Boys Prep Hockey – Piatelli/Simmons Small School Final: Canterbury Staves Off Rivers, Secures Title With 3-1 Win

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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The Piatelli/Simmons Small School championship game was a battle of contrasting teams. Canterbury – a team led all season by its senior leadership, and Rivers School, a team chock full of young talent.

In the end, it was Canterbury winning out. The Saints won the school’s first New England championship since 1997 with a 3-1 win on Sunday at Harvard University.

Canterbury captains Ryan Stratton (l) and Nathan Ruzzi (r) with Piatelli/Simmons
championship trophy. (Photo by Dave Arnold)

Logan Martel, Ryan Stratton and Sam Ciappa each had a goal for Canterbury, and junior netminder Maxim Pitts, as he has been all season, was solid between the pipes.

“Max was a consistent competitor who gave us confidence all year and saved his best game for last,” said Canterbury head coach Paddy McCarthy. “He was locked in and seeing the puck all day. He plays big in big moments.”

Defenseman Martel got Canterbury going midway through the first period, firing home a shot from the slot during a Saints power play. Ryan Lucarelli and Colin Watson drew assists on the goal.

While also on the power play early in the second period, the Saints doubled their lead. Stratton, parked at the crease, tapped in a feed from Jackson Powers. Duncan Stewart also had an assist on the goal.

Midway through the frame, the Red Wings got on the board. Junior Will Hatten got it, converting on a 3-on-1 break.

It stayed a 2-1 game well into the third period. The Saints survived being down two men for 30 seconds, and with 31 seconds left and Rivers goalie Jason Delehoy pulled for a sixth attacker, Stratton was able to get to a loose puck in the Rivers zone. With a defender draped on him, he dropped the puck to a rushing Ciappa, who put it in the vacated cage to clinch the title for Canterbury.

A turning point in the game?

“Max Pitts’ 2-on-1 rush backdoor glove save midway through the third period,” McCarthy said. “The bench exploded. We felt like it was our day and made the push to the buzzer.

Canterbury finished the campaign at 21-10-2, while Rivers closed at 19-10-1.

** Featured image photo by Dave Arnold

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