The Chelsea High football team will seek to end its season on a high note when the Red Devils travel to Brighton for a Thanksgiving Eve battle next Wednesday evening.
Kick off is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Chelsea dropped a 32-2 decision to O’Bryant High this past week. Red Devil Richard Flores accounted for the Chelsea points when he alertly scooped up a Brighton fumble on a two-point conversion attempt and raced 98 yards to the opposite end of the field to earn two points for the Red Devils.
Although this has been a trying season for first-year head coach Rasi Chau and his squad, Chau remains upbeat about his team’s performance and effort.
“We are in our growing pain season,” said Chau. “My guys all have worked hard, regardless of our record. There’s no quitting with our guys. I am proud of each and every single one of them, from my seniors all the way to my freshmen.
“We are looking forward to playing Brighton on Thanksgiving Eve. Hopefully we can grab a win, because that turkey will taste much better if we can do so.”
Turner, Deras top
CHS runners at D-2
Justin Turner and Yarid Deras were the top finishers for the Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams at Saturday’s Eastern Mass. Division 2 Meet held at the Wrentham Training Center.
Turner came across the line in 51st place in a time of 17:22 over the 5K (3.1 miles) course. He was followed by teammates Julio Validates in 18:20, Jazmany Reyes in 18:39, Limilson Tavares in 19:14, and Oscar Amaya in 19:15.
On the girls’ side, Deras crossed the line in a clocking of 22:04 in 103rd place. Jocelyn Poste ran a 24:49 and Saira Carrento came across in 25:00.
by Bob Morello
Bruins on the road again
The Bruins began their four-game road trip last night (Wednesday) in Colorado for the first stop, as the Record went to press. That meeting matched up two of the NHL’s top lines, with Boston’s red-hot threesome of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, taking on Colorado’s trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan McKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Despite the return of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask from his ‘personal leave’ hiatus, coach Bruce Cassidy named Jaroslav Halak to face the Avalanche on Wednesday. Rask was quick to assure those in attendance at practice on Tuesday, that the matter had been resolved, and that he was now focusing on the future. The hope is that Rask will quickly return to form and display the number one goalie performances expected of him, while for now, he steps into the backup role to Halak.
Today (Thursday), the Bruins traveled to Dallas and will take on the Stars tomorrow (Friday 8 p.m.), who have been playing some decent hockey of late with a record of 5-3-2 in their last ten games, good enough for fourth place in the Central Division. Former Bruin Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in points with 17, while former Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin has performed well, posting a 3-2-0-1 record in six starts, and a respective 2.32 goals-against-average – with a .926 save percentage. The Arizona Coyotes with host Boston (Saturday 8 p.m.), and Detroit will provide the opposition for the Bs as they take on their Atlantic Division rival, the Red Wings (Wednesday 7 p.m.), in the fourth and final stop of their weeklong road trip.
The NHL named Bruins forward David Pastrnak as the NHL’s first star of the week for the week ending November 11. The Bruins went 3-1-0 last week with Pastrnak leading the team in scoring, posting five goals and two assists for seven points in four games. Four of Pastrnak’s five goals came on the man-advantage, giving him seven power play goals on the season, and had him tied for first in the NHL with Winnipeg’s Patrick Laine. The 22-year-old Havirov, CZE native posted his second hat trick of the season, his third of his career in the regular season. Pastrnak’s 16 goals lead the NHL.
Former Bruin Willie O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame during this weeks festivities in the Builder category. O’Ree joined the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force in 1998, and has been credited with impacting over 120,000 individuals while introducing hockey to people from all different backgrounds.
The Sports Museum’s THE TRADITION – NOVEMBER 28th
The Sports Museum has announced presenters for Tradition honorees: Former Boston Bruins coach Don Cherry, a Canadian hockey icon will receive his award from Bs legend Terry O’Reilly; Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics will be presented by former teammate Kendrick Perkins; Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy, will be presented by former teammate Kristine Lilly; Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer, Jim Lonborg, will receive his award from legendary Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Kaat; Super Bowl XXXIX MVP and former New England Patriot wide receiver, Deion Branch will be presented by former teammate Troy Brown/ and seven-time NASCAR Championship winner, Richard Petty, will be presented by NASCAR journalist Dick Berggren. Hosting the event will be Jackie MacMullan and Tom Caron. Ticketed guests will receive a once in a lifetime experience to mingle with some of New England’s most legendary athletes and industry leaders. Each ticket includes access to complimentary premium food and beverage during the gala reception on TD Garden’s arena floor and a seat at the ‘talk-show’ style awards ceremony. During the ceremony, honorees share career highlights and anecdotal stories that give fans a glimpse into the lives of these living legends.
Rick Middleton’s #16 to be raised to the Garden rafters – NOVEMBER 29
The Bruins will retire Rick Middleton’s number prior to the team’s game against the New York Islanders on Thursday, November 29, and raise the #16 banner. The right wing spent 12 seasons with the Bruins, scoring 402 goals with 496 assists for 898 points. He enjoyed five straight seasons with at least 40 goals from 1979 through the 1983-84 season. Middleton’s #16 will become the 11th number sent to the rafters by the B’s, joining Lionel Hitchman, Dit Clapper, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque, Terry O’Reilly and Cam Neely.
