Something truly remarkable is happening in Massachusetts high school hockey. To go undefeated in 18 hockey games is almost unheard of…at any level. Yet what is being called “The Miracle of Massachusetts” is happening right here in Western Massachusetts, by our local high school hockey team.
First let’s put things into perspective. Cathedral High School was destroyed by a tornado in June 2011 and is now operating out of an abandoned old elementary school in Wilbraham, MA. The student population has temporarily shrunk to only 279 students. Out of this small population, however, has emerged a group of students who love the game of hockey and exemplify the never give up attitude.
The Cathedral Hockey Team consists of 4 seniors and a very large number of underclassmen, even some 8th graders! On paper you would hardly expect them to be competitive. They are the only Division 1 team in Western Massachusetts and often looked down upon by some of the Boston media and the Boston area high school hockey powerhouses.
Yet with concentration, hard practice, aggressive spirit and excellent play, and that never give up attitude they have emerged as the #1 ranked Division 1 high school hockey team in Massachusetts! Let’s take the perspective further by the example of Thursday’s 4-1 win over a good St. John’s Shrewsbury team. St. John’s has a student population of just under 1,100 students..all boys. They had over 100 boys go out for the hockey team. Cathedral is coed, about half of the 279 student body are girls. Talk about underdog in sheer numbers, St. Johns had as many go out for the hockey team as about 75% of the entire Cathedral male student population!
Now the game. Cathedral was what I call “on fire” the entire game, fighting for the puck like crazy, defending, very good passing, aggressive offense…you could almost sense that they were going to control the game. Yet the first period ended with a 0-0 tie. But then with about 14:12 on the clock in the 2nd period Artie Potter scored a goal to give the Cathedral Panthers a 1-0 lead…and they were off! This was quickly followed by a goal by Griffin Dyne with about 10:25 on the clock for a 2-0 lead. Potter scored his 2nd goal early in the final period, then a “clincher goal” by Matt Foley with 8:05 left in the game to seal it. There were goals and assists, but this was definitely a team win. All the players on the team played a great game and exhibited tremendous spirit throughout. Cathedral fans along the glass commented on how impressed that they were those on the bench, showing spirit by pounding their sticks against the board. They were all fired up…wanting to prove themselves as the #1 high school hockey team in the State of Massachusetts. And they did! Their record now stands at an amazing 15-0-3.
Ask any hockey coach about what he considers one of the most important position on the team, and most will respond that the goalie is. We have emerging at Cathedral a goalie who could very well be the best in Massachusetts high school hockey, junior Johnny Liquori. In Thursday’s game Liquori was headed for a shut out except for an inconsequential goal that was scored by St. John’s with about 2 minutes left in the game while Cathedral was short handed in a penalty situation. The final score being 4-1. What is the case for Liquori being considered the best? How about undefeated in 18 games, on the #1 ranked team in the state, against some of the best high school hockey competition in America?!! Pretty good credentials, wouldn’t you say?!!
Reader Submitted Story