Hockey: Boys’ Back In The Win Column With Win Vs Burlington; Girls’ Hang On For Victory Against Red Devils

Photo: Belmont High defender junior Peter Grace.

After taking a first loss of the season – shut out 2-0 against a rising Wellesley High team on Wednesday – Belmont High School Boys’ Hockey took the most of the opportunity to return to the win column with a dominate 3-0 victory against Middlesex Freedom Division foe Burlington on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the Skip.

The W gives Belmont a 13–1-1 overall record and 8-0-1 in the Middlesex Liberty division.

Once again, it was Belmont’s first offensive line on the power play that wreak havoc against an opponent as two of Belmont’s scores came with the man advantage as senior senior Matt Rowen and junior Cam Fici potted goals in the second and third periods. In the past three games, the Marauders scored six of eight goals on the power play with Rowen (3) and Fici (4) tallying. Fici gained the brace against the Red Devils with a pretty even-strength first period goal in close with the assist coming from line mate junior Shay Donahue who helped on each Belmont goal.

A stubborn opponent for the better part of the past decade, the Red Devils had a hard time to keep up with Belmont’s team speed with arguably one of the best defensive pairing in eastern Mass – juniors Peter Grace and Joe Gaziano – shutting off the Red Devils’ incursions into the zone with senior net-minder Ryan Griffin adding his seventh clean sheet of the season.

Belmont will visit Wilmington on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Belmont High Girls hang on for sixth victory

A great second period led to a very nervy third as the Belmont High Girls upped its record to 6-4 (5-4 in the league) defeating Burlington High at the Skip, 3-2, as the Marauders’ relied on standout goaltending from Bridget Gray on Seniors Night on Jan. 22.

You could say that Belmont’s forwards “stole” this victory as freshman Sadie Taylor and senior Jaelyn Marchetta intercepted clearing passes in the Burlington end and scored – Taylor’s a rocket from the left circle three minutes into the second while Marchetta grabbed the puck on the penalty kill and put in a shorthand tally late in the same period – to go along with senior Molly Dacey’s second chance opportunity just outside the crease at the four minute mark in the first period.

It was Gray’s stellar play in the final stanza securing the win as Burlington stormed the crease time and time again as the Marauders tired down the stretch. Two of the best saves came in the final 1:40, one off Gray’s helmet and a deflection off her glove with seven ticks left.

Belmont will host Lexington on Friday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m.

COVID Ends Belmont Boys Hockey’s Chance To Be Solo Champions For A Second Time In A Year


For the second time in less than a year, the Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey team saw its chances of playing in a championship game cancelled as the Marauders’ Saturday, Jan. 20, match with Winchester in the first-ever Middlesex League tournament was scraped Friday night due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Middlesex League has declared the teams co-titlists.

In March 2020, the finals of the MIAA Division 1 state tournament between Belmont and Walpole was postponed when the first surge of the coronavirus spread across the country and the teams were declared state co-champions.

The abrupt end of the season, and also the careers of one of the most winningest senior classes, came after Belmont earned a place in the finals with a pair of nail biting tournament games in which the Marauders won both matches in extra time.

After dispatching Wakefield with 3.2 seconds left in a 3-on-3 overtime session Wednesday, the Marauders came back the next day to prevail, 2-1, in a shootout over league powerhouse Arlington.

Belmont came into the game having twice been shut out by the SpyPonders in the previous week, giving up nine goals in the two matches. Despite Arlington’s advantage on offense in setting the tempo and scoring chances, the Marauders had an answer in the guise of sophomore goaltender Ryan Griffin and senior captain Tom Grace who lead the defense.

When the Belmont coaching staff selected the three players to take the sudden death penalty shots, they needed to only look to the Fici brothers – senior captain Ben Fici and sophomore standout Cam – to seal the deal.

After Arlington’s Jack Sadowski scored first in the second round of shots, Ben Fici threw off Arlington goalie Jack Davies with a quick move to his right and roofed a backhand by the sophomore netminder to tie the shootout at one.

