Boston High School: Westminster (Conn.)

Recap: Salisbury takes 2nd straight Flood-Marr title

December, 21, 2014
12/21/14
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DEDHAM, Mass. – The Salisbury School put up a pair of goals in the third period to skate by The Westminster School, 3-1, to win the Flood-Marr tournament for the second straight year.

It was the Crimson Knights' third title in six years overall.

The game-winning goal came on an acrobatic improvisation by Cole Poliziani to sneak the puck past Stephen Gasior midway through the third.

“I saw the [defenseman] going for the shot so I spun off the [defenseman] in front of the net,” Poliziani said. “It hit off the goalie's pad and then it hit my shin pad. It was in the air so I whacked it. The initial whack hit the post and then I was brought down to the ground so I whacked it in with my backhand. Greatest feeling ever.”

Tom Lee scored early in the first period to give the Crimson Knights an early lead after a slogging first period before the action picked up in the second. Westminster asserted itself from the opening drop in the second period. It was the only period in which the Martlets outshot Salisbury, and Westy solved the Salisbury defense midway through the period when Taggart Corriveau tipped home a shot from the point by Kevin O'Leary.

The Martlets controlled the play along the boards and crashed the net hard throughout the middle 15 minutes.

“We didn't have the best second period,” Poliziani said. “Between the second and the third we got together and said we got to work harder and give everything we got. It's the lat 15 minutes. It's worth it.”

Anthony Vincent added an empty-net goal with a second remaining to cap the win for Salisbury. In total, five different Crimson Knights found the score sheet.

“We're getting offensive contributions from all four forward lines and the back end as well,” Salisbury coach Andrew Will said. “For us to be successful this year we're going to need that. It's going to be by committee.”

Despite the loss, Westminster coach Tim Joncas said that he was pleased with his club's performance over the weekend.

“Today it would have been nice to win the championship, but coming out of the Flood-Marr 3-1 is a pretty big accomplishment,” Joncas said. “I'm proud of the kids for hard they played. Four games in three days is not easy.”

BAILEY'S DOMAIN: For Beverly native Bailey MacBurnie, the journey to winning the MVP of the Flood-Marr tournament has been a circuitous one.

Two stints at St. Mary's, including a Super 8 appearance, split by a year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire has given the postgraduate goaltender a veteran's touch on and off the ice, so says Will.

“He's added maturity,” Will said. “He's added some experience and confidence. He believes in himself, and he believes in his teammates. You've got a goalie who wants to have some pressure on him and be called upon to make a big save. Having that attitude, that approach has been huge for us.”

MacBurnie gave up four goals over the four-game tournament to net the award. His 16 saves in the title game backstopped the Knights to the title.

“He was stellar,” Poliziani said. “He's something else. Love the guy.”

MacBurnie said that playing at Salisbury has been a 180 from his time at Brewster and the ability of both the players and coaches is unmatched at this level.

“This is a hockey factory,” MacBurnie said. “There are some of the best players in the country on this team. A lot of kids in this room are going to play Division 1 college hockey. Coming from Brewster there wasn't a hockey atmosphere. It was more of a basketball atmosphere.

“This is all hockey everyday. You live it, breathe it. It's unbelievable. I'm so thankful for Coach Will and the rest of the coaching staff. I've never met a group of men that know so much about the sport. They make me better every single day.”
The NHL Central Scouting Service today unveiled its "Players to Watch" list, providing the first evaluations for the draft eligible class ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.

To little surprise, a few local products checked in with "A" grades, including North Chelmsford native and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, who is projected as a top five selection by many draft observers. Former St. Sebastian's defenseman and Norwood native Noah Hanifin (Boston College) also collected an A grade, as did former Noble & Greenough center Colin White (U.S. NTDP).

"A" grades are assigned to prospects expected to be selected in the first round, B for second through third round picks and C grades given to players who are likely to be taken between the fourth and sixth rounds.

On current MIAA player received mention as well, as recent Northeastern commit and BC High defenseman Ryan Shea holds a C grade. Former Malden Catholic turned U.S.A. U-18 defenseman Casey Fitzgerald garnered a B grade.