The Chelsea High boys soccer team remained undefeated with a pair of impressive victories this past week, albeit by different means against very different opponents.
Last Wednesday Coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew made the long trek to Billerica to take on Shawsheen Tech in a battle for first place in the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. Shawsheen traditionally is one of the top teams in the CAC Large and this season has been no exception.
Shawsheen entered the contest in second place behind the Red Devils, who earlier this year handed Shawsheen its lone loss in league play. The field conditions were about as difficult as one could imagine, with the contest being played on a grass field in a hard-driving rain.
Chelsea struck first on a perfectly-executed, team-oriented goal 15 minutes into the contest. CHS leading scorer Delmer Romero, who was being shadowed all game by two Shawsheen defenders, made a nice crossing pass from the right wing into the center of the field near the top of the box.
Gabriel Contreras settled the ball and then laid it off for an oncoming Carlos Lopez just outside the top of the box. Carlos delivered a beautiful strike from about 22 yards out that cleanly beat the Shawsheen keeper into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 Chelsea lead.
The teams slogged through the remainder of the half at that score, but shortly after the intermission, Shawsheen took advantage of a bad pass by Chelsea at midfield that led to a Shawsheen breakout and goal that brought the teams back to level.
However, the Red Devils showed their resiliency and immediately picked up the attack. Five minutes after Shawsheen had drawn even, Romero took a direct kick from about 20 yards out and drilled the ball to the right side of the Shawsheen keeper and into the back of the net.
The Chelsea defense made the 2-1 advantage stand up for the remaining 20 minutes for the big victory.
This past Tuesday the Red Devils hosted Presentation of Mary Academy and cruised to an easy victory in which most of the CHS reserve and junior varsity players saw action. Among the CHS goal scorers were Carlos Ayala, who potted three goals, Gabriel Contreras, Alex Uceda, Wilmer Rivera, and Victor Guzman.
With the CAC Large title firmly within their reach, the Red Devils, who stand at 10-0-2 on the season, control their own destiny.
The Red Devils host Greater Lowell today (Thursday) and will travel to Lynn Tech next Tuesday.
CHS cross country
teams improve to 8-1
The Chelsea High girls and boys cross-country teams hosted a tri-meet last Wednesday on the Admiral’s Hill course. Both squads took on Northeast Regional, with the girls also entertaining Notre Dame of Tyngsboro and the boys hosting Medford.
Both Red and Black squads came away with two strong victories to improve to 8-1 on the season.
For the Lady Red Devils, senior Yarid Deris ran away from the field by over two minutes in the final home meet of her superb CHS cross country career.
Saira Carrento was second overall, with Jocelyn Poste close behind in third place. Yarelis Torres finished in fourth place and twin sister Nicole was 11th to clinch the meet for Chelsea.
On the boys’ side, Justin Turner ran the second fastest time ever on the Admiral’s Hill course with a clocking of 18:12. Only his former teammate, Jose Leclerc, who graduated last year and is running cross country at UMass-Dartmouth, has run faster.
Julio Valladares was second, with Wuilfido Hernandez coming across in third place. Sophomore Oscar Amaya grabbed the fourth spot and Limilson Tavares finished eighth overall to round out the scoring for the Red Devils.
Both the boys and girls teams were set to to travel to Shawsheen Tech yesterday (Wednesday) for a tri-meet with Shawsheen and Essex Tech. The CHS boys will be trying to win a share of the CAC dual meet title. If they beat both teams, they will finish with the same record (10-1) as Greater Lawrence and Essex.
This Saturday the boys and girls will be traveling to Falmouth to run at the Barnstable Fairgrounds Twilight Meet. The first race is at 5 p.m. and the final race goes off at 8 p.m.
“This will be our first year running this race,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “It is very popular and a good team-bonding meet. The race is lit up by the light towers from the fairgrounds for the three-mile course.”
CHS girls soccer
earns a win and a tie
The Chelsea High girls soccer team enjoyed a successful week, defeating Whittier, 4-1, and battling to a nil-nil deadlock with Notre Dame of Tyngsboro.
Coach Randy Grajal’s squad now stands at 4-6-2 overall and 4-5-2 in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
The offense for Chelsea in the win over Whittier was provided by Elena Ruiz with two goals and Gitu Degefa and Isabel Alvarez with a goal apiece. Ruiz and Nancy Galdamez earned assists.
Ruiz displayed some nifty, heads-up play on her first goal. Elena played a ball quickly after a free kick was awarded to Chelsea and caught the Whittier defenders by surprise.
“Elena showed great game awareness on that first goal,” noted Grajal.
The contest with Notre Dame on the turf at Highland Park was a defensive struggle owing in no small measure to the inclement weather.
“This game was played under rainy conditions, but the team showed great ball control and had several opportunities to score,” said Grajal. “However, we were not able to get the ball past their keeper. Our defense was solid and they were able to stop any scoring chance Notre Dame had.”
The weather worsened as the contest wore on to such an extent that with 23 minutes left in the second half, the referees decided the conditions were not suitable for the game to continue and ended the game.
“The team continues to work hard during games and practices and we are very excited with the success we are having,” Grajal said. “At the same time, we are working on remaining focused and pushing each other to improve.”
