Chris Sim and Will Steffens help CJ Bailey keep North Andover from scoring on Wed., Jan. 10th

Playoffs bound! Concord-Carlisle boys’ hockey trounces Boston Latin, North Andover 

January 19, 2024

By Nancy Carter and Tina Labadini 

It was a sunny 60 degrees on a South Boston beach, with blue skies and a strong, warm wind. Kite surfers, beachgoers, and their dogs were taking advantage of an unseasonably warm mid-January moment.  

And inside the Murphy Skating Rink last Saturday, just across the street from that stretch of sand, the Concord-Carlisle High School boys’ hockey team faced off against the Boston Latin squad — and scored their ticket to the playoffs.  

Foggy glass and constant condensation made it tough for parents and fans to see all the action clearly, but Will Manchuso’s goal four minutes into the first period was impossible to miss: The puck bounced around the neutral zone a bit before Ben Ohanian gained control and forced his way into the zone. He outmaneuvered his opponents and made a beauty of a pass that Manchuso netted for the 1-0 lead.  

An aggressive forecheck by Trevor Bailey, Jack Pesce and Stoddard Healy resulted in two great chances, but the BoLat goalie made the saves.  

Cam Daley faces off against North Andover on Wed., Jan 10th.

CC’s power play was also impressive, but they couldn’t convert, and the play moved down the ice toward junior goalie Jason Swaim, who made a diving save to get a break in the action and let his team reset.  

Late in the first, BoLat had a breakaway opportunity that Swaim stopped with confidence moments before facing a point-blank shot from about 10 feet out that he also turned away. The frame ended with the Patriots still up 1-0. 

The second period was a lot of back and forth with several good chances at both ends. About halfway through the period, CC found themselves shorthanded and then got another penalty within 30 seconds, resulting in a 5-on-3 man advantage for BoLat.  

BoLat snuck one by the Patriots’ defense, tying the game at 1-1.  

Much of the rest of the second was all about CC’s defense. BoLat was great at tying up CC’s forwards and rushing down the ice into the Patriots’ end, but CC’s defensive pairs kept the play to the outside.  

The last 30 seconds of the period was an absolute frenzy in the BoLat zone: CC had about five great chances, all on shots and rebounds, and with 0.2 on the clock, Joe Grasso tapped one in, giving his team a 2-1 lead at the buzzer. 

BoLat wouldn’t go down easy, but CC wanted their first ever win in this building.  

Swaim saved a quick snipe off a faceoff in his end, and play moved up the ice for a couple of chances for CC to score. At the four-minute mark, CC called a time out to work up a game plan. Swaim saved another shot off the faceoff, electrifying the bench and infusing the team with fresh energy.  

With 1:15 on the clock, BoLat pulled their goalie and threw everything they had at Swaim.  

After an intense minute in CC’s zone, Cam Daley cleared the puck as the seconds ticked down and the game ended with a 2-1 win for CC – bringing the Patriots to a 10-0 record … and a playoff spot guarantee. 

On leaving the building, fans were treated to a beautiful rainbow over the water as they happily walked through the light rain back to their cars. 

A rainbow over South Boston greeted players and fans after the January 13 playoff-clinching win over Boston Latin. Photo by Megan Pesce

Coach Rion Murray and his staff were thrilled with the win.  

“Boston Latin is always very competitive, and they always play well in their building. To get a hard-earned win there in a tight game speaks to our character and grit,” he said.  

“It felt like a playoff game. It was a gutsy effort by us.” 

CC vs. North Andover 

Earlier, a physical battle between Concord-Carlisle and North Andover’s defense marked the January 10 boys’ hockey game at The Edge Sports Center in Bedford.  

“Offense was tough to come by in this one, but our team defense and goaltender were excellent,” said Coach Murray.  

CJ Bailey got the shutout with 17 saves. 

Throughout the game, the Patriots had to struggle to get free from North Andover and keep possession in the offensive zone. Early on, the score clock stopped working, which made keeping track of the time for the first power play tough, but it powered back on at the end of the first period.  

Chris Bono had two exciting chances at this point, collecting his own rebound for his second shot, but the North Andover goalie made the save and the play moved up the ice. The CC bench came alive again for the last few minutes with a big surge in the O-zone after Kal Lonergan stopped an opponent going full speed through the neutral zone and turned the play around. The frame ended 0-0. 

The second period was just as grueling as the first, as North Andover allowed no room for CC’s offense to gain momentum.  

With about six minutes to go, Derek Labadini forced a turnover just outside the North Andover blueline and started their march back in. Cam Doull corralled the puck — sometimes one handed — past a few defenders and skated to the low circle before making a tape-to-tape pass to Cam Daley in the slot to one-time the puck in to get CC on the board.  

The Patriots went on another power play and then had a short-handed shift, but the score remained 1-0 at the end of the second. 

Throughout the third period, CC’s defense and Bailey saw a lot of action. Chris Sim stood tall in front of the net, blocking a shot or two and clearing the zone to relieve pressure. Oliver Erston made several great plays, skating the puck around a few guys before dumping it deep in the zone.  

North Andover peppered Bailey with multiple shots, but he turned everything away and kept his composure. At the 1:37 mark, North Andover pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but the Patriots played it smart, dumping the puck down the ice every chance they got.  

Will Manchuso got the insurance goal off a pass from Jay Carter in the last seconds of the game, sealing the final at 2-0.