Here's a look at the matchups. The Super 8 final is at the TD Garden on Sunday.BC High vs. St. John's Prep, 5:30 p.m.
Both of these programs were in this position last season. BC High lost to Malden Catholic while St. John's Prep defeated Weymouth before falling to Malden Catholic in the final. These teams are very familiar to each other, they split the regular season series, and are fairly even across the board with top-notch goaltenders, grinding defenses and skilled scorers who know how to finish. Prep may hold a slight size advantage. Winning faceoffs and controlling play through the neutral zone could turn into major factors in what should be an intense duel of true heavyweights.
BC High difference maker - Goalie Peter Cronin is overdue for a signature game in this tournament and it could come at the expense of Prep, a team he knows well. The junior netminder has been solid in the Super 8, posting a 2.33 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
St. Johns Prep difference maker - Prep's size on defense is a huge factor and they don't come much bigger on the blue line than Nick Pandelena, who is 6-4 and 220 pounds. The senior captain will be tasked with slowing BC High's Tom Besinger and Matt Sullivan and forcing them into low percentage shots.
Central Catholic vs. Malden Catholic, 8:00 p.m.
Central Catholic difference maker - The offense, once a worry during the regular season, is firing on all cylinders. However Kyle Williams has let in 12 goals in the postseason and was even yanked from a third-round matchup against Springfield Cathedral after allowing three goals in the first period. He will be the last line of defense against arguably the most potent offense in the state.
Malden Catholic difference maker - While the first line was being bogged down, freshman Ara Nazarian scored in each game, including two game-winners. He is deceivingly fast, is not afraid to throw his 180-pound frame around and makes it count when he has the puck on his stick. The second-line center is as dangerous as the top-line forwards.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.