April 23, 2011

From NEHJ: One last salute to the high school champions

By Mike Zhe

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal. Brendan Collier of Malden Catholic celebrates a goal. (photo: Dave Arnold Photography)

After everything Malden Catholic went through this winter, a few minutes of overtime was no huge burden.

Malden Catholic, with its Division 1-bound top line of Mike Vecchione (New Hampshire), Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston College) and Brendan Collier (Boston University), was draped with the team-to-beat label by many outlets at the start of the season.

“I told our kids that it’s one thing to win; it’s another thing to be predicted to win it and then do it,” coach Chris Serino told New England Hockey Journal. “We feel honored that we did it from beginning to end.”

It was the first Super 8 title and first state championship for the program in 37 years.

Trailing 3-1 in the second period, Malden Catholic launched a comeback on its rival, capped off by Collier’s 30th goal of the season.

Not that the Lancers were just a top line. The second line of Nick Roberto, Mike Iovanna and Garrett White was the team’s top-scoring unit in the playoffs, and it got strong defense and goaltending throughout.

After a 2-1 loss at Hingham in late January, the talented Lancers took their game to another level.

“When we were going home that night,” Serino said, “I think they were thinking, ‘We’re not as good as people think. We’re going to have to work harder.”

The Lancers didn’t just work hard.

They worked overtime.

Massachusetts

After falling behind 2-1 early in the third period, Marshfield scored twice in the final frame to defeat Wakefield, 3-2, in the Division 1 championship.

After winning just five games a season ago, Wakefield looked poised to complete a Cinderella run, but Marshfield went on the attack. Junior Connor McLean tied the game at 2-2 with 3:35 to go, and then sophomore Mike Carbone buried the game-winner with just 1:31 remaining, giving the Rams their first state title since 2006.

In Div. 2, Tewksbury rebounded from a slow start and eventually downed Franklin, 2-1 in overtime, as Mark Petti tallied a minute into the extra session. The win gave the school its first Div. 2 title in 16 years, and a lot of the credit went to goalie Niko Cunha.

In Div. 3, Marblehead ran away with a 6-3 win over Westfield. Senior forward Chris McLeod had a three-point night, chipping in a goal and two assists to lead the Headers to victory.

In girls Div. 1, freshman forward Catherine Linehan tallied twice for Hingham, leading the Harborwomen to their first title, 3-1, over Acton-Boxboro. In the quarterfinals, Hingham snapped St. Mary’s of Lynn’s 100-game unbeaten streak (see sidebar).

In Div. 2, after being knocked out of the playoffs in consecutive seasons by Fontbonne, Duxbury finally turned the tide. Hannah Murphy’s last-minute goal snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Green Dragons their first title.

New Hampshire

The biggest championship in New Hampshire has returned to its biggest city.

TrinityHigh School claimed the Division 1 title with a 3-2 win over perennial power Hanover in the final at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The win capped a season that saw Trinity finish the regular season in first place, secure Manchester city supremacy and then take on the best challengers from around the state.

Chris Moquin scored a goal and set up two others in the championship; Ryan Slatky loomed large in goal, making 40 saves; and the Pioneers — who weren’t even a playoff team a few years ago — closed out their first championship since 1987-88.

In Div. 2, Ian Duffy scored a pair of goals and Dover used a blitz near the end of the first period to set the tone in its 5-1 win against Merrimack.

The Green Wave, who won a state title for the first time since 2008, scored three times in a little over two minutes to take a 3-0 lead against the top-seeded Tomahawks. Chad Garland earned the win in goal by stopping 16 of 17 shots.

In Division 3, there was no stopping Somersworth, which won its first state title in more than three decades as a program, knocking off Kennett in the championship, 8-3.

The Hilltoppers, who averaged nearly eight goals a game, got a hat trick from Stevie Wolf in the title game and eight more points from his linemates, Jaret Canney and Petter Bulling.

A champion in girls hockey has been recognized for four years by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, and in three of those years it’s been Hanover. The Marauders won their second straight title with a 7-4 win over OysterRiver, getting a pair of goals from Maddie Dewhirst to cap a perfect season.

Maine

First, ThorntonAcademy had to escape Biddeford’s shadow. Then, it needed double-overtime to secure the first state title in program history.

The Golden Trojans won Class A when C.J. Maksut tipped in a shot by Sam Canales a little more than six minutes into double-overtime, capping a thrilling 4-3 win against Lewiston.

Before those heroics, the Trojans first had to upset top-seeded Biddeford in the regional final. Biddeford, located just across the Saco River from Thornton, had won three of the previous four Class A titles, and kept a good local rivalry pretty one-sided.

