Boston High School: Tommy Braswell

Super 8 recap: Central 6, St. Mary's 5 (SO)

March, 5, 2012

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Steven Merrick has been the picture of hard work and dedication for Central Catholic, putting in extra time throughout the offseason to grow from a bit player a year ago to a regular shift on the Raiders third line as a senior.

When Sunday's Super 8 day one battle with St. Mary's passed through three full periods and a 12-minute overtime without a winner being decided, Merrick was shooter number four on Central coach Mike Jankowski's list for the shootout session. Six players went before Merrick hopped over the boards for his turn with none being able to penetrate two of the state's top goalies, as Central's Kyle Williams and the Spartans' Bailey MacBurnie turned aside shot after shot.

Merrick skated to center ice, surveyed the scene, then began to skate. Rather than try something fancy, the hard-working senior kept it simple, walking straight in on MacBurnie and blazing a wrist shot past his stick hand.

Three more shooters came and went, all were denied, and that left Merrick as the final hero in a game filled with them as the seventh-seeded Raiders ended up with a 6-5 victory over No. 2 St. Mary's on day one of the Super 8 round robin.

"Merrick is a senior, he's got great hands and he's a great kid," praised Jankowski. "Last year he really made a transformation and committed himself to hockey. Last year he was here but didn't play a whole lot and he's earned his spot but he's done that all through hard work and dedication in the offseason. For him to get that kind of goal at the end its just awesome."

Central Catholic (13-3-5) scored three straight goals from the eight minute mark of the second period through 5:27 of the third to take what seemed at the time like a commanding 5-3 lead. St. Mary's (18-1-3) showed it had tremendous resolve despite making its first appearance in the Super 8 field as a seeded team.

Brendan Magaery converted a terrific feed from behind the net by Jarrod Fitzpatrick for a one-timer at 8:09, and a huge save by MacBurnie jumpstarted a two-on-one break with Connor Parent and Thomas Braswell. Parent carried the puck in and held for a shot, which Central goalie Kyle Williams stopped, but the rebound came quickly to Braswell, who snapped it home before Williams had a chance to react, knotting the game at 5-5 with 2:43 left in regulation.

"A lot of the leaders were speaking up on the bench and we talked about it before the game," Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. "There's been other teams in these tournaments that came back from more than two goals and we wanted to be one of those teams to make a comeback. Even during that third period we hit the post a couple of times. We just didn't seem to get that many bounces tonight. That's not any excuse. We played a very good team and hats off to them too."

Central opened the scoring at 1:26 of the first, catching the Spartans in a line change that enabled a two-on-none opportunity, which Michael Hovanian buried on the Raiders second shot of the game

Tim Aylward evened things up for St. Mary's late in the frame, utilizing a flashy spin move to get around a CC defenseman and tick a high shot behind Williams.

Mike Kelleher put Central back in front just 34 seconds into the middle frame with an assist from Zachary Cote but St. Mary's rallied with back-to-back goals by Magaery and Bobby Mullins, the latter coming off a rebound of a shot by Cam Grenham at 4:57.

Just over three minutes later, Ryan Daigle took a beautiful pass from Cote (three assists) and banged home a one timer to tie things at 3-3.

"You have to give them a lot of credit," Jankowski said of St. Mary's. "They were good, they gave us a lot of pressure in our own zone and Kyle held us in there. We had a bend but don't break sort of attitude and then we were able to pop back in transition because they were being so aggressive and get a couple the other way so it worked out well for us."

In the overtime, Kyle Williams turned in easily his best period of the day. The Spartans outshot the Raiders, 42-23 in the game and 10-2 in the 12-minute overtime period.

Recap: No. 1 MC 5, No. 14 St. Mary's 1

December, 13, 2011
MALDEN, Mass. – The defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic Lancers picked up right where they left off with a 5-1 win over St. Mary’s of Lynn at Valley Forum on Monday night.

