Boston High School: Zach Cote

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
2:06
AM ET
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at TD Garden.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. We’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series first-round, best-of-three series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 BC High (14-2-4) vs. No. 8 Xaverian (12-3-6)

Players to watch: BC High – F Steve DeForge, F Patrick Kramer, F Jake Lemanski, D Billy Roche, D Ryan Shea, D Sam Topham, D Trevor Davis, G Brandon Payzant; Xaverian – F Jon Beniers, F Andrew Durkin, F Antonio Marini, F Connor McCarthy, F Tim Sweeney, D Ricky Smith, G Aidan Murphy.

Previous meetings: 2-2 tie, Jan. 4; BC High, 5-1, Jan. 22.

The skinny: The top-seed Eagles take on their Catholic Conference rival Hawks, who endured a double-overtime classic against Archbishop Williams to slide in as the No. 8 seed. Xaverian will have to take a page from the playbook of Duxbury – which handed BC High a loss in its season finale at the Buddy Ferreira Classic – playing a tight-checking game through the neutral zone to stick with the Eagles’ slick transition game. Murphy has shown flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign and the Hawks will have to rely on him and a big series from All-State hopeful Marini if they want to keep up with BC High.

X-factor: Payzant. The Eagles’ sophomore netminder has performed admirably in his first season taking the reigns from All-Stater Peter Cronin. But until a goaltender sees his first rubber in the playoffs, the book is still out.

Prediction: BC High in two.

Series: No. 2 Malden Catholic (16-4-0) vs. No. 7 Catholic Memorial (10-7-4)

Players to watch: MC – F Matt Filipe, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Jake Witkowski, D John McLean, D Nick Rolli, G Alex Reissis; CM – F Aaron Clancy, F Anthony Panaggio, F Mike Stathopoulos, D Frank Cosolito, D Tim Weinstein, G Brandon Collett.

Previous meetings: CM, 3-2, Jan. 25; MC, 11-0, Feb. 14.

The skinny: Once again the Lancers went on a February run, going 7-1-0 in February, despite a loss to Cathedral in the teams’ season finale at the Panthers vacation week tournament. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the Knights back their way into the tournament, having been blanked in the final month of the season, as CM didn’t win a game until Monday’s play-in game victory over Braintree in a one-goal game. However, as one-sided the matchup between Catholic Conference rivals might seem, CM does have the blueprint on how to take down MC, evidenced in the Knights’ 3-2 win in the teams’ first meeting at Walter Brown. In that game, CM was able to harass the Lancers breakout with an aggressive forecheck. In order to skate with MC, the Knights will have to repeat that performance or risk having their first-round series resemble more of the teams’ second meeting.

X-factor: Filipe. The Northeastern commit has provided a strong presence throughout the season on the Lancers’ second unit. While teams have a difficult enough time contending with MC’s vaunted top line, with Filipe and the second unit rolling, the Lancers’ attack is that much more difficult to match up with, defensively.

Prediction: MC in two.

Series: No. 3 Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) vs. No. 6 Duxbury (16-2-3)

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Johnny Leonard, F D.J. Petruzzelli, F Riley Prattson, D Dan Petrick, G John Liquori, G Keith Petruzzelli; Duxbury – F Nick Marrocco, F Matt Murphy, F Shayne O’Brien, F Trevor O’Brien, F Matt Saia, D Shawn Errasti, D Tyler Powers, G Tucker Kelly.

Previous meetings: N/A.

The skinny: In perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the first round, the high-flying Panthers offensive juggernaut squares off against a sound, defensive-minded squad from Duxbury. Cathedral enters the tournament ranked among the statewide leaders in just about every statistical category and host two of the top scorers in the state in Crinella (28-26-54) and D.J. Petruzzelli (21-32-53). Meanwhile, the Dragons played their best hockey down the stretch, beating BC High in the Buddy Ferreira Classic final to punch their Super 8 ticket. John Blake’s group excels with countering the team’s speed through the neutral zone, so the Panthers could be in for some tough sledding.

X-factor: Crinella. A contender for the Mr. Hockey award this season, the Holy Cross commit is capable of taking games over – something to be said on a roster full of Division 1 commits. This could be his coming out party on a statewide scope.

Prediction: Cathedral in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-4-4) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (16-3-3)

Players to watch: AP – F Bobo Carpenter, F Eric MacAdams, F Jake McKennelley, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; Central – F Zach Cote, F Richie Greenberg, F Lloyd Hayes, F Alex Lester, F Eric Robbins, F Corey Webber, D Conrad Jepson, D Cam Smith, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meetings: Central, 4-1, Jan. 1; AP, 3-2, Feb. 3.

