January 14, 2012

Prep School Journal: Belmont Hill shines at Fenway

By Justin Churchill

The Independent School League prep hockey day at Fenway Park was a memorable experience for all involved.

Six ISL boys teams were involved in play on the day, with Milton vs. Noble and Greenough, Lawrence Academy vs. Thayer and Belmont Hill vs. St. Sebastian's.

Nobles showed why it is the top team in New England, dispatching Milton, 6-2. The contest between Lawrence and Thayer perhaps stood out as the most uneven. The senior-laden Lawrence team easily pushed aside an undersized Thayer squad, 6-0.

The game between St. Sebastian's and Belmont Hill provided a very evenly-matched and well-played hockey game. It was a pleasure for fans to watch despite the late start time of 8 p.m. Both teams kept the game close into the final minutes, and Belmont Hill came away with the 3-1 victory.

Goaltender David Cunningham led the way for Belmont by pushing aside 31 of 32 shots. Cunningham’s positioning was spectacular and he constantly frustrated the strong offense of St. Sebastian’s.

Cunningham said he felt his team was not overwhelmed by the enormity of playing a game on such a big stage,

“I felt really good the whole way through,” he said. “The guys were bringing it and I knew we were prepared in the locker room. We had the chance to come here two years ago, but I was the backup so I didn’t get a chance to play. So this meant a lot to me and my whole family was here, so it meant a lot for them to.”

The Hillies were led offensively by Mike Najjar, who picked up two goals on the night. After the game Najjar became swamped with reporters and summed up the entire day for all the players involved,

“It was unbelievable.” said Najjar.

St. Sebastian's forward and BU commit Danny O’Regan was not happy with the result of the game, but felt a similar sentiment to Najjar,

“We lost so I am a little disappointed by that, but the whole atmosphere around us was great. It was an unbelievable experience.” said O’Regan. “Overall, the game was the best way to cap off a wonderful event. Both sets of players, coaches and fans were treated to a fantastic game of outdoor hockey.”

O’Regan looked fantastic for St Sebastian’s, as he had an assist on Corey Ronan’s goal. The forward is currently leading the team in points with 21. He is committed to play at Boston University and stands out as one of the best forwards in prep hockey.

Devin Tringale had a three-point night at Fenway (two goals, assist). He will be playing for Harvard next year or the year after.

New England prep school power rankings

1. Noble and Greenough (11-1-0)

2. Phillips Exeter (11-1-1)

3. Lawrence Academy (9-1-1)

4. Kimball Union (11-2-1)

5. Salisbury School (9-2-0)

6. Albany Academy (12-1-0)

7. Avon Old Farms (9-2-1)

8. Holderness (11-2-0)

9. Cushing (9-3-2)

10. Gunnery (11-2-1)

11. Belmont Hill (8-3-1)

12. St. Paul’s (7-3-0)

13. Westminster (8-3-0)

14. St. Sebastian’s (7-3-0)

15. Choate (8-3-0)

16. South Kent (8-3-0)

17. St. Mark’s (9-4-1)

18. Berkshire (8-4-2)

19. Brooks (7-3-0)

20. Middlesex (5-2-0)

Justin Churchill can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.