MIAA Division 1A Highlights: #1 Arlington, #3 Pope Francis Prevail In Openers

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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Higher seeded teams held serve in Thursday night’s Division 1A action meaning, the top four seeds are through to the next round in the Winner’s Bracket while the bottom four face the end of their season in Elimination Bracket. Sites and times for Sunday’s games remain to be determined.

Ryan Leonard
Pope Francis

No. 3 Pope Francis 6, No. 6 Catholic Memorial 1

If Catholic Memorial (8-7-6) is to win this tournament for the 14th time the Catholic Conference champion will do so the hard way by coming out of the Elimination Bracket. Pope Francis (14-4-2) has now handled CM twice in two weeks and after its 7-4 regular-season decision on Feb. 15 has scored 11 goals in the last four periods.

Brandon Spaulding
Pope Francis

The Cardinals shifted into high gear after Jonny Nichols gave CM a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game. Junior Brandon Spaulding tied it shortly thereafter and senior defenseman Matthew Pelletier’s late first-period goal stood as the game-winner. From that point, Pope’s freshman standout Ryan Leonard took over in the second period, scoring twice in a 19-second span on the way to a hat trick that raised his total to 27 goals on the season. Senior Connor Wodecki also scored.

Pope Francis meets nemesis No. 2 BC High Sunday (Gallo Arena, 1:15pm). The two-time defending champion Eagles claimed both titles at the Cardinals’ expense, including 2019’s epic quadruple OT 2-1 final. Pope won the regular-season meeting, 3-1, in mid-January. CM takes on No. 8 Burlington Sunday (4pm Stoneham Arena). The teams did not meet during the season.

For Updated Super 8 Bracket, click here


Anthony Messuri

No. 1 Arlington 2, No. 7 Framingham 1

Two of the state’s premier public schools met in the first round for the second consecutive year and this time the Middlesex League Liberty champion Spy Ponders (17-1-4) prevailed and dropped the Bay State Conference Carey kingpin Flyers (14-6-2) into the Elimination Bracket. Arlington extended its unbeaten streak to 19 games (15-0-4).

Northeastern University commit Anthony Messuri delivered the game-winner in the first minute of the third period. Set up by Brendan Jones, Messuri zipped a shot from the slot past Flyers’ keeper Jake Handy. Framingham grabbed a 1-0 lead in the closing seconds of the first period when Will Trischitta beat Arlington goalie Nathan Brennan from the left wing, assisted by Hunter Balducci and Jake Perry. Jones tied it in the second period, assisted by Leo Piandes.

Arlington faces off with No. 4 St. John’s Prep Sunday (6pm Stoneham). The teams did not play in the regular season. Meanwhile Framingham meets No. 5 Xaverian for the third time this season (Gallo Arena, 3:15pm) – they played to a 3-3 tie in late December and Xaverian prevailed, 4-2, on Feb. 15.

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