Established 1996

Sun. 3/7/10

Championship Sunday Schedule
-- @ the Icenter; Salem, NH

Piatelli/ Simmons Tournament, 10:30 am
Dexter vs. Kimball Union Academy

Martin/Earl Tournament, 1:00 pm
Berkshire vs. Choate

Stuart/Corkery Tournament Final, 3:30 pm
Avon Old Farms vs. Northfield-Mt. Hermon


-- Avon Old Farms will be going for their eighth title, having won in 1989, 1993, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. No other school has won more than two. Schools that have won two are Belmont Hill (1985, 1990), Thayer (1986,1987), Deerfield (1984, 2003), Tabor (1988,1991), Hotchkiss (1992,1995), Canterbury (1994,1997), Cushing (1996,1998), St. Sebastian's (2001,2002), and Salisbury (2006,2009). Kimball Union (1982), New Prep (1983), and Exeter (1999) have each won one title.

-- Avon and NMH have met once this year, on Wed. Jan. 20th at NMH. Avon emerged the winner by a 7-5 score. The Winged Beavers scored four of the game's first five goals and held a lead of 6-2 in the third before NMH scored three of  the game's last four goals. The Hoggers attack was led by freshman Austin Cangelosi (3g,1a). Avon's attack was led by Cam Hatch (2g) and Quinn Smith (2g).

-- Choate and Berkshire have met once this season, on Wed. Jan 20th at Berkshire. Choate won by a 6-3 score. The teams traded goals in the first, but Choate then exploded for four in the second, and won going away. For Berkshire, Kevin Sullivan (2g,1a) led the way. For Choate, Philippe Hudon and Alex Hagen each had a goal and an assist. Hudon is suspended from school and ineligible to play this afternoon.

-- Dexter and Kimball Union have not played each other this season -- or any season. Until a few years back, Dexter only went through the ninth grade.

* Championship Sunday *

Avon Tops NMH, 4-1; Wins Eighth Title

Salem, NH -- The all-senior line of Quinn Smith, Michael Pereira, and KJ Tiefenwerth figured in all four goals and senior goaltender Josh Dionne kicked out 36 shots to lead Avon Old Farms to a 4-1 win over Northfield-Mt. Hermon in the 2010 New England Prep Championship Game here today.

The win gave Avon Old Farms and their head coach, John Gardner, a record eighth title. No other school has more than two titles.

This was a compelling matchup, as the two teams -- Avon was seeded seventh, and NMH eighth -- were, to put it euphemistically, not exactly looking like championship teams in the early weeks of the season. They certainly were at the end, though.   

The key to the game came
early in the second period when the Winged Beavers, down 1-0, drove home a pair of power play goals a mere 37 seconds apart, the first from Smith, a Boston College recruit, and the second from Pereira, who'll be heading to UMass in the fall.

Just 54 seconds into the third period, Smith notched a short-handed goal, and the writing was on the wall. Tiefenwerth finished things off with an insurance goal late in the third.

Both goaltenders, NMH senior Branden Komm and Avon's Dionne, were excellent in this game -- and they had to be, as both teams have highly-skilled forwards who can score in bunches.

Another key to the game was Avon's success in shutting down NMH's vaunted five-forward power play units.

Avon likes to come out and blitz teams early, using the intimidating factor of speed, puck movement, and an enormous -- and loud -- student fan section to put opponents back on their heels, and often in a deep hole, before they know what hit them.

Today, however, Avon, while holding the edge in play over the course of the first period, came out cautiously, closely watching NMH's dangerous forwards while waiting for chance to pounce. They got their best opportunity when, with 2:40 remaining in the period, Smith snapped a shot from the right side, but it glanced off the post to Komm's left.

The Winged Beavers got another chance when NMH's Brian Plungis was called for a slash with 1:58 left in the period. But  Avon's power play never had a chance to set up. Instead, NMH won the faceoff in their end and senior Nick Gordon brought the puck up through center ice on a 2-on-1. It looked like Avon's point men were perhaps looking for the Hoggers to dump it in and, as they gave them more room than they should have, Gordon just kept coming. Meanwhile, Garrett McMullen swung in behind him, enabling Gordon to leave a nice drop pass and then cut to the far post where McMullen hit him with a perfect pass. 1-0, Hoggers and the 'Avon Army' was silenced, at least temporarily.

To add to Avon's trouble, defensemen Pat McGregor was called for a trip when his team was on the power play late in the period. Twelve seconds later, Avon d-man Colin Sullivan was called for boarding, enabling NMH to send out their power play unit for a power play that bridged the first and second, and included a stretch of 5-on-3 play for the Hoggers. Avon weathered the storm.

