Sports 04-01-2015

Fantastic Finish

John Powers named MVP of State All-Star Hockey Game

By Cary Shuman

After an exceptional four-year varsity hockey career at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, John Powers of Revere had one more highlight to offer.

Powers, a Catholic Central League All-Star, netted three goals to lead his South team to a 6-3 victory over the North in the Massachusetts State Coaches Association Shriners’ All-Star Game at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Needless to say, Powers was named the Most Valuable Player in a game that featured the top seniors in Massachusetts. He also had a goal that was disallowed in the game.

“I just was feeling good out there and getting shots to the net,” said Powers, son of Kristin Galli and John Powers, stepson of Michael Galli, and grandson of Revere City Council President John Powers. “I was honored to be selected MVP.”

St. Mary’s Principal Dr. Mark DiFabio praised Powers for his excellent leadership and for setting a fine example for the underclassmen in the school.

“John has been an outstanding member of the school community at St. Mary’s,” said DiFabio. “He is an excellent athlete and served as a great role model as a captain in the hockey program. I know his teammates and classmates respect and admire him for what he has accomplished at the school.”

This season the 5-foot-8-inch, 165-pound captain emerged as the Spartans’ first line center, skating alongside wingers Shawn McBurnie and Austin Finkel. Powers concluded his season with 14 goals and 8 assists while leading the Spartans to the Division 1 quarterfinals.

He began his career in Revere Youth Hockey and continued with regional select teams. One of his linemates at the youth level was St. John’s Prep captain Tyler Scearbo, who led the Eagles to the Super 8 championship. Revere hockey fans can only dream of what their presence would have meant in the Revere High hockey program.

Powers said he enjoyed his entire athletic and academic experience at St. Mary’s. His brother, Jesse, preceded him in the Spartans’ hockey program. He also has a sister, Jillian, a graduate of St. Mary’s who is studying nursing at Salem State.

“I’m so happy that I followed in my brother’s footsteps and attended St. Mary’s,” said Powers. “I look up to my brother. He was a really good hockey player, a real grinder on the ice. I met some great people here. I made a lot of friends. Coach [Mark] Lee is a great coach who made us work very hard to improve as a team. Dr. DiFabio is a great principal. The teachers are fantastic, especially Ms. [Frances] White and Mr. [Michael] Jalbert, who teaches my favorite subject, which is history.”

Powers intends to play junior hockey for the Northern Cyclones, who are based in New Hampshire.

“We’ll be playing our home games in Hudson, New Hampshire,” said Powers. “We play about 60 games and travel throughout New England. My goal is to play college hockey after junior hockey.”

He lists St. Anselm College, Southern New Hampshire, and Salem State as possible college destinations.

Though he also plays lacrosse at St. Mary’s, he said that hockey has always been his favorite sport.

“Ever since I first laced up my skates, I wanted to play high school hockey,” said Powers. “I played a lot of hockey in the off season and that helped me improve. I just want to thank my parents and my mother especially. She was at every game. She’s my biggest supporter and I love her.”

RhS sports Roundup

RHS girls lacrosse team looking forward to season; most others still on hold

While other spring sports teams thus far have been confined to indoor practices because of frozen and snowed-under playing fields, the Revere High lacrosse squads have barely missed a beat in their spring training schedule thanks to the turf field at the high school, which has been plowed clear of the white stuff and available for their use.

“Our off-season has been great thus far, especially being able to be outside on the turf,” said new RHS girls head coach Karen Atkinson. “We have spent the majority of our time going over fundamentals and stick work, focusing primarily on understanding the movements.  Having three weeks prior to our first game has been beneficial and allowed us to slow things down. “

Atkinson and her Lady Patriots tentatively are scheduled to open their season this Tuesday, April 7, at Winthrop, though Winthrop’s playing field is far from ready and suffers from poor drainage. The Lady Patriots’ next scheduled contest is a home encounter Friday, April 10, against Gloucester.

“This week will be crucial in preparing for our first varsity game at Winthrop,” said Atkinson. “We  have high expectations this season. I believe the girls have great potential and I am looking forward to seeing it all come together.

“As a team, we have yet to set our goals for the season,” Atkinson continued  “As the head coach, my goals for the girls are to be more confident with their stick work in both hands, as well as to be more confident progressing towards goal.  I have noticed over the past two weeks that the girls seem to be struggling with the thought of switching to their non-dominant hand, as well as taking lanes to goal when available. The strength of this season’s team is the eagerness to learn and drive to succeed. I have thrown a lot of different stick work, drills, and concepts at them and they have worked hard at each and every new thing. I am relying on the returning players to help create a strong program and they have been doing a fantastic job.

“I have yet to name captains or a set varsity roster,” added Atkinson. “I  truly believe this team will succeed with the help from each player.  The leadership from the returning players will be crucial in helping the younger and newer players to lacrosse to succeed this season.”

As for the boys’ side, who are under the direction of  first-year head coach Steve Magno, their season-opener is set for Monday when they host Swampscott. They will be back in action next Thursday (April 9) when they entertain Saugus.

Coach Shawn Brinkley’s RHS baseball team still is planning to open the season this Saturday with a non-league contest against former Greater Boston League rival Everett at Conigliaro Field. The first pitch of the 2015 campaign will be thrown by Patriot ace Noah Jaynes at 4:00.

“We’re still planning to play Saturday,” said Brinkley, whose squad has had to make do with indoor practices at the Merullo Fieldhouse thus far. “Our field has excellent drainage, so if get a little bit of cooperation from the weatherman this week, we might be able to go.” The Patriots’ next scheduled contest is at Beverly next Thursday, April 9.

As for coach Joe Cicarello’s Revere High softball team, the defending Northeastern Conference and Division 1 North champions, they have written-off trying to play the first four games of the season, pushing them instead up to the final week of the year (which has been extended for the week after Memorial Day by the MIAA). Cicarello and his crew thus will open the defense of their NEC crown with a contest at Lynn Classical Monday, April 13.

“We haven’t been outside at all,” said Cicarello, whose team once again will play its home games at the St. Mary’s parish field while the city’s new softball complex is under construction. “We’re hoping to get out on the turf this week to catch some fly balls.”

The RHS tennis teams have been unable to hold any practices on the city courts, which still are covered solidly by snow and ice, settling instead for what they can accomplish inside the RHS gym.

“There’s only so much you can do in the gym,” said boys tennis coach Mike Flynn. “We have a lot of young players who are new to the game, so it’s been tough.” Both the boys and girls squads are slated to open their seasons Monday with the boys at Beverly and the girls hosting Beverly.

The RHS track teams also have been adversely affected by the severe conditions. The Patriot track squads had been slated to open their seasons this week, but both teams will not compete until April 16 against Lynn Classical at Manning Field.

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