Super 8: Day One LIVE Blog From Lowell

Be sure to check back often as we update the following blog LIVE with game results, recaps, Three Stars of the Game and NZ’s Take!

1. BC High vs 8. Marshfield – Noon

This game features the Super 8 favorite Eagles of BC High against the tough and disciplined Rams of Marshfield. Early on, the script was anything but what the Eagles expected as the Rams put heavy physical pressure on from the drop of the puck and forced a number of turnovers. It didn’t take long for the Rams’ transition game to turn into instant offense as junior forward Matt Mullaney drove over the red line and fed Jake Mastrangelo on the left wing who fired a wrister past Chase Congdon for a 1-0 lead for Marshfield. The large green and white fan contingent was fired up and that further spurred on the Rams as they played selfless defense. Late in the frame, they were called for a penalty and BC High took immediate advantage as sophomore defenseman John Logan slid a pass to senior defender PJ Donahue who fired a one-timer past Jack Gatie to knot the score at 1 with 55 seconds to play – and that was how we went the rooms.

In the second period, things really began to open up as both teams generated more chances. Marshfield struck first just under four minutes in as junior forward Griffin Mudge ripped home a wrister off a pass across the slot from defenseman Colin Burns. Only nine seconds later BC High answered with a goal off the rush from forward Aidan Carey with the lone assist coming from defenseman PJ Donahue right off the initial faceoff. After that, BC High seized control and began to open up play a bit more with their puck movement. Sure enough, seven minutes later Peter Kramer took an odd angle shot from the corner which snuck past Gatie’s left pad for a score to make it 3-2 BC High, which is how we entered the third period.

In the final frame, BC High once again put the pressure on offensively with more puck possession and speed to the outside. Just 39 seconds in, freshman defenseman Declan Loughnane tossed a puck on net which led to a scramble and senior forward Matt Lakus banged it home to make it 4-2. The remainder of the period was merely academic as BC High generated most of the chances but Gatie shut the door the rest of the way. The final was 4-2 BC High, who moves into the Winners Bracket and will play on Wednesday back here in Lowell, while Marshfield will play in the Losers Bracket on Tuesday in Chelmsford.

Three Stars

  1. D PJ Donahue, BC High
  2. F Peter Kramer, BC High
  3. D Charlie Kolar, Marshfield

NZ’s Take

This was a tale of two games as the first period was all Marshfield where they seized the momentum and fed off the crowd. The second period saw the scales tip BC High’s way and their team speed and puck possession were too much for the Rams to handle.

For BC High, Matt Lakus got better as the game progressed and was heavy on the puck. PJ Donahue was excellent at both ends, playing aggressive hockey and winning battles.

For Marshfield, Jack Gatie was very good despite giving up four goals. He stopped 32 shots and this game could have been a blowout without his composure in the cage. We were also impressed by Charlie Kolar, who was all over the ice making plays at both ends: most notably in his own to retrieve pucks.

2. Pope Francis vs 7. Xaverian – 2pm

This game featured one of the top offenses in the state (Pope Francis) taking on the play-in game winner (Xaverian). It was a bit of contrasting styles where Pope Francis is quick and nimble and Xaverian is bigger and more physical. This game followed the script early on, in a largely sterile atmosphere at the Tsongas, as Xaverian was hitting everything that moved and using their size to maintain possession. Most of the first period was spent in the Pope Francis D zone, but the tide turned four minutes in when defenseman Matt Pelletier took a shot from inside the blue line that looked like it hit something on the way in and found the net to make it 1-0 Cardinals. The lone assist went to forward Matt Ashe. After the goal the Cardinals generated a few more chances, but nothing came from them and 1-0 was the score at period’s end.

The second period featured Pope Francis owning the lion’s share of the territorial battle. For long stretches of the period, the Hawks were hemmed in their zone as Pope Francis went to work. Admittedly, there wasn’t much juice in the building thanks to a silent crowd but there was some noise that woke everyone up 10 minutes in. Senior forward Jon Tavella teed up his linemate and fellow senior forward Max Cocchi for a one timer which beat senior Xaverian goalie James Herring to make it 2-0 Cardinals. Just three minutes later, they scored again when Cormac Hayes zipped over the red line and fed Matt Ashe on the left wing for a quick wrister to make it 3-0. The momentum may be shifting though, just as the period ended. The Cardinals took a major penalty for nailing a Xaverian player into the boards and time will tell if the Hawks can cash in. They had a PP goal waved off due to the whistle blowing before the puck crossed the goal line: this will be the push Xaverian needs if they want to climb back into this one.

