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Bellingham Bulletin

Ken’s Quiz: Three Goalies Who Sizzled on Ice

Oct 30, 2017 07:00AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson

Bulletin Sports Editor Ken Hamwey

written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor

Bellingham High has had its share of outstanding goaltenders in ice hockey. Three of its best, based on their statistics and their ability to propel the Blackhawks into tournament play, were Brian Sherlock, Eric May and Neil Mcclafferty.

Sherlock was a pioneer of sorts, playing in the early days (late 1970s when the team was in its infancy). He was one of the program’s premier net-minders, compiling a 1.82 goals-against average during a three-year varsity career that earned him all-star honors in the Tri Valley League, the Milford Daily News and Woonsocket Call. He also coached Bellingham’s hockey team for 16 years and was ultra successful.

May compiled some dynamic numbers and earned some big-time accolades. He relied on an aggressive style that showcased his quickness and instinctive nature. His prime attributes in goal were sound technical skills, cutting down the angles and proper positioning. May started his hockey career at age seven. A flyer arrived at his parents’ home promoting the Tri Valley Indians, a youth league team. His father asked him if he was interested. May said “yes,” and BHS later became the prime beneficiary of his talents.

An instinctive goaltender, Mcclafferty was aggressive, often making saves on his back and often using his stick efficiently to make big saves. After his first two varsity seasons that were losing campaigns, Mcclafferty took his game to a higher level in 1990 and finished with a goals-against average of 2.25 his senior year. That team won the Bellingham Tournament by beating Holliston, 3-2, and it also won the Woonsocket Call Tournament by dominating Johnston, RI, 7-1.

Try your luck at this true/false quiz that focuses on three of the Blackhawks’ all-time greats in goal.

  1. As a player in 1979-’80, Sherlock led the Blackhawks to a 15-5-1 record as a junior and propelled them into the Eastern MA Division 2 Tournament quarterfinals at Boston Garden, where they bowed to Canton.
  2. As a coach, Sherlock’s 1996-’97 squad posted an 18-3-2 record, the best in school history; and, during his 16 years at the helm, his teams qualified for playoff appearances for nine consecutive seasons.
  3. When Sherlock was in goal for the quarterfinals of the tourney at Boston Garden during the 1979-’80 season, BHS lost to a goaltender whose brother played goalie in the Olympics for the U.S. hockey team.
  4. Sherlock’s playing career started at the same time hockey became a varsity sport at Bellingham. After four games, he became the starter during the 1978-’79 campaign, playing for legendary coach Roger Guillemette.
  5. May was selected most-valuable player as a freshman in 1994, then captured the honor again as a senior in 1997. He also was a three-time Tri Valley League all-star, and he played a major role in the Blackhawks’ compiling an 18-3-2 record in 1997, the best numbers in the program’s history.
  6. May’s senior year was dynamic. He had a 2.39 goals-against average and a save percentage of .903. He also led the Blackhawks’ to a pair of victories over Holliston, a team Bellingham had never defeated during an 18-year stretch.
  7. May played six varsity seasons and was a starter since his freshman year.
  8. During Mcclafferty’s senior year (1990), Bellingham dropped a 2-1 decision to Bourne in the semifinals of the South Sectional, a loss that prevented the Blackhawks from skating at Boston Garden. That year, BHS posted a regular season record of 13-5-2.
  9.  Mcclafferty was a third baseman in baseball and, as a senior, he helped BHS defeat Fairhaven, a triumph that gave coach Jim Bonollo his first post-season win.
  10.  Mcclafferty, who lives in Sweden, hit eight homers his senior year and also compiled a .360 batting average for three varsity seasons.

Check out how you did on Ken’s Goalie Quiz. (Answers below.)


ANSWERS

  1. False. BHS lost to Oliver Ames.
  2. True.
  3. True. Jim Craig was the Olympic goalie and his younger brother Dan was in goal for Oliver Ames in its quarterfinal win over Bellingham.
  4. True.
  5. True.
  6. False. All of May’s statistics in question 6 are correct, but the team BHS defeated for the first time in 18 years was Westwood.
  7. True.
  8. True.
  9. False. The team was Diman Vocational.
  10. True.
Sports, In Print, Life+Leisure, Today, Schools In the November 2017 Print Edition

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