#10 Nobles at Middlesex; January 11, 2019
Concord, MA: Despite an excellent performance by Middlesex senior goalie Joe Stanizzi (Chelmsford, MA) stopping 39/41 shots, the Nobles Bulldogs were able to pick up a 3-0 win in the non-league affair at Middlesex School. Junior goalie Marc Smith (City Hanover, MA) earned the shutout with 13 saves as two of the better goalies in prep hockey did battle. Stanizzi entered the game with a 92.86 save percentage and Smith with a 93.33.
The first period, Nobles carried the play especially with the first line of Jack Cronin (Hamilton, MA), Casey Severo (Penfield, NY) and Ryan Stevens (Duxbury, MA) who seemed to create a quality chance each time they over the boards. Stanizzi stopped Stevens on a clean breakaway at about the halfway point of the period. Nobles broke through soon after, however, as freshman defenseman Aidan Lyons (Brookline, MA) fired a puck through a crowd and that was tipped home by Robert Lapsley (Needham, MA) to put Nobles up 1-0 with 8:42 left. That would prove to be the ultimate game winner. It could have been tipped but appeared to go right in. (We will check the box score when posted.) Nobles took a five-minute major with just over six minutes left in the period where Middlesex generated a few chances but Nobles killed it off and went to the room up 1-0.
In the second, it was much of the same as Nobles possessed the puck a lot and Middlesex relied on Stanizzi to make the saves. Middlesex has a few chances as they were in position to make plays but just couldn’t execute. They had trouble in transition separating against a good skating Nobles team and connecting passes on odd man rushes. Middlesex did a good job clogging the neutral zone and always having a man at home to clean up any rebounds or chip pucks away from the goal. They blocked shots and worked very hard in their end. Nobles began to show some frustration. It was still 1-0 after two periods. Not a bad spot for Middlesex who was playing the underdog role at home.
In the third period, Middlesex put together some of their best shifts of the game early on as the line of Justin Krayer (Winchester, MA), Colin Craig (New York, NY) and Kevin Campbell (Littleton, MA) had a couple of lengthy periods with possession in the Bulldog end. Smith was challenged and ready for the task. The game appeared to be headed towards a 6-5 ending as some tension began to build until Nobles senior Will Zink (Dover, MA) buried a cross crease pass on the power play from David Jacobs (Needham, MA) with Colby Bailey (Southboro, MA) picking up the other assist to put Nobles up 2-0. Seemed to be the nail in the coffin with just 7:35 remaining. Middlesex kept working but in the end, Cronin sealed the game with an empty net goal with 46.7 ticks on the clock. Final score Nobles 3-Middlesex 0. Middlesex played hard and looked prepared but just didn’t make enough plays.
1st Star Marc Smith (Nobles)
2nd Star Joe Stanizzi (Middlesex)
3rd Star Aidan Lyons (Nobles)
NZ’s Take: For Nobles; Nobles needed this game to keep any playoff hopes alive. They got the job done and though it wasn’t pretty and they played a less talented team, it was a weekday road win against a well-coached team with a great goalie. They did the job. Smith is not a huge goalie but is really aggressive. Any chances Middlesex had facing the goal, he was right out forcing the issue. Fought for pucks and moved well on his feet. Seems to be a solid goalie flying a bit under the radar. He can play. Cronin was tough to play against and is not someone D want to see coming in on the forecheck. John Murray (Dorchester, MA) was quiet but solid at both ends. Played the rush well and jumped up at smart times. Lapsley is big and direct but also moved the puck quickly. Lyons is talented, silky and made a nice play to change the angle of his stick blade on his goal. Can pass, carry and play any situation. The 2003 is an exciting young player with an explosive element from the blue line. Showed he can play physical and got big minutes. Pierce Kenney (Needham, MA) showed he could move easily around the sheet, handle the puck and make all the passes. Not a speedster but was impressive and made an impact almost every shift. Severo was solid and is not flashy but just makes plays in any situation. Very good on the penalty kill. Stevens played in all situations and showed some of his speed and a slippery stick on the rush. Average performance for him but made an impact. Bailey looked stronger and tougher to play against then last season. Smart at the blues. Sophomore James O’Connor (Newton, MA) played a lot of minutes and showed to be smart and consistent. Good skater and the 2002 has upside. Jacobs is strong/heavy on the forecheck. Tough on the puck with a long/wide sick handle. For Middlesex; Stanizzi was very good. Neither goal was on him and we saw him make one mistake early in the second period that just left a bad rebound. He has an argument as the best goalie in NE Prep. Good, not great size but very strong, technical and athletic. His team played a smart game, always had someone in front and slowed Nobles down in the middle zone while clogging shooting lanes in their end. They just didn’t have enough skill to take advantage of opportunities. Kyle Heath (W. Bridgewater, MA) is not a burner but crafty and slippery off the cycle. Alex Rivet (Lewiston, ME) showed some jump in his legs and made some nice passes off the wing. Blocked shots and hit. Krayer has a nose for the net, reach and a nice stride. Good on the PK and gave the team some solid shifts centering the 2nd/3rd line. Looked bigger than listed. Long and thin player. Joe Freeman (Milton, MA) is a 2003 freshman D who is interesting. Smooth stride and played key minutes. Closed quickly to defend. Was fine against a talented offensive group in Nobles. Carried a bit but we got the sense there is more up the ice with him. Talented player to keep an eye on. He was their best defenseman all night. Junior Ben Friedman (Newton, MA) also played key minutes and has nice size and strength on the blue line. Might be a small college type headed into next season. Good reach and stayed on the correct side of the puck.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images