Thayer at Belmont Hill; January 9, 2019
Belmont, MA: The #17 Thayer Academy Tigers beat Belmont Hill 7-4 in a late afternoon tilt. The game was a back and forth affair until the third period when Thayer gained control. Senior defenseman Jack Murphy (Marshfield, MA) scored a goal and added an assist while eighth grader Michael Stenberg (Needham, MA) scored and added an assist. The game was closer than the score indicated. Junior goalie Gavin Fitzpatrick (Norwood, MA) earned the win in a ragged, rough and high-scoring game between long time Keller rivals.
Belmont Hill got on the board first when Senior Andrew Holland (Winchester, MA) created space behind the goal line and found Luke Khozozian (Lexington, MA) in the high slot who wristed it home to start the scoring just 2:51 into the first. Thayer responded a few minutes later when speedster Reilly Moran (Hingham, MA) flew up ice on the rush and ripped a shot home to tie the score with 11:12 remaining. Thayer got their second goal from senior defenseman Jack Murphy who fired a nice drop pass upstairs from sophomore Zach Glass (Weymouth, MA) to put the Tigers up. Both teams had chances on the power play but the period ended 2-1 Thayer.
The second period was a wild one featuring five goals, odd bounces and a goal called back. Thayer struck first on the power play as eighth grader Stenberg made a pretty cross-crease pass to Murphy who snuck in the back door and buried. Belmont Hill responded with a goal on a heavy one-timer by senior Michael Hayes (Burlington, MA) to close within one with 13:22 remaining. Three minutes and 15 seconds later Khozozian went hard to the net and buried his second on a nice Belmont Hill passing play to tie it up at 3-3. Senior Robert Radochia (Woburn, MA) almost gave Belmont Hill the lead as he fired a shot that snuck behind Thayer goalie Fitzpatrick, The puck stayed just in front of the goal line for what seemed an eternity before being cleared. After Thayer dodged that bullet, sophomore Ryan MaGuire (New Canaan, CT) slipped off the cycle and fired a puck that appeared to go in the top right of the Thayer net. The official (who was right there) waved it off but it sure looked to go in the net from our angle. One minute later, Thayer’s Sasha Teleguine (North Attleboro, MA) found space in the neutral zone, dangled by a Belmont Hill defenseman, got a shot on net that was initially stopped by Michael Hauswirth (Lincoln, RI) but after a weird bounce and a whole lot of bodies around the cage, the puck ended up in the net. Belmont Hill responded with just 1:26 left as MaGuire redirected a shot home and the period ended with the teams tied 4-4.
The third period both teams has some early chances and both goalies were up to the task. 8:49 in freshman Nick Roukounakis (Pembroke, MA) barreled between both Belmont Hill defensemen, protected the puck and made a slick backhand deke for the game winner. One minute later, late 2004 Stenberg scored as he ripped a hard slapper by Hauswirth. Murphy took a hit to get the puck to Stenberg and earn an assist. Belmont Hill had a lengthy 6-3 power play chance with just under four minutes left but were unable to capitalize. In fact, just as one of the penalties ended, sophomore Zach Glass (Weymouth, MA) blocked a shot and smartly flipped the puck to senior Christian Hayes (Milton, MA) for the empty net goal. That’s how it ended as Thayer got out of town with a 7-4 win.
1st Star: Jack Murphy (Thayer)
2nd Star: Michael Stenberg (Thayer)
3rd Star: Luke Khozozian (Belmont Hill)
NZ Take: For Thayer, Jake Flynn (Bridgewater, MA) played showed versatility as the senior looked good on the PP and PK and played in key situations including the 6-3 PK near the end of the game. Moran was a factor and his ability to create back pressure and start transition is superb; Roukounakis is a former Jr. Eagle who is not overly fast but his strength and sense make up for it. His goal was very nice. Teleguine was dangerous with space but not at his best here; sophomore D Nolan Hayes (Milton, MA) was very good and played with an edge, tough to play against with some skill. Senior F Christian Hayes is smart and as always added energy to every situation. Glass is a smart player who can be trusted in every zone. Having just returned from the Silver Stick in Port Huron, MI and seen some of the best 2004s in North America, Stenberg is right there with anyone. The late 2004 is not flashy but tough, smart and athletic. We will have more in our first prep report but he was very impressive and has enormous upside. Was the best player on the ice at times as an eighth grader and knocked older, bigger players down, beat them on the wall, played mean and went to smart spots. He is a hockey player, very high compete. Will be in the 2023 NHL draft, 2023. For Belmont Hill, Hayes played a heavy game and can fire the puck. McGuire has gotten taller and stronger. He won key faceoffs, got to the net, showed good vision and played every situation. Nice set of tools with lots of versatility. James Perullo (Revere, MA) showed his usual speed and is asked to do a lot. Great edges and recovery speed. Moved well along the offensive blue. Holland we liked and didn’t like. He took two penalties on the power play. However, he played tough. He didn’t back down as Thayer can be intimidating at times. He is big, strong, good below the dots and was tough to play against. Net front play was good and took and gave out hits. He will be sore tomorrow. Freshman Drew Blackwell (Haverhill, MA) is a defenseman to watch. Limited time but used the middle and showed good vision. Khozozian showed why he is the Hill’s leading scorer and goal scorer. Has a nose for the net and the guts to go there. Athletic player. Sophomore D Tyler Rubin (Wayland, MA) played limited minutes and looked smooth and got pucks to the net from the blue line. Brett Bliss (Chelmsford, MA) started slow but played better as the game went on. Started lots of chances up ice and may have picked up a couple secondary assists (no box score at the time this was posted.)
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images