Archbishop Williams has just six seniors on its 26-player roster but that hasn’t stopped coach Derackk Curtis’s team this season. The Bishops captured their first Catholic Central title since 1997 and are expected to make the Super 8 tournament for the first time since 2001.
“We’ve had a lot fall into place,” Curtis said.
“The kids have a want to win. We’ve had our ups and downs as far as being in games and letting teams back in but it’s been a good season.”
Archbishop Williams has earned some impressive wins while going 11-3-4, beating Barnstable, 5-4, on Jan. 9 and defeating league rival Arlington Catholic, 7-2, on Jan. 26. The 4-4 tie with Austin Prep Feb. 13 that clinched the Catholic Central title was pretty big as well.
“Winning the [conference] was a big deal for the school,” said Curtis.
“It’s really huge for me to say I was a part of this team since it’s our first title since ’97 when I was just a little kid,” said senior goalie Joe Vinay.
The Bishops have been balanced this season, with 82 goals and strong play by Vinay.
“The goals are a byproduct of hard work and it doesn’t hurt to have a handful of good players to put the puck in the net,” said Curtis. “We don’t go in there and say we want to score this many goals, we just want to compete at the highest level all the time.”
Two of the biggest offensive contributors have been senior forward Jake Reardon and junior Mike Sorenti.
“He’s the type of kid that comes around once every 20 years,” Curtis said of Reardon, who has 11 goals and seven assists this season. “He’s not your prototypical No. 1 player, but he has skills and is just a very good leader.”
As for Sorenti, Curtis said: “He’s a dynamic goal scorer. We have kids who can put the puck in the net but he’s the best of the bunch.”
What has helped the offensive success translate to victories, however, has been the play of Vinay in goal.
The East Bridgewater native has been on the varsity team since his freshman year and swiftly climbed the depth chart.
“He’s matured tremendously over the past few years. He’s gone above and beyond our expectations for him,” said Curtis.
Vinay wasn’t as quick to praise himself. “Coach really stresses making sure you always have a guy [on defense], and I think our defense is really solid. Sometimes we get carried away but we’re a defensive-minded team,” he said.
With the Catholic Central title in hand and some notable wins, Archies is getting serious Super 8 consideration.
“If you have the opportunity to go, you have to go,” Curtis said.
As for Vinay, watching last year’s Super 8 from the stands at TD Garden gave him added motivation.
“It was a crazy atmosphere there [last year] and it would be great to be on the ice. It’s playoff hockey, marked up to 10,” Vinay said.
The MIAA will announce the Super 8 field on Saturday.
The second Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament begins on Monday, with Lowell Catholic playing Oliver Ames at 4 p.m. and North Reading and Sandwich playing at 6 in the other first-round matchup at Gallo Arena in Bourne. The consolation game and final are on Tuesday.
The tournament is held in memory of Hayes, a Sandwich defenseman who died in 2007, and to raise awareness of Ewing’s sarcoma. Fans are asked to donate to the Jeff Hayes Memorial Scholarship. The Stanley Cup will be at Gallo Arena on Monday.