The Lady Red Devils are scheduled to trek to Notre Dame today (Thursday), to Minuteman next Tuesday, and to Mystic Valley next Thursday.
teams fights hard
Although the Chelsea High volleyball team came up short in its two recent matches with Greater Lowell and Lynn Tech, the Lady Red Devils battled well in both contests.
The hard-fought duel with Greater Lowell went to five sets, with Chelsea just falling short, 15-25, 25-17, 27-25, 9-25, and 5-15.
Some of the highlights for Chelsea were provided by:
Coach Serena Wadsworth and her crew will play at Whittier Tech next Wednesday.
CHS football team
plays at Lynn Tech
The Chelsea High football team will be on the road for a contest at Lynn Tech Saturday evening. The opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Red Devils, who dropped a 26-0 decision to Minuteman this past Saturday, will be seeking their first win of the season.
Boxing’s Biggest Stage
Bay State star Mark DeLuca set for his big bout at the Garden
By Cary Shuman
Mark DeLuca grew up in the South Shore so he understands the boxing history of the TD Garden.
“This is the biggest stage and I’m honored to be fighting at the Garden where legends like Marvin Hagler and Tony DeMarco and Joe DeNucci fought,” says DeLuca, whose nickname is “The Bazooka.”
DeLuca, a former U.S. Marine will be fighting in the TD Garden on Saturday, Oct. 20, in a show that is being promoted by Ken Casey, founder of the Dropkick Murphys. DeLuca is Murphy Boxing’s biggest star.
DeLuca is well known among local boxing fans, including Chelsea City Councillor Calvin Brown, who was an amateur champion and considers DeLuca one of the rising stars in boxing and a world title contender.
“I’ll be at ringside,” said Brown, who rarely misses a big fight. “Mark is an exciting fighter who will have a ton of his supporters at the Garden. He always puts on a great show and the fans love his tenacity.”
DeLuca (21-1-0, 13 KOs) has been training under the tutelage of Hector Bermudez at the Bayshore Athletic Club in Braintree. He just returned from California where he sparred with Demetrius Andrade, who will be fighting in the main event at the Garden.
Bazooka, 30, will be stepping in to the ring in a rematch against Walter Wright, who handed him the first loss of his career in a controversial 12-round decision.
“I’m going to try to revenge my defeat,” said Bazooka, a three-time national junior champion.
Bazooka will carry his family’s esteemed, pugilistic tradition in to the ring. His father, Mark DeLuca Sr., was a former amateur and professional boxer and Massachusetts state boxing commissioner who used to run the South Shore Police Athletic League gym in Quincy.
“My father used to take me to all the fights at venues like the Roxy in Boston and the Roseland Ballroom in Taunton,” said Mark Jr. “He’s been a great motivator for me throughout the years. My father did a lot for me, bringing me to the gyms and the fights. When you become involved in sports at a young age, your parents have to be just as dedicated as their children are.”
DeLuca, who is 5-foot-9, is hoping that a win at the Garden will move his closer to a shot at the world championship. “I’m happy where my career is right now. I’m progressing well, but we all want a world title shot.”
He is expecting a lot of friends and neighbors to be in his corner at the Garden.
“I’m getting a lot of messages on Facebook inquiring about tickets to the fight,” said DeLuca. “People love the atmosphere of the Garden and being in the city.”
Travis Mazic Gambardella, a Revere native, will also be fighting on the undercard.
by Bob Morello
Bruins on the road again
The Bruins on Tuesday, embarked on their four-game trip that includes three stops in Western Canada to face the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers tonight (Thursday 9 p.m.), and Vancouver Canucks (Saturday 10 p.m.), with their final stop coming against the Ottawa Senators (10/23 7:30pm), before returning to Garden ice October 25 to host the Philadelphia Flyers. The benefits of this long and early West coast trip, which usually occurs later into the schedule, is the team bonding, plus the chance for Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to get some final questions answered that he may still have before solidifying his roster. A recent release from Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated that veteran forward Lee Stempniak who was on a professional tryout agreement at the Bs training camp, will not be signed by Boston at this time. The Bruins’ decision came prior to this road trip in order to allow Stempniak to move forward with any other options he may have available to him.
Cassidy did answer the question regarding his goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak for the next two games, confirming that Rask would be the starter versus Calgary on Wednesday (last night), and Halak would be in net to face Edmonton tonight, Thursday (9 p.m). At this point, Cassidy’s goaltending decision has been to regularly alternate both goaltenders, and it has worked out well as their four-game win streak coming into Calgary will attest.
Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, continue to impressive with their scoring prowess, having notched 30 points together in the five games prior to Calgary. The trio’s total to date is comprised of Bergeron (5-6-11) to lead the team in scoring, Marchand close behind wit (1-9-10), and the man with the fascinating moves – Pastrnak third in team scoring with (7-2-9).
The National Hockey League added to the accolades by naming Bergeron the NHL First Star of the Week ending October 14. The honor is well deserved as Bergeron also posted his fourth career hat trick versus the Ottawa Senators in Boston’s home opener – in which his choice of hats was to keep a cowboy hat thrown on the ice by a celebrating fan. Having played all 15 NHL seasons with the Bruins, Bergeron this year will reach the 1,000 NHL games played mark, barring any injuries in December. Injured Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (left ankle) is not on the West Coast trip, but plans are for him to resume skating this week to see how his injury handles the contact.