Here's a list of the New England-based skaters appearing on the preliminary ranking:

"A" Grade:
Jack Eichel, Boston University (North Chelmsford, Mass.), 6-2, 195, C
Noah Hanifin, Boston College (St. Sebastian's - Norwood, Mass.), 6-2, 201, D
Colin White, U.S.A. U-18 (Noble & Greenough - Hanover, Mass.), 6-0, 183, C

"B" Grade:
Taggart Corriveau, Westminster (Conn.), 6-1, 176, RW
Casey Fitzgerald, U.S.A U-18 (Malden Catholic - North Reading, Mass.), 5-10.5, 186, D
Erik Foley, Cedar Rapids - USHL (Mansfield High), 5-11.5, 185, LW
A.J. Greer, Boston University (Kimball Union Academy), 6-2.5, 204, LW

"C" Grade:
David Cotton, Cushing Academy, 6-2.5, 200, C
Liam Darcy, Berwick Academy, 5-10.5, 175, D
Trevin Kozlowski, The Gunnery, 6-3.75, 186, G
John McDermott, Westminster (Conn.), 6-1.25, 185, C
Shane Sellar, Canterbury, 6-1.25, 186, LW
Eric Shaw, Middlesex School, 6-2, 215, C
Ryan Shea, BC High (Milton, Mass.), 6-0, 168, D
Will Somers, Hotchkiss School, 6-4, 228, LW
Luke Stevens, Noble & Greenough (Duxbury High), 6-3.75, 184, LW
Spenser Young, Dubuque - USHL (Phillips Exeter - Brentwood, N.H.), 5-9.75, 177, D

Player Perspective: KUA's Nick Roberto

December, 18, 2012
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Kimball Union Academy hockey wrapped up its first-ever Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament championship on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Westminster School. The Wildcats were led by senior forward Nick Roberto, who earned the tournament’s David Rogerson Trophy as its MVP.

Roberto, a Maine commit and Wakefield, Mass. native, also became the first KUA player to take home MVP honors since 1975.

Considered one of the top prep hockey teams in New England entering the 2012-13 season, the Wildcats are in the hunt for another NEPSAC championship this year.

We caught up with Roberto, who started his high school hockey career at Malden Catholic, in between games on Friday:

Q: You have some pretty skilled players beside you on your line with Casey Miller and J.D. Dudek. How do your skills complement each other?

A: “We’re always on the same page. We’re not selfish players, we’re always looking for each other. I like Casey because I’ve been playing with him for two years now. He’s a pass-first and shoot-second kind of player. He’s always looking. Dudek came over [transfer from Pinkerton Academy] and he’s just a hell of a player, he’s going to [Boston College], that says a lot. He brings a lot of skill to the line. I’m more of a grind-it-out player, but Casey and him, it’s all skill. That goal, my first goal [on Friday] was all Dudek, Casey drove the net and I was high and Dudek just made a nice pass. I was lucky to get it underneath the crossbar. And then, at the end of the game … At first, I thought it was going to be a little bit scary, but we got it. Casey just found a little hole on the ice and I tipped [the shot] up and batted it out of midair.”

Q: The tournament started a little tough for you guys, but you took over the third period of your first game against Salisbury with your two goals, including the game-tier and the game-winner. What was the difference?

A: “I think I played the worst two periods of my life, then the third period, Coach [Mike Levine] just told everybody to relax. I was a little snake-bitten with my stick and then I just came alive in the third. But it was a team effort.”

Q: You have a very talented roster and, as a result, there’s high expectations again for this team this year. What do you expect of yourselves as a team?

A: “I think today [Friday] really showed what we’re made out of as a team. It was the first time we’ve been losing for two periods and we fought back. No one gave up. Everybody was really positive on the bench, and that helps a lot. Coach wasn’t negative. He’s always helping us, encouraging us. We just starting playing hard, getting shots to the net and good things happened.”

Q: You have a couple of your old Malden Catholic teammates – Connor Evangelista and Brendan White – playing with you. What’s it like having been around those guys for so long?

A: “Well, Connor and I have been best friends since we were about three years old. We’ve gone to every school together: preschool, elementary school, middle school, MC and now here. We were roommates last year. Brendan came along this year, and I’m roommates with [Providence College commit] Niko Rufo this year, but I think Whitey’s in our room more than we are. It’s just fun up there with those two because we’ve been friends for such a long time.”

