Belmont Marauders at Woburn Tanners
Woburn, MA-The Belmont Marauders travelled to O’Brien rink in Woburn to take on the Woburn Tanners in early season Middlesex League action. The New Year’s Day Matinee was well played, well-coached and well goaltended; resulting in a 1-1 tie.
Both teams had chances in the first period as play was even. Belmont had the only power play chance. Woburn’s junior Jonathan Surrette stole a puck and separated for a breakaway short-handed but Belmont’s senior, captain goalie Nico Carere shut-down the backhand attempt by Surrette. Carere would be called on again as both Surrette and junior Lance Anderson had chances in tight but Carere stood tall. Woburn’s senior goalie Kevin Burkett also made a few solid stops himself; none better than on Belmont junior sniper Ben Fici with 12 seconds left in the first. The period ended 0-0 with no real sense who had the advantage yet.
The second period was more of the same with neither team having any serious offensive zone time. Fici drove hard by a Woburn defenseman and slipped the puck just wide middle of the frame. Woburn just missed on a late power play off a Joey Guarino rebound. Both teams had trouble entering the zone with possession and at times the period was ragged. Both senior goalies continued to play well and neither looked to be tiring. Period ended with the teams still knotted at zeros.
The third period would see each team score within 40 seconds of each other. First, with 13:59 left, senior captain Justin Rocha followed his own shut and buried in traffic to put Belmont up 1-0. Fici and Matt Brody picked up assists. The tanners responded quickly when sophomore Mike Arsenault fired an unassisted goal through a crowd and into the net to tie the game at 1-1 with 13:19 left. That was it, both goalies finished strong and play was mostly even with Woburn holding a slight edge.
First: Nico Carere (Belmont)
Second: Justin Rocha (Belmont)
Third: Kevin Burkett (Woburn)
NZ Notes: For Woburn; we thought 2003 Surrette was one of the best players in Mass HS last season as a sophomore and he looks bigger and stronger now. He picks and goes at times which we don’t love but he gets away with it. His pace is solid and he has slicker hands and reach than he gets credit for. He had several chances today. His release is rapid and the puck explodes off his stick. He has a chance to be one of the NZ Mr. Hockey finalists. Arsenault made some nice keeps and jumped in the zone to fire their only goal home; Jackson Powers is a 2005 who showed silky feet and a clever stick. Confident and a factor all game. Michael Santullo and Lance Anderson were both factors. The juniors are smart, hard to play against and played with confidence near the net. Joey Guarino can fire the puck and the senior played big minutes for the Tanners, solid Prep candidate. Burkett was solid, pucks hit him square and he was economical in his movements. For Belmont; we have liked Fici since his freshman year. He looks stronger and has added a physical element to his speed and heavy shot. Goal scorer. Rocha was around the puck all night and it was fitting he scored the goal. Stopped on his own rebound and buried. Sees plays around the net and hunts pucks. Senior captain that Prep schools should consider. Junior and late 2002 Thomas Grace is one of the most talented Mass HS players we have seen. Still raw but the LD is trending upwards. Junior Nolan Duffy was steady and quick on retrievals. Solid mobility. Carere was more tested than his counterpart in the net. Good size and athleticism. Matt Brody is a dog, plays hard and hunted pucks with intensity. he does the dirty work and made his line better.