Salem, NH – The first game of the day featured two U18 teams facing off at the Icenter. It was U18 Mass West featuring players entirely from Bishop Fenwick of the MIAA vs U18 Eastern New England which was a hodgepodge of different prep players between NH and MA. The scoring started early only two minutes in when Bishop Fenwick senior forward Nicholas Muzi (Rowley, MA) put a shot on net that big body junior forward Nick Sasso (Revere, MA) cleaned up the netfront to make it a 1-0 Mass West lead. Things stayed that way until 15 minutes had elapsed in the 27 minute period and Bishop Fenwick senior forward Thomas Estella (Salem, MA) noticed a puck shot by Sasso was sitting behind the goalie and he fired it home before the netminder could recover: 2-0 Mass West. It was a clean sweep of the first half by Mass West as Muzi put one home off a feed from senior Bishop Fenwick forward Ian Worthley (Saugus, MA) which made it 3-0 headed to the rooms.
In the second half, the momentum started to swing back to Eastern New England. Three minutes in, freshman Pingree defender Cody Plaza (Danvers, MA) parked himself at the far side post and ripped home a one-timer to cut the lead to 3-1 Mass West. Nine minutes later the lead was cut to one when sophomore Andover forward Tally Jervis (Cos Cob, CT) fired a rocket top shelf from a tough angle: 3-2 Mass West. That would be as close as they would get though. Nine minutes later Muzi notched his second of the morning with a nice walk in on the near side: flipping the puck over the goalie’s shoulder: 4-2 Mass West. It was all over when Muzi completed the hat trick with 10 seconds to go on an empty netter. Final: Mass West 5, Eastern New England 2.
1. F Nicholas Muzi, Bishop Fenwick
2. F Nick Sasso, Bishop Fenwick
3. F Ian Worthley, Bishop Fenwick
This game was all Mass West from start to finish, despite the two goals that Eastern New England scored to make it a one goal game in the second half. Ultimately, this game proved correct what we have been saying all off-season: Bishop Fenwick is going to be a dark horse to do some damage this season in the MIAA. We liked the chemistry they showed so early in the offseason here today and the play of junior forward Cam Martin (Georgetown, MA) was one of the main reasons why. He showed a great shot release, active stick at both ends and great compete in a fall hockey game: he looks ready to start the year. Of course there is the top line anchor Worthley who looks prepared to assume the power forward mantle: he will be difficult to game plan for because of his strength and speed combination. We were also impressed by big junior forward Nick Sasso who was smooth and fluid: deceptive in how quick he is given his size.
For Eastern New England, Pingree D Cody Plaza (Danvers, MA) was intriguing because of how aggressive he jumped up into the rush: forcing the opposition to adjust to him. Athletically, there were not many defenders that could match Daniel Pechr (New Hampton, NH) the incoming junior at New Hampton. He showed the ability to cover the zone with clean strides and to carry the puck up ice without interference because he gained speed efficiently. Also, keep an eye on rising sophomore D Brendan Donnelly of North Andover HS: he has good size and a good frame to build on and he isn’t afraid to push the pace.