On Wednesday, November 28th, at The Sports Museum’s 17th annual fundraising gala, The Tradition will honor former Bruins coach (1974-1979), Don Cherry, as the 2018 Hockey Honoree, with Bruins legend Terry O’Reilly scheduled to make the presentation. The remaining Honorees are, Paul Pierce (Celtics), Jim Lonborg (Red Sox), Deion Branch (Patriots), Julie Foudy (USA Women’s Soccer), and Richard Petty (NASCAR). Watch ‘Bruins Beat’ for more info in the coming weeks regarding this worthy event which allows fans to enjoy great food, mingle, associate and get photos and autographs from the honored celebrities, and to learn who will be presenting the awards to the honorees, and more.
The Chelsea Art Walk has re-booted and will host multiple events this summer under the Art Walk banner instead of having one big day, said coordinator Joe Greene.
The first event this year will take place this Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from noon-6 p.m.
The first event will be titled ‘Playing in the Garden’ and will be focused at the Chelsea Community Garden, 130 Ellsworth St., and will also feature a Pop Up Art Show at the Pearl Street Gallery, 100 Pearl St. – which is only a few blocks from the Garden. (open between 2-6 p.m.)
“Instead of having everything on one weekend, we have decided to spread it out,” Greene said. “A lot of our members work the event. So, the 20 or 30 working the garden wouldn’t get to see the play and the people at the music show can’t go to the gallery. It also takes the pressure off having to get everything done at once.”
Greene said they have a manager who has been hired to coordinate the re-booted event, Angelina McCoy and two new folks at the Garden helping too – the Gaspar family.
Meanwhile, Dan Cortez will be coordinating the music and theatrical event, which will be titled Fiesta Verano and will take place later, on June 23.
“We did things all at once for eight or nine years and it worked great, but it was really difficult,” Greene said. “If someone worked at the event, they missed all of it. So, we have repositioned it.”
The City has announced that they have hired a landscape architect to present a Master Plan for renovating the Garden Cemetery – with Phase 1 starting as early as this fall.
The goal, said Planner Karl Allen, is to have it all done by 2024.
“We’ve hired our landscape architect to put together a phased Master Plan for rehabilitating the cemetery,” he said. “Our goal is to have it in a condition where we can open it to the public from dawn to dusk on a daily basis by 2024 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Chelsea.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the substantial repair of the historic, garden-style cemetery is part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) – which the City Council approved last week. That CIP had $350,000 set aside for the Garden Cemetery work.
He said the Master Plan will include an analysis of the full rehabilitation and the costs associated with that.
“It’s a little bit of a jewel,” he said. “I think the City would like to spend some money to make it pop a little bit. It can be a small oasis in the middle of the city if treated properly and with a significant investment. I’m proud to recommend that.”
The first step in the program will be putting out phase one in for bid in the fall.
Phase one will include fixing the retaining wall on Shawmut Street that is close to collapse. It will also include replacing the metal fence around the cemetery and putting a new central gate on Shawmut and Chester. The existing entrance will have a new French gate and an arch with the words ‘Garden Cemetery 1841’ above the entrance.
Next year, it is expected that they will continue with the rehab and make the paths ADA compliant and fix the Soldier’s Lot. They will replace the broken up asphalt path piece by piece and put in something that is more appropriate to the time period, such as stone dust.
One of the key issues is that the grave stones over the years have fallen or been knocked over. That is an expensive proposition to set back all of the fallen stones, but Allen said they will likely do that incrementally over time.
“That’s definitely on our radar in order to get it open,” he said. “The restoration and resetting of the graves toppled is probably a very long-term process…Our initial purpose is to address safety issues.”
He also said they hope to be able to include an educational aspect to the project to get the students in Chelsea schools interested and informed about the Garden Cemetery.
When Nadine Mironchuk began to learn the history of the Garden Cemetery and the Civil War veterans buried there, she said it unlocked a responsibility within her to remember those there even when the rest of the city had forgotten them completely.
Nadine Mironchuk and Jim Tanner are on a mission to make sure the Garden Cemetery and the Civil War veterans and dead are never forgotten. After being rescued from total neglect in the 1990s, the cemetery is still run down, but in much better shape. This Memorial Day, they will hold a ceremony that hasn’t been broken since 1868 – the first Decoration Day in the U.S.
And she was as guilty as anyone else at one time, she said.
Now, she and Chelsea DAV Past Cmdr. Jim Tanner spend their days before Memorial Day inside the cemetery, fixing it up and visiting with anyone who wishes to know more.
They’ve done that for 28 years this year.
“I didn’t know anything about the cemetery,” she said, noting that she had been very involved in the City and had written for Chelsea newspapers. “I never really stopped by here. I had no idea about it, but when the City went into receivership in the 1990s, it happened that my nephew, Richard Campbell, wanted to do his Eagle Scout project here. He told us he wanted to clean it up, and we fell on the floor laughing. When we got back up off the floor, we told him to paint a crosswalk instead. But he still wanted to do it, so we all helped him out.”
What transpired was an epic cleanup of the long-neglected cemetery.
Mironchuk said they took out mounds of trash as high as a three-decker for a period of six weeks before Memorial Day in the 1990s.