The skinny: In a rarity with non-league opponents, the teams faced off twice during the regular season and, somewhat predictably, split the series. The teams are near carbon copies of each with a mix of top-flight offensive skill, depth and quality goaltending. AP, a Super 8 finalist last year, is a bit of an unknown commodity this season, as the Cougars lost multitudes of man games to injury through the year. In fact, AP didn’t even practice with its full fold of players until February, so we likely haven’t seen the Cougars’ attack at its fullest potential. Meanwhile, the Raiders can consistently roll three lines, with little drop off from the first to the third. So this one will be about as close as you can find.

X-factor: The goaltending. Both Harris and Soucy made names for themselves at last year’s Super 8. Regarded as two of the top goaltenders in the state, both offenses will be hard-pressed to find room to shoot.

Prediction: AP in three.

Recap: No. 7 Central Catholic 4, No. 3 CM 3

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
1:17
AM ET
BOSTON – Central Catholic rallied from three one-goal deficits to defeat Catholic Memorial, 4-3, on the heels of Lloyd Hayes' breakaway goal with 1:58 left in Monday’s duel of Super 8 hopefuls at Walter Brown Arena.

“It's huge for us moving forward,” Central coach Mike Jankowski said. “That's the type of game we've been looking for. The tight ones when we haven't been able to pull away and separate ourselves, and today we did.”

Hayes led the way for the Raiders on the ice and on the boards. The senior first-liner set the tone physically from the start and played like a bulldozer for the full 45 minutes. To go with his goal, he had an assist on Central's third goal earlier in the third period.

“That's the way we have to play – going to corners, getting pucks, and getting traffic to the net,” Hayes said. “That's the way we're going to win these teams, especially against good teams like CM.”

The Knights were led by senior captain Aaron Clancy who scored a goal and added a pair of assists. Linemate Mike Stathopoulos had CM's first goal and had the primary assist on Clancy's.

CM coach Bill Hanson had less to say about his team's offense and more about his team's lack of consistency on the back end.

“We had an assist on every one of their goals except for the power play,” Hanson said. “We had two blatant turnovers which they, as a good team, capitalized on. It's just the lack of mental toughness and mental athleticism to make the mistakes they make contrary to the way that they're coached.”

The Raiders found numerous ways to deflate the Knights.

Hayes' goal popped the balloon, and Colin Soucy made several spectacular saves to keep CM from pulling away. Christian Thompson's fluke goal, which was blockered away by CM goalie Brandon Collett only to bounce over him and in, with 91 seconds left in the second period was another guy punch for the Knights.

Central's recent rejiggering of its lines seems to have paid off. Breaking up the original top line of Hayes-Alex Lester-Corey Webber has allowed for other players to step up for the Raiders and jell in different ways.

“I think we've done a lot of different changes and everyone puts certain guys together,” Jankowski said. “It helps to get everyone in the game, and we've seen it game in game out. Everyone's finishing, getting some goals.”

Jankowski was pleased with his team's performance, but Hanson, who gave credit to Central for its performance, was anything but.

I take no positives out of this at all,” Hanson said. “We are killing ourselves.”

ROBBINS RISES: Sometimes it's good to have a Batman and sometimes it's good to have a Robin[ns].

Central's Eric Robbins, who was slotted onto the first line alongside Hayes and Zach Cote, stepped up in a big way. Robbins assisted on Central's first and third goals and was omnipresent throughout the game.

“Whenever coach switches up the lines we try to do something new,” Robbins said. “We usually jell pretty early and we were doing good out there today. I try to help the team out as much as I can. If I get moved up I get moved up.”

Robbins first assist came when his initial shot was cleaned up by Richie Greenberg, who has played alongside Robbins for most of the season.

“We always seem to find each other whenever we're on the ice,” Robbins said.

Jankowski said Robbins' best ability was being able to play with poise anywhere on the sheet.

“He gets his points here and there, but honestly he's a great two-way player,” Jankowski said. “He's a defensive center. He's really made each line move whenever we've moved him around. We talk about mixing the lines to find the best recipe to move forward and he allows us to do that.”

Recap: No. 4 Austin Prep 3, No. 6 Central Catholic 2

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
1:01
AM ET
SALEM, N.H. -- Saturday's brutal draw against St. Mary's left Austin Prep battered and short -anded going into their tilt at Central Catholic last night. Top-scoring forwards Bobo Carpenter and Cam Russo were out, as was Eric MacAdams.

No problem. The No. 4 Cougars were held to only nine shots but converted when they had to and escaped with a tight 3-2 win over the No. 6 Raiders.

With the game tied at two five minutes into the third period, a Central turnover sprung Jake McKenelley and Ryan McDonough on a shorthanded two-on-one. McKenelley fed McDonough who buried it over a sprawling Colin Soucy.

