Boston High School: Vin Mirasolo

D1 North: Burlington 3, Melrose 0

March, 8, 2013

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. – It wasn’t easy; it was Middlesex League hockey.

After an early Melrose flurry, Burlington buckled down and defeated the Red Raiders, 3-0, Thursday night in a physical Division 1 North semifinal at Chelmsford Forum.

“Without question [Melrose] has always played us tough,” Burlington coach Bob Conceison said. “We had a little trouble getting going, but once we were able to break the trap we did pretty well getting the puck in their zone. It was a character win.”

Melrose (12-8-4) set the tempo early by peppering Derek DeCastro, but the senior turned aside everything that came his way and allowed the Red Devil attack to gain momentum. The Red Devils broke through late in the first period when J.P Scola put them on the board.

Scola, and his line mate C.J. Grinnell, seemed to be everywhere for Burlington (12-6-5) once the Red Devils started gaining momentum.

“It was really good playing out there,” Scola said. “I knew somebody had to step it so I just stepped it up and played my game.”

The second period mirrored the first in both pace and puck possession. Scola fed Grinnell with a phenomenal pass from behind the goal line that allowed Grinnell to easily slide the puck into the open goal.

Sean Murphy added an empty-net goal in the final minute to seal the deal.

“He got hurt last year here in the semis, and I think he was really determined tonight,” Conceison said of Grinnell. “I think that really motivated him. He had an unbelievable game. He was the best fore-checker, back-checker. He was everywhere.”

Melrose was able to press the action in short bursts, but DeCastro constantly found ways to keep the puck out of the net. The senior made 10 of his 21 saves in the third period.

“He’s a rock back there,’ Conceison said of Decastro. “I told him tonight was his game, and it certainly was his game. Good focus tonight, great concentration; he did a great job for us.”

The defending Division 1 state champion Red Devils will face Winchester in the sectional title game Monday at the Tsongas Center.

With only four players graduating, the future looks bright for Melrose. After finishing the season on a 6-2-2 run, the Red Raiders made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Melrose coach Vin Mirasolo said that his team has nothing to be ashamed of.

“These kids can hold their heads high because what they gave to Melrose high hockey is nothing short of historical,” Mirasolo said. “It’s fantastic. I thought we gave every bit of energy that we had. I think this will be a learning experience for the boys in the locker room and the program going forward.”

From the beginning there was contact aplenty, and it was musical chairs in the penalty box.

Burlington’s penalty kill stepped in a big way to keep the clean sheet, going 5-for-5 with the man-down. The kill of Adam Crowley’s penalty late in the third period took the wind out of Melrose’s sails.

“Our PK’s been good all year but particularly in the tournament and we needed it tonight,” Conceison said. “They score a lot of goals on the PP and it was a big part of a game that we were able to kill those penalties.”

Recap: Kasabuski Tournament Day 1

December, 27, 2011

SAUGUS, Mass. -- As far as holiday tournaments go, it’s somewhat unusual to find such an important league matchup as Tuesday’s Catholic Central Conference battle between No. 13 St. Mary’s of Lynn and No. 16 Austin Prep at the Kasabuski Tourney on Tuesday.

The Spartans and Cougars brought a playoff-life atmosphere to a game that remained scoreless through two periods, but was filled with physical play.

Both teams scored on their first shots of the third, but St. Mary’s scoring opportunities kept piling up, adding up to a 3-1 victory.

“We’ve developed a little rivalry over the years and we knew it was going to be a battle until the end,” Spartans head coach Mark Lee said.

Scott Corcoran had AP (2-1-0, 2-1-0) to a 1-0 lead seconds into the third with the aide of a perfect cross-ice feed from captain Ryan Quinn.

St. Mary’s (5-1-0, 2-0-0) responded with some strong net front presence as Cam O’Neill tipped home his fourth goal of the season.

The score remained tied -- due in no small part to a sensational effort by Cougars freshman goaltender Elijah Harris -- until the final minutes of the game when the Spartans took advantage of the sixth power play surrendered by the Cougars.

“Whenever you take six penalties,” AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro said, “with two big ones in the third period … To have two penalty kills in the last six, seven minutes of the game, that hurt us big time.”

Spartans senior captain Bobby Mullins netted a power-play marker with 1:52 remaining, leaving the Cougars little time for a counter attack.

Sophomore transfer Jarrod Fitzpatrick iced the victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute with his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

“That’s a real goal for us, we want to repeat as league champions,” Lee said. “To do that, you have to start with Austin Prep. It’s always a battle.”

No. 1 Malden Catholic’s 8-1 win over Bishop Fenwick saw the Lancers taking things in stride, as usual.

One particular bright spot for MC (3-1-0) though was the return of top line center Ryan Fitzgerald.

The junior assistant captain missed the first four games of the season after nursing a separated shoulder, but made his season debut centering the Lancers’ top line along with Brendan Collier (4 goals on Tuesday) and Mike Iovanna.

Fitzgerald got back into the flow of the game with a goal of his own in the second period, although a bit rusty.

“I was pretty winded out there,” Fitzgerald said. “The shoulder is fine. It’s a just a matter of getting back into game shape. That’ll just take a few games.”

Getting back into the game will be made easier by his linemates as the Lancers eye a run at a repeat Super 8 title.

“Obviously, I’ve had the chemistry with Brendan from playing together, but with Mikey I [Iovanna] comig onto the line, I’ve played with him my whole life, so it’s not new. We’ve had history. It’s pretty easy to mesh with those guys. They make it pretty easy.”

The Cape Ann League and the Northeastern Conference are typically two of the strongest divisions in the state from top to bottom and this year promises to be no different.

So, with two teams looking to make noise in this year’s Div. 2 North tournament meeting on Tuesday between Lynnfield and Danvers, Pioneers head coach Vin Mirasolo reflected on a quality win after taking a 5-3 decision over the Falcons (2-2-0)

“The way we look at it, there could be any of about 15 teams in Division 2 that could be the team,” Mirasolo said. “I think we’re that mix that could, at any day, get it done.

“I like our mix [in the locker room]. It’s a good group that’s working hard and we continue to improve.”

Lynnfield (3-1-0) had its skating legs under them, led by top scorers Dylan Costa, John Festa and Greg Meininger.

But it was the depth the Pioneers exhibited on Tuesday that was most encouraging.

“We got production out of all three lines and then our sophomore goalie [Joe Bassi] made all the saves he had to make. It was a pretty good effort, overall. We’re still not where we need to be, but we’re getting there.”

No. 10 Wakefield used a late charge to beat Saugus, 3-1, in the the day's early game between two teams which call Kasabuski home.

The Warriors (3-1-0) took an early 1-0 lead in the first period with Kevin Doherty cashing in on a broken play. Kurt Roderigues tallied the lone Sachems (1-2-1) goal to tie the game before the period was out.

That's the way it would remain until there was 1:25 remaining in regulation, when Ryan Andrews tallied the game-winner.

Kyle Leone scored an empty-netter to cap it.