Established 1996


Hebron, Proctor, Taft, and Salisbury Advance

The Div. I semifinals are in the books, as Taft edged Nobles, 3-2, and Salisbury got by Cushing in OT, 2-1.

The Div. II semifinals are in the books, too, as Hebron topped Vermont Academy, 3-1, and Proctor came back from a 3-1 deficit to top Brooks, 6-4. 

Div. I Semifinals:

Salisbury 2, Cushing 1

Salem, NH -- A Will Ortiz goal at 11:22 of overtime lifted Salisbury to a 2-1 win over Cushing here tonight.

The winning goal came off a defensive zone turnover. An attempted clear up the right side by Cushing sophomore defenseman Zach Bogosian was intercepted by Jeremiah Cunningham who gathered in the puck and passed it left to right to a streaking Will Ortiz, who fired it past Cushing senior goaltender Richard Bachman for the big win.

It actually looked like this game could have gone deeper into the night. Grade A scoring chances were few and far between, but Ortiz for Salisbury and Broc Little for Cushing were the most consistently productive forwards for their respective teams. It looked like one or the other might bury it... eventually. 

Little almost converted on a wraparound midway through the extra session. He came close, too, close enough to try the exact same move a little over a minute later. Again, Salisbury goalie Anthony Borelli was up to the task. 

Both goalies played very well in this game, a tense, tight, physical, cat-and-mouse, don't-want-to-make-the-last-mistake kind of game.

Unfortunately for Cushing, they made the last mistake. Nonetheless, either team could have won this game. Cushing played a tough, focused game, effectively shutting down Salisbury's vaunted attack for huge stretches of time. The Penguins played good team D and did everything possible to keep the Salisbury forwards from getting shots off from prime scoring areas. A good example came in OT when Alex Curran went down to block a shot by Michael Biega, got up and seconds later went down again to block a shot by Ortiz.

Salisbury broke out to a 1-0 lead just 4:34 into the game when Ben Ketchum picked up the puck off a broken play in the neutral zone and fired a slapper from the top of the circle that beat Bachman between the pads. Defensemen Nick Jaskowiak and Dan Reed picked up assists on the play.

It would be nearly 61 minutes before Salisbury would score again.

Cushing picked up the tying goal -- their only goal of the night -- at 10:34 of the second when John Frey, from the left faceoff circle, made a perfect pass to Ryan Duff, who was coming down the slot. Duff snapped one over Borelli's shoulder to make it 1-1. Aaron Blades was also credited with an assist on the goal.

The goal seemed to wake Salisbury up, for they suddenly had a flurry of opportunities, including a 3-on-1 that Bachman stopped cold. Greg Collins and John Cavanagh followed with a couple more good chances.

Cushing found themselves down two men as the second period wound down with the game tied at 1-1. The 5-on-3 carried over to the beginning of the third but Salisbury, outside of a good chance by John Cavanagh, was unable to get much going.

Cushing got a lift from the successful penalty kill, and the Little-Brad Malone-Curran line generated a couple of good opportunities before the third settled into a tense, defensive struggle, a game which played into Cushing's hands.

Salisbury's John Cavanagh had a great chance with a minute left in regulation, but was stoned by Bachman.

Then came overtime, and Ortiz game winner.

As a result, Salisbury will meet Taft for the Div. I prep championship tomorrow at 3:00 pm.


Salisbury forward Paul Carey missed the game due to sickness. There's a chance he'll be ready to play tomorrow.   

Taft 3, Nobles 2

Salem, NH -- Taft, on a Doug Jones game-winning goal at 6:18 of the third, edged Nobles 3-2, in a tight, tense battle.

Taft moves on to face the winner of the Cushing-Salisbury game, which will start at approximately 6 pm.

On the winning goal, the only goal of the third, Jones, a Hamilton College recruit from Marietta, Georgia, got the puck at the top of the left faceoff circle and angled toward the net, dribbling the puck, but holding it until Nobles goaltender John Muse committed and then backhanding a low shot to the corner, glove side.

Nobles had a few terrific chances to tie it up, particularly with 30 seconds left in the game: Jimmy Hayes found Josh Franklin in front, but Taft goaltender Andrew Margolin came up big.

