Top High School Hockey Talent In Falmouth This Week
By: Rich Maclone, February 14, 2014
There aren’t many in-season tournaments in the state of Massachusetts that boasts a lineup of both public and private high schools with the amount of talent that will be found at the Falmouth Ice Arena this week. The Buddy Ferreira Classic, which was renamed to honor the longtime Falmouth High coach that stepped down at the end of last year, features eight quality teams that all have plenty to play for. Five of the eight teams -- Archbishop Williams, Arlington Catholic, Austin Prep, BC High, and Duxbury -- are all being considered for the Super-8 Tournament. Falmouth, the host team, is looking to improve its seeding in the Division 1 South tournament, while Waltham and Hingham are battling for their postseason lives.
Here’s a look at some of what the eight competitors bring to the table.
Archbishop Williams (10-5-2)
Local hockey fans have already gotten a glimpse of the Bishops, who went 1-0-1 here at the Cape Cod Cup back in December. We saw just how explosive a team that the Archies can be in the first game of the showcase as they rallied from a 4-2 deficit to score two goals, by Mike Sorenti, in the final minute of the game to tie a solid Westford Academy team. They then went on to light up Chelmsford, 9-3, the next day.
AW looks like a solid bet to earn another trip to the Super-8 and can guarantee that with a solid showing here. The Bishops’ top two lines have both produced at a regular clip. The troika of Ryan Dunn, Dylan O’Brien and Nick Menzel creates plenty of highlights, as does the trio of Sorenti, Eric Keefe and Mike Jessman, who hails from Falmouth. In the net, Steve Jenner and Matt McCaughey are both expected to see time between the pipes.
Arlington Catholic (12-4-1)
Coach Dan Shine is no stranger to victories -- he earned his 500th career win last month -- and he’d love to see his club add three more here in Falmouth. To earn a spot in the Super-8 field the Cougars will need to have a nice run here in Falmouth as they’re currently the definition of a bubble team. ESPN-Boston ranks them No. 9 in the state, and the Herald’s RPI numbers have the Cougars at 11. With a couple of quality wins here, the Cougars will be in. “I’d say that’s a good evaluation,” Shine said. “We need to have a couple of wins down there, we’re on the cusp.”
Shine’s team has gotten superb goaltending all year long from workhorse John Richard between the pipes, who comes to the Cape with back-to-back shutouts to his credit. Over the season he has collected five shutouts and has allowed just a single goal on four other occasions. The senior netminder has shouldered nearly the entire load for his club and has more than handled it. He enters the tournament with a 1.53 goals against average and has halted more than 93-percent of the 370 shots that have gotten to the net. He’s protected by a nice defensive group, which is headlined by Shriner’s All-Stars Brian Goggin and Jon-Luke Dee.
Offensively, AC has nice balance across the lineup. Junior forward Ryan Smith leads the team with 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists). Six players on the team have more than 10 points for the season, with Ryan Tierney (8 goals, 12 assists), Andy Somerville (8 goals, 9 assists) and Ryan Spagnoli (9 goals, 7 assists) all making impacts regularly.
Austin Prep (11-3-4)
It was a year ago that the Austin Prep Cougars came down to Falmouth and made a statement by sweeping their way through the Classic. Coach Lou Finocchiaro said that the victory at the Classic propelled his squad to a great showing in the Super-8, where the club finished as the runners-up.
AP has their sights set on another deep run in March and would love to add a second straight Classic championship along the way. “It’s a prestigious tournament, with eight great teams in it every year,” the coach said. “It’s a great bonding time for our team, and our kids really look forward to playing down there.”
Prep is not only really good, but also really young. The club has just two seniors on the squad this year, blue liners Andrew Cross and Brendan Leach. The scoring has been balanced across the squad, led by BU commit Robert Carpenter, who is the top scorer. Cam Russo also has been a standout up front for AP. In the net, Elijah Harris has been the go-to guy all year and enters the weekend with a goals against average under two per game.
BC High (12-1-3)
Pretty much all season long every ranking in the state has had Boston College High School at either No. 1 or 2, depending on the week. With the second-toughest schedule in the state, the Eagles have taken on all comers and come out victoriously more often than not. The Eagles enter the Classic riding high, having knocked off rivals Catholic Memorial 5-0 earlier this week.