But Andrew Carignan scored a pair of goals in that game and the Trojans never trailed, earning the right to play for their first title.

In Class B, another program that’s been knocking on the door recently without the hardware to show for it — York — won its first state championship in overtime, getting a goal from Anthony Figlioli to beat Brewer, 4-3.

The game was a rematch of last winter’s Class B title game, which Brewer won, 3-1. This time, Figlioli and linemate Craig Decato each scored twice, with Figlioli ending things 43 seconds into OT when he scored on an improbable shot from behind the net.

St. Dominic was crowned the state girls hockey champion, the third year the Maine Principals’ Association has recognized the sport. Lauren Ratsep and Marisa Zamrock combined for five goals for St. Dom’s in the 6-1 win over upstart York in the state final.

Rhode Island

Those four empty years seem an awful long time ago now.

MountSt. Charles Academy is again on top of Division 1, sweeping Bishop Hendricken in a best-of-three championship series to win its fourth consecutive state championship. The titles came after a four-year drought.

The drama came in Game 1, when Michael Magerman’s second goal of the game — a rebound of a Trevor Plante shot — snapped a 4-4 tie, and the Mounties held on for a 5-4 win.

In Game 2, Plante and Zach Sambursky each scored a pair of goals as the Mount overcame an early 1-0 deficit and dominated, 7-2.

Coventry closed out its first championship since 2003 by sweeping defending champion Portsmouth in Div. 2. Leading scorer Nick Paiva scored two goals in the 4-2 clincher in Game 2, and finished the playoffs with four.

Spencer Patti made 34 saves over the two games to earn the wins in goal.

In Division 3, Johnston/North Providence, in just the team’s second year as a cooperative team, did not allow a goal in sweeping MountHope by scores of 3-0 and 4-0 in their best-of-three championship series. Junior Matthew Domaingue stopped all 49 shots he faced.

The girls of Mount St. Charles celebrated a state title for the second consecutive year, skating past St. Mary Academy/Bay View by scores of 2-0 and 7-1 to sweep their best-of-three. Seven different Mounties scored goals in the series, and freshman Briana Castro had two goals and two assists in the clincher.

Connecticut

St. Joseph’s ride to the Division 1 final was a wild one. Fairfield Prep simply stormed through anything in its path.

When the smoke cleared, Prep had shut out St. Joseph, 5-0, in the championship game and claimed its seventh state title since 2000.

Bryan Puffer scored twice and John Galliani made 25 saves to earn the shutout for the second-seeded Jesuits.

Fourth-seeded St. Joseph won a pair of one-goal games to get to the final, including a 6-5 shootout over top-seeded New Canaan in the semifinals.

In Div. 2, top-seeded Guilford made the first statement, but Cheshire had the last word. Tyler Violano scored twice, Tyler Carbone made 19 saves and the second-seeded Rams overcame an early one-goal deficit to claim the title with a 3-1 win.

In Div. 3, Watertown/Pomperaug blanked a cooperative from Staples/Weston/Shelton, 4-0. Jack Murphy scored a pair of goals and Trevor St. Onge stopped all 31 shots he saw to help the program win its first state title.

On the girls’ side, Jana Persky wrapped up another stellar season with 43 goals and 89 points, and New Canaan romped to a state title by beating Ridgefield, 7-2. That followed a 7-1 rout of Darien in the FCIAC final. Persky, linemate Olivia Hompe and defenseman Madzie Carroll all earned All-FCIAC first-team honors. Hompe set new state records for goals (65) and points (112).

Vermont

For the second time in three years, Champlain Valley Union skated past Essex in the final to win the Metro Region championship at the University of Vermont.

Goalie Jason O’Brien stopped all 29 shots he faced to record the shutout. Middlebury College-bound Robbie Dobrowski scored with six minutes remaining in regulation to lift the Redhawks past the top-seeded Hornets.

In the Lake Region, Middlebury got a goal from freshman Tim Shea a little under seven minutes into overtime to stun top-seeded Stowe. It was the first state title since 1996 for the third-seeded Tigers, who also got an assist from Shea on a first-period goal by Steel White. Nick Bruch made 25 saves to earn the win in net.

For the second year in a row, BFA knocked off Spaulding to win the girls Metro Region championship. Goalie Shanley Howrigan posted shutouts in all three of her team’s tournament games, stopping 13 shots in the 2-0 win over Spaulding for the title.

U-32 also celebrated a second straight championship, topping Harwood, 4-1, in the Lakes Region final. Jyneva Pickel scored her team’s first and last goals.

Mike Zhe can be reached at mzhe@hockeyjournal.com