Nobles struck first today, as Josh Franklin, on the power play, one-timed a shot from just inside the far left wing hash marks at the 13:06 mark of the first. 

Taft tied it up 1-1 on a power play goal at 8:19 of the second when Max Pacioretty, practically standing on the goal line five feet in from the right wing boards, whistled a pass behind Muse, right onto the stick of Jack Downing, who banged it in from the far post. 

Nobles went ahead 2-1, again on the power play, when Chris Huxley carried the puck around the net and from the faceoff circle in his own end hit Matt Rhone, at the far blue line, with a long cross-ice pass. Rhone got it to Hayes, who beat Margolin at 10:53.

Taft tied it up several minutes later, as Bobby Kramer got it to Woody Redpath in the slot about 15 feet out. Redpath roofed a beauty to make it 2-2 with 3:52 left in the period.

In the third, Jones scored the game winner, and Taft advances.

For the game, Taft outshot Nobles 28-24.  

Div. I Championship game: 
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm 
Salisbury vs. Taft


Div. II Semifinals:

Proctor 6, Brooks 4.

Salem, NH -- Proctor, trailing Brooks 3-1 in the second, scored five of the next six goals to earn a hard-fought come-from-behind win over Brooks here today.

At one point it looked like it would be Brooks' game, particularly when, six seconds into the second period, Bishops' sophomore Bobby Farnham scored an unassisted shorthanded goal to put Brooks up 3-1. 

Proctor took a couple of penalties right afterward and seemed on the verge of letting this one slip away.

The key to the Proctor turnaround came when junior Neil Ruffini picked off a Brooks breakout pass and moved into the zone, deked a Brooks defender and then, when the second defender moved in on him, Ruffini dropped the puck to himself between his skates, kicked it up to his backhand, continued across the crease and beat Brooks goalie Derek Missert with a low backhand to make it 3-2 6:09 into the second. 

The goal, a beauty, seemed to lift Proctor. In addition, the game turned into more of a 5-on-5 affair, allowing Proctor to grind away at the Brooks lead. 

Ruffini scored his second goal at 13:18 of the second to make it 3-3. Then, with seven seconds left in the period, and Brooks again on the PP, Farnham, a quick, talented sophomore who would figure in all four Brooks goals with a terrific performance, gave Brooks a 4-3 lead to take into the second intermission.

In the third, it was all Proctor, with Ruffini notching his third goal of the game to tie it up 3:35 in. Then Ryan Ruddock banged home the game winner at 5:41 after some nice corner work by Devin Pyne.

Proctor added a shorthanded empty-netter, also off the stick of Ruddock, with 1:49 left in the period. Ruffini picked up an assist to give him a four point afternoon (3g,1a).

Proctor moves on to meet Hebron in the Div. II pre championship tomorrow at 12:30 pm  

Hebron 3, Vermont Academy 1.

Salem, NH -- Hebron Academy, behind a game-winning goal from Oleksandr Romanenko, topped Vermont Academy 3-1 today to advance to the Div. II title game tomorrow afternoon.

Romanenko's goal, which came on the power play at 8:21 of the second, came off a deflection of a point shot that Vermont goaltender Matt Clifford was screened on.

In the third period, Hebron's Roman Lao-Gosney converted off a 2-on-1 after a Vermont neutral zone turnover for the final margin of victory.

Hebron had the edge in play in the first, outshooting VA, 18-7. Shots were even, 11-11, in the second. Vermont Academy, fighting to get back in the game, had a 13-7 edge in the third, but couldn't finish their opportunities.

Vermont Academy also had a couple of great chances early in the first, by Mike Allport and Brian Gibbons, but Hebron's John Glant came up big both times.

Instead, at the other end, Jordan Krush, after a strong forechecking shift, knocked the puck off a Vermont defenseman's stick, and broke in alone, beating Clifford glove side to give Hebron the early lead 3:10 into the game.

VA  tied it up  at 6:12 of the second when Gibbons one-timed a pass out from behind the net by Jamie Armstrong past Glant. 

Hebron's Glant kicked out 30 of 31 shots for the win; Clifford stopped 33 of 36.

