played in some very exciting games.
[+] EnlargeTim Driscoll
Scott Barboza Hingham High School senior Tim Driscoll.

On Friday, we played a very fun game against a very good Needham squad. Our coaches told us that this is a big game throughout the whole state because it gives a everyone somewhat of an idea of where they stand next to other teams. It was also a big game for us because year after year Hingham and Needham are among the best teams in the state and both are usually two of the top public schools. Despite coming out very slow in the first period, we managed to get an early goal and take a 1-0 lead in the first minute. After that goal though, the first period was all Needham and they took a 2-1 lead into the locker room. As a team, we started to pick up our play in the second and managed to tie the game at two midway through the second. The score remained at 2-2 because of great goaltending and very physical play all the way until two minutes left in the third period. Needham got a power play late in third, and Tom Coleman walked out from behind the net and fired a shot home just as the power play was ending with just over a minute left in the game. Being down 3-2, we took a timeout with about 45 seconds left to play to discuss how we wanted to try and get the equalizer. After we put a shot on net there was a big scrum in front and somehow the puck found our stick and we capitalized to tie the game with less than 15 seconds left.

Clearly, we would have loved to get the win in a game where we out-shot our opponents by a fair margin, but its always great when you get a tie after being down real late. I am happy we pulled out the tie and one of the reasons we were so good last year was because of our heart and determination to win games, and this game showed that we still have those qualities as a team this year.

So far this year, we have beat Hamden High (the Connecticut state champs), 4-0, Norwood, 6-1, and Weymouth, 3-2. We beat Duxbury 3-2 in an overtime thriller, but it counts as a tie according the MIAA. We also tied a very good St. John's Prep team, 4-4, where we again rallied to tie it up late.

Our team this year is still trying to find our identity because we are such an experienced team. We have many returning players, but only a couple received quality ice time last year in our title run [in the Super 8]. That does not go to show that we aren't talented because we do have quite a bit of skill. The key for us this year in order to be successful again is to find team chemistry and get everyone on the same page. I feel we are starting to develop as a team because everyone wants to have a great year and as players we are learning what it takes to be great.

We are going to need to work out all of our kinks and start playing “Hingham Hockey” because we have some very tough games coming up in Catholic Memorial next Saturday and Malden Catholic the following Saturday.

No. 9 Xaverian rallies past No. 10 Needham

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
2:02
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No. 9 Xaverian and No. 10 Needham have become mini rivals over the last four seasons, and their contest on Tuesday night was just the latest chapter between two of last year's Super 8 entrants.

“It’s become a fun rivalry, our guys get up for it and I know they [Needham] get up for it” said Xaverian head coach Dave Spinale.

“It’s one we always mark on our schedule to see what our status is, and it’s a good way for us to test ourselves.”

Needham (2-2-0) opened up a two-goal lead after the first period with goals from J.P. McHale, (assisted by Tom Coleman) and Timmy Parlato (Jeff Rosata).

But Xaverian (3-0-0) came out in the second period with guns blazing.

“We knew that the effort we had in the first, it wasn’t are best effort, so flat out we asked the to play with courage.” Spinale said referring to his team talk at the first intermission, “We got on them pretty good, pointed out their mistakes, and asked them to play the way they’re capable of. We asked for our seniors to step up and our captains to step up.”

Just 4:43 into the second period the Hawks cut the lead in half through a goal from senior captain Tommy Jenkins, Jason Salvaggio providing the assist. Xaverian scored again just under four minutes later when they broke out of their defensive zone on a 4 on 1 break away. It was the other co-captain Ryan Hall finishing off the nice move, Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt with the assists.

After the goal things turned physical. Two and a half minutes of hard-hitting and questionable non-calls on both sides lead to a scuffle in front of Needham’s net resulting in matching minors and misconducts on both sides.

Jenkins and Jack McClellan went to the box for Xaverian with 7:30 misconducts, 1:30 minute roughing calls and McClellan also receiving 1:30 for a cross check. Needham’s Lucas Davis received the same calls as McClellan while Sam Nickles received a 7:30 misconduct and 1:30 for cross checking.

The teams remained at 5 on 5, but Needham’s second line was crippled with Nickles and Davis in the penalty box.

