Boston High School: Will Murphy

D2 Central/East: Medfield 12, Concord-Carlisle 4

June, 6, 2014
6/06/14
11:42
PM ET
MEDFIELD, Mass. - Concord-Carlisle came into the Division 2 Central-East final riding the momentum of a 10-game win streak, but that was quickly turned on its head by a dominant performance from top seed Medfield, which rolled to a 12-4 victory before a home crowd on Friday night.

“We didn’t not play well -- that team is just better than us and they forced us into the mistakes we made,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Tom Dalicandro. “We just couldn’t match the speed, the intensity, we couldn’t win a face-off, and they’re just better than us right now.

He added, “This game isn’t going to define our season. I’m proud of my guys -- it was a great run, but we ran into the wrong team in the tournament.”

Senior midfielder Matt Crowell and sophomore middie John MacLean each scored hat tricks for the Warriors (21-2), senior Brian Bissell won 18 of 20 faceoffs, and senior long-stick midfielder Blake Frasca controlled the Patriots top scorer Will Blumenberg.

It was, according to Medfield coach John Isaf, one of the Warriors most complete games of the season.

“I think these guys came out really focused today,” he said. “They really wanted it; they were fired up. I think from the opening whistle, our guys just really wanted it.”

The game plan was clear for the Warriors -- possess the ball and put pressure on the Patriots (14-7) right from the start. MacLean opened the scoring inside the opening two minutes with a low angle shot to the corner. Tyler Hagan smacked the bar and Matt Treiber returned from injury to double the lead with 1:25 left in the quarter.

“Having Matt back was huge; he was a huge part of our lineup early in the season,” said MacLean. “We loved to see him get back and get that first goal.”

He added, “I think on offense we really slowed it down and possessed it well and when we got the possessions we needed then we executed on it…I guess we just had the mindset that if we had an open dodge take it to the net.”

Medfield broke the game wide open in the second with five goals. MacLean scored the first and fifth goal of the quarter to get his hat trick. In between, Nigel Reiff scored after collecting a rebound behind the net and finishing, Bissell got his lone goal directly after winning a face-off, and Crowell got his first of the game after a one-handed snag of a loose pass.

“That was probably our fewest turnovers of the season and we made it a point to emphasize let’s not beat ourselves,” said Isaf. “If we can win the turnover battle, then we’ve got a real good chance of winning. When we value the ball and realize that we don’t have to take the shot on the very first dodge we’re very hard to defend.”

Austin Hoey got the only Patriots goal of the half as the Warriors were in control 7-1 at the break. The deficit grew in the second half, as Jack Isaf, Matt Cahill, a pair of goals from Crowell, and one from Hagan pushed Medfield’s advantage to as high as 10 at 12-2.

A rare transition led to a goal for Concord-Carlisle’s Tommy Standish, which made the score 10-2 at the time. Standish and Hoey would each get their second goals, but not until the final eight minutes of the game.

Aggressive Warriors defense dominates: One of the reasons for Medfield’s domination on Friday night was the ability of its poles to control the Patriots top attackers, in particular the battle between Frasca and Blumenberg, who scored eight goals in Concord-Carlisle’s playoff win over Sharon last week.

“The less he scores, the less they can start clicking, so we just wanted to keep him on edge,” said Frasca. “Obviously, we did that pretty well.”

Isaf noted, “Blake’s covered the best middie one every team. He’s covered D1 guys…he’s just a great athlete, who stays on balance. You never see him overrun a dodge; he never falls for the rollback. When you can take a guy like Blumenberg and put our LSM on him and contain him…we feel like we can cover guys.”

It was a match-up that the coaches had been emphasizing for days leading up to the final and Frasca acknowledged that he was fired up for the challenge.

He said, “I see him scoring eight goals in the first round and obviously you know that you’re going to have a tough match-up, but I live for that you know. That’s what you play lacrosse for.”

Behind Frasca, the combination of defensive players such as William Murphy, Mike MacLean, and Jimmy Ganem, managed to slow down the Patriots offense by being aggressive.

Mike MacLean said, “We see kids who we can lock off; we can just try to strip them, pressure them, and try to make turnovers.”

Frasca added, “It’s important to get out there and play on their hands and with a chip on your shoulder, but only to a point. If you get out there and lunge a little bit then they’re just going to backdoor you or go right past you.”

Making sure history doesn’t repeat itself: Concord-Carlisle came into Friday night’s game not only with a winning streak on its side, but also a little bit of history. In 2009, the Patriots visited Medfield in a sectional final and upset what is widely regarded as one of the all-time best Warriors squads.

