Mustangs Top the Hilltoppers 4-2

Worcester, MA-The Milton Academy Mustangs travelled to the Worcester Academy Hilltoppers for a Saturday Matinee. Milton controlled a majority of the play from the opening faceoff and headed back East with a 4-2 win. Goalies Jake Cardonick and Chris Demers split time for the win. Junior Jack Byrne was excellent in the net despite the loss for Worcester Academy.

The first period, Milton had the puck in the Hilltoppers end for long stretches. Milton did not ever overwhelm Worcester and they had their own chances but the Mustangs had the better of the play. The Mustangs had the only power play where they generated lots of opportunities but 2002 junior Jack Byrne was excellent in the net stopping around 12-15 shots in the first frame to keep the game tied at zero.

In the second, Milton broke the stalemate when junior Tanner Smith popped home a pretty pass from behind the net from classmate Jeffrey Lee. Lee quickly flipped a pass on Smith’s tape back the other way as he went behind the net. The Mustangs added to their lead when senior Shane O’Sullivan ripped a wrister home from David Chen and Tyler Crist. It was 2-0 Milton and they seemed in full control. Worcester kept playing hard and had a couple quality chances and finally broke through with just under a minute left as 2003 Atticus Roop made a clever backhand redirect into the net from Ryan Prewitt. Nice pass and nice finish on the 2v1 to give Worcester Academy some life heading into the third.

The third period was the most even of the three as Worcester kept coming, intent on tying the game. They accomplished that as senior Ronan Bryant established space in front and whacked a rebound home to tie the game at 2-2 with 14:10 left. The Mustangs responded as David Chen drove into the Worcester zone, dipped to the net and perfectly placed a backhand shot in the top corner, short side to give Milton the lead. Play stayed about even but with just over two minutes the Hilltoppers took and offensive zone penalty and then another on the penalty kill which essentially sealed their fate. William Van der Veen fired home an empty netter and the final was 4-2 Milton Mustangs.

Three Stars

First: David Chen (Milton)

Second: Shane O’Sullivan (Milton)

Third Jack Byrne (Worcester)

TTPA: Matt Danziger (Milton)

NZ Notes: For Milton; they played a solid game and were the more skilled team. Their defense all showed positives. 6’3” Danziger is an interesting late 2002 who showed reach, good gaps and vision in transition; 6’3’ William Van der Veen played a smart game. He is best when he keeps it simple and he did that mostly here, hard shot, spun from pressure and dished and was solid on the PP; solid small college type; Max Cassella had soft first ouches and skated through contact; 2004 Chris Romaine is skilled and can make something from nothing, must become tougher to play against but has D1 upside; Ethan Mistry passed well, used the middle, gets pucks through, the 2003 played on the power play, moved laterally well and has a ton of skill, puck mover who is undersized. Up front, senior 2001 O’Sullivan was on the puck all game, he made Milton go, looked slick off the wall, snapped home a goal with authority and a quick release, drew a penalty and established a net front all afternoon; Chen won faceoffs and his hands are really quick and clever, his goal was off an elite shot at a big moment; Tyler Crist settled in scoring spots with a prepared stick; Tanner Smith was a factor at times, long and still raw, he as disruptive and protected the puck; Jeffrey Lee is a smart, skilled 2002, won puck races, wheeled and fired on net and made a really slick/smart pass to Smith for the goal; he is interesting and was a presence all game. For Worcester Academy;  Byrne gave them a chance to win and as a team they got better as the game went on; they are aggressive, well-coached and blocked lots of pucks. Lunch pail type team. We liked junior defense Ryan Prewitt who stayed square to defend the line rush with close gaps; sealed off the cycle and showed some skill with the puck. Made a nice pass to Roop for a goal. Underrated player. Roop made a slick play on the rush and beat two defenders to go in all alone, long stick, decent size and disrupted Milton, his goal showed a lot of skill and poise near the net; Bryant is a tough player. Not overly skilled but worked and went to the net, took hits and blocked shots, threw a little sauce so he may have more skill than he showed; Rory White showed speed and stayed on pucks, negated an icing; Byrne was their best player today. He looked athletic and competitive. Right catcher who communicated with his defenseman, one to watch as he has some size at 6’1”.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images