Boston High School: Tyler Bradford
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When Peter Crinella knocked home his second goal of the afternoon very late into the third period to tie the game for Springfield Cathedral, there was more than a few heads bowing on the Archbishop Williams bench. The Bishops felt they played too hard and had come too far for them to earn just a measly point out of this contest.
With still a little time left, Archbishop Williams had a go-for-broke attitude. As the clock ticked down to under a minute, they conjured up one last rush down ice. With the puck on his stick, Eric Keefe let a shot fly which caromed off the left goal post. Fortunately for Keefe, the puck retreated directly back onto his stick and the junior was able slip it underneath Panther goaltender John Liquori for the game-winner with just 42 seconds left.
"After the first shot hit the post I was able to grab it,'' said Keefe, who also netted a second-period goal. "At that point I was just thinking I had to put it in. This is a huge win for us. We hadn't beaten [Cathedral] in my three years here. This certainly brings up our confidence to a high level. We have a solid goaltender and all three lines played their hearts out today and we were able to come away with the win."
Both programs lived up to the standards they've created for themselves over the years in this one. For the most part, things were evenly balanced.
No. 3 Cathedral (2-1-1) mustered 36 shots while the No. 7 Bishops (2-0-0) recorded 35. Archbishop Williams' defense throughout was solid led by Kenny Lofstrom, Colin Boyle, Kyle Leonard, Pat Wombly and Tyler Bradford. All played physical again the Panthers high-octane offense and sacrificed themselves on numerous occasions to dive in front of shots.
"We knew coming up here it was going to be a tough game for us," Bishops coach Derackk Curtis said. "This was an early test for us and the boys played real well. We've been putting a lot of work into this group. Tonight we started to see the fruits of our labor in terms of them being more physical, blocking shots, being aggressive and working their checks. I think all of those things are starting to come together and the kids are starting to identify what it takes to be successful."
Crinella, who leads the Panthers with eight goals, gave his club an early 1-0 lead at 10:09 of the opening period. Positioning himself just outside the crease, the junior took a pass from Devan Tongue and lifted a backhand past Matt McCaughey.
That lead lasted just four minutes. With Archbishop Williams on the powerplay, Ryan Dunn tied matters. The senior dragged the puck through traffic before slipping a shot between Liquori's pads.
Another power play midway through the middle period produced another goal for the Bishops. Archbishop Williams pressured the Cathedral zone. After two shots bounced off of Liquori's pads, Keefe made sure his didn't, finding an open left side of the net to slip the puck into giving his team a 2-1 advantage.
Things remained that way for the remainder of the frame. In the third, the Panthers showed much more aggressiveness on offense. A team literally made up of underclassmen, Cathedral didn't play like it for most of the final 15 minutes. The Panthers ambushed McCaughey (34 saves) with several shot early. But the junior blocked all of them. Then, after Cam Mariani was called for a hook, Cathedral had the opportunity it needed, working the puck methodically into the Bishops' zone, a couple of quick shots netted nothing. However, McCaughey couldn't control the rebound on one of them in which Crinella was in perfect position to poke it into the back of the net to knot this affair at 2-2.
"I thought this was a great game," Panthers coach Brian Foley said. "It was two good teams going at it. We're improving and we're young. Missing [forward] Zac Prattson (two game suspension) hurts us because they have a bunch of seniors, physically he brings a lot to the table for us. We felt his absence today. I thought [Liquori] had a great game in net as did their goalie. We came out on the wrong end today but we'll learn from it."
At this point, the Panthers probably would've settled for a tie and did everything they could defensively to block Archbishop Williams' passing lanes and breakaways. It seem to work until Keefe was able to squeeze through and finding himself in the right place once his initial shot bounced off the pipe and directly in front of him to slip his shot by Liquori (32 saves) for the game-winner.
"You get a little worried in those type of situations," Curtis said. "Cathedral seemed to keep missing the net high and we had some good, quality chances that were stopped. You get worried because you don't have a significant-enough lead in the dying seconds of the game. But we were able to bounce back late.
“Last year, I don't think we win this game. The other team would tie it up late and we might fold at that point. This year the boys are a lot more focused and you have to proud of the way they've played."
STONEHAM, Mass. -- Talk about an opening statement.
Perhaps a little dismayed, to put it gently, by being cast into the Div. 1A play-in game after winning back-to-back Super 8 championships and overcoming a mid-season swoon by ending with a six-game win streak, Malden Catholic took its anger out in its 2013 postseason debut.
Pat Wrenn, Matthew Filipe and Raff Colella each scored twice as the No. 10 Lancers filled up the scoresheet in a 9-1 rout of No. 7 Archbishop Williams at Stoneham Arena. Tyler Sifferelen and Nick Rolli each dished out three assists, while Casey Fitzgerald added a pair.
Malden Catholic (12-6-3) advanced into the Super 8 field and begins its quest for a three-peat against No. 2 Springfield Cathedral, a team the Lancers beat, 1-0, last Thursday, on Sunday at Tsongas Arena. Archbishop Williams (12-5-4) will assume the top seed in the Div. 1 South sectional.