It was now Griffins time to shine as he blocked Reid Malatesta’s attempted to go between the pads. With the game on the line, Cam Fici took it in close and shoved a shot through Davies’ pads to hit the side netting for the winning goal.

Belmont finished the shortened season with a record of 7-3-1.

Three Belmont Teams In Middlesex League Tournaments Starting Wednesday

Photo: Belmont teams are participating in a first-ever Middlesex League championship tournament.

The regular season might be over but three Belmont teams will be playing on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of a first ever Middlesex League championship tournament.

Boys’ Hockey and Girls’ Hockey and Basketball are playing in this impromptu playoff as the Middlesex League is following the examples of other athletic conferences by adding a tournament in place of the MIAA interscholastic championships which have been suspended for the school year.

Wednesday’s schedule includes:

  • Third seed Boy’s Hockey will play host to Wakefield at noon, Wednesday at John A. Ryan Area in Watertown. You can catch the game on cable – Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon – or on the web at
  • Girls’ Basketball, the fourth ranked team will play long time rivals Watertown at 2:30 p.m. While Belmont is the home team, the game will be played at Watertown High School. Watch the game on Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon or at
  • Finally, fourth seed Girls’ Hockey takes on Winchester at 7 p.m. at the Burlington Ice Palace. You can see the game on Ch. 96 Comcast or Ch. 30 Verizon and on the web at

Belmont Hockey Sees Epic Playoff Run End As State Finals Cancelled, Named Co-Champs

Photo: Belmont High Head Ice Hockey Coach Fred Allard

In the locker room after a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in the Division 1 North finals last Monday, Belmont High Head Coach Fred Allard ended his postgame talk to the players proclaiming “Practice tomorrow at 3!”

“What that meant was our season is still going on and we still get to be together,” Allard said in an empty White Field House on Thursday afternoon, March 12, with the North trophy and title banner on a nearby table.

It also signified the team had punched its ticket to the TD Garden this Sunday to play for the program’s first ever state championship title.

But the the season-long goal of just having the opportunity of skating to the Belmont student section with a state championship trophy in hand would end with an email.

Two hour previous, after hard practice at the “Skip”, the starkness of the outside world entered the hockey sphere when, due to the growing threat of a global pandemic, the MIAA announced it had cancelled the Division 1 state finals against Walpole.

The consolation for the Marauders was being declared co-champions with the Rebels. But it wasn’t much solace for the Belmont players to share a title that they couldn’t play for.

“We had just gotten off the ice so everyone was in the room,” said Allard. The squad’s reaction to the announcement was heartbreaking.

“These guys were more crushed than past teams who lost to St. John’s Prep four years ago and to Waltham (losing in overtime in the North semifinals in 2018). And they were just announced as co champs of the state!” said Allard. “That’s how all in they were because it’s such a special experience.”

“It was emotional and they were devastated. We talked our way through it. We shared some memories, we reminisced on what we accomplished and hopefully the healing process of the initial pain is starting to wear off.”

As late as Thursday morning, Allard still believed the team would be on a bus Sunday heading to the Garden in Boston’s North End.

“I was thinking we got practice on Friday and Saturday and hopefully the dust will settle and we’ll get this [game] in,” he said.

On Tuesday, the powers that be were hell bent on playing the six state finals on Sunday, but all that changed Wednesday when the Coronavirus was accelerating through all segments of society including sports. In just a day, professional sports leagues announced the cancellation or suspension of their seasons.

“That’s when the [MIAA] were obviously becoming more concerned for the safety of the kids, which was the right thing,” said Allard.

By early Thursday afternoon, the NCAA cancelled their winter championships including the entire “March Madness” basketball tournament, the Boston Marathon was looking for an autumn date to the run the race and states were prohibiting large gatherings.

“Our hope was that the worse case would be playing the finals at [six] separate sites and not just at the Garden,” Allard said.

“The kids worked so hard to get to this point. They just wanted to play.”

