By David Willis
---- — It wasn’t long ago Central Catholic was a hockey afterthought.
Now, the Raiders have solidified their spot as a powerhouse not just in the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League, but in the entire state. They were back in the Super 8 this season have established themselves as part of that elite group.
The Tewksbury-Methuen girls hockey team, on the other hand, not only hadn’t play a varsity game prior to this season, but neither school even had a JV hockey team last year.
But behind an amazing year for Amanda Conway, the “Red Rangers” advanced all the way to the Division 2 state semifinals.
Those were just a few of the classic moments from the 2012-13 hockey season.
Here’s a look back:
Top five moments
1. Win of the Year — Trailing 3-0 late in the second period and looking dead in the water with a trip to the Super 8 on the line, Central Catholic turned in a stunning comeback to beat Hingham 4-3. Corey Webber capped off the victory with an acrobatic rebound goal with two minutes to go in overtime.
2. Goal of the Year — Webber’s game-winner (above) was only possible thanks to the dramatic game-tying score courtesy of Kevin Regan. With just 1:09 left in regulation, Regan hauled in the rebound off an Alex Lester shot and fired it home for the score that sent the play-in game to overtime.
3. Save of the Year — Never tell Londonderry’s Joe McGrath a goalie can’t take a hit. Taking on Manchester Central in the Division 1 semifinal, a would-be scorer was tripped and crashed square into McGrath as he tried to slide the puck home. As McGrath went tumbling, he was able to made the save.
4. Performance of the Year — Andover goalie Colby Gilbert saved the game of his life for archrival Central Catholic, making a stunning 43 saves to shock the Super 8-bound Raiders 3-0. He had allowed eight goals to Central earlier in the season.
5. Stat of the Year — 0 — Varsity seasons played by Tewksbury-Methuen girls hockey heading into this season. Led by an amazing season for Methuen super sophomore Amanda Conway, the squad made a Cinderella run to the Division 2 state semifinals.
You can’t stop ...
1. Matt Bauchman, Methuen — After a slow start, the three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star returned to his dominant ways, finishing the year with 20 goals an 30 points. He ended his prolific four-year career with 89 goals.
2. Dominic Corsetto, Pinkerton — The defending state champs were hit hard by exits, but the 2012 Eagle-Tribune All-Star returned to keep the Astros in the hunt. He tied for tops among local players in goals (21) and an area-best 42 points.
3. Cody Soucy and Jake Pappalardo, Salem — Among the area’s most dynamic duos combined for 36 goals and 65 points. Both sophomores, Soucy (21 goals) and Pappalardo (15 goals) had just 12 combined varsity goals going into the season.
4. Lloyd Hayes and Mike Kelleher, Central Catholic — Kelleher was the area’s most dynamic scorer (21 goals), before his season ended due to disciplinary issues. Hayes stepped into that star role and scored 13 goals, including one in each Super 8 game.
5. Ian Mitchell and John Orlando, Pentucket — Sachem duo teamed for 35 goals. Mitchell tied for tops for locals (21 goals) including four in one game, while teammate Tom Pingree added 12 scores of his own.
6. Amanda Conway, Methuen — The Ranger sophomore’s stats boggle the mind. She finished the year with an amazing 51 goals, 29 more than the top male in the area. That all while leading the Tewksbury-Methuen squad on a Cinderella run.
The puck stops here
1. Colin Soucy, Central Catholic — The breakout star of the Super 8 tournament. Played every game for the Raiders, finishing with a 2.13 goals-against average and two shutouts.
2. Colby Gilbert, Andover — Curly-haired netminder carried Andover on his back with a 1.80 goals-against average and four shutouts, slightly better than his 1.87 GAA and two shutouts last year.
3. Joe McGrath, Londonderry — Posted outstanding 1.89 goals-against average and two shouts. Twice beat Pinkerton and made 30 saves in state tourney upset of Salem. Made 24 saves in semifinal loss.
4. Keith Linnane, North Reading — Started every game for the Hornets, finishing with a 2.24 goals-against average and four shutouts. Made 31 saves in state tourney near upset.
Chas Heseltine, Andover — “What Could Have Been Award” for senior that was primed for a big year before a preseason ankle injury cost him the season.
Andrew Bruno, Brooks — “Game Changer Award” for forward that returned from concussion to turn struggling Brooks into Prep champs.
Nick Gorski, Central Catholic — “Big Man on Campus Award” for hard-hitting forward that also scored key goals in two Super 8 games.
Corey Webber, Central Catholic — “Johnny on the Spot Award” for winger that scored six goals, and three were game-winners in one-goal victories
Scott Farley, Haverhill — “Caddyshack Award” for golf star that added a physical presence and veteran leadership to Hillies.
John Dunn, Londonderry — “Dunn Deal Award” for Lancer defenseman who coach called the ‘Heart and Soul’ of the team.
T.J. Gannon, Methuen — “Resilient Ranger Award” for tough-guy defenseman whose goal led the Rangers to a comeback upset of North Andover.
Jake Silk, North Andover — “Not-so-Silent Knight Award” for loose-cannon NA winger who finished the year with 11 goals and 25 points.
Mike Moscaritolo, North Reading — “Hornet that Stings Award” for defenseman who brings his linebacker skills to intimidate on the ice.
Samantha Bomba, Pentucket — “Girls who run the World Award” for goalie that finished four-year career for Pentucket boys with 2.85 GAA.
Matt Marchman, Pinkerton — “Marchman, like the Bruin Award” for last year’s title-winning goalie that had nine wins and a 2.77 GAA this year.
Nick Phair, Salem — “Phair Game Award” for goalie that had a 2.08 GAA and two shutouts in 19 starts.
Ryan McCarthy, Timberlane — “Defense First Award” for two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star defensive back that is just as tough on the ice.
Meagan Keefe, Andover — “Doing it all Award” for four-year varsity mainstay that took on a new role and continued to shine.
New Hampshire hockey is no doubt very happy that the Corsetto brothers of Pinkerton will finally be broken up.
Senior Dominic and sophomore linemate Gio Corsetto were the region’s most dynamic duo this season, scoring a combined 35 goals and 71 total points.
Dominic led the Astros with 21 goals and Gio was right behind in second with 14 scores, with the other brother often assisting on the tally.
“He is the guy we go to when we need to big play or need advice,” Gio said of his brother during the season.
“He knows what it takes to be successful.”
The name “Campbell” appeared in Andover hockey box scores so often it could have been soup ad.
Brothers Scott and Mark Campbell led the way for the Golden Warriors this season, scoring a combined 27 goals and 44 total points. Senior Scott paced the Golden Warriors with 16 goals.
Mark had nine, including a crucial tally in the Central upset and a hat trick against North Andover — each goal assisted by Scotty.
Wait, it’s not just brothers. Everyone knows sisters Alex, Jackie and Rebecca Alois helped lead the Andover girls basketball team to state titles in recent years.
Well, younger sis Veronica Alois has taken hockey by storm.
The freshman broke out with a four-goal game against Central Catholic.
Don’t look now, but this region is turning into a breeding ground for Hockey East recruits.
Boston College will have a distinctly Astro flavor in two seasons, with former Pinkerton Academy stars J.D. Dudek and Zach Sanford heading to play for the defending NCAA champs.
Tyler Sifferlen of North Andover and now three-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic will be taking his talents to UMass Lowell, and fellow North Andoverite Brian Pinho is headed for Providence College.
Those two teams are playing today in one of the Hockey East semifinals.