"It's a win, it's two points, that's all that really matters to me," said Lancers head coach John McLean, carefully measuring his words. "I'm not really concerned about the score. I think we ran into a team that wasn't as experienced as we were in the tournament. I think with the big crowd, you get a little bit nervous, they got down early, and it's a tough atmosphere. They're a good, young team and I think they'll be back here."
After losing a 4-3 vote for the sixth seed to Catholic Memorial during Saturday's selection meeting, it was only fair to ask if the Lancers were using that as motivation.
"Absolutely, but we knew almost halfway through the year that we had to win almost every game to get into the tournament, or at least be considered, so we took it one day at a time," McLean responded. "The kids really became a team during that team and I think we'll make a good push."
After what seemed like a feeling period over the game's opening eight minutes, Malden Catholic opened the floodgates. Over a span of just two-minutes, 33-seconds, the Lancers got goals from Austin Goldstein, Wrenn, Wrenn again, and Ara Nazarian, then Mike Iovanna tacked on another with 33 seconds left to make it a 5-0 game at the first intermission.
Filipe got his first marker during the second period, but MC suffered a scare when Sifferlen was hit hard into the boards by Archies' Tyler Bradford and had to leave the game. McLean said afterward that Sifferlen may have hit the metal on the boards but simply seemed to have the wind knocked out of him. He was out for the remainder of the game but is expected to be fine for Sunday's Super 8 opener.
Bradford was assessed a four-minute major penalty and a disqualification, which means he has to sit out the Bishops' next two games.
With most of the regulars on the bench in the third, the Lancers kept rolling as Filipe got his second goal and Colella potted a pair to increase the lead to 9-0. Archies forward Mike Jessman finally broke the shutout bid with two minutes remaining, getting an assist from Mike Sorenti.
Archbishop Williams relied on goalie Joe Vinay’s 16 first-period saves to stay in Saturday night’s physical encounter at the Canton Sportsplex and finished with a strong couple of periods to earn a 1-1 tie.
In fact, Archies (4-2-3) had the best chances to win the game in the third period.
On a quick transition off a Vinay save, junior Mike Jessman paused to allow a defender to slide by before ringing a shot off the crossbar. With 1:46 remaining in the game, the Bishops (4-2-3, 1-0-2) were awarded a power play, but were stymied by aggressive Arlington Catholic defending and a great kick save by goaltender Bryan Hunt.
Cougars head coach Dan Shine credited his penalty kill unit for being able to hold on to the point in the final moments and noted that his team practices blocking shots to be prepared for those situations.
“It’s been a strength of ours all season,” he said. “It’s nice when you know that you have guys that specialize in something and they specialize in that. They love it and they thrive on it and they love to block shots. We keep track of those stats and I’m sure someone has taken the lead tonight.”
Sophomore forward Ryan Spagnoli wasted no time giving Arlington Catholic (4-1-3, 2-0-2) the lead when he took hold of a rebound and roofed the opening goal inside the opening 30 seconds. The first period was a shooting gallery for AC, which outshot Archies 17-5, but could not find a way past an inspired Vinay (29 saves overall).
Archies head coach Derackk Curtis spoke afterwards about how important the play of his senior goalie was in keeping the team in the game.
“To be honest with you, he has been playing awesome this year,” Curtis said. “He kept us in the game. That’s what a good goalie does. He gave us an opportunity to get back in the game and maybe even win it.”
After the intermission, Archies stormed back into the game with a strong second period. They outshot AC 9-5 in the period and took the initiative to keep the puck in the Arlington Catholic zone. The pressure paid off when sophomore Tyler Bradford stole the puck at the blue line and slid a shot under the pad of Hunt to tie the game at one apiece.
Curtis admitted to having some choice words for his team at the break and was pleased to see a reaction in the final two periods.
“You look at the maturation process of the players and sometimes the kids come into the game not fully committed to playing the game,” he explained. “I want to be clear with the kids that if they go out and play to their full potential, they have the opportunity to do great things. We have a good hockey club and we had to figure it out.”
Shine also praised the Archies goaltender and credited his opponents for making it a great league game.
“I thought that it might come back to bite us that we didn’t pop another one,” he said of Vinay. “Give credit to their goalie, I think he played terrific. I thought we played very, very well. It was a great game between two real good hockey teams. We’ll both be in the mix come the end of the season.”
Arlington Catholic will travel to Worcester on Monday to face off against St. John’s (Shrewsbury) and Archbishop Williams will host St. Mary’s (Lynn) on Wednesday.
As Eagles head coach John Flaherty entered the building for the final night of boys’ high school hockey at the Falmouth Ice Arena (a new rink opens in town later this year) he said he was asked by a rink employee if she was going to get to see another shootout.
“I hope not,” he said with a laugh.
Flaherty got his wish as BC High warmed up for their impending trip to the Super 8 last night by squaring off against a team that was fighting for its playoff life, Archbishop Williams. Despite the Bishops needing to secure at least a tie against the Eagles to qualify for the state tournament, the Eagles prevailed 2-1 -- in regulation. The loss denied the Bishops a chance to play in the postseason as they finished at 8-9-3 for the year.