In the final period, Xaverian did get the goal they needed to start a rally. On the PP, forward Ryan Pomposelli was the beneficiary of a turnover right in front of the net and he slammed the puck home five hole to make it 3-1. That did give the Hawks a momentary boost, but after the luster wore off it was all Cardinals. Senior Jon Tavella took over with a goal five minutes in, slipping it five hole and then another tally nine minutes in after teammate Max Cocchi slid a pass cross-ice that he buried off a two-on-one: 5-1 Cardinals. Twenty seconds later Xaverian had a little get back when forward John Joyce cashed in on a net-front scramble but the Cardinals potted an empty netter (Max Cocchi) and clamped down on defense from there. The final was 6-2 Cardinals who will play again in Lowell on Wednesday while Xaverian will play in Chelmsford in an elimination game on Tuesday.

Three Stars

  1. F Jon Tavella, Pope Francis
  2. F Max Cocchi, Pope Francis
  3. F Matt Ashe, Pope Francis

NZ’s Take

This game was closer than the score would indicate but no matter how you slice it: Pope Francis was the better team from start to finish. Xaverian amped up the physical play and held the Cardinals at bay in the first, but they could not hold them for much longer as they tallied five goals in the final 30 minutes. The Cardinals are quick and aggressive, they don’t need many looks at the net.

For Pope Francis, clearly the line of Tavella-Demers-Cocchi was pretty darn good, accounting for four goals on the day. They used their footspeed to win races and to burn the Xaverian defense wide and create odd-man chances. Tavella and Cocchi in particular were quick on the puck all game long. Credit is also due to senior defender Spencer Stewart who shadowed star forward Josh Barton all game and held him to 0 points.

For Xaverian, while Barton was held off the scoresheet he still made life tough for the Cardinals by driving deep into the opponent zone and possessing the puck with strength. Forward Ryan Pomposelli was activated well all game long using his feet and scored the team’s first goal – he never quit on the play even down by multiple goals.

4. Arlington vs 5. Framingham – 4:15pm

This game restored the roar to the Tsongas Center as the towns of Arlington and Framingham turned out well for this contest. Both fan sections were loud from puck drop but only one went to the locker room happy after the first period. Framingham came out of the gates quick and put immediate pressure on Arlington with a couple of Grade A chances. Luckily junior goalie Nathan Brennan was equal to the task and nine minutes into the game the seal was broken. Coach’s son, junior Anthony Messuri teed up a shot on the PP from the point served up by senior defender Jack Simon and blasted it by Jake Handy of Framingham for a 1-0 Spyponder lead. That’s was where we remained entering the middle frame.

Right off the bat the Spyponders took control of the period. 51 seconds in forward Brendan Jones finished off a 2-on-1 rush converting a nice pass by forward Joe Scheschareg. For the first half of the period, Arlington still owned the better of the chances. Then, Arlington forward Dara Conneely smoked freshman winger Thomas Duane along the end boards and he was down in pain for several minutes. Once the dust settled it was a 5-minute major and the Flyers made Arlington pay. Over a twenty second span Framingham scored twice: Mike Tersoni got things started with a rip from inside the dots that beat Brennan short side. Then Brian Tosi notched a goal off a shot tip from Hunter Balducci‘s initial shot. The Framingham faithful was going bonkers after tying the score. And then the roof came off the joint when Tersoni flew up the left wing and ripped home a slapper top shelf: 3-2 Flyers. They owned all of the momentum heading into the room.

