Matt Porter | High School Hockey

He's got the goods on defense

Bellingham's Starrett is ready for next step

Email|Print| Text size + By Matt Porter
February 28, 2008

Catholic Memorial senior defenseman Peter Starrett certainly has all the tools to make headlines.

The Bellingham resident stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds, with college-ready hands and vision. He expertly quarterbacks the power play, he can lay a thunderous hit, and he has the moves of a player a half-foot smaller.

"He's the whole package," said longtime CM coach Bill Hanson.

He's possibly the best player in Massachusetts high school hockey right now. Just don't expect to hear it from him.

"I made the comment that 'He's so good he could play in Hockey East right now,' " Hanson said, and then Boston College coach Jerry York "came down and said, 'When I read that, I had to come see this kid play.' So he came to a game and said, 'Where has this kid been?' "

The Catholic Memorial captain is a quiet leader, whether he's driving his brother, Troy, a sophomore forward, and a slew of teammates to the West Roxbury school every morning, or setting an example for his teammates with his skill on the ice.

While some players are desperate to get noticed by junior, college, and pro scouts, Starrett lets his game talk.

"He's a throwback," said Hanson. "Some kids go to this showcase and that showcase because they have to be seen. He doesn't try to sell himself. He just goes out and plays."

Instead, the programs came looking for him. He heard from Boston University and Boston College, but is looking to Harvard after seeing the campus and meeting Crimson coach Ted Donato, who was drafted by the Bruins after starring for Catholic Memorial.

"I knew he came from CM, so I related and connected with him," said Starrett.

Donato said NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting on potential recruits, but added, "We are hoping that Peter will be coming to Harvard. We still have to go through the admissions process."

In an era in which 20-year-old freshmen are the norm with Division 1 hockey teams, Starrett will likely become one of the few, if not the only player in the state this year, to step right into the lineup of a top program right out of high school. And that means he has to work harder than ever this summer. He'll be trying to add 10 pounds to his frame and increase his speed and quickness in preparation for collegiate competition.

In addition to Harvard's hallowed crimson, it's possible Starrett could soon have more new colors to don - he could be selected in the NHL's draft. "He's the closest thing I've had to Chris O'Sullivan," said Hanson, saying Starrett has a similar blend of hands, size and vision as O'Sullivan, who was drafted 30th overall by Calgary in 1992. Starrett has been contacted by the NHL's Central Scouting, and though he's unsure whether he'll hear his name on draft day, he's excited over the possibilities.

"I would love that. I don't know if it will happen or not, but I would like it to happen, no matter now late," said Starrett.

For now though, he has his schoolwork in focus - with an 800 math SAT score, that part comes easy - and a Super 8 title to win. The Knights are this year's favorite, but the hardest games are yet to come. "We're in a tough bracket with BC High and Reading," said Starrett. "Hopefully we win it all on March 16th."

Waltham plays its way into Super 8
The Waltham High boys' team will do everything it can to silence Starrett and his mates when it takes on the Knights in a Super 8 first-round game on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester (time to be determined). The Hawks lost a play-in game to Central Catholic last year, but they beat Westford Academy, 1-0, in a shootout on Monday to advance to the Super 8 for the third time in the last five seasons.

Steve Hopkins made 34 saves - a half-dozen of them simply jaw-dropping - and turned aside all four Westford bids in the shootout, but he'll have his hands full with a loaded Catholic Memorial squad. "You win the game, you're happy, and then you think about CM," said Waltham coach John Maguire after the game, and the realization hits: " 'Well, we've got a lot of work to do.' We have to play our best game of the year to compete with them, and hopefully we can do that."

Before Waltham's win at the Chelmsford Forum, the Needham boys were bounced out of the Super 8 by a skilled Xaverian squad, 3-0. The Rockets came out physical, with Will Rayner, Kam Bumpus, and Mike Sullivan setting the tone, but Franklin native Jack Walsh tipped home a long shot for Xaverian's first goal. "The good news is we get to play at the end of the week in the South sectionals," said Rockets coach Bill Giusti. As the top seed in the Division 1 bracket, Needham will play the winner of tomorrow's Framingham-Weymouth contest (5:30 p.m., Gallo Arena, Bourne).

Short shifts
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Wayland boys, which beat Blackstone-Millville, 2-0, in their final game of the year.

The win completed an admirable turnaround for the Warriors (9-10-1), who missed the playoffs by a single victory after going winless (0-18-2) last season. Athletic director Martha Jamieson credited the success to first-year coach Phil Bateman.

The Framingham High girls recorded a solid 6-2 victory over host Barnstable in a Division 1 prelim on Monday night, with senior Allison Manzella netting the hat trick. The Flyers' reward: top seed and unbeaten St. Mary's (21-0-0) in Lynn tonight at 7.

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