, Salem, MA

March 17, 2014

Boxford's Nazarian helps MC four-peat as Super 8 champs

By Matt Williams
Staff writer

---- — BOSTON — Winning a championship only makes an athlete hungry for more.

That hunger, and a boat load of high-level talent, helped Malden Catholic become just the second school to win four consecutive Super 8 hockey championships. The Lancers did so by beating Austin Prep, 5-3, in the championship game of the state’s most prestigious high school tournament at TD Garden yesterday afternoon.

The Lancers’ Ara Nazarian, who is from Boxford, had a goal early in the second period and his line contributed three even strength tallies in the victory. A highly skilled and powerful junior with 54 points on the season, Nazarian is committed to play college hockey at the University of New Hampshire and tasted his third Super 8 title.

“It’s a feeling you never get sick of,” Nazarian said of being on top of Bay State high school hockey. “It’s a special feeling, especially to be able to send our seniors out with four titles. It’s truly been a special three years for me and I wouldn’t choose any other bunch of boys to be playing with.”

MC, which joins Catholic Memorial (91-95 and 97-2001) as the only four-peat Super 8 champs and finished 20-4-0, jumped out to a 4-0 lead with goals by Tyler Sifferlen, Nazarian, Nick Rolli and Matt Filipe. Austin Prep (16-5-4) got back in it with Cam Russo’s second period goal an a pair of third period tallies by Bobo Carpenter, but the Lancers held on.

Peabody’s J.J. Layton, a sophomore defensemen skating with AP on Garden ice in the Super 8 final for the second straight year, was disappointed his Cougars couldn’t break through.

“Last year we came in a little timid and this year we thought we could win. We didn’t play up to that level,” Layton said. “We made it a goal at the beginning of the season to make states, hopefully make the Super 8 and try to get to the final and win.

“It was great to have the opportunity to get here again as underdogs. Losing again stinks, but it’s alright.”

Layton, an emerging two-way force who is joined on the AP blue line by Danvers’ Mike Disciullo, had a huge hand in sending his team to the Super 8 final. In the 8th round of a semi-final shootout with BC High, Layton came over the boards and scored the clinching goal.

“That was amazing. I had no idea I was going in to shoot, usually in shootouts I’m not getting on the ice,” Layton said. “Getting in there and scoring was insane. It’s still crazy to think about.”

Sifferlen, who had a goal in the Super 8 final win over St. John’s Prep as a freshman in 2011 and is committed to UMass Lowell, scored his second of the game yesterday to make it 5-1 early in the third.

His chemistry with Nazarian, and linemate Jake Witkowski, has given Lancer opponents fits all season. They helped MC get a fast start yesterday, which was the team’s main focus.

“Last year in the final we gave up a goal on the first shift and we didn’t want to allow that again,” said Nazarian. “I’ve been playing with Siff since I was a freshman, and Jake’s fit right in with us. His hands are ridiculous. We work hard in practice and it translates to the ice.”

MC scored late in the first to lead 1-0, and Nazarian’s goal came early in the second.

“The puck jumped out of the middle of the ice, and the coaches always tell us take one, maybe two stickhandles and get the shot on net,” Nazarian said. “That’s what I did and it found its way in.”

Despite Carpenter’s two third period goals and some late pressure by the Cougars, MC’s second period barrage was too much to overcome.

“There’s something about our team, in the third periods we come out flying. We don’t in the first or the second,” Layton said.