The cemetery was a gem of the City at one time, established in 1841, and designed after the garden cemeteries concept. It was actually designed by the same folks who did Mt. Auburn and Forest Hills, and at one time – like those cemeteries – it actually had a duck pond on the south side (that was filled in after the Civil War). Staring in the 1970s, when the last burials occurred there, the property fell into disrepair. There was no grass, trash was strewn everywhere, and the stones had all been torn down or knocked down. There was drug use, homeless people living in the cemetery, and likely a lot of crime that went unreported.
After the service project, Mironchuk was driven to do a great amount of research on the cemetery and is probably the best authority on those buried there, particularly the veterans.
During that research, she said it was the reading of General Logan’s Orders for the first Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) that moved her – where he said that we should never forget those who served in that war, the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States.
“I do now what General Logan asked me to do, come here and put flowers and flags on the graves and remember what these people did,” she said. “I take his orders quite literally. They did their job fighting for freedom, and now it’s our turn…The story here now is the Memorial Day ceremony at Garden Cemetery has been unbroken since 1868 – the first Decoration Day. We don’t and won’t let it be broken in our time.”
And that’s why she and Tanner spend time decorating the graves of the men who died in the Civil War.
Mironchuk said 6,000 men answered the call in Chelsea, which is a high number compared to some other areas around the area. They mustered in at Camp Meigs in West Roxbury and made their way to Washington, D.C., where they met the Union Army in Virginia just before the First Battle of Bull Run.
In fact, she said, the first Chelsea deaths came before Bull Run at Blackburn’s Ford, where 10 Chelsea men died during a conflict three days before Bull Run.
“The town was shocked,” she said. “The mayor got on a train and went down there to see what happened and how he could help. He also went down there to help get good information back to families in Chelsea by telegraph.”
Chelsea men fought in the Peninsula Campaign, Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, The Wilderness, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor. She said many Chelsea men were taken prisoner and went to the Andersonville Camp, where they died.
There are about 75 Civil War dead buried in the Garden Cemetery, and many are only memorial stones – as their remains were never recovered from the battlefield graves.
One example is Lawrence Kelly, a 24-year-old printer from Chelsea who died at Gettysburg. Kelly had been captured at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and during a prisoner exchange, he was released and paroled. Instead of coming back, he re-joined the Union Army and fought again in campaigns that included Gettysburg where he was killed.
His memorial stone in the Garden Cemetery reads, sadly, “A mother’s only child.”
The Garden Cemetery today is in much better shape than it was 20 years ago, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Mironchuk said a new, secure fence is of high priority due to the threat of vandals.
What’s more important is knowing and remembering, though – she said.
“It’s hard to conceive these people who went to war in the Civil War and saved a country that became the homeland for so many people – the last best hope for the world,” she said. “If you dig deep, you’ll understand the motives and reasons for what they did, and they did this for the millions and millions and millions of people who had yet to come. I didn’t know anything about this cemetery or the Civil War. The people who come to Chelsea wouldn’t know about the war or the Garden Cemetery either. They’ll be just as in the dark about it as I was most of my life. Chelsea has always been on the vanguard. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised 6,000 served and so many of them died for us.”
When the lights were the brightest, Mehki Collins was at its best.
Collins, who has Chelsea connections, scored 23 points and was Mr. Clutch in the final minutes as the Pope John XXIII High School basketball team defeated Mashpee, 70-62, in the state semifinal Monday at the TD Garden.
Mehki is the son of Teresa Baker and Michael Collins. He is the grandson of Beverly Martin-Ross and the godson of former Chelsea High basketball standout John Martin. It was a proud family gathering at the Garden as Mehki, a junior guard, and Michael Thompson (14 points), a senior forward, took over the game and delivered a thrilling victory to the Tigers.
Luis Velasquez, a junior forward from Chelsea, also propelled the Tigers with six points and a key steal in the fourth quarter. He, too, has been a major contributor for the Catholic Central League champions.
Pope John will play Maynard for the Division 4 state championship Saturday at Springfield College. The school principal at Pope John is former Chelsea resident Thomas Mahoney, who founded and coached the CHS boys soccer team.
Pope John coach Leo Boucher said Collins has earned his reputation as a clutch player.
“Mekhi has always stepped up and been a leader,” said Boucher. “He is always there at the end of the game to take care of the basketball when we need him to. I thought he played really well offensively and was a catalyst for us. He hit some big shots and free throws in the fourth quarter.”
Collins said the team has played as a close-knit team all season.
“We play together and have so much fight in us, and I’m so proud of my teammates and my coaching staff,” said Collins. “We never give up.”
He was excited to play at the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics.
“It means a lot to win this game on the Garden floor,” said Collins. “I didn’t feel any more pressure in this game. They passed the reins to me and I did what I had to do. My teammates put me in the best position to score.”
Collins attended the Hooks School and began his basketball career in the Chelsea Youth Basketball where he played for coach Maurice Cromwell. His skills were well known and his coaches predicted a bright future for him.
And they were right.
On Saturday, Collins and the 23-1 Pope John Tigers will try to bring home a state championship for the first time in school history.
Pope John basketball team beats Mashpee at the Garden
Collins, Thompson lead Tiger team into the Massachusetts state finals
By Cary Shuman
Pope John’s brilliant guard Angel Price-Espada was hobbled by a leg injury so head coach Leo Boucher looked to other players to give his team a boost in the decisive fourth quarter of Monday’s state semifinal at the TD Garden.