Div. II championship game: 
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 12:30 pm 
Hebron vs. Proctor



Dramatic Comeback Earns Salisbury Div. I Crown

Salem, NH --  The Salisbury School, led by Alex Biega, scored three unanswered goals in the third period to complete a come-from-behind win, edging Taft 4-3 for the Div. I prep title here today.

After a first period that was even, with Salisbury getting a goal from Dan Reed early and Taft answering with an Andrew Balysky goal late, it was 1-1 and appeared to be anybody's game. 

Taft, however, came out hard in the second, and dominated from beginning to end, scoring two goals, a rebound tally by Bobby Kramer early and a Max Pacioretty lights-out laser late, to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

"I told my players," said Dan Donato afterward, "that a two-goal lead is the hardest lead to hold. I told them if they could get one, that the next one would come easier."

The Salisbury team that came out for the third was a totally different-looking team than the team that had showed up for the first five periods here in Salem. They were bringing it, and Taft seemed to be watching the show.

Still, it took a bit of work for Salisbury to get that first goal. They finally broke through when Paul Carey, who missed Saturday's semifinal with a case of the strep and couldn't even watch Saturday's game due to upheavals in his gastrointestinal tract, found himself in the right wing corner with the puck. When no Taft defenseman made a move toward him, the sophomore took the clear lane to the net and wristed a low shot by Taft goalie Andrew Margolin to make it a 3-2 game at the 5:16 mark.

Donato had said the next one would be easier, but time was passing and with it opportunity. Salisbury was getting shots and dominating play, while Taft didn't even get a shot on Salisbury goalie Anthony Borrelli until seven minutes into the third. But dominating play means little without scoring goals, and Salisbury wasn't getting anything past Margolin.

As the clock moved toward five minutes remaining, it began to look like Taft might be able to pull out the win, at least as long as Margolin could come up big.  

But then senior co-captain Alex Biega struck twice.

With the puck on his stick at the left point, Biega pedaled his quick feet, looking for an opening. When he found it he fired a low, hard shot that forward Sean Sylvester, stationed about five feet in front, got his stick on and deflected upward, high into the net. Margolin had no chance. And Salisbury, with 5:21 left in the game, had tied it at 3-3.

The knock-out blow came just 42 seconds later when Biega carried the puck into the zone with speed and fired one hard on net that rebounded out to Will Ortiz, who whistled it right back past Margolin with 4:39 left to give Salisbury its third straight even-strength goal -- and a 4-3 lead.

Taft head coach Dan Murphy called a time out to settle down his players.

After the TO, the Rhinos played better, harder, and with desperation, and had some chances in the final few minutes. A puck bounced off the end boards strangely and came out front but eluded chances to get good wood on it. Jack Downing had a nice chance with 1:11 left. And then, with the extra attacker on, Eric Baier walked in for a nice chance in the final minute. But it was too little too late: nothing was going to get by Borelli at this point.

"Salisbury in the third period just outworked us," said Murphy. "They won the little battles and just kept coming. They played a great game."

The win gave Salisbury their first-ever Division I title, and capped off a season in which they won the Flood-Marr Championship and went wire to wire as the #1 ranked team in New England. They had to work hard at the end to get the gonfalon, but they did just that. 

As for Taft, they came far for a young team. Most of their key players will be back next year, so they'll get a good kick at the can come next fall.


Hebron Tops Proctor 5-3 For Div. II Title

Salem, NH -- Hebron Academy, behind a Jordan Krusch hat trick, topped Proctor Academy to take the Div. II title today, 5-3.

Krusch scored the game-winner with 4:16 left in the game, an unassisted goal, that came when Proctor junior defenseman Dana Lucenta, from behind his own goal line, attempting to make an outlet pass, put the puck right on the stick of Krusch, moving in toward the net. Krusch easily tucked it by Proctor goaltender Josh Rosenholtz to give Hebron a 4-3 lead.

It was the second straight game here decided on a clear-cut defensive zone turnover, as last night's Salisbury OT win over Cushing was also decided thusly.

With one second left in the game, Matt Pedemonti scored an empty-netter for the final 5-3 margin of victory.