Tripleheader Thursday: Belmont Hockey, Hoops Semifinals Crammed Into One Afternoon

Photo: Belmont v Woburn at Woburn. (credit: David Flanagan)

Blame it on the nor’easter. Besides nearly a foot of snow and an awful morning commute, the big spring snow storm has rearranged the MIAA playoff schedule to where three Belmont High sports teams will be playing nearly simultaneously on Thursday evening, March 8, making it a heartbreaking decision for fans and some families which games they can or can’t attend.

The big move creating this triple play of Belmont playoff action occurred Wednesday, March 7 when the MIAA, the governing board of interscholastic sports in Massachusetts, postponed a slew of hockey matches including the Division 1 North sectional semis between Belmont, 12-6-4, and Waltham, 15-5-2, to be held at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell due to the increasing severity of a coastal snow storm. The board moved the contest up a day to Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Belmont will seek to continue its inspired streak of victories including defeating defending Super 8 state champions Arlington, 3-2, on a last minute goal. The winner plays in the North finals on Wednesday, March 14 in Lowell.

The move by one day puts Belmont Hockey in direct competition for fans and attention with Belmont’s two basketball teams who are playing its own doubleheader. At the exact moment the puck is dropped in Lowell, tip off is scheduled for the grudge match between two of the best in the Division 1 North sectional as fourth-seed Belmont Girls’, 18-3, takes on number one Woburn, 19-12, taking place at Burlington High School. The game is the third between the Middlesex League rivals with each team winning at home and sharing the league title. The winner will play on Saturday, March 10 at Lowell’s Tsongas Arena.

Immediately after the game, fourth-ranked Belmont Boys’, 17-5, will also meet Woburn, at Burlington High with a 7:30 p.m. start. The eighth seed Tanners, 15-7, will attempt to break its winless streak this season against the Marauders, beaten at home, 69-67, and at Belmont, 85-57. Belmont has won 10 consecutive games and are one win away from playing at the Tsongas Arena for the Division 2 North title on Saturday, March 10.

WOW! Belmont Stun #1 Arlington, 3-2, In Div. 1 North Quarters As Dacey Stands Tall

Photo: The final scrum as Belmont’s Kevin Dacey saves with 9.1 seconds remaining to secure the 3-2 win over Arlington.

Belmont High Boys’ Hockey head coach Fred Allard looked bewildered, nearly speechless coming out of the locker room after addressing his team after Belmont stunned number 1-seed Arlington, 3-2, before a raucous Belmont’s traveling supporters in a standing-room-only O’Brien Rink in Woburn on Saturday, March 3.

“We call it our ‘Redemption Tour’ this year as we play teams we lost to a lot,” he said. “We have seniors who lost 9-0, 8-0 to Arlington early in their careers. To come back and win, amazing. I’m happy to be the coach of Belmont and just proud to coach this team.” 

Saturday’s game was 43 minutes of grind it out hockey and two minutes of a wild roller coaster of emotions as Belmont seemingly blew its best chance against the state favorites by giving up a tying goal with at 1:53 left only to be rescued by “Mr. March” sophomore Justin Roche’s wraparound at 23.5 seconds. The Marauders seemingly lost the lead for the second time with less than 10 seconds remaining but for a miraculous save by game MVP senior goalie Kevin Dacey and a correct call by the refs.

When the final horn blared, the team skated to where the Belmont supporters were located and despite three inches of tempered hockey panels, celebrated with fans, friends, and family.

For Dacey, the game was four years in the making.

“This was definitely a personal game for me. As a freshman I was pulled in my very first game against Arlington so ever since then I’ve wanted to get them back and I’m just so happy it happened.” 

Belmont lost away to Arlington, 4-1, in January that included a major dust-up that saw Dacey and Belmont’s leading scorer Steve Rizzuto bounced from the game. There was an equally nasty affair in Belmont in February that saw the Marauders on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss that included an empty-netter. 

“We lost twice but they were really a bouncing puck either way that could have changed it. We knew we could play with them,” said Dacey.

“He’s been the backbone of our team since his sophomore year. He’s kept us in most games and certainly kept us in this one. He’s one of the top goalies in the state and he’s got a heart of steel,” said Allard of his goaltender.

