In this segment, the Globe's Matt Porter makes his picks for Saturday's first round Super 8 action at Worcester's DCU Center, and writes an introduction to said segment in the third person. Here we go...
No. 3 St. John's Prep vs. No. 6 Malden Catholic, 12:30 p.m. (Cue bad impression of the late, great John Facenda: And on this day, there was little room for error as the Catholic Conference rivals tangled for fleeting post...season...glory. The heralded Eagles and potent Lancers did battle on the frozen sheet to begin the first round of the vaunted Super 8. It was a struggle that saw two evenly-matched... Okay, you get the idea. It's going to be a battle. Catholic Memorial aside, the rest of the Catholic Conference played tug-of-war all year. (And if that's the case, the Knights were like older kids throwing dodgeballs at the fray.) Want a telling stat? Both the Eagles and Lancers played eight games against Catholic Conference opponents. MC's goal differential in those games was 17-21. The Prep's was 17-22. Both teams are balanced, well-coached and solid in net, and have fought off inconsistent lapses. Their first match ended in a draw (3-3, Jan. 16) and the Prep slid by in their second (2-1, Feb. 2). What more is there to say? I predict ... the mighty Lancers will take their revenge, as the afternoon sun breaks over the rolling hills of Central Massachusetts er, I mean, Malden Catholic 3, St. John's Prep 2.
No. 2 Hingham vs. No. 7 Xaverian, 2:45 During football season, I was in Hingham quite a bit. Saw some good games, generally enjoyed myself, and had my first experience with Mary Lou's (an awesome cup of brew, and I'm not even a flavored-coffee guy). I like Hingham, and I wouldn't mind living there someday. It's a nice place. I say all this in a shameless attempt to distract you from the fact I haven't yet seen the Harbormen hockey team play live. It's disgraceful, quite frankly. I followed them from afar, and I regret missing Cam Spiro fill the net in the season's early going (five times in one game? No problem). I slept on one of the better netminders in the area, Nate Eagan. I missed seeing a team that finished 10-1-1, and was crowned the No. 2 team by the Mass. State Coaches Association and the Super 8 committee. It's my fault. I'll get my chance to see the H-Men's offense roll tomorrow, as will Xaverian, fresh off a solid win over Needham in the play-in round. The Hawks played solid postseason hockey in that one work hard, stay cool, and cash in when the chances come. From what the X-Men have shown as of late, they can hang with anyone not wearing red, grey and white. Since I have to make a prediction, I'll take the favorite and say Hingham, 3, Xaverian 1.
No. 4 BC High vs. No. 5 Reading, 5 Now this should be a good one. In one corner, with a record of 20-1, they are the Middlesex League champions. They outscored opponents by a 129-24 margin in their 21 games. Their top line, seniors Mike Lozzi, Pat Kiley and Rob Toczylowski, has dominated opponents all season long. I give you, the Reading Rockets. In the other corner, with a record of 11-4-5, they are the defending Super 8 champions. They have a roster of playoff-tested talent like John Heffernan, Tom Curran, Rob Dongara and P.J. Martina. They have the Catholic Conference's best goalie in Sam Marotta. And they dealt the Rockets their only loss of the season (3-1, Jan. 21). I give you, the BC High Eagles. Now let's get it on! Even though the Rockets have a lot to prove after being blown out of last year's Super 8, I'm picking the deeper team here. BC High, 4-2.
No. 1 Catholic Memorial vs. No. 8 Waltham, 7:15 In the late game, we have Steve Hopkins. Have you heard of Steve Hopkins? If you were in Billerica on Monday, you left a believer in the Waltham goalie's talents. He was outstanding. He was sensational. He was...outstansational. (Ed.: Are the made-up words necessary?) Fine, but really, S. Hopkins was pretty ridiculous. He made save after save and went Ghostbustin' in the shootout: He stoned three Westford shooters, and it's possible the fourth missed the net due to sheer intimidation. Also, Hawks forward Kyle Thomas was nothing short of electrifying, using his wheels aggressively and his bullet shot liberally. But CM's Mike Collins and Derek Colucci know excitement, too. Watch them close, as they fire the puck across the rink at a pinball's pace, giving a young Hawks defense all it can handle - Waltham coach John Maguire dropped senior Don Hopkins back to help out for a few games late in the year; what will his assignment be against the Knights? Meanwhile, the CM defense is deep like Dostoevsky and tougher than a than a steel toothbrush, and they should be able to bottle up Waltham's scoring line for the most part. The Hawks are coming off that emotional win over Westford, and if Dan Rowland (wrist) is healthy, they have a better shot, but right now, I'm calling it CM 5, Waltham 1.
That just about does it. See you at the games. Fire back if you want to by leaving a comment at the top, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.