Over the final two periods, defense helped keep Woburn within one goal of rival Burlington, and late in the game junior defenseman Mark DeSantis helped reel the Tanners reel in a point in a 2-2 tie Wednesday night at Ned O’Brien Rink.
A jumbled mess of bodies in front of Burlington goalie Derek DeCastro caused the puck to squirt out to DeSantis at the right point, where he blasted a slap shot through traffic and into the back of the net with 2:58 left to knot the game at 2-2.
“That’s the type of team we have,” said Woburn coach Jim Duran. “They grind and they work hard…and they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
The Tanners (2-0-1) jumped to an early 1-0 lead when senior captain Jared Baker picked off a pass at center ice and skated in alone, putting a backhander past DeCastro (17 saves) seven minutes into the first period.
A returning salvo came two minutes later when C.J. Grinnell took a defender on a ride inside the left hash marks, flipping the puck up over the right shoulder of Woburn goalie Jeremy Flibotte (14 saves) to tie the game, 1-1.
With the pressure turned up a notch, the Red Devils (1-1-1) struck again just 31 seconds later when defenseman Adam Crowley gathered a pass off the right boards and blasted a shot that trickled between Flibotte’s pads.
“We were getting outworked in the first period,” said Woburn captain Joe Connors. “The boys just came together in the locker room and said we weren’t going to get embarrassed.”
From there the game came down to the defense, and after allowing 12 shots on net in the first period, the Tanners blue liners, led by senior Andrew Deane, clamped down and allowed only four shots the rest of the way.
“We were having a real hard time getting it out of our own end,” said Duran. “What we wanted to do was try to dump into the neutral zone and pressure their D. That’s what we did and we had a lot of success.”
Burlington beat Wakefield 33-6 Friday night, with running backs Marcus O'Dia and Anthony Cruz scoring two touchdowns apiece. See the highlights above.
It's no surprise defending Div. 1 champs take the top spot in the Boston Globe Softball Top 20. King Philip welcomes back the power battery of George Washington commit Meg Rico and Olivia Godin. The Warriors haven't lost a league game since 2008. They're the team to beat.
Acton-Boxborough comes in at the second spot after winning the North title last season. With a deep tournament run under their belt, and only one new face to the lineup, the Colonials are contenders for the title.
With former Gatorade Player of the Year Shannon Smith leading Milford for her junior season, the Hawks are in the running for a championship.
Burlington, the defending Div. 2 North champs are back this year hungry for a deep tournament run after a losing in the state finals last season.
Norwood takes the eighth spot after a South Sectional final appearance. Will the Mustangs be able to reload after losing pitchers Ali Maloof and Lauren Duggan?
Case starts off in the final spot with their Div. 3 state final appearance last season. The Cardinals hope for a rematch against Turners Falls and this time claim the title.
See the Boston Globe softball Top 20.
Matthew J. Lee / Globe Staff
The Globe's Matthew J. Lee took a number of photographs from Monday night's play-in games at Lawler Arena at Merrimack College, featuring Central Catholic-Burlington and St. John's of Shrewsbury-Needham. You can find all of his photos in a photo gallery we've started for the Super 8 tournament. We'll update the gallery as the tournament gets going again Sunday.
To get you ready for the Monday night Super 8 play-in games, here is a look at the competition, as well as information on how they fared against common opponents and fellow Super 8 teams this season.
Both games will be played at Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena.
St. John’s Shrewsbury vs. Needham, 5:45 p.m.
No. 9 St. John’s (15-4-3) – Twenty goal scorers Kevin Emmerling (24) and Vin D’Amato (22) create one of the most potent 1-2 offensive punches in the state. The defense is backed by a fleet of underclassmen with Andrew Smith providing the senior leadership for the group. Sophomore Mario Pizzeri has gotten the bulk of the work between the pipes, posting a 2.87 goals against average that will need to be tighter for them to move on. Thankfully for the Pioneers it has been of late, as St. John’s went 7-0 down the stretch, allowing only seven goals while posting three shutouts. The last time the Pioneers were in the Super 8 was back in 2003 when they lost a play-in game to Chelmsford. But despite it being nine years since their last appearance, head coach Brian Murphy, now in his 29th season, will certainly have his guys ready to go in this one.
No. 8 Needham (16-4-1) – The Rockets are a senior-laden squad that is well balanced in all aspects of the game. Forwards D.J. Walsh (15 goals, 19 assists) and Lucas Davis (17 goals, 13 assists) led the Bay State League champions in points this season, on a team that potted 89 total goals. Don’t let Timmy Parlato’s size fool you on defense. He is a force who can score goals (9) while throwing the body around with reckless abandon. In net Connor Murray has been solid, posting four shutouts for a team that allowed four goals in a game only two times this year. The Rockets made the Super 8 as the No. 6 seed last season and went 0-2-1 in pool play. Bill Guisti is about as amicable a coach as there is on the scene, but more importantly he knows his team belongs in the field of eight and will do everything to make sure they get there.
RECORDS VS. COMMON OPPONENTS (scores)
Coyle & Cassidy: SJ 1-0-0 (8-2); N 1-0-0 (3-1)
Springfield Cathedral: SJ 0-0-2 (2-2 & 3-3); N 0-1-1 (1-0)
Xavier, Conn.: SJ 2-0-0 (5-3 & 6-2); N 0-0-1 (3-3)
Xaverian: SJ 2-0-0 (7-5 & 3-1); N 1-0-0 (3-0)
RECORDS VS. SUPER 8 TEAMS
St. John’s : 0-3-3
Central Catholic vs. Burlington, 8:15 p.m.