Belmont came out skating against Arlington and its aggressive play paid off twice as the Marauders took advantage of a pair of SpyPonder miscues. Belmont took a 1-0 lead in the first period when an errant pass during an Arlington line change was picked up by senior forward Ryan Noone leading to senior captain Dennis Crowley beating the SpyPonder’s goalie Jack Pinard five-hole with 3:59 left in the period.

Belmont’s doubled its lead in the second period courtesy of a bad defensive decision seconds after the puck dropped when outstanding freshman forward Ben Fici scored his ninth of the season from out in front at 10 seconds, assist from senior Alec Morin and that man Rocha.

For the remainder of the game, the storyline was if Belmont could hold on against the defending Super 8 champs with its high-powered offense. For most of the second period, Belmont’s defense kept Arlington to long-range shots that Dacey smothered with general ease.

In the third period, Arlington used its speed and strength to creep back into the match. It capitalized on a Belmont penalty, scoring early in the period (with 13:27 remaining) by junior defense Dara Conneely. Belmont stalling offense and Arlington’s ability to stay in the Marauders’ zone and continually squeeze the Belmont’s defense into Dacey silence the normally boisterous supporters. 

The seeming inevitable came as Arlington threw four players into the slot and senior wing Mike Callahan jumped on a loose puck seven feet from the goal and powered it between Dacey’s pads to tie it at 2 with 1:53 left in the period.

With overtime looming and Arlington controlling the game, it appeared Belmont was running on borrowed time against the energized SpyPonders.

But for Allard, the mood on the bench was resilient as the team recalled its first playoff game a few day back coming back from behind four times to defeat Melrose in the final minute. “These boys have responded every step of the way and I knew when [Arlington scored] we’d grind it out and find a way to win.”

Enter Rocha. On the second of two faceoffs in Arlington’s end, the sophomore took a Noone pass to the net and completed a classic wraparound by Pinard’s outstretched pads.

“I don’t even know what happened. I just got the puck down low in the slot and put it right around the goalie,” said Rocha who scored consecutive playoff winning goals. “It was all about wearing down the defense by keeping the puck down low. We just wore them down.” 

“We talk about ‘dirty’ goals, simply get it to the net and put home the rebound. Four of our five goals against Melrose was just that. And Rocha’s was just that way,” said Allard.

But Arlington provided one last heart-stopping moment when a near-perfect pass from the right circle met a pair of SpyPonders at the left corner of the net with 9.1 seconds remaining. But Dacey dove across the mouth of the goal to barely keep the puck from crossing the line. 

“It was just desperation. I just threw my stick out there and I just pulled it off the goal line,” said Dacey. As Arlington attempted to continue the play, the referee behind the net apparently blew the play dead to the bafflement of Arlington’s players who let their emotion get the best of them.

While pointing to Belmont’s playoff loss to St. John’s Prep in last year’s tourney as the “tipping point” in the resurgence of the program, Allard said the Arlington game is equally as important to the future of the sport.

“All you have to do is look at all the Belmont people who came out today and you realize that hockey in Belmont unlike a lot of things has returned. There is a history and a camaraderie and a level of success we haven’t had in a number of years so this is special. This will mean a lot for years to come,” said Allard. 

Final Minute Tally Secures Playoff Win For Belmont ‘Blond’ Boys’ Hockey

Photo: The victorious Belmont High squad, blond and happy (From the Belmont High Hockey twitter site (

The Blond Boys did it.

After falling behind four times only to come back to tie the score, Belmont High Boys’ Hockey – who dyed their hair a yellowish color en masse before the game – scored in the final minute to give the Marauders a thrilling 5-4 victory over Middlesex League-rival Melrose High in the first round of the Division 1 North Sectionals on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Chelmsford.

Sophomore forward Justin Rocha scored his fourth goal of the season – the assist going to senior line mate Alec Morin – with 1:03 remaining to secure the win. Rocha also scored on the power play to tie the game at 4 with the assist from senior Tim Bailey. Senior forward Will Dominiconi started the three goal third period with an early tally to knot the game up at 3.