Medfield’s coaches used that history to ensure that the current squad did not take the Patriots lightly and, judging by the play of the Warriors, it was a history lesson that they took to heart.

John MacLean said, “Coach kind of got us motivated by getting us together and telling us how they beat us in ’09 here and we kind of wanted to get them back. So, we kind of had that fresh in our mind.”

Isaf explained, “I don’t know what Tom is going to throw at us. From five years ago, he’s done it before, so I don’t know what he’s got up his sleeves.”

He continued, “Based on past performance, we were hoping that [Bissell] could get us a lot of possessions and we noticed that they’re not very deep on defense and we said that if we can run these guys…that’s what we wanted to do.”

“We try to take away the top options and do what we can and then see who is the better team.”

Medfield advances to the state semifinal to take on the winner of Westfield and Shrewsbury, which will play the Central-West final on Saturday evening.

D2 state final: Beverly 2, Medfield 1

March, 17, 2014
3/17/14
2:44
AM ET


BOSTON – After years of coming up short, Beverly won its first state hockey title with an intense, physical 2-1 win over Medfield in the Division 2 boys final last night at TD Garden.

The game-winner came just more than two minutes into the third period as legs and sticks hacked at the puck before Connor Irving eventually put the puck in the back of the net.

“I have no idea what happened on my goal,” Irving said. “It wasn't intended to be a shot. I think it went off a kid's skate and went in.”

No title comes easy and Medfield played as close to flawless as it could. Beverly, which had averaged 30 shots in it's previous three playoff games, was held to just 16 by a Warrior defense that showed no fear and took the body when it could.

The unit, led by Matt Crowell and Will Murphy, collapsed in between the circles on the defensive end and forced Beverly to the outside.

“They stepped up at the blue line because they're defensemen didn't back up on us,” Irving said. “A couple of times I wanted to get going and I looked up and both their defensemen were stepped up. I couldn't go wide on them, and they back-checked really well.”

Beverly's speed, which torched Tewksbury for nine goals in the North final, was neutralized by a full-on defensive lockdown by the Warriors who made the Panthers work for every inch.

“It was a matter of our forwards doing a good job of back-checking,” Medfield coach Toby Carlow said. “A good team like them if you let them skate they're going to make you pay so we stayed up high in the neutral zone and slow them down before they can get moving.”

Eventually the Panthers broke through when Matt Hamor deflected home a shot to put Beverly ahead early in the second. While the largely pro-Beverly crowd celebrated the Warriors responded on the next shift when Justin Hirschfeld shoved home the equalizer less than 30 seconds later.

Hirschfeld buzzed around the sheet for the Warriors for all 45 minutes and made life difficult for the Beverly defense. For Beverly though, its ultimate defense was Tim Birarelli.

The junior goaltender turned aside 16 shots in the win and captained a defense that was able to contain and curtail the Warriors just enough.

“I have a really good communication with my defense where they can force them wide and force them to shoot too,” Birarelli said. “When they forced them to shoot from the outside it was easy for me.”

The loss marks the end of Hirschfeld's Medfield career that saw him help pilot the team in its first season in Division 2 to the brink of a state title.

“I just want to thank every one on my team for making my best year,” Hirschfeld said. “I'll never forget this season.”

In the moment, Carlow was disappointed, but he said that he could not have asked for a better year for the Warriors.

“Our goal is always to be here but you've got to work to get here,” Carlow said. “These guys did that and that is why it is a successful season. Sure, we came up short today, but it's a successful season because we got here and they did the work and they committed themselves to getting here.”

PLAYING FOR PETE: Under their cream and cocoa colored jerseys, and underneath their pads, the Beverly players wore red undershirts with the name “Frates” on the back. The shirts were a gift from, and to honor, Peter Frates.

Frates, a Beverly native and former captain of the Boston College baseball team, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago and helped to motivate the Panthers this season.

“Last year Pete came to talk to us and he's such an inspiration,” Irving said. “Pete's such a good guy and he's going through such a tough thing. I have the utmost respect for Pete. It was so cool to see him here.

“I wear the same Under Armour [undershirt] and it's really hot in this building so I threw [Pete's shirt] on in the third. So I'm going to give Pete all the credit on the third-period goal.”

The Panthers have felt and dealt with their share of adversity off the ice in recent years. Beverly head coach Bob Gilligan recently battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Birarelli's father is engaged in a battle with liver cancer.

For Birarelli to wear the ribbon-clad shirt given to the team by Frates had an extra personal meaning.

“It's definitely special with everything going in the community -- my dad, Mr. Frates, Coach Gilligan himself,” Birarelli said. “It's good to win it for them. All this hard work paid off.