As we continue crisscrossing the state, continuing our hockey season preview work, here is a smattering of quick thoughts from the Lancers’ win:
  1. Not much has changed without Serino: Last night marked the debut of John McLean behind No. 1 MC’s bench, having taken over for head coach Chris Serino, who’s sitting out the season due to health issues. McLean, a longtime assistant of Serino’s going back to his tenure at Merrimack College, is a capable bench boss who’s well familiar with the system. “We have the same passion for the game,” McLean said after his first career victory. “We enjoy seeing kids improve and succeed. That’s what coaching is all about. That’s what keeps us going.”
  2. No Fitzy, no problem: With top-line center Ryan Fitzgerald on the shelf until around the New Year with a shoulder separation, McLean slotted freshman pivot Ara Nazarian between Brendan Collier (1 G, 2A) and Mike Iovanna (1 G, 1 A. The impressive 5-foot-10, 170-pound first-year skated made a lasting impression tallying two goals and an assist. Nazarian looks to be a player we’ll be hearing about for years to come, even if his top-line status isn’t going to last long. “It’s tough not having Fitzgerald,” McLean said. “But it can be good for other kids on the team. All our centers will get to move up and share a little bit more in the responsibilities. I don’t know if we’ll keep Ara up on the first line, but he’s going to be an impact player in this league for a time to come.”
  3. Continuity on D: Despite returning many key components from last year’s title team, the Lancers are a little green on the blue line. Despite having a pair of sophomores in their second pairing and a pair of freshmen on the third pair, MC does have an experienced top pair in Colin MacGillivray and ESPN Boston preseason All-Stater Brendan White. “We’re real young back there, but they’ve done a good job taking care of the younger kids, showing them how to do things,” McLean said.
  4. St. Mary’s replenished: Speaking of young talent, the Spartans should be in good hands for the years to come as well. Despite graduating four-year starting goaltender Donald Hesse from last year’s team, sophomore Bailey MacBurnie played a strong game in his first marquee start. He looked poised during a critical 5-on-3 penalty kill, turning aside three shots from in close on MC’s top line. The Spartans also got a spark from sophomore transfer Jarrod Fitzpatrick, who tallied St. Mary’s lone goal in the first. “He’s a nice addition as a sophomore transfer,” Spartans head coach Mark Lee said. “It seems like he’s been here for the full two years because he’s come in and fit right in from the day he got here. He’s got a lot of talent.” Along with junior Bobby Mullins and senior captain Tommy Braswell, the Spartans could find themselves atop the Catholic Central again this season.

No. 7 Weymouth battles back to beat St. Mary's

February, 20, 2011

LYNN, Mass. -- If Saturday’s contest between St. Mary’s of Lynn and Weymouth is any indication of the quality of hockey to be played in the upcoming Super Eight tournament, puck fans should be happy.

The sixth-ranked Spartans went back and forth with the Wildcats at Connery Rink before Weymouth’s Trevor King closed it out with the final two goals in a 4-3 win in a matchup of two teams that figure to be a part of the eight-team field.

The Wildcats battled back from a 2-0 first-period deficit and trailed 3-2 more than halfway through the third period.

“This was a good test for us,” Weymouth head coach Matt Cataldo said. “To come in, go down 2-0 and then come right back in the second period and tie up. We found ourselves down again, but then we get two quick ones in the third. There were a lot of good things that came out of this game tonight. It was a good test to get us ready for what’s coming down the road.”

St. Mary’s (12-5-3) got the Wildcats back on their heels in the first period while trying to avoid its third straight loss.

Derek Stella got things started, poking one past Weymouth goaltender Brian Brady (20 saves) with assists from Tim Aylward and Jake Witkowski. The Spartans took a 2-0 less than a minute later at the 9:59 mark Cam Kennedy’s goal set up by Bobby Mullins.

Brady prevented St. Mary’s from taking a three-goal lead, stopping Jordan Manthorne on a short-handed breakaway with 25 seconds remaining in the period.

It helped to refocus the Wildcats.

“We told them to keep working and do the things that we do,” Cataldo said of his message to the team at the first intermission. “It’s more or less mental with us when teams start to take over. It’s more a matter of us managing how we react.”

Weymouth (16-2-2) started chipping away at the Spartan lead 33 seconds into the second with Tyler Piacentini’s power play goal from Riley Flanagan and King.

Pat O’Keefe drew the Wildcats even with 11:15 to play in the second, beating St. Mary’s goaltender Donald Hesse five hole on a rebound.

The Spartans took the lead one more time in the third with 6:33 remaining. Tommy Braswell scored from behind the goal line, flipping the puck off Brady’s back and into the net on a power play.

Weymouth made its final charge, led by King and this three-point night. His first goal — the game-tier — came with 4:04 remaining on a faceoff in St. Mary’s zone. Flanagan won the draw and sealed off the Spartans’ center. King beat the race to the loose puck and fired off a wrist shot.