Dominiconi also started the scoring in the first with a goal from senior captain Connor Dacey. Senior assistant captain and team’s leading scorer Steve Rizzuto – who was awarded postgame the coveted Belmont firefighter’s helmet for his overall play – notched his 19th goal of the season on the penalty kill with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second.

Wednesday’s victory was the first MIAA tournament win for the Marauders since Belmont defeated Arlington, 6-5, in four OT’s in 2006.

And Belmont will meet number 1 seed SpyPonders for the third time this year in the D1North quarterfinals taking place on Saturday, March 3 at Woburn’s O”Brien Rink. The time has yet to be set.

Belmont Boys’ Hockey Hit By Rockets; Girls’ Hockey’s Unhappy New Year

Photo: Belmont’s Alec Moran (6) stopped by Reading’s Matt Coughlin on Saturday’s game.

Boys’ Hockey

After an inspiring 4-3 victory over perennial powerhouse Winchester midweek, Belmont High hockey was anxious to meet another tough Middlesex League opponent in Reading Memorial High which came to the “Skip” for a Saturday afternoon matinee looking up at the Marauders in the league standings.

But the intensity and breaks came from the Rockets bench – which included seven coaches – as Reading handed Belmont its second loss of the season with a 4-1 victory on Jan. 13.

Reading produced the most chances through the game with Belmont goalie Kevin Dacey required to make a series of difficult saves throughout the game while the Marauders offense which has been led by senior winger Steve Rizzuto – who scored his third hattrick of the season against Winchester – was stifled by Reading’s Matt Coughlin in net with 21 saves and a crew of big and mobile defenders.

Reading dictated the game’s pace and direction scoring early through junior forward Mike Tobin (who is a verbal commit in lacrosse to UMass-Amherst) just a minute in. Belmont came close to knotting the game from its top line of Connor Dacey, Will Dominiconi and Rizzuto who kept Coughlin busy.

The Rockets (7-2) doubled its lead even earlier in the second period than the first, after only 45 seconds with Tobin earning the brace from an excellent pass from Jake Emery. With less than five minutes remaining in the second Reading broke through again, with senior Dan Cranitch beating Dacey on a rising wrist shot glove side. 

Belmont’s best chances came down three as the Marauders dominated the remainder of the period but did not have anything to show for it at the end of two. 

An up and down third culminated in an open net by Matt Florenza with 20 seconds left. Belmont did spoil Coughlin’s away shutout as Tim Bailey took a Dennis Crowley pass and beat the goalie just before the buzzer. After some debate, the goal was allowed for the 4-1 final.

Belmont is 5-2-3 entering its Martin Luther King Day match with Catholic Memorial. (Late edit: Belmont earns a hard-earned tie with CM with a goal from, who else, Steve Rizzuto.)

Girls perfect 2017 leads to imperfect 2018 

Belmont High Girls Hockey was on fire in the first part of the season, specifically in 2017 when it rushed off to a 6-0-0 record with a high powered scoring offense, averaging four goals a game, with a bend but not break defense

But when the calendar changed to 2018, what was ablaze was extinguished as the Marauders are 0-4 for ’18. While some of the reason is the top quality match-ups – including meeting the defending state champions and the top-ranked team this season – two defeats came on consecutive Saturdays where Belmont could not hold onto late leads away from home. 

Not that Belmont has lost its scoring touch as the team is averaging three goals per game, but rather it would appear to be an inability to sustain a team confidence it held earlier in games.

Belmont did perform well against both Woburn (’17 state champs) and Winchester (a top 5 team the entire season) losing 4-2 and 5-3. What has been troubling has been the Saturday Night Falls. Against Lexington, the team let go of a two-goal lead in its 4-3 loss. This past Saturday, Belmont arrived at the Burbank Ice Rink to meet a Rocket team that was on its own three-game losing streak. After a first period knotted at one, Belmont scored twice to lead 3-1 at the end of the second period.

