Once again a collection of some of the state’s best high school hockey teams will descend on Falmouth starting this weekend for the annual Buddy Ferreira Classic. The annual tournament features eight elite programs from across eastern Massachusetts, four private and four public schools. The teams have been seeded from one-to-four on both sides and will play down to an eventual champion. The following is a rundown of the teams, and what’s at stake for them heading into the tournament.
Hingham Harbormen (10-6-3): The Harbormen are playing for a spot in the Super-8, all while having to work through some lineup issues. Coach Tony Messina’s team has played a Who’s Who list of top teams in the state and owns a win against Pope Francis with ties against St. Mary’s and Catholic Memorial. With a solid showing in Falmouth the Harbormen should once again find themselves in the elite Division 1A tournament. Tim Carroll, Terrance Concannon and Paul Forbes have paced the offense this year while defenders Lars Osterberg and Bob Falvey have been steady on the back end.
Duxbury Dragons (10-5-2): The defending Division 1 state champions look like they very well could make another run at a trip to the Garden this year. Teams that have scored against goalie Steve Pisani should be allowed to keep the puck as the backbone of last year’s title team has led the squad to a 1.50 goals against average for the season. Duxbury has seven shutouts to its credit for the season and has allowed just one goal in a game twice. Defenders Nick Demio and Ben Luscko have played big roles in that as well. Up front, Ben Cheney is a force for the Dragons and senior Friend Weiler also is a player to watch.
Reading Rockets (10-5-4): With a good draw the Rockets have the makings of a team that can make a deep run in the north sectional tournament, and playing in Falmouth will get them ready to do so. With the benefit of not needing points in Falmouth to earn a spot in the tournament, the Rockets are playing to move up the ladder and to get themselves battle-tested for the postseason. With a complete effort the Rockets are quite capable of making it to the finals here and will rely on a variety of players to put the puck in the net. The defensive-minded club is allowing just 2.05 goals against per game, with keeper Dylan Emery leading the charge. Coach Mark Doherty said his top four defenders, Cam Lawhorne, Brandon Millerick, Charlie Miele and Matt Fiorenza have been very good.
Falmouth Clippers (11-7-1): After wrapping up the Cape and Islands League last weekend, and earning their way into the state tournament, the Clippers are playing to move up the bracket in the Division 1 south field. FHS got off to a hot start to the season, and survived a Christmastime lull and has played some of its best hockey over the past couple of weeks. Forwards Stone Devlin and Nick Champani, who is aiming for his 100th career point this weekend, along with Eric Wainwright and Max McDonald have paced the offense from the forward spot. Jake McKenzie has been the team’s best player since moving to defense a few weeks back and is a two-way threat.
BC High (11-3-3): While the pundits across the state will tell you that there is no true favorite to win it all this year at the Super-8 level, the BC High Eagles have quietly been rounding into postseason form. The champs of both the BFC and the Super-8 last year, BC High took some time to reconfigure its lineup and fine tune things after losing a number of key contributors from last year’s run that ended with a four overtime classic victory against Pope Francis in the championship game. Coach John “Flash” Flaherty’s crew enters the Ferreira tournament having gone undefeated since dropping a 3-1 game on the road to Pope Francis on January 18. Since that loss the Eagles have put together a 5-0-2 record with wins over Xaverian, St. Mary’s and Winchester during that run. Forwards Matt Keohane, Coman Benson and Colin Norton have been the top point-getters for the potent offense.
Austin Prep (9-6-3): AP is on the Super-8 watch list, and this week will determine whether or not the Cougars are playing in the elite tournament or not. Austin Prep won the Catholic Central, edging out St. Mary’s of Lynn and allowing just 11 goals in 10 league games this season. The Ferreira tournament allows AP to build its resume for the Super-8. It has one victory against a watch list team to its credit, a win against Hingham. Three of its five losses were to teams on the watch list, including St. Mary’s, Pope Francis, and St. John’s Prep.
Arlington Catholic (7-8-1): AC is in the unenviable position of coming to the Cape needing points to earn a spot in the state tournament. The Cougars need to squeeze out three points over their three games to get in, and it’s hardly going to be easy. They open with defending D1 champs Duxbury and then will face either Reading or Austin Prep in their second game. AC is 3-1 over its last four games, including a win over Archbishop Williams, and will be the most-rested team entering the weekend, having not played since February 5.
Archbishop Williams (8-6-3): One point, that’s the ultimate goal for the Bishops here in Falmouth this week. The Archies enter play against Hingham to open the Ferreira Classic with 19 points to their credit and 20 needed for a postseason berth. One tie will get the job done for AW, but it won’t come easily, especially with the top public school, Hingham, as their first foes here. Nick Buccella has been strong in the net for the Bishops over the course of the season as their go-to in net. The offense has received good contributions from Christian Koylion, James O’Toole and Conor Kelly.