There’s nothing more dangerous in the hockey playoffs than a hot goaltender, and Central Catholic Men’s Hockey has exactly the type of goaltender who could take over.
Three-year senior starting goaltender Michel Brothers will lead the Raiders into action when they kick off the Division 1 State Tournament this week.
“For me, after winning the (MVC Cup) last year and making the playoffs my sophomore year, I’m thrilled to be back against some of the best competition in the state,” Brothers said. “There’s an incredible bond in the locker room, and when it all comes together, we can compete with any team in the state, no doubt.”
Division 1 champion MVC/DCL Central Catholic (10-8-4) is the 18th seed and will open the tournament against 15th seeded St. Mary’s (10-7-5) in the round of 16. St. Mary’s won the regular season game 2-1 two weeks ago.
The Raiders closed out the regular season with their biggest win of the winter, a 4-3 overtime upset against Catholic Memorial (14-5-1), the current No. 3 seed in the Division 1 tournament. .
“We’re all excited, especially after a big win over Catholic Memorial,” Brothers said. “It made all of us realize the potential we have to go far in the playoffs this year.”
Brothers was drawn to Central Catholic after watching the Raiders play in the Super 8 at the Tsongas Center and training with former Central goaltender and 2018 Eagle-Tribune MVP Matt Pasquale.
Two years after Pasquale, now a UConn replacement, graduated, Brothers got the starting job for Central as a sophomore.
This winter, Brothers posted a 2.40 goals-against-average with two shutouts. He made 28 saves to beat Catholic Memorial. Last winter, he led the Raiders to an 8-1-1 record and the MVC Cup title. The state tournament has been canceled due to COVID.
What does Brothers like the most in the role of goalkeeper?
“I think the biggest thing that attracted me to the goalkeeping job was having the ability to stand out from everyone else,” he said. “There is only one goalkeeper in a team, so everyone knows which one you are. The most enjoyable thing for me is definitely when I’m able to make a huge save, it’s one of the best feelings in the world, without a doubt.
While he hopes to play hockey after high school, Brothers would like to end his central Catholic career in style.
“I want us to go as far as possible in the tournament,” he said. “And also help build the program for the guys after me.”
Red hot Haverhill
Few teams are hotter for the state tournament than Haverhill High.
After opening the season 2-7, the Hillies won 8 of their last 11 games – including 6 of their last 7 – to end the regular season 10-10.
Haverhill are the No. 31 seed (out of 32 teams) in the Division 2 tournament and will face a huge task in their opener, against No. 2 Gloucester (16-4-0) in the Round of 16 .
The Hillies are led offensively by John the Bishop (10 goals), Darren Ackerman (8 goals) and Justin Torosian (8 goals). Dylan Soucy and Cal Pruett net intermediate time.
“The whole team is confident and really excited to make the playoffs,” Soucy said. “Doing the tournament is a big confidence booster for the whole team. It’s definitely something the team didn’t expect after the start of the season. Everyone knows we have to come together and do something special and I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Methuen ready to surprise
After winning the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual Country League Division 3 title, Methuen feels ready to make some noise in the state tournament.
Rangers (12-6-2) are the No. 19 seed in the Division 3 tournament and will open against No. 14 Dracut/Tyngsboro (14-6-0) in the Round of 16. This will be the schools’ third meeting this winter, with Methuen winning twice.
“The team is very confident that we can do some damage in the tournament,” said the top defender Danny Field. “The team is very excited to go because none of us have experienced the atmosphere of the tournament before.”
Leading the Rangers are Jack Allard (18 goals), Owen Knees (13 goals) and Field (8 goals). Owen O’Brien was the man of the net.
“No one on the current roster has competed in a state tournament, so we’re excited for this opportunity,” the Methuen coach said. Bill Blackwell. “Every team in our league goes to the tournament, so we feel capable of playing with anyone.”
Quill leads Andover
Andover (7-10-3) made the tournament as the No. 31 seed (of 33) in the Division 1 tournament. The Golden Warriors will face No. 2 Xaverian (16-3-1) in the round of 16. final.