BC High senior assistant captain Bartley “Moe” Regan scored a pair of third period goals, one just after a power play expired and then another with the man-advantage, to power his team to the win as the fourth-ranked Eagles improved to 10-5-5.
Regan was just happy to be back on the ice in the third period after getting a bit of a scare earlier in the game when an errant stick caught him up under the chin and in the area of his Adam’s Apple. The tall forward said that he suffered a similar injury earlier in the season, one of a worse variety that had him thinking he had just died. That previous scare made dealing with this shot a tad easier as he shook things off and was back on the ice in minutes.
“I’m sure he’s a lot happier about the two goals than the scratch on his neck,” Flaherty joked after the game.
Two periods later he was the one delivering the pain to the Bishops, on the scoreboard. Just as Mike Sorenti was exiting the box for a hooking violation the Eagles’ Brian Furey let a bomb fly from the right point that Regan tipped on goal. Bishops keeper Joe Vinay (37 saves), who kept his team in the game with a number of highlight reel stops, halted the tip but couldn’t get a piece of the quick backhander that Regan flung at the net. The goal gave BC High a 1-0 lead at 3:01 of the third period.
“The puck was just coming out and I hit it with my stick and I was falling down. I didn’t even see it go in, but I heard everyone start cheering and I was pumped,” Regan said.
Regan struck again in similar fashion for a power play goal at 5:08 to double the lead on a goal he did see go in the net. Again Furey fired one on that Vinay stopped, but Regan cleaned things up in front and gave his team some breathing room.
Archies head coach Derackk Curtis said that he was perplexed by penalties that preceded the two Eagles’ tallies.
“It’s frustrating, it’s really frustrating, because they don’t call anything all game and then in the third period they’re call all these phantom calls…I can’t figure it out,” Curtis said. “Going into the third period, with 15 minutes to play, anything can happen and then to have back-to-back penalties suck the life out of you, it’s frustrating for the kids ya know. These kids played really hard.”
And they continued to play hard after falling behind. The Bishops sliced the Eagles’ lead in half just a little over two minutes later with their own power play goal off the stick of freshman forward Tyler Bradford. The rookie pounced on a rebound of a Mike Jessman shot to cut the deficit to 2-1 with a half period left to go.
But that would be the only mistake that BC High’s steady netminder Peter Cronin made. Cronin stopped the other 12 shots that reached him in the game and breathed sigh of relief when a Jessman bid from the doorstep with three minutes to go sailed a bit high. The Bishops got Vinay off the ice for an extra attacker inside the last minute, but couldn’t get a shot through to Cronin in the crunch.
The keeper said that the Eagles are happy to close out the season strongly. “We wanted to come out here and get (win) number 10. We didn’t want to let another point get away and we got two today thanks to a good effort from [Bartley] Regan and we beat a good team today,” Cronin said.
And going forward the competition will only get tougher. The Eagles believe that they’re ready.
“The way we’re playing right now, I feel really confident. Everyone’s working real hard and everyone’s playing for the team and that’s what you have to do to win,” Regan said.
Cronin echoed those thoughts. “We’re going to have to come out there with intensity, and the will to win, and I think we’ll be okay.”
CLOSING DOWN A GRAND OLE BARN
In the night’s other game, the Falmouth played the last ever boys’ varsity game at the Falmouth Ice Arena and closed up shop happily with a 2-1 win over Duxbury.
The game featured an on-ice ceremony celebrating Falmouth’s 1979 state championship team with 16 of the 19 players on the roster from that year, and one of the assistant coaches, lining up to recreated their team photograph that hangs in the lobby of the building.
Goalie Petey Negri, who took over the starting goaltender position a month ago, had his best game of the season. Negri made 22 saves in the victory, including a diving stab to rob Cam Daly in the third period of the game.
“That’s what we’ve been looking for from Petey,” Clippers head coach Buddy Ferreira said. “That was the game right there. If he doesn’t make that one it’s 1-1, but he came up big."
Also coming up big was junior blue-liner Zack Zaino, who Ferreira said was one of the best players on the ice. Zaino scored on a first period wrist shot to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead. That lead held for most of the night until things got really exciting in the final three minutes.
With 3:01 to go junior forward Durham Ghelfi popped his own rebound behind Dragons goalie Conor Charland to give Falmouth some breathing room. The goal was the result of a nice back check by Storm Fotiu, who stole the puck from Duxbury as they tried to clear the zone and centered to Ghelfi, who crashed the net. The junior’s initial bid was stopped, but he poked the second try through the five-hole.
Duxbury, which outshot Falmouth 22-12 over the last two periods after FHS held a 10-1 advantage in the first, battled back to give themselves a chance seconds later. Greg Williams let one fly off the right wing boards that sailed through traffic and by Negri at 12:38 of the third.
That would be it for the Dragons though as the 21st-ranked Clippers improved to 12-5-5 for the year. Duxbury is now 9-9-4, and both teams now wait to see what the state tournament has in store for them.