“Riley [Flanagan] held us his guy and the puck bounced right back,” King said. “I had a lot of space and just threw it on net.

King netted the game-winner with 2:27 to go on a 3-on-2 break. Piacentini and Flanagan added assists to finish with two-point games.

Aside from another two points in the standings, King and the Wildcats have yet another boost of momentum going for them heading into the big dance.

“It’s a good to win to come up here and beat these guys,” King said.
HINGHAM, Mass. -- If the Hingham boys’ hockey team is to make another run at a Super Eight title when the 2010-11 season is said and done, you can go ahead and circle Feb. 5 as the date the Harbormen turned things around.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup at Pilgrim Skating Arena against No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn, Hingham was trying to regain measure of momentum. Ever since their upset of Malden Catholic on Jan. 15, the seventh-ranked Harbormen had hit a rough patch, going 0-3-1 in their last four contests.

Again, Hingham fell behind against St. Mary’s and, despite battling back twice to tie the game, trailed with less than five minutes remaining. That’s when they regained their scoring touch, tying the score once again on Ryan Linehan’s power play strike, then potting the game-winner with 49 seconds to go on Alex Pompeo’s wrister, his second of the game. Tim Driscoll’s empty-net, short-handed goal iced it, giving a Hingham an emotional 5-3 win.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Pompeo, a senior defenseman and team co-captain. “We’ve been in a little bit of a slump and they’re definitely a Super Eight team, or close to it. This was just absolutely huge for us.”

Hingham (7-4-4) stopped their skid with a little help from their power play unit. The Harbormen took advantage on three of seven man-advantage situations.

“We’d been struggling on the power play lately and we’ve been struggling all season to score goal,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “Every game’s been a grind.”

Their latest battle was no different as St. Mary’s (9-2-3), which returned to game action after a 10-day layoff, pressed play in the first period. Bobby Mullins picked up where he left off, tallying his 12th goal of the season with 7:11 remaining in the first. Hingham tied the game 7:21 into the second period with their first of three power play goals on Matt Hughes’ wraparound.

The score remained knotted at 1-1 until a wild third period.

The Spartans regained the lead on Cam Kennedy’s slapper through a screen with 7:20 remaining. Pompeo drew the Harbormen even once again on a goal assisted by Steve Bellew and Linehan via a 5-on-3 power play chance with 5:07 left.

Once again, St. Mary’s forged ahead with Tommy Braswell’s goal off an offensive zone face-off win by Christopher Surrette with the teams playing 4-on-4. Linehan tied the game, 3-3, while falling backward and depositing the rebound from Hughes’ wrist shot.

Pompeo tallied the game-winner with 49.4 seconds on the clock with assists from Bellew and Linehan.

Predictably, the Spartans didn’t go quietly with several quality chances in the waning seconds. With goaltender Donald Hesse pulled, St. Mary’s was playing 6-on-4 with an attack zone face off after a Hingham player was sent to the box with 10 seconds remaining. The draw came to the left of Harbormen netminder Kevin Granatino (who also stopped a St. Mary's penalty shot try by Connor Parent in the second) with Driscoll inside the circle. Messina entrusted the winger to take the face off, citing his strong hands. The senior co-captain and Holy Cross commit won the draw cleanly, lofting the puck on the backhand toward the vacated St. Mary’s goal. The puck trickled past the goal line with 4.3 to go.

Then and only then could the Harbormen celebrate an important victory.

“This type of game, coming from behind, even though they were power plays goals, it’s got to give them some confidence,” Messina said. “We’ve been trying to find something to grab onto while we’ve been struggling.”

He continued: “To come out and pull out a win in this situation, maybe that’s something we can build upon going down the road, at least I hope so.”

With power plays a factor (the Spartans were 0-for-4 on their chances), St. Mary’s head coach Mark Lee said it was only a matter of time before the Harbormen took off.

“What hurt us today was taking some penalties, you can’t beat a team like that short-handed. We just took a couple too many, especially at the end of the game.

“The odds are against you, they’re bound to score in those situations.”

Or maybe luck had finally just swung Hingham’s way.

“We haven’t had in the longest time,” Messina said, “but you also make your own luck in this game. We tell the kids that you’ve got to take and off-angle shot, you’ve got to look for rebounds, tough goals. We like dirty goals as much as the pretty ones, but we hadn’t been getting either. Today we did.”