Senior forward Michael Thompson and junior guard Mehkhi Collins both answered the call with heroic efforts in the final stanza. Thompson scored 12 of his 14 points, including two clutch free throws, in the second half, while Collins had 14 of his game-high 23 points, as North champion Pope John defeated South champion Mashpee, 70-62, on the famous parquet floor.
The Tigers (22-1) advance to the Division 4 state championship game in Springfield against defending state champion Maynard (22-3).
Espada came out dishing and had seven assists, to go along with nine points (11 overall) in the first half. The Tigers’ dependable inside player, Marques Bouyer, also made an early statement with 10 points in the first half as Pope John led 37-32 at intermission. Bouyer also reigned over Pope John’s control the defensive boards. Luis Velasquez helped out the Tigers’ offensive with six points. Cam Erickson, the Tigers’ sharpshooting junior, had a basket while Connor Kelly was a key contributor off the bench, also netting two points.
Velasquez had two hoops in the third quarter before Thompson went on a mini-tear with three baskets and a key steal with the game tied at 49-49. A basket by Collins gave Pope John a 51-49 lead after three quarters.
Pope John was leading 59-57 when Price-Espada left the game after sustaining a right leg injury. He would return to the game, though clearly not at 100 percent.
Collins connected on a free throw and Collins added a basket to keep Pope John ahead, 64-61. Another Thompson hoop, two free throws by Collins, a steal by Velasquez allowed the Tigers to seal the victory.
“That was a terrific basketball game,” said Boucher. “Mashpee just keeps coming at you, they’re a phenomenal basketball team. They were everything we thought they would be and more.”
Collins was a catalyst in the first quarter for the Pope John offense with eight points. He saved his best for last with the game on the line.
“We got together as one unit and played together and we have so much fight – I’m so proud of my teammates, our coaching staff and Pope John” said Collins. “They passed the reins to me and I did what I had to do. My teammates put me in the best position to what I had to do and score.”
Thompson was equally humble about his clutch effort.
“I have to thank my teammates for putting me in that situation,” said Thompson. “I was struggling a little bit, but they kept giving the ball. Their confidence in me and keeping me motivated is what decided those final layups for me.”
Boucher said Collins and Thompson were difference makers in the game.
“I thought our upperclassmen, our junior [Collins] and our senior [Thompson] stepped up,” said Boucher. “Angel was hurt and the leg was bothering him the whole game, but these kids stepped up. They’ve worked hard to get to where they got to, and they won’t be denied. They’re trying to earn the respect they truly deserve.”
Boucher was asked what it meant for the school to be playing in its first state final.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Boucher. “For a little school like us, we have about 200 boys – our basketball team is just about everything to us, so it’s pretty cool. We have a great administrators, great kids, and great supporters.
Two of those administrators, Head of School Carl DiMaiti and Principal Thomas Mahoney, a member of the school’s first graduating class, sat courtside Monday and will now join a legion of PJ students and alumni in Springfield in search of the school’s first state basketball title.
by Bob Morello
Bruins continue to show their resilency by scoring five unansewered goals
Just when it looked like the Bruins were headed for the rare (this season), two losses in row, the Bruins on Tuesday night had an epiphany, scoring five unanswered goals in the third period to notch a 6-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The realization that they had lost the services of defensemen, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, and forward Jake DeBrusk, due to injury, the future looked bleak. The forecast had the Hurricanes holding a 4-1 lead and a solid look at a win going into the third period, like many New Englander’s, the youth playing for Boston felt the prognosticators were wrong and decided to do something about it.
Boston’s lone goal late in the first period came from Brad Marchand for a 1-0 lead. For Marchand was his 30th goal of the season, the third consecutive time he’s hit that mark, tying him with Glen Murray, the last Bruin to have three straight 30-goal seasons (2001-2004). At 10:04 of the third period the youngster Matt Grzelcyk scored Boston’s second goal to cut the deficit to 4-2. Then the floodgates opened as David Pastrnak, 56 seconds later, deposited his 25th goal at 11:00, Danton Heinen found a spark 21 seconds after, taking a pass from David Krejci to score his 13th at 11:21, to tie the game at 4-4. Just over five minutes later and no goals scored, Pastrnak took over, scoring the game-winner (#26) at 16:30 and an empty-netter (#27), for the first hat trick of his young career. A startling, entertaining ten minutes that earned the Bruins the two points, leaving them just four points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who lost to the Ottawa Senators, with the Bs still holding two games in hand.
Once again the moves and non-moves Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made at the trade deadline have proved to be good, decisive ones. Sweeney’s addition of veterans Rick Nash, Brian Gionta, and Tommy Wingels up front, and Nick Holden on the blueline may have looked like overstock a bit, but has proved to be vital, with the loss of Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy. Add to that the undisclosed, possible injuries Tuesday night to Chara, Krug, DeBrusk, and it almost makes Sweeney seem clairvoyant.
Tuukka Rask in net has not looked as sharp as he had been earlier in the season, but despite the fact that he has given up a handful of goals in his last six appearances, with four goals in three of those games, he has managed a record of 5-1 in those six games. In 44 games thus far this season his record is still an impressive 29-11-0-4, goals-against-average 2.35, and save percentage of .917.