This was a game with several shifts of momentum. Hebron owned the first period, taking a 1-0 lead on a Krusch wraparound 2:55 in.

In the second, an even period, the teams traded goals. Hebron went up 2-0 when Krusch, in the left wing corner, got the puck out front to Pedemonti, who held it nicely before jamming it past Rosenholtz. Proctor then scored on a Matt Robertson power play goal off passes from Al Milley and Chris Leach to cut Hebron's lead to 2-1. Hebron then went up 3-1 on a Krusch rink-lengh rush, that came when the junior forward picked up a loose puck in the Proctor zone and took off the length of the ice, wristing it past Rosenholtz at the 7:10 mark, an unassisted goal. Proctor came back with 4:14 left in the period, cutting the Hebron lead to one when Ian Flanagan, behind the net, fed it out front to Neil Ruffini, who easily tucked it behind Glant. 

Hebron took a 3-2 lead into the third, but Proctor came out hard, and at 3:06 Ruffini tied the game up when he walked over the blue line and took a low shot from the top of the faceoff circle. He didn't appear to get good wood on it, and it may have fooled Glant, but it slid into the net glove side to tie the game at 3-3.   

Then, with 4:16 left, Krush scored the game winner, and Hebron wins their first Div. II title since back-to-back titles in 1994-95. 


Salem's Lot

Time to pack up for New Hampshire, where you can live free or die shopping in Salem, NH, a once-dignified New England town that sold its soul to Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, K-Mart, BJ's Wholesale Club, Bob's Discount Furniture, Pier I, JC Penney, Walmart, Kohl's, Target, Marshall's, Macy's, The Gap, TJ Maxx, Ann Taylor, Sear's, Filenes and probably a hundred others.

Not all is lost though.

Salem is home to Canobie Lake Park, a 104 year old amusement park in which the original 1902 carousel still revolves daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Yankee Cannonball is as good as a roller coaster gets in these parts, and the Boston Tea Party is a good ride on a hot summer day. In 1937, at the old Canobie Lake Ballroom, on the park's grounds, Duke Ellington appeared. So genius has graced this town.

Speaking of which, Robert Frost went to grade school in Salem and later came back as a young schoolteacher.

But, for the first weekend in March, the Icenter is where it's at -- and let's not forget the fine dining and drinking establishments around town. The redoubtable Buzz Patterson has compliled a special edition of his respected USHR Dining Guide to help you in that regard. Just click on the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

NEPSIHA, presided over with an iron fist and a light touch by Choate head coach Patrick Dennehy, does a great job running this tournament, which seems to feature bigger crowds every year. We've seen some gripping games at this tournament over the years, the kind of games that stick in our memory bank. And we expect this year to be no different.

Here is the schedule. Note that Hebron vs. Vermont Academy is the first game on Saturday and begins at 11 am. Driving directions are below.

Div. I Semifinal Matchups
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sat. March 4, 2006
Nobles vs. Taft, 3:30 pm
Cushing vs. Salisbury, 6:00 pm.

Div. I Championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm


Div. II Semifinal Matchups:
Icenter, Salem, NH Sat. March 4, 2006
Hebron vs. Vermont Academy, 11:00 am.
Brooks vs. Proctor, 1:15 pm.

The Div. II championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Driving Directions to the Icenter: From Boston, Take Route 93 North. Right after crossing the Mass/New Hampshire border, take Exit 1 (Rockingham Park Boulevard). After exiting, you will see a sign for Mall Road, which will take you up on an overpass. When you come to a traffic light, take a right. This is Mall Road (you will see the race track on your right). Very shortly thereafter, it comes to a T, take a left there (Rt. 38 South), go straight through two sets of lights, and you'll see the Icenter about a half-mile down on the right.


Calling All Blackberries, Treos, Razors – and Plain Old Cell Phones

For this year’s quarterfinals, we’re going to do what we did last season, and post updates at the end of every period of every game, both Div. I and Div. II, both boys and girls.

We’re looking for volunteers to phone in scores at the end of each period and, if possible, include goal scorers, shots on goal, etc. This worked really well last year and, in pretty close to real time, we were able to bring updates to people across the country and around the world.

If you’re willing to help out, please email and let us know which game you will be attending.