Q: You’re still a couple years away from Maine, but what are your hockey plans from here?

A: “I went up there a couple of weeks ago, I saw them play BC and we talked after the game. They said they don’t have that many openings for 2013, so then I can play a year of juniors and step right in and play. I’m fine with that, they’re really supportive of me – whatever helps. I’m not looking to go to college right now with the economy being what it is. I might as well live the dream some more and I’ll get there when I get there.”

New England Roots: Tommy Cross

July, 13, 2011
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- In years past, Tommy Cross has limped his way through Bruins Development Camp. But now healthy, the defenseman and Simsbury, Conn. native is showing the talents that made him a second-round draft choice of the Spoked-B back in 2007. Paired with last month's top draft choice Dougie Hamilton during scrimmages, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Cross used his combination of size and strength to his advantage, while showing his skating ability in joining the rush.

[+] EnlargeTommy Cross
Brendan Hall Tommy Cross of Simsbury, Conn., took top draft choice Dougie Hamilton under his wing at the Bruins' development camp, to positive results.
But moreover, it's his leadership skills at the five-day prospects camp, which concluded last Monday at Ristuccia Arena, that had the front office buzzing. And the journey has been unique since being named the Hartford Courant's Connecticut Player of the Year as a sophomore at Simsbury (Conn.) High in 2006. He subsequently transferred to nearby Westminster School, and pulled double-duty with the U.S. Under-18 National Team and the USHL's Ohio Junior Blue Jackets. Now with Boston College, where he helped the Eagles win a national title in 2010, Cross will be a captain next season.

Following an on-ice workout last weekend at Ristuccia, Cross sat down with ESPNBoston.com to discuss his journey.

Q: Going from Simsbury to the prep school ranks, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make?
A: "The biggest adjustment I had to make was not even with hockey. It was more just going from school to school, different lifestyle. But I mean hockey-wise, I think the players are just older at prep school, there's some P.G.'s (post-graduates) and older seniors with more experience. That was about it."

Q: What kind of goals did you set for yourself going into high school?
A: "I just wanted to be a good player for my team. In high school it was just kinda, that's when I started to develop. I just wanted to get up on the rush, and be one of the best defensemen on my team, and one of the best defensemen in the state."

Q: When did you first start playing hockey, and who did you look after growing up?
A: "I was about three or four years old, in the backyard. Bourque, Lidstrom, guys like that. Willie Mitchell, because I watched him a lot when he was in college. My dad was a defenseman, so mostly players like that."

Q: What's it like playing for a coach like Jerry York?
A: "I love it. He's a great guy, great coach and he's fun to play for. He's demanding, but he's honest, and you know what you have to give. It's a fun place to play."

Q: Best high school game you played?
A: "Probably my sophomore year at West Haven. I had a shorthanded goal that kinda turned the game around. Our coach took a bench minor, then I scored a shorthanded goal, so I bailed him out. I think we won 5-4."

Q: What do you do when you're back home?
A: "Just hang out at my house, by the pool, I go to the golf course a lot, and the weight room. I like to play a lot of golf, but I'm not a scratch (laughs)."

Q: This is your fourth time in Development Camp, how has it differed from your first experience?
A: "Completely different experiences. You know, the first one you're young, you don't know what to expect. Now, you kinda know the routine, you know the schedule, you know a lot of the staff, trainers, coaches, so you're a little more comfortable."

Q: Tell me about your experience playing with Dougie Hamilton this week.
A: "It's been great. Obviously, he's a real good player, first rounder this year, and a young guy, but he's real mature for his age. We're roommates this week too, so we got to know each other pretty well. It's been fun to get to know him, he's a good guy and obviously a real good player."

Q: There has been a lot of talk this week about your leadership qualities with this group. What have you learned over the years in that department that you apply now?
A: "Yeah people have talked about it, and it's just leading by example, I think. If guys follow you, they follow you, and if they don't, they follow someone else. It's just kinda natural. I think I've been around a lot of good leaders, guys at Boston College that I learned a lot from like Ben Smith and Matt Lombardi. Those are the kinds of guys you can learn from and emulate them, you see how guys follow them. You want to give a good example, so that guys will follow you."

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