BC High Eliminates Xaverian; Moves on to the Garden

Framingham, MA-The Boston College High School Eagles fought off a tough, determined Xaverian Hawks team to pick up a 7-3 win at Loring Arena tonight. The win puts the Eagles in the Super 8 Final Sunday night against Pope Francis.

In the first period BC High came out physical and it was clear they wanted to shut down Xaverian’s top group including leading scorer Josh Barton (Weymouth, MA). We asked BC High Coach John Flaherty about the decision, he replied:

” Usually we use our second group against opponents’ top lines and they do a great job but I asked Thomas (Kramer) what he wanted to do tonight and he said he wanted their first group. The Kramers did a good job as Xaverian has some very talented kids at the top of their roster.”

Despite the physical start, Xaverian struck first as senior Mike Talarico (Raynham, MA) picked a puck up behind the net, wheeled to the slot and fired a shot home through traffic. The goal was scored with 11:53 left. BC High responded with 7:22 left when Peter Kramer (Bridgewater, MA) fired a shot home from the high slot to even the score. His brother Thomas and Joseph picked up assists. The Hawks would answer back as junior Riley Stanley (Bellingham, MA) stayed with a rebound to give Xaverian a 2-1 lead with 4:10 left. Xaverian goalie James Herring (Natick, MA) made two great saves with about half a minute left to preserve the lead and help his team head to the room with a one goal lead.

The Xaverian lead didn’t last long as the Eagles struck just 36 seconds into the second. Thomas Kramer came streaking down the left wing and fired an accurate pass to sophomore John Logan (Hanover, MA) who snuck in, had an empty net and buried to tie it at 2-2. Just 26 seconds later BC High took the lead as Matt Lakus (Charlestown, MA) drove across the zone through contact and fired a backhand shot, five-hole for the goal. BC High had their first lead. Matt Keohane (Quincy, MA) and Declan Joyce (Hanover, MA) had assists. The Eagles took a 4-2 lead when Aidan Carey (Braintree, MA) stole a puck in his end, went the length of the ice, drove the net and left a wide open rebound for Colman Benson (Scituate, MA) who calmly deposited it home. BC High was in full control. Xaverian got back within one with 3:53 left on a pretty finish by Matty Ryan (Milton, MA) on a breakaway. Matt Joyce (Dorchester, MA) made a couple forecheckers miss and made the cross-ice pass to send Ryan away. BC High wasn’t done as Thomas Kramer came down the left wing and fired a cannon top corner with 40 seconds left. It was a momentum killer for Xaverian and the Eagles went into the locker room up 5-3.

The third was all BC High. Peter Kramer fired one through a screen to make it 6-3. Then Xaverian caught what looked like a break with a five minute power play. Thomas Kramer immediately dashed their hopes as he took a pass at the far blue line and lost his edge for a second, regained his balance and went in to make a dazzling deke which made it 7-3. That was the final.

It was clear BC High wanted to play 5-on-5 hockey and outside of a 5 minute major, after the game seemed decided, they were able to do that. Coach Flaherty elaborated:

“We got involved in some nonsense and were playing 4-on-4 and shorthanded in recent games. We wanted to play even hockey and roll our lines. We have players on our third group that are fast, tough and would be on the second line on many teams in the MIAA.”

Xaverian had a great season and played hard. They don’t cheat the game and it’s a well-coached and disciplined group. Head Xaverian Coach Dave Spinale weighed in after the loss:

“I am proud of our team especially the seniors and captains. We had amazing leadership. I would like that first minute of the second back. We gave up goals at poor times. You have to give them credit.  That is a well-coached team and they can fly and move the puck. Should be a great final.”

NZ’s Take: BC High was the deeper team and had several prospects who stood out. They were led by senior Thomas Kramer who has improved his urgency and showed a complete game here. His brothers and linemates Peter Kramer and Joseph Kramer were able to shut down one of the best lines in Mass HS hockey for Xaverian. Other forwards who made an impact in this contest were power forward Matt Lakus who is a big, strong, athletic forward who plays with a mix of power and skill. We also liked Aidan Carry who is a tough, two-way player who was hard to play against and Colman Benson who showed good puck touch and scored a big goal late to extend the lead following up a rebound. CJ Martin anchored the team’s third line and was excellent killing penalties and getting to the dirty areas to create opportunities. On the back end BC High has excellent depth and they collectively were able to contain some skilled forwards on Xaverian. They have a nice mix of toughness, mobility and puck moving throughout their blue line. They have three promising younger defenders in Declan Louhghnane, John Logan and Chris Romaine who showed flashes here but the backend was really anchored by more veteran players PJ Donahue and Mike Dragon. Donahue was a force in his own end, tough and strong on his stick and was excellent breaking the puck out. Dragon is raw but athletic and long and used his reach and make life difficult on Xaverian. Important to note that in this particular game while Loughnane and Romaine are two of the most talked about young prospects in Mass HS; Logan was actually their best young defender in this particular game and was crafty with the puck on his stick and made quick, decisive puck movements.

Xaverian was able to jump out to an early lead and then jumped to another lead after BC tied it up, but they didn’t have the depth to hold on. Upfront they have an excellent first line in Josh Barton, Matty Ryan and Ryan Pomposelli. Barton is their go-to-guy and has an impressive combination of size, reach, puck handling ability and poise. He tried his best to create both in-zone and off the rush but BC High was well aware of his every move on the ice and were always on him. Their best forward in this game was actually Matty Ryan who led several rushes up ice, played a possession game and dangled the talented Eagles blueline with regularity. He scored a great goal on a slick deke in tight on the goalie. Pomposelli is a strong, north-south, powerful skating forward who goes hard to the net and plays the game the right way. He protected the puck well and used his size and strength to open ice for his teammates. They had a few other forwards who showed flashes like Matt Talarico, a crafty, light on his feet skilled forward and Robbie Barletta who was balanced and detailed at both ends. Defensively Matt Joyce had a great game and did a nice job starting the breakouts with quick, accurate passes or carrying it up ice when there wasn’t a lane.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images