With your help, we can pull this project off again. It should be fun.


We had the email address above incorrectly typed yesterday, so if anyone wrote in, and had their email bounce back, please try again. Thank you.


Today's Quarterfinal Matchups

Here are today's quarterfinal matchups. Following them are the brackets for this weekend's semis and championship games.

Div. I
#4E Belmont Hill @ #1E Nobles, 5:30 pm
#3E Lawrence @ #2E Cushing, 4:00 pm
#4W Westminster @ #1W Salisbury, 3:30 pm
#3W Avon @ #2W Taft, 3:30

Div. II
#8 St. Mark's @ #1 Brooks, 3:30 pm
#7 Brewster @ #2 Hebron, 3:30 pm
#6 Vermont Academy @ #3 Middlesex, 3:30 pm
#5 Brunswick @ #4 Proctor, 4:00 (at St. Mark's)

Div. I Semifinals and Finals

Div. I Semis; Icenter, Salem, NH, Sat. March 4:
Belmont Hill/Nobles winner vs. Taft/Avon winner, 3:30 pm
Cushing/Lawrence winner vs. Salisbury/Westminster winner, 6:00 pm.

The Div. I championship game will be held at 3:00 pm on Sun. March 5, also in Salem, NH.

Div. II Semifinals and Finals

Div. II Semis; Icenter, Salem, NH, Sat. March 4:
Hebron/Brewster winner vs. Middlesex/Vermont Academy winner, 11:00 am.
Brooks/St. Mark's winner vs. Proctor/Brunswick winner, 1:15 pm.

The Div. II championship game will be held Sunday March 5 at 12:30 pm, also in Salem, NH.

Official NEPSIHA Div. I Rankings:

1. Nobles 1-1-1 =3
2. Cushing 2-2-2 = 6
3. Lawrence 3-3-5 = 11
4. Belmont Hill 4-4-3 = 11
5. Exeter 5-5-4 = 14
6. Andover 8-8-6 = 22
7. Tabor 6-6-11 = 23
8. St. Paul's 7-6-12 = 25
9. Tilton 9-9-9 = 27
10. Thayer 10-11-7 = 28
11. St. Sebastian's 10-10-10 = 30
12. NMH 12-12-8 = 32

1. Salisbury 1-1-1 = 3
2. Taft 2-2-2 = 6
3. Avon 3-3-3 = 9
4. Westminster 4-4-5 = 13
5. South Kent 5-5-4 = 14
6. Pomfret 8-8-7 = 23
7. Hotchkiss 7-6-11 = 24
8. Gunnery 9-9-7 = 25
9. Winchendon 6-7-13 = 26
10. Millbrook 10-11-9 = 30
11. Choate 11-10-11 = 32
12. Berkshire 14-13-6 = 33

Div. II:
1. Brooks 1-1-1 = 3
2. Hebron 3-2-3 = 8
3. Middlesex 6-3-2 = 11
4. Proctor 4-4-4 = 12
5. Brunswick 2-5-9 = 16
6. Vermont 6-6-6 = 18
7. Brewster 9-6-6 = 21
8. St. Mark's 10-6-5 = 21
9. St. George's 8-9-8 = 25
10. Berwick 5-10-10 = 25
11. Groton 11-11-11 = 33

3/1/06 Updated

Today's Quarterfinals: Live Scoreboard

Here are today's quarterfinal matchups. We'll be getting updates starting around 4:00 pm and will fill in the details as soon as we get them, so check back often.


#4 Belmont Hill at #1 Nobles, 5:30 pm: --- Muse (N&G) and Vesprini (BH) in net. Rhone out of the lineup for Nobles (school issue). Belmont Hill leads 3-1 after one period on two goals by Matt McCollem and one by Matt Gordon. Jimmy Hayes has Nobles' lone goal. In the second, Matt Gordon scored his second goal, on the power play, to make it 4-1 Bel Hill. Ryan Maguire scored an unassisted goal for Nobles to cut the lead to 4-2, which is where things stand after two periods. In the third Nobles scored three unanswered goals -- all even strength -- to win this one in dramatic fashion, 5-4. Maguire scored 52 seconds into the period, then Franklin scored to tie it up at 4:31, then Jimmy Hayes scored the game winner (and his second goal of the game), with an assist going to Maguire, with 4:55 remaining. Ryan Maguire (2g,2a) figured in four of Nobles' five goals. They really pulled one out of the fire today. Taft is up next. Final: Nobles 5, Belmont Hill 4.