Point guard Andover is the senior starting goaltender JJ Quill (2.55 goals conceded average), which has been the backbone of the Golden Warriors.
“JJ is one of our captains and a real team player,” Andover coach said Kevin Drew. “He’s our rock. If he’s not on we have little chance of winning. He’s one of the quiet leaders so when he speaks he gets the attention of the whole team, a hardworking very fierce.
Boosting the Golden Warriors on offense is Joe Bucci (8 goals), Matt Trudel (4 goals, 6 assists) and Braeden Archambault (4 goals, 7 assists).
And no longer a competitor
Led by freshman head coach Meagan KeefeAndover women’s hockey looks ready to go, after losing a division.
The Golden Warriors (12-6-2) are the No. 8 seed in the Division 2 tournament and will face No. 25 Franklin (6-10-4) in the Round of 16.
“Our team has shown a lot of growth throughout the season,” Keefe said. “We competed hard in our conference and were co-champions with Acton-Boxboro. We hope to continue to build on our strengths and refine our game. Our team is looking forward to the tournament and competing for the state championship. It was a great opportunity.
Paving the way for the Golden Warriors is lauren adams (10 goals) and Rose McLean (8 goals).
Keefe is a very familiar name for Andover High fans. The 2013 Andover High graduate was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star in field hockey — leading the Golden Warriors to two Division 1 state titles (scoring 33 goals as a junior) — and lacrosse ( 64 goals as a senior). She was also All-Conference hockey and played lacrosse at UMass Amherst.
She took over as Andover’s hockey coach this winter after former head coach Tyler Vigue retired due to professional obligations.
“I had the good fortune of being Andover’s assistant coach for the previous five years,” Keefe said. “I was able to watch and learn from two brilliant coaches (Vigue and the current coach of the Andover boys Kevin Drew). “This year, I’m able to take what I’ve learned and take ownership of the program. I have a great group of girls, and there’s nothing better than coaching the city you played for. »
After a turbulent start to the season, Methuen/Tewksbury entered the tournament in force. The Red Rangers (8-8-4) have won five of their last six games and head into the Division 1 tournament as the No.11 seed. They will face No.22 Stoneham/Wilmington (8-11 -1) in the round of 16.
“We feel good,” said Methuen/Tewksbury coach Sarah (Oteri) Doucette, who earned his 100th victory in January. “We’ve improved all season and are playing some of our best hockey in February.
“We also played a very tough schedule, so hopefully that will benefit us in the playoffs. We have a lot of young players who never made it to the state tournament because of the pandemic, so we’re excited for this opportunity.
Pacing the Red Rangers are the star Jessica Driscoll (21 goals, 13 assists), Breena Laurent (8 goals, 8 assists) and Riley Sheehan (9 goals, 7 assists). Michelle Kusmaul is the starting goaltender.
HPNA feels confident
Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover feel confident heading into the playoffs.
“We’ve played against many of the top 10 teams in the state and had some good results,” the captain said. Kat Yelsits. “We are looking forward to the playoffs! As a team we feel we are reaching our peak at the right time and we hope to continue to progress in the tournament.
HPNA (10-8-2) is the No. 9 seed in the Division 1 tournament and will open against No. 24 Mansfield/Foxboro (3-15-1).
The Hillies are led by Yelsits (7 goals), Kaitlyn Bush (8 goals) and goalkeeper Julianna Taylor (three shutouts).
“The girls are ready for the tournament,” said the head coach Gary Kane. “This year MVC/DCL was a fighter every night and we deliberately staged games against the best in the state. We have strong goalkeepers, top class leadership and big game experience. The girls will come to play.
Central in a new territory
Central Catholic posted a 14-5-2 record this winter, the best since the program’s inception in 2012.
The Raiders are the No. 33 seed in the Division 2 tournament and will face No. 32 Framingham (8-7-5) in the preliminary round.
Central is run by a pair of stars in Megan Malolepszy (15 goals, 20 assists) and madison terry (14 goals, 14 assists).