But as with its game against the Minutemen, Belmont saw the Rockets dominate the third, scoring four unanswered goals to fall 5-3 and see its record dip to 6-4-0. Belmont will be away from “The Skip” until next month, Feb. 4, when they host Newton South. 

Sports: Rizzuto’s Scoring Tear Lifts Boys’ Hockey In 2018

Photo: Steve Ruzzuto vs. 

First, the good news: Steve Rizzuto is running hotter than your heating system during the latest artic snap. The Belmont High senior forward scored consecutive hat-tricks, the second coming in Belmont’s 6-1 away shellacking of Woburn High on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

And when the Marauders were down 1-0 deep in the third period against a pesky Lexington team Saturday, Jan. 6, it was Rizzuto who bailed out the team with a wonder strike to allow Belmont to limp out of the Skip with a 1-1 tie that even the coaching tweeted was admittingly “undeserved.”

Belmont Boys’ came back from its annual holiday break trip to Maine with a 2-0-1 record, having stopped Pinkerton 2-1 with Rizzuto scoring along with Alec Moran, tied defending Maine state champs Lewiston 2-2 and steamrolled Exeter, NH, 10-1, with Rizzuto hitting the hat trick along with fellow forward Conor Dacey. 

After dispatching the usually tough Tanners, Belmont was looking for a good result Saturday, from the resurgent Minuteman – 6-3-0 coming into the match – led by the multi-talented (and the scourge of Belmont teams) senior forward Sal Frelick and fellow senior attack Devin Jenness. In a fast pace, up and down the ice affair, the two teams traded the rare good chances with Lexington looking slightly better in the offensive zone.

After nearly two periods of futility, Lexington caught the long-awaited break it was looking for as Jenness broke the Belmont defense for a breakaway in on goalie Kevin Dacey. The senior netminder stopped the initial shot but Jenness banged in the rebound to put the Minutemen up with 2:20 left in the middle stanza.

Nor did it appear Belmont was generating the effort to put one by Lexington’s freshman goalie Donald McCarthy. In stepped Rizzuto who took a pass from senior linemate Will Domeniconi just to the right of the net and roofed a stunner passed a well-positioned McCarthy at 8:45 in the third. 

For the remaining 7:15, it was the goalies that took center stage but for different reasons. Dacey stood tall against sustain Minutemen pressure while at the other end, McCarthy’s moment of indiscretion with a minute remaining (bad language, pitching a puck at an official and throwing a stick) saw the rare instance of a goalie in the penalty box but only for a moment as he was waved off the ice. It nearly cost Lexington as Belmont put a pair of testers on Lexington’s backup 9th grader but at the buzzer, the battle ended in an unsatisfying tie.

The Boys will wait for Wednesday, Jan. 10 to take on a tough Winchester squad away before returning home to the Skip to meet Reading on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Sports: Boys’ Hockey Takes on St. John’s Prep Wednesday in Playoff’s First Round

Photo: Belmont ice hockey

Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey knew they were heading to the Division 1 North playoffs for the past fortnight.

But like every other team in the same pool, the team needed to wait until late Monday night – only after a pair of games to determine the final teams entering the “Super Eight” tourney –  to find out exactly who they would be playing.

Now it knows and the team they suit up against on Wednesday, March 1 in Chelmsfored won the 2015 state champions and runner’s up last year which plays a highly-competitive schedule and comes in on a hot streak.

The ninth-seed St. John’s Prep School of Danvers will take on eighth-ranked Marauders at the Chelmsford Forum at 5 p.m. A bus for Belmont High students is being provided to bring fans to the rink.

While ranked ninth, the Eagles (11-7-2), which competes in the tough Catholic Conference, are on a roll winning its last six games and going 8-2 in the final 10 games scoring 24 more goals then its opponants. 

Last year, St. Johns’ Prep was defeated 2-1 in overtime to Malden Catholic in the top ranked “Super Eight” state championships. In 2015, the team won it all, defeating MC 2-1. 

Belmont comes to the match with a 10-7-4 record, winning three of four games.