Boston’s four-game road trip continues with two more stops: Tonight (Thursday 7:30pm) versus Florida Panthers who are still fighting for a playoff spot (3 points back), with a huge game on Saturday, 7:00pm, with the Bs taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning, in what could still be a battle for the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. The odd NHL schedule has the Bruins returning to TD Garden ice on Monday (10/19 at 7:00pm) to host the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets who are currently riding a five game win streak, for a single game, before embarking on a five-game road trip beginning in St. Louis Blues on Wednesday (10/21 at 8:00pm). St. Louis is also three points out of a playoff spot. In summary, it will be a tough four games coming up for Boston with each time they face, still battling for position, and a spot in the playoffs.
Brad Marchand was named NHL second star of the week for the week ending March 11. General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the team has signed University of Wisconsin forward Trent Frederic to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2018-19 season. Frederic will join the Providence Bruins on an Amateur Tryout Agreement (ATO) for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Sweeney also announced that the team has signed University of Wisconsin forward Cameron Hughes to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2018-19 season. Hughes will also join the Providence Bruins on an Amateur Tryout Agreement (ATO) for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
STEPHANIE SIMON COMPETES IN TRACK MEET IN NEW YORK CITY
This past Friday, Chelsea High sophomore Stephanie Simon competed in the New Balance Indoor High School Track & Field National Championships held at the Armory in NYC.
“Stephanie went into this meet with a personal best high jump of 5’-5”,” said CHS head coach Mark Martineau. “While the results were not what we had hoped for, it was a great achievement for Stephanie. She is the first national-qualified track performer we have had at CHS since the legendary Bobby Goss. The future is bright for this student-athlete.”
CHS football team kicks off 2017 season Friday night
The Chelsea High football team will open its 2017 season Friday evening when Coach Jack Halas and his Red Devils host Lynn Tech under the lights at Chelsea Stadium.
The first kick-off of the new campaign is set for 7:00.
Leading the way for the Red Devils will be a quartet of senior captains, Zach Leo, Tony Bui, David Bui, and Nelson Hernandez, who are among a group of 10 seniors on the varsity squad.
“This is an excellent group of seniors who provide a good example to our younger guys,” said Halas. “These seniors have led the way in our off-season conditioning program. They were begging to get into our weight room the Monday following Thanksgiving.
“We have had our best off-season yet since I’ve been coaching at Chelsea High,” continued the coach. “We have seen some solid gains in strength across the board. We even started a 1,000 Lbs. Club, which is the one-rep max combined of bench press, squat, and deadlift, and both Tony Bui and Zach Leo made the club.
“In addition to our dedication in the weight room, we were fortunate that our Athletic Director, Amanda Alpert, secured us a grant to upgrade our weight room,” added Halas. “We now have a beautiful weight room supplied by the Gronkowski Fitness Company. All the same equipment that is in the Gronk Zones in the Boston Sports Clubs is now in the Chelsea High weight room.”
The Red Devils engaged in a pair of pre-season scrimmages, taking on Latin Academy August 26 and Saugus this past Friday.
“Latin Academy had a strong running game and we played them decently,” said Halas. “Overall, we played fairly well for our first time out. Early on in pre-season, our numbers were so low that we couldn’t hold any live team periods in practice, so Latin Academy was our first live experience.
“Saugus threw the ball about 75% of the time, which is rare at the high school level. We fell behind early 21-0 but showed a lot of fight by clawing our way back into the game,” said Halas. “We had some faulty lighting issues at the stadium that cut the game short in the middle of the third quarter when we were trailing, 27-21. I was very pleased with our offense, especially our offensive line. We had multiple 12-plus play drives resulting in touchdowns, which is exactly how we want to play.”
As for the season-opener against visiting Lynn Tech, Halas expects a stern challenge for his squad.
“Lynn Tech returns two all-conference running backs, so it will serve as a tough first test for us,” said Halas. “We expect a physical football game.”
Looking ahead to the fall season, Halas expressed confidence in his 2017 edition of the Red Devils.
“The senior leadership, combined with our offensive line and front seven on defense, are the strengths of our team,” noted Halas. “I expect big years out of senior captains Zach Leo and David Bui. These two should be able to replace the loss of graduated captain Nick Ieng, who is attending Westfield State on a football scholarship.”
The one drawback thus far for Chelsea has been the low turnout. “Our numbers are very low with only 34 kids in uniform,” noted Halas.
After the Lynn Tech contest, Halas and his crew will travel to Northeast Regional Vocational School next Friday.
CHS boys soccer team opens with 4-0 victory
The names may change, but the result stays the same for the Chelsea High boys soccer team, which opened its 2017 season with a 4-0 victory over Shawsheen Tech Tuesday afternoon at Chelsea Stadium.
“For a variety of reasons, this has been the biggest turnover for our team in terms of personnel in many years,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “We have a very young team with a lot of new faces.”
Among the newcomers to the CHS program is senior transfer students Jephte Marcellus, who provided some instant punch for the Red Devils, assisting on three goals in his first appearance in a Chelsea uniform.
Sophomore Delmer Romero, another newcomer to the varsity squad, scored the first two Red Devil goals, the initial one coming just 30 seconds into the game on Chelsea’s first offensive push forward of the season.