“Guys stepped up tonight who don't usually play,” Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “I'm so proud of our guys tonight. They're a very good team. [It was] a tough road game for us.

“What I liked most importantly was at the end of game was our poise with the puck. We didn't panic. We were able to hold on to the lead and make good choices with the puck.”

The Raiders set the tone early as the Lloyd Hayes knocked down a rebound and chipped it over Austin goalie Elijah Harris for the goal. Three minutes later, Soucy left a bad rebound loose atop the crease and Louis Finocchiaro Jr. lifted it over him to tie the game going into the first intermission.

The Raiders set the tone and tempo for the bulk of the game, outshooting AP 23-9 overall and 11-2 in the second period alone, but were unable to finish many of the chances they had.

On Austin's first shot on goal of the second period, with just over five minutes left, Scott Duarte wristed home a shot in the shot to put the Cougars up 2-1. It took a while for AP to find its bearings on the Olympic-sized sheet at the Icenter, but once they did they worked it to their advantage.

“It's an Olympic-sized rink so it's hard to get things going,” McDonough said. “We're not used it, but when they made a mistake we capitalized.”

The Cougar defense was able to keep Central to the outside in the offensive zone and off-balance. When the Raiders did attack successfully Harris stood tall in goal, turning aside 20 shots.

“I thought our defensemen did a nice job, defending the middle, forcing them to the outside, and not giving up quality shots,” Finocchiaro said. “ I thought [Harris] was on his game tonight. I thought he played a sharp game form sharp to finish. He did what we need him to do and what he usually does.”

Corey Webber had Central's second goal, sliding a backhander home early in the third.

MIX AND MATCH: After getting thumped 8-2 by Malden Catholic on Jan. 20, Central coach Mike Jankowski changed up his offensive lines in an attempt to mix things up. The most noticeable change was the second line of Zach Cote, Webber, and Kevin Regan.

Webber has played much of the season on the top line with Hayes and Alex Lester while Regan got his ice time on the “white” line alongside Richie Greenberg and Eric Robbins.

Despite the loss, Jankowski said he was pleased with the reworked lines.

“We're just trying to spark a few things,” Jankowski said. “It's just balance; we have some great balance up there. Corey got one today, Lloyd got one today so each line got one today. We played really, really well we just couldn't find the back of the net.”

In Central's two games before last night's game they scored eight and four goals respectively.

“They're coming it's just at different times we get snake-bit there and can't make the conversions,” Jankowski said. “We've been able to find the back of the net for the most part. Tonight just wasn't our night.”

Recap: No. 4 Central Catholic 5, Westford 1

December, 20, 2013
12/20/13
1:08
AM ET
TYNGSBOROUGH, Mass. – Depth, for lack of a better word, is good.

No. 4 Central Catholic showed that last night as each of its three lines shined as the Raiders downed Westford Academy, 5-1, at Skate 3.

Lloyd Hayes took an Alex Lester feed for a short breakaway and scored 46 seconds in to give the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish. Colin Soucy did his thing in net, turning aside 15 Westford shots, including a cross-net, Tim Thomas-inspired dive to stop Jay Drapeau point blank in the second period.

“[Soucy] hasn't missed a beat since last year,” Central coach Mike Jankowski said. “He's able to make saves that you don't expect him too and the team builds off that. When he closes the door on one end it builds momentum the other way.”

The Raiders' top line of Hayes, Lester, and Alex Webber used that momentum to dominate the first period whenever they were on the ice. The Raiders outshot Westford 15-6 in the first period.

Lester capped off the dominance with a short-handed slapper that beat Kyle Martin glove side.

“We tied Acton-Boxborough [on Monday] and considered that a tough one,” Lester said. “We really wanted to come out early and set a statement.”

The Ghosts fought back in the second. Drapeau scored from an impossible angle a minute in to halve the deficit and Westford played with vigor in the middle stanza that was missing earlier in the game.

Drapeau, along with linemates Cam MacDonald and Ryan Hesseltine, provided the motor for the Grey Ghosts.

“Jay is an unbelievable athlete and an unbelievable competitor,” Westford coach Bob Carpenter said. “You can't find a guy that works harder or a nicer guy than him. Him and Cam MacDonald play hard and play well.”

Westford put the most pressure on Soucy in the second and had their highest shot output with seven pucks put at goal. However, Central found a way to curb Westford's enthusiasm with a pair of goals in the final two minutes that took flipped momentum back to the visitors.

“Those were back breakers,” Carpenter said. “We were hoping if we could bring them into the third period 2-1 we would be in pretty good position. I think we had a couple of defensive breakdowns, and when you play a club as good as Central they're going to take advantage.”

WHITE LINE STEPS UP: Jankowski names his lines after colors, and in the second period the “white” line of Richie Greenberg, Kevin Regan, and Eric Robbins stepped up when the Raiders needed it.