Barring a complete collapse in Falmouth, or the apocalypse, the Eagles are in the Super-8 field. Here they hope to tune up for it by playing well for three games, and adding some hardware for the school’s trophy case would be a bonus.
Sophomore Brandon Payzant has established himself already as one of the top goalies in the state with a 1.26 GAA and a save percentage of better than 93-percent.
The Eagles offense is paced by Patrick Kramer (7 goals, 18 assists) and Steve DeForge (12 goals, 4 assists). Falmouth native Connor Noonan skates regularly for BC High and has 3 goals and 4 assists.
“We’re going to find out where we’re at and where we belong,” Coach John Blake said of his team’s trip to the Cape Cod Classic. Currently, his team is on the wrong side of the bubble for the Super-8, which could change dramatically with a strong showing in Falmouth. The Dragons started the year slowly, but have won 12 of their last 13 and own a 12-2-3 record overall.
Senior goaltender Tucker Kelly has made some big saves this year in his team’s biggest games and boasts a 1.50 goals against average. He’s been aided by some great play in front of him by Sam Errasti, Tyler Powers, Max Goldner and youngster Buddy Mrowka. “We’ve done a good job in our own end. They’ve done a nice job paying attention to details,” Blake said.
Up front, the Dragons’ offense is led by the tandem of Trevor O’Brien and Nick Marrocco, who team with Mike Doyle on the team’s top line.
There isn’t a team coming to the Classic under more pressure than the Harbormen. A rough 1-6-1 start to the season nearly railroaded the season at the start of the year, but the Harbormen have inched their way back into state tournament contention through hard work. Coach Tony Messina said that worrying about needing to win games is not productive, so that’s not the approach he and his club are taking heading into this weekend. “I know it sounds cliche, but we’re approaching it one period at a time. Keep it simple and win one period at a time,” he said.
Alex Bonn has been solid between the pipes for the Harbormen. Facing a tough opponent each and every night, Bonn has lived up to the translation of his last name and been good. Senior captains Gerard Colpoys and John Carlson have been rock solid on defense, as has been Luke McInnis. Senior Patrick Colpoys has led the team in scoring throughout the season and HHS has also gotten strong play from Joe Personeni.
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Clippers this season. With a new Head Coach, and not much experience, there weren’t many that expected the Clippers to crack many Top 25 lists or contend for a league championship. Riding the red hot scoring of senior Robbie Souza and the solid goaltending of senior Jake Beaton, the Clippers have surprised the doubters at every turn this season. Falmouth has already qualified for the MIAA tournament and will be using the tournament to try to improve their seeding in the D1 South field and ready themselves for the biggest games of the season.
First year Head Coach Paul Moore, who took over for the man that Classic is now named after, Buddy Ferreira, said that his team’s steady improvement and focus on cohesiveness as a team has been key to their surprising season. “They’re all pulling on one oar,” he said. Defensively, juniors Andrew Parkinson and Marc Rocheleau and the Tobey brothers, Tom (sophomore) and Cam (freshman) have been getting better with each game. Arlin Moore, Zack Barrett and Sam Walker have helped lighten the scoring load carried by Souza, who enters the weekend as one of the top goal scorers in the state, with 25.
Coach John Maguire’s team finds itself in a spot it really had hoped to avoid. The Hawks have not yet wrapped up their spot in the MIAA tournament field, and they’ll need to secure points here to do just that.
“The last place on earth we wanted to be was having to go to Falmouth and make the tournament at the Buddy Ferreira Classic,” he said. “We’ve been in that position before, and found a way, so it can be done. It’s not easy, though.”
Goalie Shamus Egan has been a steadying force for the red and white throughout the season. Egan, a junior, has posted a rock solid 2.30 goals against average and kept his team in games throughout the year. “He’s been consistent all year,” Maguire said.
Up front, the top scoring players for WHS have been Kevin Snow, Ben Macewan and Brendan Hopkins. Peter Simeone and Brandon Hamner have also stepped up and provided scoring.