EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 24, 2010

Refocused Central looks for success in Division 1 North

The frustration of Central Catholic's Super 8 disappointment was still clear on the face of Raiders tri-captain Shawn Bradley. But so was another emotion — determination.

"We still feel like we have more," he said. "We have more potential and more effort to give. Hopefully we can put it together more now and can gel and make an impact in the Division 1 tournament."

Central Catholic saw its chances for a third Super 8 tournament run in four years dashed on Monday, when the Raiders were eliminated from the tournament with a loss in a play-in game.

But now, less than 48 hours after being eliminated from one postseason tournament, Central Catholic finds itself as a favorite in another, as the No. 2 seed in the Division 1 North tournament, opening play today against No. 15 Medford (7-12-1) in Stoneham at 5:30 p.m.

"We need to forget about the past and focus on the future," said Raiders top scorer Tommy Evangelista. "Even after the disappointment, we can still win a state championship. And that opens our eyes pretty wide."

But can Central bounce back from that dissapointment and make a run at the first state title in program history?

"It's going to be hard to regroup mentally," said Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski. "But we're going to give it our best, and if we can get our heads back in it, we have some good hockey left to play and hopefully we can end this season where we want to, when we want to."

This marks the first time Central Catholic has competed in the Division 1 North tournament since the 2005-06 season, having competed in the Super 8 in the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons, and missing the tourney in 2007-08.

"Our aspirations were so high," said Jankowski. "We wanted to play in the Super 8. But most teams strive to make the (Division 1 North) tournament, and that is our goal now."

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