“I think we caught Shawsheen a bit flat-footed at the start of the game,” said Protasowicki. Senior captain Kevin Umanzor-Torres delivered a through-ball to Marcellus, who chipped it past the oncoming Shawsheen keeper, setting up Romero for an easy tap into the open goal.
The Marcellus-Romero connection bookended the half with a goal with only a minute to go before intermission when a shot by Marcellus was deflected by a Shawsheen defender in the box. Romero gathered-in the loose ball, made a move on a Shawsheen defender, and then delivered a nice strike from a difficult angle Senior Kevin Valle, who has been recovering from a knee injury he suffered over the summer, went into the game for a brief stretch to start the second half and made the most of his appearance, scoring his first goal of the season to increase the CHS lead to 3-0. Marcellus sent a nice through-pass to Valle, who made a fine finish amidst heavy traffic.
Five minutes later at 54:00, Romero earned his third point of the game with a corner kick delivery that was headed into the back of the Shawsheen net by senior defenseman Carlos Arevala.
“Carlos made a hie run and finish,” noted Protasowicki.
The 4-0 lead gave CHS head coach Mick Milutinovic an opportunity to use a number of his freshmen to close out the game. Senior keeper Bryan Armas and junior keeper Diego Granados split the chores in net to share the shutout.
“It was a nice way to start the season,” noted Protasowicki, “but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Milutinovic and his crew were set to trek to Northeast Regional Vocational School this afternoon (Thursday). Northeast has been the chief rival to the Red Devils’ supremacy in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference in the past few seasons and this year should prove no exception.
Chelsea will journey to Haverhill to face Whittier Tech Tuesday and will return home next Thursday to host Lynn Tech.
by Bob Morello
Bruins rookies ready to hit the ice
Boston Bruins hockey is back on track, beginning with Rookie training camp opening September 8. Included are Bruins prospects who participated in last year’s tournament and also played in at least one regular season game with Boston in 2016-17), along with several invitees, and is scheduled to run through September 11, at HarborCenter in Buffalo. Players who participated in last year’s tournament and also played in at least one regular season game with Boston in 2016-17, include forwards Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik (not participating due to shoulder surgery), Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly, defensemen Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Rob O’Gara and goaltender Zane McIntyre.
This will be the third consecutive year the Bruins will have participated in the Prospects Challenge. The Bruins’ rookies will compete against the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils rookies in the round-robin challenge featuring prospects from each of those teams. The participating teams will each play three games during the course of the event, which is being held entirely at HarborCenter.
Currently Boston’s Challenge roster includes: Forwards: Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Joona Koppanen, Sean Kuraly, Cedric Pare, Zach Senyshyn, and Oskar Steen, with rookie camp invitees Shawn Boudrias, Alex Gacek, and James Hamblin. Defensemen: Victor Berglund, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, Rob O’Gara, and Jakub Zboril, plus invitees Connor Clifton, Own Headrick, and Ethan Sakowich. Invited goaltenders are Kyle Keyser and Luke Richardson.
Schedule for the tournament will have the Bruins taking on Pittsburgh’s rookies (Friday, September 8 at 3:30pm); Saturday, Saturday, September 9 vs. Buffalo at 7:00pm;
Followed by a practice day, and their final game will be on Monday, September 11 vs. New Jersey at noon.
Single Game Tickets for the 2017-18 season will go on sale today (Thursday, September 7, at 11:00am. Purchase tickets on BostonBruins.com/SingleGameTickets, through the official mobile app of the Boston Bruins, by phone by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or at the TD Garden Box Office.
The Bruins will open the season against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Thursday, October 5 at 7:00pm. The Bruins will enjoy a season-long, six-game home stand beginning in February and ending in March, with games against the Carolina Hurricanes (2/27), Pittsburgh Penguins (3/1), Montreal Canadiens (3/3), Detroit Red Wings (3/6), Philadelphia Flyers (3/8) and the Chicago Blackhawks (3/10) at TD Garden.
For games played at TD Garden, tickets will range from $30.00-$453.00. In addition to seat location, ticket prices will vary depending on opponent and date of game. Ticket prices are subject to change and there is an eight-ticket limit per game.
Although full-season ticket packages are sold out, Bruins fans can join the Season Ticket Waiting List to score priority access for when full- season ticket packages become available. To join the Season Ticket Waiting List, fans should contact the Bruins at 617-624-2327, option 1. Additionally, a limited number of partial and full season memberships are available in the Premium Club at the TD Garden. Fans interested in Premium Club memberships can contact the Bruins at 617-624-2582.
2017-18 Game Plans are also on sale. Each plan offers big discounts with an average savings of $600 off of box office prices with no facility fee. With a Game Plan, fans are granted access to a Legends Membership and the ability to purchase 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs® tickets before the general public.
The annual Chelsea ArtWalk will take place this Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18, in venues throughout the downtown area.
It will be the 9th Annual Chelsea Art Walk.
Throughout the Downtown, there will be galleries and alternative venues offering art, music and theater. Most venues are handicapped accessible, and all events are free of charge. The events include pop-up art in the park, shows by the Griffen Museum of Photography and 555 Gallery, a scarecrow competition at the Community Garden, an independent film festival, photos of Cuba by Chelsea artists at Mystic Brewery, and much more.
For a complete listing of events, please visit www.chelseaartwalk.com.