Avon got their chance to go on the power play at 3:50 of the second, when the Hoggers' Wes Beck was called for a cross-check. And they wasted no time, as Quinn Smith knocked home the rebound of a Kyle Quick point shot at 3:59, just nine seconds into the power play. They set up, fired, and pounced on the rebound. It was suddenly a 1-1 game. Then, 26 seconds later, NMH's Austin Cangelosi was called for holding. Again, Avon struck quickly, this time 20 seconds into the power play, Mike Pereira burying one five-hole at 4:36. Tiefenwerth got an assist on the goal.With the 2-1 lead and the Avon supporters creating a din, the Winged Beavers kept the pressure on, forcing Komm to continuously come up with big saves to keep his team in the game.

Dionne, who will be attending Duke on a lacrosse scholarship, came up with some big saves, too, including a couple during an NMH power play in the middle of the period, when Josh Woody was alone in the slot with the puck on his stick. 

With two seconds left in the second period, Avon's Mark Naclerio was called for a penalty, giving NMH 1:58 of power play time to start the third. However, 54 seconds into the third Avon struck for their own shorty. The play started when Pereira, realizing that NMH had two forwards back on D, beat Austin Cangelosi wide and fed a beautiful backhanded pass to Smith in the slot. Smith beat Komm upstairs for the 3-1 Avon lead.

From that point forward, Avon did a textbook job of keeping NMH's opportunities to the perimeter.

With 7:52 left, Avon had a goal waived off when it was ruled the net was off the mooring.  

Avon put a capper on the win with a great passing sequence between Teifenwerth, Smith, Pereira, and defenseman Pat MacGregor. Tiefenwerth finished it off at the 13:50 mark. 

And that was it. Avon held the fort, and earned their eighth title. The day ended with Avon's fans swarming the ice in glee.

Afterward, Avon head coach John Gardner, title #8 in his back pocket, was in a good mood as well. "How proud am I of these kids?" he asked. "We came back from the dead this year. We were buried and dead the first week after the Christmas Classic. We tied Taft in a game we should have won. Then we lost to Hotchkiss in overtime after blowing another two-goal lead. That Monday, we had a fatherly -- or grandfatherly -- talk and discussed how we would come back and just take the rest of the season game by game. Two days later, we beat Kent. How we came from where we were to here is incredible to me. I attribute it totally to great senior leadership -- guys like KJ (Tiefenwerth) and Quinnie (Smith) and Josh Dionne completely turned the season around. Dionne was immense today."

"I have the benefit of the most experienced coaching staff in prep hockey in Brian Doyle and Billy Maniscalco and John Dunham. They kept me focused. I almost broke up our second line three weeks ago, but Billy said, 'Don't break 'em up. They'll score.' And they did. Against Gunnery and Nobles they were our best line. Today, though, our seniors were just great."

"I have great respect for the job the NMH coaches did with their team. I thought in the middle of the first period, Komm came up very big for them. He held the fort. They had that 5-on-3 and we just weathered the storm. They didn't get here by smoke and mirrors. They are a very good team."

Gardner was asked about the eighth title and what it meant to him personally. "My job is just to help the team. Maybe they believe me. I try to be an honest person. I obviously still have the passion, and I try to enjoy the journey. Eight titles is great and it feeds my ego, but every year is different -- and interesting."

NMH coach Tom Pratt was happy with his team's effort and season. "Everyone worries about the Avon storm and we more than held our own in the first period. Komm gave us the confidence to get going. I didn't feel we were intimidated or in awe. We came to play. We took some penalties and Avon has some guys who know how to score. We are a little thin defensively. McMullen was dinged up a bit in the third. We had a lot of back-to-back shifts. Our bench got thin there."

Pratt was asked what he said to his players after the game. "I said, 'If a prep poll was taken back in November, do you know how many votes you guys would have had? Zero!' This season was really a confluence of events that started in Lawrenceville (i.e., the two games played without a goaltender). That was a catalyst. We were galvanized by that and we found an identity at the Cushing tournament when we beat Pomfret, Lawrence, and Cushing in succession. We found a formula that clicked for us there. As a group, this team was very resilient. The road wins at places like Taft and Choate were big. We beat good teams. And then sneaking in as the #8 and beating Kent on the road... this group was so excited. There was no hesitancy whatsoever. And Komm just got on a huge roll this past month. You need good goaltending in February and March and he just exuded confidence. He was out at the top of the crease, absorbing shots, and he's so positionally sound. He was key to the formula, just a big part of the equation."     

-- Criscuolo's Five Points Lead Choate Past Berkshire

Junior Kyle Criscuolo (3g,2a) had a five-point afternoon to lead Choate to an 8-4 win over Berkshire in the large school championship. Dan Linell (1g,2a), Dan Schuler (1g,2a), and Alex Hagen (2g) also had big games for the Wild Boars.