“I think it's so special that we can play for these guys and we got the desired result that they wanted. Obviously, wearing Pete's shirt under my stuff tonight was special. When I knew putting it on that it would be a special night.”

Gilligan, who lives a few houses down from Frates said he and the team admired him for how he has battled the disease..

“Peter is fighting it really hard,” Gilligan said. “They really admire his courage and the strength to go forward.”

Recap: Medfield 5, No. 22 Medway 2

February, 6, 2013
2/06/13
11:21
PM ET
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Medfield needed some sort of spark after giving up a shorthanded goal late in the first period and senior captain Ben Cox delivered it during the intermission between the first and second periods.

His message was about staying calm and composed in the face of a potential onslaught by rival Medway, and from the seniors down to a group of talented freshmen, the Warriors heeded his words.

Medfield strung together four straight goals in the second period and put themselves in the driver's seat for the Tri-Valley League championship with a 5-2 victory over the Mustangs at Sgt. Pirelli Rink Wednesday afternoon.

"What really turned us around was our captain, Ben Cox," explained Warriors freshman Matt Treiber, who had two goals and an assist in the win. "He got us really fired up during the first intermission. He just told us to go out there and do our job and that we can beat this team like we did today if we play our game."

With the memory of a 6-2 thrashing by Medway (12-1-3 overall; 9-1-2 TVL) earlier in the season still stinging, Medfield (16-1-0; 11-1-0) found itself on its heels as the Mustangs scored a pair of shorthanded goals. Jack Kilty got the first one, scoring on a breakaway with 2:11 left in the first, and Bobby Schindler scored in similar fashion just 11 seconds into the second.

Penalties would be an issue all night long, and with Cox's intermission speech eventually taking hold, Medfield made some adjustments to its extra-man strategy that paid immediate dividends. Rather than cycling the puck up high, the Warriors elected to move deeper in the zone and cashed in as freshman John MacLean fired a perfect pass to Justin Hirschfeld for a one-timer just 18 seconds after Schindler's goal.

Treiber continued the roll, burying a nice feed from Tyler Etzkorn at 3:44 to tie the game at 2-2. MacLean then put Medfield ahead for good, pouncing on the rebound of a shot by sophomore Will Murphy with 3:46 to go in the frame.

The Warriors added one more power play marker by Matt Crowell and a third-period score by Treiber for the final margin.

Undisciplined play did Medway no favors as the team took 13 penalties and had two players ejected in the third period.

"I thought we came out relatively well in the first period but once we started getting the penalties in the second period it obviously changed the whole momentum of the game to Medfield's favor," Medway head coach Chris Ross admitted. "Once we had those few penalties in a row we never recovered. We stopped moving our feet, we were undisciplined. I was not happy with how we played at all.

YOUTH SERVES WARRIORS WELL
The atmosphere was electric as fans from both towns filled the rink and made to make their presence felt. A potential league title was on the line, not to mention the heated rivalry between two towns who regularly battle one another for the TVL title.

Young players who may not be fully used to such situations are excused if they don't handle the elements well, but such was not the case for Medfield.

Freshmen Matt Treiber and MacLean combined for three goals and two assists while sophomore blue-liners Murphy and Hirschfeld made strong contributions as well.

"It's great to have kids who can come in here and play at this level and be very relaxed and handle the situation," Medfield head coach Toby Carlow praised. "I think this being the second time we've done this - big crowd, loud, great atmosphere - they were more relaxed this time, thats for sure and it showed. They're a good group of little players and I'm happy to have them, thats for sure."

Added Cox, ""We had some of the younger guys like Matt, who really stepped up, and John MacLean. It was really huge when they take some of the weight off the older guys. We just told them to keep their heads. Medway gets a little chippy sometimes, and so do we in big games, but we had to keep our composure and I think we did that."

TVL RACE
Both teams came into the game tied atop the Tri-Valley League with 20 points, and the Mustangs had a chance to clinch at least a share of the title. Medfield changed all that with the win, and can now claim the crown if they can take down Dover-Sherborn next Wednesday.

"The kids knew if they they wanted to have a chance at the league title we had to come here and do this," Carlow said. "They did it and now it's one of those things where you control your own destiny."

Ross explained why the league race is now in Medfield's control, despite the fact that the two teams could end up tied in points once league play is complete.

"I don't forsee Medfield losing out any games. It's a weird situation. There's a rule that a team can opt out and Hopkinton opted out of playing Medfield so it will go by winning percentage. So if they win their next game they clinch the TVL title no matter what we do, even if the points end up even."

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