Reading writes history; Wins first state title to end public drought

Sport:

Posted: March 17th, 0208 by Tom Nolette

Reading writes history; Wins first state title to end public drought
By Steve Kendall  
Monday, March 17, 2008  
 
The Rockets’ Quinlan Junta...
Photo by Matthew Healey
The Rockets’ Quinlan Junta celebrates the first-ever public school Super Eight title.


For the first time in 30 years, a public school is home to the best high school hockey team in the state.

With its 3-0 win over Malden Catholic last night, Reading also did what no other public school has ever done - win the Super Eight tournament. The Rockets are the first public to win the elite tournament in its 18-year history, and the first public to win at the highest level in the state since Hudson captured the 1978 Division 1 state championship.

Reading finishes its amazing season with a 25-1 record, while the Lancers end their best season in recent memory with a 15-6-4 mark.

“This is huge, no doubt about it,” Reading coach Peter Doherty said. “The Catholics had won all 17 years, so to be able to finally bring home a championship for the public schools is unbelievable.”

As it has for the past few years, Reading’s potent first line led the way. Rob Toczylowski scored a pair of goals while Pat Kiley adding a single tally. Along with linemate Michael Lozzi, the trio played (unofficially) approximately 27 of the game’s 45 minutes - including about 10 minutes in the decisive second period. Junior goalie Jeff Wyer was outstanding, turning aside 22 shots for the shutout.

“We didn’t play very well in the first period,” Toczylowski said. “But once we got that first goal, things started going our way. The second goal was a huge lift, and once we got up three goals, we knew we were in great shape.”

The historical significance of the win was not lost on the Wyer, who was outstanding in this year’s tournament after struggling last year as a sophomore as the Rockets went 0-3.

“It was certainly mentioned to us a few times,” Wyer said. “But to actually have done it is unreal. We were proud to be a public school in the final, and now we go down in history as the first public school to win the Super Eight.”

Wyer played a huge role in the win. Often overshadowed during the regular season by Reading’s outstanding offense, Wyer was on top of his game last night. As his team was being outplayed in the opening period, Wyer made three great saves to keep the game scoreless.

“Everyone was talking about (Reading’s) offense, but I was more concerned about the fact they weren’t giving up many goals,” Malden Catholic coach Chris Serino said. “They probably gave up the fewest goals all season, and certainly in the tournament. Their goalie played a great game for them (last night).”

Malden Catholic controlled much of the first period, holding a 9-3 advantage in shots, and had several good scoring opportunities. However, Reading’s Kiley scored the only goal of the period with 3:19 to play, beating Evan Yanovitch along the right wing boards before firing a wrist shot that John Carbonneau got a piece of, but couldn’t stop from crossing the line.

Toczylowski scored a strange goal to open the second, as his dump-in bounced past Carbonneau’s blocker for a 2-0 lead just 12 seconds into the period.

“It wasn’t a very good period overall, but we got a lucky bounce and got the lead,” Doherty said. “The second goal was huge, though it wasn’t pretty, and once we got the third goal, we just concentrated on playing defense.”

The third goal, Toczylowski’s second, came at 6:33 of the second, and was much more aesthetic than his first. Toczylowski took a perfect feed from Lozzi in stride at the MC blue line, skated in about 15 feet along the left wing and fired a wrist shot that beat Carbonneau to make it 3-0.