#3 Lawrence at #2 Cushing, 4:00 pm: --- Bachman and Gates in net. Cushing and Lawrence tied after one period, 1-1. Lawrence's Joe Whitney ejected from game for hitting from behind major. Aaron Bogosian 5-on-3 ppg for Cushing. Steve Bergin ppg with two seconds left in period for LA. Cushing scores two goals early in 2nd to take 3-1 lead as A. Bogosian gets his second and is followed by Malone. A Steven Whitney ppg cuts the Cushing lead to 3-2, but Cushing defenseman Sean Whitney scores, making it 4-2 Cushing after 2. Cushing gets four in the third, from Little, Duff, Zieserl, and Bernard to win in a blowout, 8-2. The Whitney penalty, a hit on big Cushing D Sean Whitney came just five minutes into the game and clearly changed the game's dynamic. A former referee watching the game said the hit looked worse than it was. He reported that he could see it being called, but also added that there was enough room in the rules to not call it. Justin Gates, who was replaced after it got to 6-2, didn't have his usual strong game today. Final: Cushing 8, Lawrence 2.


#4 Westminster at #1 Salisbury, 3:30 pm: ---Borelli (S) and Shattie (W) in net. Salisbury leads 2-0 after one -- M. Biega (ppg) and Collins score. Salisbury leads 3-0 after two, as Collins scores his second of the game. In the third, Ortiz and Cunningham (ppg) score for Salisbury and Ben Smith scores Westy's lone goal with 24 seconds remaining. Final shots: Salisbury 36-24. Final: Salisbury 5, Westminster 1.

#3 Avon at #2 Taft, 3:30 pm: --- Margolin (T) and Wolcott (A). 2-0 Taft after one period -- Baier ppg and Balysky (unn.). Taft outshooting Avon 16-8. 3-1 Taft after two periods -- Griffin (T) and Wieland (A) the goal scorers. The second was a more even period, with Taft outshooting Avon 11-9. In the third, Balysky scored his second goal of the game. Final shots: Taft 39, Avon 24. Final: Taft 4, Avon 1.

Div. I Semifinal Matchups:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sat. March 4, 2006
Nobles vs. Taft, 3:30 pm
Cushing vs. Salisbury, 6:00 pm.

Div. I Championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm


#8 St. Mark’s at #1 Brooks, 3:30 pm: --- Missert (B) and Natale (SM) in net. 1-0 Brooks after one -- Vachon goal. Vachon scores again in second. 2-0 Brooks after two.Vachon scores again in third for the hat trick. Riffe adds a goal to make it 4-0. Final: Brooks 4, St. Mark's 0.

#7 Brewster at #2 Hebron, 3:30 pm: --- Final: Hebron 7, Brewster 6. Details to follow later.

#6 Vermont Academy at #3 Middlesex, 3:30 pm: --- Clifford (VA) and Hanson (M) in net. 2-0 Vermont after one period on goals by Gibbons and Aquino. In second, Aquino scores again for VA but Pearce answers for Middlesex. 3-1 VA after two. Bashir adds a third period goal for VA. Final: Vermont Academy 4, Middlesex 1.

#5 Brunswick at #4 Proctor, 4:00 (at St. Mark’s) : --- Rosenholtz (P) and Kirchen (B) in net. 2-0 Proctor after one period -- Robertson and Flanagan goals. In the second Peden and Flanagan score to make it 4-0 Proctor after two. Brunswick pulls Kirchen after fourth goal was scored (with roughly three minutes remaining in the second), replacing him with Petchonka. Final: Proctor 4, Brunswick 1.

Div. II Semifinal Matchups:
Icenter, Salem, NH Sat. March 4, 2006
Hebron vs. Vermont Academy, 11:00 am.
Brooks vs. Proctor, 1:15 pm.

The Div. II championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 12:30 pm