The game was a tight 3-2 game after two periods, but Criscuolo went on a tear in the third, figuring in four of Choate's five goals to turn the game into a rout.

When the game got to 6-3 at the 10:02 mark, Berkshire head coach pulled his goalie, Mitch Gillam, for the extra attacker. Then, with 6:51 left, Choate took a penalty, giving Berkshire a 6-on-4. Choate took a second penalty, now giving Berkshire a 6-on-3. And Berkshire cashed in as Keith Veronesi buried one from the slot at the 12:07 mark.

Berkshire would get no closer. Linell buried an empty netter with 3:31 left to make it 7-4, and, with the goalie back in and Choate now on the power play after Mike Sinsigalli was called for a cross check with 2:34 left, Schuler made it 8-4 with 1:22 left, an assist going to - who else? -- Criscuolo.

Early on this was a close game.

Choate broke out on top on a Kyle Criscuolo rebound goal at the 12:00 mark, with an assist going to Ben Foster. The Wild Boars extended their lead to 2-0 when Alex Hagen scored from a scrum, Danny Linell assisting, at 12:56.

Berkshire cut the lead to 2-1 when Kyle Lockwood, manning on the point on the power play, blasted one top shelf at 16:33. Assists went to Jake Goldberg and Trevor Mingoia.

In the second, Choate extended their lead to 3-1 when Hagen scored off the rush, assists going to Linell and Foster at 7:37.

Berkshire again cut the Choate lead to one goal when Mike Sinsigalli put home the rebound of a Corey Wiznowski shot from the top of the right faceoff circle at 10:25.


-- LaFosse Goal Gives KUA Small School Title in 2nd OT

An unassisted power play goal by junior Peter LaFosse 58 seconds into the second overtime period lifted Kimball Union to a 3-2 win over Dexter and gave the Wildcats the 2010 small school championship.

On the game-winning goal, the puck emerged from a scrum out to the left faceoff circle where LaFosse slapped it back on net. The puck hit the blade of Dexter defenseman Jared Wiedemann's stick and up under the crossbar. Dexter junior goaltender Kevin Green, who was terrific today, had no chance. 

This was a good, entertaining game between two very good teams. To those skeptical of Dexter due to their regular season schedule, they showed they can go toe-to-toe with strong programs. Dexter, brought along nicely by Dan Donato and his staff, is a young team with skill, and will go into next season as a force to be reckoned with. As for Kimball Union, coach Ryan Miller and his staff have done a terrific job bringing the program back to prominence. The players on both teams came to play today. No one appeared to be acting like this was some kind of consolation game.  

KUA got on the board first, going up 1-0 on the power play when defenseman Dan Cornell's shot from the point made its way through traffic, beating Sean Green at 7:38 of the first. Dexter got it back when Patrick Curtis's shot from outside the faceoff circle beat KUA goaltender Martin Oullette with 10 seconds left in the period.

The second period was scoreless.

In the third, KUA went up 2-1 when Ali Hakim, just before cutting to the bench on a line change, moved the puck to sophomore Dennis Kravchenko, who carried it into the zone 1-on-1 and took a high shot from 15 feet out out that broke off the glove of Green, falling behind him into the net at the 6:10 mark.

Dexter tied it up a little over a minute later, at 7:24, when Mike Sullivan, at the left point, fired one that would have gone wide, but deflected off a KUA player and into the net. Cam Darcy and John Magliozzi picked up assists on the play.

As the first OT period began, Dexter was down a player, as Patrick Curtis appeared to have separated his shoulder while checking KUA's Ryan Cole late in the third. The OT started out a little tentatively but picked up steam as it went along. Both teams had good scoring opportunities but Kimball Union had the edge in play in that they had more stretches of sustained pressure than Dexter. However, Dexter blocked a lot of shots, but when they got through, Dexter goaltender Kevin Green, who is playing with a lot of confidence, came up with some key saves, particularly in the latter stages. With 34 seconds left in the extra frame, Kravchenko broke in alone, was slashed by Joseph DiPietro, but got a shot off that Green came up big on. The penalty was called, giving KUA 1:26 of power play to start the second overtime period.

They would only need 58 seconds of it.


Live Updates from Salem

* Large & Small School Semifinals *

Large School Semifinal: Choate 7, Tabor 5

Alex Hagen had three goals -- the last an empty netter -- and Dan Schuler had two to lead Choate to a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over Tabor today.

Tabor will face Berkshire tomorrow at 1:00 pm.

Choate went up 1-0 when Dan Linell tapped one home from the corner of the crease, the puck breaking off Tabor goaltender Robbie Kang at the 10:44 mark. Assists went to Alex Hagen and Greg Kreisinger.

