BC High 5, St. Mary's 2
It took a period for the Eagles to shake their bus legs, but once they did it was smooth sailing for the No. 2 team in the state. BC High overcame a 2-0 deficit with five unanswered to down upset-minded St. Mary's and improve to 3-0.
St. Mary's led 2-0 after one period of play on goals from Mike Zampanti and Dante Maribito. Just over a minute into the game Zampanti took advantage of a neutral zone turnover and went in and beat BC High goaltender Brandon Payzant with a nice shot. Maribito extended the Spartans lead 8:14 into the game off a nice feed from senior captain Shawn MacBurnie. SMH's top line of MacBurnie, Maribito and Pedro really skated and moved the puck well together.
Trailing 2-0, BC High didn't find the back of the net until the 9:55 mark of the second period, but then scored two more goals in just over two minutes to take the 3-2 lead heading to the second intermission. Pat Riley got the Eagles on the board first followed by Pat Kramer, a Merrimack commit, banging home a centering feed from defenseman Billy Roche. Jack Duffey scored what proved to be the game winner with 3:02 to go in the middle stanza.
Brendan Evitts and Jack Nisbet added goals in the third period. BC High rebounded well from an ugly first period, thoroughly dominating the final 30 minutes of the game.
Two scouts from the Chicago Blackhawks were at Connery Rink to take a look at 2015 NHL Draft prospect Ryan Shea, a Northeastern commit. The poised blue liner is a '97 first-time eligible who has terrific vision, skates well and distributes the puck like a seasoned vet. It wasn't his best game, but he still made some real nice looks up ice.
Next up for John Flaherty's team is a home date with St. John's (Shrewsbury) next Monday night at UMass Boston's Beacon Athletic Center.
Burlington 7, Reading 4
In the season opener for the top two teams in the always strong Middlesex League, the host Red Devils erased a 4-2 deficit to down the defending Division 1 state champion Rockets, 7-4, at the Burlington Ice Palace. Junior Robby Ryan notched a hat trick including two short handed goals, one an empty net tally.
Senior John Manfredi scored twice for Burlington, the 2012 and 2013 state champions at the Division 1 level. Jason Ewing lit the lamp twice for Mark Doherty's Rockets in the losing effort.
It was a game that resembled an early season contest. There were a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers and poor decisions made by both teams, but it was a physical, spirited game between two old rivals.
Mike Seibold, an SB Nation All-Massachusetts Preseason selection, looked good for most of the game except for a costly turnover in the third period. He made several very good hits and pushed the puck up ice. He's someone who will likely end up getting a look if he plays a PG year next season.
Two young sophomores looked good up front for the Rockets. Matt Thompson is a very good player with decent size and he has some moves. Possibly the most exciting player on the ice Wednesday night was Reading sophomore Kevin Tobin. He's really small, but he's quick, creative and sees the ice well.
Junior Anthony Nikolopoulos is a player to keep an eye on for Burlington. He and classmate Tommy Hanafin moved the puck well together. Nikolopoulos was Burlington's most creative player in open ice.
In other Middlesex League action Wednesday night, Woburn shutout Wilmington, 4-0. The Tanners are expected to be much improved this season after a down year in 2013-14. Melrose upended Belmont, 3-2. Woburn, Melrose, Winchester and Watertown should be right behind Reading and Burlington in the Middlesex this season.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.