No. 10 Central Catholic (12-3-5) - These two teams are more than familiar with the play-in game, having both been there twice over the last three Super 8 tournaments. The Raiders have much to boast about coming out of a very strong MVC/DCL Div. 1 as league champs. Seniors Ryan Daigle and Jake Donahue have lived up to their roles as team captains this season. This is a team that doesn’t score a ton, having 69 goals on the season, but they do have a knack for holding leads once they get them. The difference maker for Central Catholic is goalie Kyle Williams, who is considered by many to be one of the best netminders in the state when he is on. Cool, calm and collected, the senior is capable of single-handedly stealing a game. The Raiders took out St. Mary’s in a play-in game a year ago, but did not advance past pool play after going 1-2. Coach Mike Jankowski is excited to have his team in this position and feels that they can go as Williams goes.
No. 7 Burlington (14-1-6) – The Red Devils can score in bunches, having netted five or more goals in ten games this year. Junior Joe Berardi leads the bunch with 22 goals while seniors Brett Romkey and Trevor Cimino have 17 apiece. C.J. Grinnell is a dynamic player with quickness who can do damage if he gets behind the opposing defense. Derek DeCastro has been a rock in net, posting a 1.83 goals against average to go with 3 shutouts. If the junior goalie gets hot and the offense continues to click after outscoring their last four opponents 25-9, then the Red Devils will do damage. The last time Burlington was in the Super 8 was in 2010 when they lost a play-in game to Xaverian in a shootout. Head coach Bob Conceison picked up his 300th win earlier this season and would certainly love to add a few more over the coming weeks.
RECORDS VS. COMMON OPPONENTS (scores)
Chelmsford: CC 2-0-0 (5-3 & 4-3); B 1-0-0 (7-3)
RECORDS VS. SUPER 8 TEAMS
Central Catholic: 0-1-0
With just one last day of the regular season left, Thursday night provided some teams with their final chances to impress the selection committee before the Super 8 teams are chosen on Saturday.
The Springfield Cathedral Tournament carried the bulk of the Super 8 action on Thursday night, starting with No. 9 Needham (16-4-1) pulling out a 4-3 shootout victory over Hamden, Connecticut in the consolation game. For the sake of records it will go down as a 3-3 tie, putting the Rockets on the very bubble of things after an 0-1-1 showing out west.
No. 11 Springfield Cathedral (10-6-6) was unable to take down top-ranked Malden Catholic (15-1-4) in the championship game of their own tournament and based on history they may not get a Super 8 bid, as only one non-Catholic Conference team (St. John’s Shrewsbury in 2000) has made it with less than 12 wins. Add to that a tie against Division 3 Longmeadow and a combo of twelve wins and losses and the Panthers should start getting ready for some Division 1 South action next week.
Down on the Cape, No. 8 BC High (10-5-5) finally took down a team in regulation to earn their tenth win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Archbishop Williams that earned them the Cape Cod Classic title. Now, unlike Springfield Cathedral, the Eagles should get in with their win total, as numerous Catholic Conference teams have in the past. The last team to earn a spot in the Super 8 with only ten wins was Catholic Memorial in 2009, and they were the top seed. There is no way that the Eagles will get that honor, but they may have slid into the secure six based on a very tough schedule.
No. 5 Burlington (14-1-6) rolled over Chelmsford 7-3 in the final of the Cahoon Tournament, which should certainly lock them into the field of ten. Now the committee must determine if their body of work is strong enough for a top six slot. Of the five Middlesex League teams to make the Super 8 in the last three seasons, all were relegated to play-in games.
No. 7 Marshfield (18-2-2) won the South of Boston Shootout with a 4-1 victory over Bridgewater-Raynham. The defending Division 1 champs have been looking to make the jump to the Super 8 since last season ended, but have been met with some skepticism along the way. How about this for their case; they are tied with St. Mary’s for most wins in Division 1 (18), they have a goal differential of +42 and a 1.77 per game goals against average. It they are not selected for at least a play-in game than the Rams will have a very solid gripe on their hands.
LAST CHANCE TO DANCE
No. 12 Westford Academy (13-4-3) vs. No. 18 Milton (16-3-2), Fri., 8 p.m. (Irish American Shootout) - It may not be enough for either team, since all other contenders are securely parked in the garage...but it's nice to think that the final game of the regular season will have some bearing on the final decision making process.
Reading senior Jerry Ellis-Williams notched his 1,000th point on Tuesday in a 64-44 win over Burlington for the Rockets (1-1).
The 6-4 forward entered the game needing just 12 points.
Ellis-Williams reached the mark in the second quarter when he knocked down a three-pointer from the wing. He finished the game tied for the team high with Kenny Reed, with 20 points.
"We stopped the game and Jerry’s mom came out to center court and everyone gave him a standing ovation," Reading coach Paul Morrissey said.
According to Morrissey, Reading Athletic Director Phil Vaccaro is in the process of having the game ball painted with the game date and 1,000 points. He plans to present it to Ellis-Williams once the process is complete.
Reed is likely to eclipse the 1,000 point mark this season as well. After his 20 points Tuesday night, he is 98 points away.
"This team has potential," Morrissey said. "They worked hard tonight and I'm proud of them."
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 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
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