Bobby Hall gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead at 11:33. Needham’s Connor Murray (11 saves) got his glove to Hall’s shot, which was heading into the top corner, but all he could do was tip the puck up and it trickled over the line. Off of the ensuing faceoff Ryan Hall scored his second of the night making it 4-2 just nine seconds later.

Xaverian’s fifth and final goal came 59 seconds into the third period, Jenkins scoring his second of the night.

Junior goalie David Michaels had 25 saves in the victory.

1st period
N - JP McHale from Tom Coleman, 5:04
N - Timmy Parlato from Jeff Rosata, 12:34

2nd period
X - Tom Jenkins from Jason Salvaggio, 4:43
X - Ryan Hall from Billy Hildebrand and Eddie Pratt, 8:33
X - Bobby Hall from Eddie Martin, 11:33
X - R. Hall from Salvaggio, 11:42

3rd period
X - Jenkins from R. Hall and Salvaggio, 0:59

Passing thoughts: CM vs. Needham

December, 18, 2010
12/18/10
4:55
PM ET
BOSTON, Mass. -- It was an early season rematch for two of last year's Super 8 entrants when No. 3 Catholic Memorial and No. 12 Needham faced off at Walter Brown Arena on Saturday.

The Knights took a 4-1 victory on the strength of a hat trick from sophomore Liam Coughlin. The center, who played for the Walpole Express last season, scored the final three goals of the game, including a game-clinching empty-netter in the waning seconds of the third.

Knights senior assistant captain Dan O'Hear also logged a mutli-point game, scoring CM's first goal of the game and setting up Coughlin's first tally -- what would prove to be the game-winner -- in the second period for a 2-1 CM lead. O'Hear feathered a tape-to-tape pass across the goal mouth to Coughlin, who banked the pass home behind Needham goaltender Connor Murray (24 saves).

Coughlin struck again 8:39 into the second period before capping the hat trick with an empty-netter that came as CM (1-1-0) was shorthanded. The rangy forward also set up O'Hear's goal for a four-point game.

Tommy Knox stopped 28 shots to earn in the win in goal.

Needham (1-1-0) got its lone goal in the first period when D.J. Walsh tipped in defenseman Corey Hood's shot from the point to tie the game, 1-1.

Here's a couple of passing thoughts from the non-league battle:
  • After CM's season-opening loss to LaSalle Academy in Providence, Hanson ran his team hard through practice this week, stressing a full 45-minute effort. "We went for 45 minutes today, that's for sure. That's what we have to do to win. We have to be hard to play against and our go-to guys have go to get it done."
  • With only one defenseman returning from last year's squad -- senior captain Marc Hetnik -- CM was left a little green on the blue line. In an effort to get a little experience on the back line, Hanson moved forward Chris Stathopoulous to defense and is playing beside Hetnik on the Knights' top pairing. The inspiration to move the smooth-skater back to the blue line came from Stathopoulous' experience on CM's lacrosse team. He's a longstick defender in lax, so Hanson thought, why not in hockey, too? "The way his physical skills are, he can skate, shoot, why not move him back to defense? He's got that acumen." The transition has been hasty, however. "He only really has two weeks of coaching back there," Hanson said, "but he gets better every day." Yet, if Saturday's sampling is any indication, the Knights may have found a dependable component to their D. It's not the first time Hanson's tried it either. Hetnik also first played as a forward at CM before making the switch.
  • Needham head coach Bill Guisti has the benefit of having seven seniors on this year's roster and he's been encouraged by their play early on. Guisti said forward Sam Nickles and Scott Atkinson, both seniors, have been among his most consistent players through preseason and the Rockets' early games. Nickles seemed to have the puck firmly attached to his stick throughout and had several quality chances. Atkinson exhibited good vision and the ability to transition the puck out of his defensive end. "He rarely makes a mistake," Guisti said of Atkinson. In addition to senior captains Chris Joyce -- whom Guisti believes should be the best D-man in the Bay State Conference this year -- and Tom Coleman, Needham has an experienced nucleus. "We've got to take it one game at a time and we've got Wellesley next," Guisti said. "So that will be a good challenge, but it would've been nice to get out of here with a win."

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