#10 Austin Prep Ties Up Winchester

Woburn, MA-The #10 Austin Prep Cougars headed to Woburn’s O’Brien rink to take on the Winchester Sachems in a non-league matchup. Prep has eyes on a Super Eight berth while Winchester has to essentially win out to make the tournament. The game ended in a 2-2 tie thanks to a goal with 18.9 seconds left by Cougar senior Nolan Ricci. The pace and intensity were as good as we have seen all year in an MIAA game.

Winchester came out with focus and put some puck and bodies on Austin’s big senior goalie Andrew MacDonald. Play was back and forth with no real advantage to either team. It felt like some feeling out early on. However, with 8:36 left, junior Angelo Mario gave the Sachems the lead as he fired one five-hole on a breakaway. Junior Colin Van Stry and Nick Ciaccio picked up assists. Winchester came close to another goal late but the period ended 1-0 Sachems.

The second period was more of the same as it felt like a playoff game. The Sachems were clearly playing desperate hockey and winning pucks and getting to tough areas. The Cougars broke through with 8:57 left when late 2005 Ty Wood fired one home on the power play. Assists went to sophomore 2004 Nicholas Nardone and classmate Joe Thibodeau. Both teams had some quality chances. Winchester’s junior goalie Rob DiVincenzo looked locked in along with AP’s 6’3” MacDonald.

The third promised to be a great one. It was, but not in a wild way. Winchester kept working and Austin Prep stayed patient. There were some good chances as Union lacrosse commit Ryan McCarthy hit a post and Wood dragged and fired a shot point black that DiVincenzo handled. The Sachems scored as Sam Vaughn tipped a shot by Frank Napalitano home with another assist to Jace Christais. Winchester looked to be until control and was pushing AP back until the Sachems took a tripping call at mid-ice (tough call) with 2:36 left. The Cougars gained some momentum and tired some of Winchester’s key guys. The penalty was killed off but after each team took a timeout and MacDonald was pulled, Ricci struck on a quick wrister from Chris Roy and Aidan Elkins.

Three Stars:

  1. Michael Martingetti, Winchester
  2. Nolan Ricci, Austin Prep
  3. Kyle Ettenhofer, Winchester

TTPA: Ryan McCarthy, Winchester

NZ Notes: This game really had a playoff feel. Light crowd being a Monday and with the Beanpot tonight but it was a fun tilt. Winchester played hard. They deserved better but Austin Prep is a talented team with a very good goalie. It will be very interesting to see how both these teams play down the stretch. Road tie on a Monday night against a desperate team can’t be called a failure for the Cougars and a tie against a Super Eight contender is a great result for the Sachems. We won’t comment on why there is no overtime. Yes, we will, it’s ridiculous.

For Winchester; DiVincenzo has had a roller coaster season. We believe in his ability. He has played a lot of games since he arrived at WHS. Tonight, he looked more like the guy at the end of last season who led his team to the Garden. He is athletic and tall. Michael Nigro is a 2005 who played a solid game, nothing spectacular. He is used on the power play as he can hammer the one-timer. Martignetti was the best player on the ice. He has a chance to be a shut down defensemen at the DIII level. He must stay out of the box, stay poised and keep his puck play simple. He can carry and dangle a bit at this level but his strength is in his skating, mobility and speed as well as his toughness. If he can walk the line and play like tonight, prep-schools and junior coaches should take notice. Joey Falso has vision and a high hockey IQ. Ryan McCarthy led by example and was hard on pucks. No points is unusual for Ryan but he helped his team in other ways tonight. He played hard, won draws and he played for his teammates. Angelo Mario can score and he did again tonight. 6’1” and 180lbs, his skating must keep getting better but his ability to process plays and get to the net are both excellent. Collin Can Stry showed flashes and picked up an assist. He has speed, puck doesn’t slow and we like his edges. Collin must get pucks and himself to the net more. Frank Napolitano was a dog in front of the net and in puck pursuit. He has some wiggle. He fought for space in front. He picked up an assist as well. Ettenhofer has a Chara type reach. He was out on key penalty kills and at the end of the game. He cleared a lot of pucks, pinned players down low and played the rush at his blue line as he rode players off. Nick Ciaccio is stalky and strong. He made firm passes and used the middle. Liam Doherty hit a post late. The 2003 defenseman made a nice recovery with a clever poke check to deny AP a 2v1 late as well. Max Tong is an interesting player. He is a September 2005 who looks to have grown some. His feet are very good and he separated easily. Good size, athletic ability and upside. He looked silky with the puck at times.

For Austin Prep; we liked MacDonald’s size and we loved that he is aggressive style. He has upside. Aidan Elkins is one of the most impactful players in the MIAA. He was not his best tonight but he is hard in his end and dangerous up ice. The late 2003 hit and stopped the rush at his blue line, great reach and a smart stick at 6’3” and 200lbs. Late 2005 Ty Wood is dangerous for the Cougars with possession. He is strong, accelerates quickly and can create his shot. One of the best prospects in the MIAA who is in a good spot at AP.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images