February 2, 2012

High School Journal: Charitable causes a common theme

By Ed Flaherty

High school hockey teams throughout New England have had a little something extra on the line at some of their games this season. 

Many teams have taken the opportunity to perform a community service at their games this winter by raising funds for charities and creating awareness for various causes.

Among the high school games this season that have served as a gateway for awareness of a cause and/or the opportunity to raise funds for charity include:

* A Spaulding (Vt.) High School doubleheader that donated ticket proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

* The Mark Bavis Challenge Cup honoring the former Catholic Memorial and Boston University standout who was among the victims of United Airlines Flight 175 that struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was held in January. The game between Catholic Memorial and Xaverian helped raise funds for the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation.

* The 5th annual Andrew Gauthier Memorial Hockey Festival was held at Thayer Arena in Rhode Island, honoring a former Toll Gate High School hockey and baseball player who passed away in 2007 during his junior year of high school. Proceeds from the festival went to the Andrew Gauthier Scholarship Fund, which presents Warwick High School students with college scholarships.

* The 1st annual Lt. Derek Hines Memorial Hockey Game was held on Jan. 21 at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., featuring St. John’s Prep and BC High. The game honored First Lt. Derek Hines, a St. John’s Prep graduate and former hockey player who attended West Point and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005 while serving with the 173rd Airborne Division. The game helped raise money for a fund to help Massachusetts soldiers and their families who have suffered injuries.

* Maine’s Kennebunk High School and co-operative Noble/Wells helped raise awareness of domestic and dating violence prior to a game on Jan. 25. Caring Unlimited, an organization aiming to end domestic violence, provided information about its cause, while players wore stickers on their helmets to support the event.

* Noble/Wells and New Hampshire’s Somersworth High School played a preseason breast cancer awareness charity game.

Upcoming events connected with high school hockey games include:

* St. Thomas Aquinas (N.H.) High School will hold its 3rd annual “Pink Game” to support breast cancer awareness on Saturday when the Saints face Salem High School. St. Thomas will feature pink laces, pink stick tape and other pink accessories to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds from a raffle and silent auction will also be donated.

* Connecticut’s West Haven Penalty Box Club will hold a Veteran’s Day event on Feb. 11 at the Fermi vs. West Haven boys game. The event will be a fund-raiser, with proceeds donated to V.A. Charters, a charitable organization in West Haven that takes disabled war veterans on fishing trips.

* On Feb. 8, the Groton-Dunstable (Mass.) boys hockey team will honor William Joseph Woitowicz at its game against Lunenburg/Ayer. Woitowicz, a Marine who was a Groton-Dunstable graduate, was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Proceeds from the game will benefit the William Joseph Woitowicz Memorial Fund.

Connecticut 

The Fairfield Prep boys have enjoyed an outstanding Division 1 season, with a 3-1 loss against Bishop Hendricken back on Dec. 27 being their only in-state setback.

The Jesuits also suffered a 3-2 loss against St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute of Buffalo, N.Y., on Dec. 29. Both losses came in the Mount St. Charles Invitational holiday tournament.

Since then, however, Fairfield Prep has gone 8-0 to improve its record to 12-2. Among those wins were a pair against out-of-state competition at the Jesuit Shootout in Jersey City, N.J. Fairfield Prep defeated both Boston College (Mass.) High School, 2-0, and St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.), 3-2.

The Jesuits returned to in-state action on Feb. 1 with an impressive 4-0 win over Xavier.

Maine

The Skowhegan Area High School boys hockey team caught a break last week when it learned that a scheduling issue won’t keep the Indians out of the postseason, should they qualify.

Skowhegan competes in Eastern Maine Class A but has played a schedule featuring mostly Class B teams due to the scheduling error.

A Maine Principals´ Association committee ruled that Skowhegan, which is a co-operative team with Madison High School, would be eligible for postseason play if the Indians qualify under Maine’s Heal Points system.

Under MPA rules, Skowhegan’s schedule doesn’t feature enough conferences games to be playoff eligible, but the ruling states that the playoff field would be expanded from eight to nine teams should the Indians qualify. The eighth- and ninth-seeded teams would meet in a play-in game under that scenario.

Skowhegan was issued a Class B schedule at the start of the season but later learned that its affiliation with Madison increased the schools’ combined enrollment, moving the team into a Class A qualification.

Massachusetts

Compared to recent years, the St. Mary’s of Lynn girls’ 11-3 record might not be as impressive as one would expect from a team that won three straight state titles before being upset in the semifinals a year ago.

After a sluggish 2-2 start, St. Mary’s reeled off eight straight wins to climb back up near the top of the standings before a 3-2 loss at Winthrop/Lynn English on Jan. 28 derailed the winning streak.

On Feb. 1, St. Mary’s got back on track by picking up a statement victory with a 5-2 win over previously unbeaten Arlington Catholic.