Tabor evened it up at 1-1 when, from a scrum in front of Choate goaltender Dan Rivellini, Gabriel Renaud knocked one home with 2:16 left.

Tabor took a 2-1 lead when, with 21 seconds left in the period, Tim Coffey, stationed back door, finished off a nice passing sequence with Kevin Salvucci and Cam Spiro.

In the second, Tabor went up 3-1 when Tim Shea scored at 2:05, with an assist from Ian Coleman. After the goal, Dan Rivellini was replaced with Nick BonDurant.

Tabor's Coleman took a holding penalty, and Choate cashed in as Hagen poked in a rebound from a scrum in front at 8:34 to cut the lead to 3-2.

Just 39 seconds later, Tabor went up 4-2 when Coffey found Spiro alone in the slot. Spiro buried it top shelf.

Choate, 1:01 later, again cut the lead to one when when Dan Schuler put in a Kyle Criscuolo rebound.

Choate entered the third trailing 4-3, and quickly reeled off three unanswered goals in the first five minutes, the first by Will Laverack from Kreisinger. Next, Schuler created, off a Tabor turnover, a give-and-go with Criscuolo to give Choate a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Finally, Hagen gave Choate a two-goal lead -- the eventual game-winner -- with the assist going to Linell to make it 6-4.

Tabor came back with a goal by Coffey, his second of the day, off a nice play by Spiro, who worked the puck along the end boards and got it out front to cut Choate's lead to 6-5.

Tabor never really mounted any sustained pressure after that, and Hagen added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the deal for the Wild Boars.

Large School Semifinal: Berkshire 3, Cushing 2

A Jake Goldberg goal with nine seconds remaining lifted the Berkshire School to a 3-2 win over Cushing Academy here today.

On the game-winner, Kevin Sullivan's pass from the right faceoff circle found Goldberg in front, and the Brown recruit cashed in.

Berkshire will play the winner of the upcoming Choate/Tabor game tomorrow at 1:00 pm.

After an uneventful first period, play picked up in the second, though the game was over halfway through before anyone got on the scoreboard. It was Berkshire that broke through, when Goldberg juked a d-man at the inside edge of the left faceoff circle and found Kyle Lockwood breaking to the net. Lockwood tapped it past Cushing goalie Chad Hardy at the 10:46 mark.

Cushing tied it a little over a minute later when Mike Conderman was sprung with a nice stretch pass from defenseman Corey Scammon, broke in alone and beat Berkshire goalie Mitch Gillam at 11:55.

Berkshire took the lead back at the 15:07 mark when Sullivan converted a nice pass from Goldberg.

Then, Cushing tied it up with 1:03 left in the period, with Conor Sheary scoring his second goal of the period, with RJ Boyd assisting.

The third period started out tentatively, but play picked up midway through. Each team had two or three good scoring opportunities, but couldn't convert until, with time running out, Berkshire notched the game winner.


Small School Semifinal: Dexter 4, Hebron 0

Dexter, behind a Cam Darcy hat trick and shutout goaltending from junior Kevin Green, skated to a textbook 5-0 win over Hebron Academy here today. Dexter skated well, moved the puck well, killed penalties efficiently, controlled the play throughout, and gave Hebron no opportunities to get into the game.

Tomorrow, they face Kimball Union in the small school title game (10:30 am).

In the first, Dexter went up 2-0 on a pair of Cam Darcy goals, both assisted by Brendan Fitzgerald and John Magliozzi.

There was a little controversy late in the period when it looked like Dexter had gone up, 3-0, but the referee waived it off, ruling the net was off the mooring.

In the second, Dexter added two more. Darcy completed his hat trick 1:06 in to make it 3-0. Magliozzi, from Matt Furey and Nick Bligh, made it 4-0 at 13:07.

In the third, Matt Furey added a power play goal at the 14:45 mark, with assists going to Patrick Curtis and defenseman Mike Sullivan.

Small School Semifinal: Kimball Union 2, Tilton 1

Kimball Union got a pair of second period goals, the first a power play tally from defenseman Pat Doherty at the 13:25 mark, assisted by Gabe Veilleux and Dennis Kravchenko at 13:25, and the a second a Ryan Cole tally, with Rafael Turcotte and Doherty assisting.

Tilton's Justin Ducharme, from Julien Tetrault and Max Balaban, scored with 3:39 remaining in regulation to cut KUA's lead to 2-1.Tilton exerted heavy pressure at the end, but couldn't push home the tying goal.

Both goaltenders, KUA's Martin Oullette and Tilton's William Flachsbinder, had strong games.

KUA will play the winner of the upcoming Dexter-Hebron game at 10:30 am tomorrow.