Winchester High School Wins the Division I North Title
Lowell, MA–The Winchester Sachems and St. John’s Prep Eagles played for the Division I North Title and a trip to the garden to play Duxbury for the State Title. The Sachems scored three, third period goals; two by Mike Drew. Sophomore goalie Robert DiVincenzo made 27 saves on route to a 4-1 victory at Tsongas Arena.
The teams played pretty even the first few minutes of the first. Senior Joe Lepore had a great chance about half-way through the period on a free shot off a two on one but freshman Prep goalie Jackson Irving stood tall for the save. Winchester struck soon after, however, as Michael Martignetti dug a puck off the wall, took a hit, made a backhand pass to Angelo Mario who buried it top corner. Joey Falso picked up an assist. The period ended 1-0 Winchester with the Eagles outshooting the Sachems 9-5.
In the second, St. John’s Prep controlled play as they possessed the puck and gained some momentum with two power play chances. Winchester’s DiVincenzo made some great stops to keep the lead. However, with 3:54 left junior Patrick Moran (N. Andover, MA) banged home a rebound on the power play. Assists went to junior defenseman Jack Gilligan (Salem, MA) and junior Ned Malolpszy (Andover, MA). It was now a 1-1 game and it felt like SJP had the momentum. The Eagles outshot the Sachems 11-2 in the period.
The third period started with Ryan McCarthy clearly being hooked on a possible breakaway by a St. John’s Prep defender with no call. About 20 seconds later a borderline penalty was called against the Eagles. The makeup call gave the Sachems their first power play of the game. They took advantage as they worked, made some nice passes, established time in zone and finally scored as Mike Drew buried a pass from Joe Lepore. Michael Martignetti, who had a nice game, also picked up an assist. It was 2-1 Winchester just a couple minutes into the third. The Prep pushed back some and Winchester took a timeout with about 12 minutes left. The timeout seemed to work as Drew intercepted an errant goalie clear and buried it quickly to give the Sachems a 3-1 lead with 10:13 to go. St. John’s Prep worked to get within one but DiVincenzo was too hot tonight. On one late save, he gloved a shot from the point through traffic that we have no idea how he saw. It was a rifle and he grabbed like it was just a simple day at the office. The game felt over right then and there. The Eagles took out their goalie and gained no real chances. With 1:31 remining and a faceoff at center ice, McCarthy took the draw, tipped it by the Prep center and fired it home into the empty net for the final goal. Winchester won it 4-1 and will play Duxbury Sunday at the Garden for the DI Championship.
1st Robert DiVincenzo (Winchester)
2nd Mike Drew (Winchester)
3rd Michael Martignetti (Winchester)
NZ’s Take: Shots on goal are the most overrated stat in sports and that was proven tonight. St. John’s Prep outshot Winchester but Winchester had more quality chances. Also, Winchester has players that can score. The Eagles have a lot of young players and they made a great run to get to this game. They have 2002s or younger on their roster and five are 2004s including starting goalie Jackson Irving. They have a solid foundation and should be a Super 8 contender next season. Winchester plays their first line a lot. Tonight they got some help from other places as well and that was a difference. Angelo Mario and the third line started the scoring. Will Rappole, Frank Napolitano and other lesser knows guys gave the Sachems important shifts at key times. It was a real team win. For Winchester; DiVincenzo was on. Having watched him a few times this year, we could tell early on, he would be tough to beat. He made every type of save and his athleticism and confidence were one full display. He is talented and he looked intimidating at times tonight with the ease he stopped the Eagles. Michael Martignetti played the best we have seen him in their biggest game. He was solid in his end, didn’t run around and created plays up ice. Really solid performance from the junior. The assist on the first goal was a big time play by him as he made a backhand pass on the tape while taking a hit on the wall. Luke Mix is a senior DMan who made smart steps and played with a great stick. Kept SJP on the perimeter. Sophomore Nick Ciaccio is another lesser known Sachem who did well. He hit to defend and played smart hockey. McCarthy’s ENG was really clever. He knew Prep was still reeling. He is smart and if he can add a bit more speed, would be a good NESCAC type. Drew has a nice release. Not a hard shot but accurate and tough to read off his stuck, Nose for the net and was great tonight. Great win for the public schools. Joe Lepore just keeps on trucking. Coming off an all conference football season and headed for an all conference hockey season, he should be gassed. he hit, went to the net and we bet has a big goal left in him. Plays with an edge and he walked the line perfectly tonight. For St. John’s Prep; 2004 Nick Townsend showed flashes of high-end skill. Jack Gilligan can carry and create from the blue. Ryan Webb was hard on the forecheck and showed great straight-line speed. Ned Malolepszy is tough, stays around the puck and a player to watch as he heads to his senior year. Patrick Moran played a tough, detailed game. Stopped on the cage for his rebound goal. You can win with guys like him.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images