Kaleigh Finigan had a hat trick for St. Mary’s, while Arlington Catholic dropped to 14-1-1.

New Hampshire

There are just two undefeated teams in the Granite State and they both reside in Division 3.

Kennett (10-0) and Alvirne (9-0) stand above the Div. 3 landscape, with a Feb. 15 showdown between the two unbeaten clubs looming.

Kennett has five shutout victories to its credit this season and has outscored the opposition 74-13 in its 10 victories. Only one of Kennett’s wins has been by less than three goals.

Alvirne has had three games decided by three goals or less and has outscored its opponents 69-22.

Rhode Island

The Mount St. Charles boys and girls teams both picked up statement victories recently, with the boys handing previously unbeaten Bishop Hendricken its first loss of the season, while the girls earned a showdown win against La Salle.

The Mount St. Charles boys are the four-time defending Division 1 state champs, but have struggled with consistency in 2011-12.

Mount St. Charles is currently 6-5 but showed its prowess in its 4-1 win over Bishop Hendricken as Brian Belisle scored a pair of third-period goals to seal the win.

Both Mount St. Charles and La Salle entered their Emma Division contest with identical 10-1 records on Jan. 28, but the Mounties, who have won two straight state titles, picked up a 3-1 victory.

Vermont

The South Burlington High School boys and girls teams will have bragging rights over their Champlain Valley counterparts after the Rebels swept the annual Chittenden-South Burlington Cup games.

The CSB Cup is an annual event between CVU and South Burlington. Most of the players on each team played together for Chittenden-South Burlington youth teams.

In the boys game, South Burlington prevailed 6-4. Matt Baechle had a pair of goals to lead South Burlington, while Bernie Thibeault, Matt Leonard, Dan Gluck and Eric Craig also scored. Nate Young had 23 saves for the Rebels.

For CVU, Cam Rivard, Alex Bulla, Patrick Pattison and Kirk Fontana scored, while Jason O’Brien made 22 saves.  

In the girls, game South Burlington posted a 5-0 victory. Molly Higgins had three goals to pace the Rebels, while Julia Hudson and Anne-Marie Farmer also scored. South Burlington goaltenders Courtney Peyko and Courtney Barrett combined for nine saves in the win.

Nicole Sisk made 38 saves for CVU.

Game of the Week

Rhode Island’s Division 1 league leaders will meet on Friday when Bishop Hendricken (10-1-1) takes on Burrillville High School (8-4) at Thayer Academy (9:30 p.m.).

Bishop Hendricken is the Cimini Division leader, while Burrillville sits on top of the Eccleston Division standings.

New England High School Power Rankings

Connecticut

1. Fairfield Prep (12-2)

2. Notre Dame West Haven (11-2-1)

3. Ridgefield (11-1)

4. East Haven (9-2-2)

5. South Windsor (8-3)

6. Trumbull (9-4)

7. Guilford (7-3-1)

8. Glastonbury (7-2)

9. West Haven (8-3)

10. Newington/Berlin (10-2)

Maine

1. Thornton Academy (10-1-1)

2. Scarborough (10-2-1)

3. Bangor (10-2)

4. Brewer (12-1)

5. Messalonskee (10-2)

6. Marshwood/Traip (9-2)

7. Lewiston (9-3-1)

8. St. Dominic (7-3)

9. Greely (7-3-1)

10. Cape Elizabeth (7-3-2)

Massachusetts

1. Malden Catholic (9-1-2)

2. St. Mary’s Lynn (13-1-2)

3. Hingham (12-2)

4. Burlington (10-1-2)

5. Needham (12-3)

6. Westford Academy (9-2-2)

7. BC High (8-3-2)

8. Woburn (9-3-2)

9. Franklin (12-1-1)

10. Marshfield (12-2-1)

New Hampshire

1. Pinkerton (9-2)

2. Memorial (10-3)

3. Bedford  (9-2)

4. Merrimack (9-3)

5. Alvirne (9-0)

6. Kennett (10-0)

7. Bishop Brady (7-3-2)

8. Pelham/Windham (8-1)

9. St. Thomas (6-4-1)

10. Hollis/Brookline (9-3)

Rhode Island

1. Hendricken (10-1-1)

2. La Salle (8-3-1)

3. Johnston/North Providence (11-0)

4. Cumberland (9-1-1)

5. Prout (10-2-2)

6. Coventry (8-1)

7. Pilgrim (8-2-1)

8. Middletown (8-2-2)

9. Portsmouth (7-4-1)

10. Burrillville (8-4)

Vermont

1. Essex (11-0-1)

2. South Burlington (12-1)

3. BFA St. Albans (11-2)

4. U-32 (9-1-1)

5. Burr and Burton (10-3-1)

6. Northfield (11-2)

7. St. Johnsbury (9-3)

8. Stowe (8-3-1)

9. Colchester (8-4-1)

10. Missiquoi (8-6)

Ed Flaherty can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.