The final period (in regulation) saw Framingham control the first half with puck possession and footspeed to win puck races. They were feeding off the momentum coming from the second but things changed after a questionable elbowing call put Arlington on the PP. From there, 10 minutes in senior forward Will Jennings did the rest as he finished off a feed from Jack Simon south of the dots to knot it up at 3. Two minutes later, it looked as though Drew Malatesta had scored but the referees ruled that it was directed in by his hand: no goal. With fifteen seconds to go: the Flyers crashed the crease knocking down the goalie and put the Spyponders in the driver’s seat. The period ended with a tie score of 3-3.

In the OT it only took a minute after Messuri made a great sprint to keep the puck in the attacking zone, he fed Brendan Jones for the game winner: 4-3 Spyponders. They will get BC High here in Lowell on Wednesday while Framingham gets Marshfield on Tuesday in an elimination game.

Three Stars

  1. Brendan Jones, Arlington
  2. Anthony Messuri, Arlington
  3. Mike Tersoni, Framingham

NZ’s Take

This was easily the best game of the day so far. Both public schools laid everything on the line, the building was juiced and there were momentum swings in both directions. Ultimately, Arlington did get the benefit of a couple calls but they played a very disciplined game which put them in a position to win. Framingham played a great game too: they are quick in all three zones and they will still be dangerous in the Losers Bracket.

For Arlington, Anthony Messuri was excellent in this game- it has to be his best game of the season. He made big plays 5-on-5, PP and PK, he was everywhere. In addition both Will Jennings and Jack Simon were big cogs in the team offense. Both factored in on late goals to pull the team back into a tie in the third and eventually a game winner.

For Framingham, Mike Tersoni was excellent – affecting play on every shift with his speed and aggressiveness. You can also point to forward Hunter Balducci who hunted pucks all game long and defender Dom Leone who was athletic jumping up in the play regularly.

3. Hingham vs 6. Austin Prep – 6:15pm

And now for the final game of the night it’s the big and physical Harbormen from Hingham versus the speedy and crafty Cougars from Austin Prep. This is a rematch of the December championship game for the Christie Serino Tournament, won by the Cougars. The first period of this one absolutely flew by and appropriately the only goal scored came 43 seconds in. Senior defender Caleb Woodin put the puck on net and forward Trevor O’Brien was there to clean up the rebound: 1-0 Hingham. The Harbormen owned all areas of the ice and leaned on the puck well in this first frame.

In the second frame, Austin Prep began to generate more chances in the Hingham zone, they used their speed more effectively to escape contact. Despite this, Hingham effectively blocked shots and senior netminder Aaron Richardson held the fort all period. It was a more active period than the first and it ended with a bang. With four seconds left, junior forward Joe Sullivan collected a puck in front of the net and snapped it through the five hole of Robbie Farrell to make it a 2-0 lead for the Harbormen headed into the room.

Early in the third period the momentum was ready to shift Austin Prep’s way but when they went on the PP in the first minute things didn’t go as planned. Senior Hingham forward Jacob Clark fed fellow senior Will Kenney streaking up the left wing and he fired a wrister five hole on Robbie Farrell to make it 3-0 Hingham. The remainder of the period was purely academic as the Harbormen played keep away nearly the entire time.

Three Stars

  1. G Aaron Richardson, Hingham
  2. D Caleb Woodin, Hingham
  3. F Will Kenney, Hingham

NZ’s Take

This game was much the reverse of what we saw in December. In this game Hingham played the body effectively and got to the netfront in order to score greasy goals on a regular basis. Austin Prep was pushed around for stretches of this game because they could not compete with the Harbormen’s strength. That doesn’t mean the Cougars didn’t have good chances: they put quality shots on net, but many of them were one and done since Hingham defended the net so well.

For Hingham, defenseman Caleb Woodin was excellent by using his size and strength to deny shots with his length and block others to he couldn’t get to. As you might suspect senior captain defender Jake Higgins and senior captain forward Will Kenney were both excellent in their own ends: skating hard all night and putting pressure on the Cougars.

For Austin Prep, once again senior captain Max Pineo was very good, blowing by defenders multiple times and breaking the zone down to create passing lanes. Junior defender Will Cohen was very good in his own end tonight and played mistake free hockey which allowed his forwards to do more with the puck. We also thought freshman defender Aidan Elkins played some of his best hockey tonight in his biggest game: he stayed within himself and kept Hingham from setting up in the D zone.