Greenberg scored Central's first second period goal. A scrum in front of the net left the puck at his feet and he poked it home amidst the chaos. Just over a minute later Greenberg fed Robbins in front who potted a backhanded, one-timer to put the Raiders up three at the intermission.

“We don't have that high, high-end player, but we have a nice group of character guys that can skate real well and are disciplined,” Jankowski said. “That white line of Robbins, Regan, and Greenberg had two in one shift and that really turned the game around.”

Lester said having so much talent beneath the top line makes his job a lot easier and a lot less stressful.

“It's great to know that we have a lot of depth in our team; we trust our guys a lot,” Lester said. “It's good to know that when I get off and we're gassed we're safe with the next two or three lines.”

Central's depth is a byproduct of having so many players who have played in big games for a long time. Players like Zach Cote and Conrad Jepson, who have risen and grown with the Central program, provide a backbone on the ice that can't be taught.

“This is that first time that we have that solid core back, we have that depth back, and we have the goaltending,” Jankowski said. “It's exciting. It's fun to be a part of and see what we can put together going forward. We think we're going to keep getting better and better as it goes.”

Recap: No. 1 Cathedral 3, No. 9 Central 3

January, 21, 2013
1/21/13
9:02
PM ET


WORCESTER, Mass. -- It was one of those kinds of periods of hockey.

After spotting three goals to No. 1 Springfield Cathedral in the second period of Monday’s holiday matinee at Holy Cross’s Hart Center, Central Catholic head coach Mike Jankowski had some choice words for his team at intermission.

As to what those words were? Jankowski referenced the Constitution and one of Dave Chappelle’s finest sketches.

“I should plead the Fifth to that one,” Jankowski said coyly.

Whatever coach communicated to his team was taken to heart, as the Raiders erased a 3-1 deficit to come back and tie the Panthers, 3-3.

After falling behind 1-0 after one, Cathedral (9-0-2) mounted a three-goal outburst in the second, thanks to a two-goal effort from freshman forward Johnny Leonard.

However, No. 9 Central (8-2-2) reemerged from the room a different team. Mike Kelleher scored just eight seconds into the third to make it a one-goal game and Lloyd Hayes netted the equalizer with 6:20 remaining in the game.

“We knew we had to start the third pretty strong because we all know Springfield Cathedral’s a good team,” Raiders senior defenseman and captain Nick Gorski said. “We wanted to start strong, pound the net, get shots and battle for rebounds.”

Central climbed to an early lead at 2:40 of the first, with Alex Lester’s goal, assisted by Zach Cote.

The Panthers responded with a string of three straight goals in the second, started by Leonard’s first at 1:14. Peter Crinella scored Cathedral’s third goal of the period at 11:58, with assists from Cam Peritz and Artie Potter.

“They were all over us in the first period, even though we played well,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “But the second period we just skated. We didn’t compete too well in the first period, but in the second period we picked it up. We started moving our feet, with or without the puck. We started getting shots on the net and crashing the net.”

Central responded in the third, playing with the confidence gained from Kelleher’s early goal. The Raiders blue-liners got into the action, jumping up into the play, while their forwards began dominating down low and looking to generate opportunities funneled back into the slot.

“We definitely felt like we could control the action down low,” Jankowski said, “and I think we made the adjustments with the defenseman to be a little bit more aggressive and play a little bit more offensively.”

FROSH OUT OF THE BOX
Leonard, with his two-goal game, increased his standing among the Panthers’ top scorers, building his season goal total to 10.

Foley said he was expecting big things from the “natural goal-scorer,” but was surprised by his impact this quickly.

“He’s been great for us. He had two today and now he has 10 on the season. That’s great production for a freshman at this level. He’s got a lot of poise with the puck … He’s playing great and he’s building confidence.”

MIND THE GAP
The Raiders agreed that they allowed Cathedral too easy an entry into their zone during the second period and, conversely, the Panthers put too many pucks in the back of their net.

“We knew we need to shorten our gap,” Gorski said.

That issue was addressed at intermission and Central responded with a much tighter effort in the third, when they held Cathedral to five shots on goal.

Gorski was part of the equation, meeting several Panthers forwards with body checks while trying to come over the blue line.

While stepping up on defense, the Raiders’ blue-liners were also able to move into the rush, creating several high quality scoring chances in transition during the third.

Much of that, as well, was due to the Raiders’ captain.

“He sees the ice so well, both offensively and defensively,” Jankowski said of Gorski. “He’s a two-way defenseman. He’s a kid that started from JV from freshman year, and he’s just an unbelievable story. He’s gotten better and better, year to year.”

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

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
2:59
AM ET


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."

THE COMEBACK
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."

BACK & FORTH ALL DAY
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.

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