USA TODAY High School Sports has unveiled the ALL-USA Boys Hockey Teams for the 2018-19 season based on past performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bryce Brodzinski, Blaine
Name: Brian Shuman
School: Canton (Mass.)
As the lone unbeaten team in Massachusetts, Canton High thought it had earned an invitation to the Super 8.
Massachusetts does its hockey postseason a little differently than other states. A selection committee picks what it deems the 10 best teams from the entire state, regardless of division, for the Super 8 Tournament [the bottom four teams participate in play-in contests with the losers dropping down to their own classification’s state tournament].
With its status as a Division 2 school working against it, Canton didn’t make the Super 8 cut. But coach Brian Shuman didn’t allow the Bulldogs to wallow in self-pity. Canton went about its business and completed one of the most dominant seasons in state history, winning the Division 2 state championship and earning Shuman the USA TODAY ALL-USA Coach of the Year award.
“[The Super 8 snub was] so far in the rearview mirror,” Shuman said to the Boston Herald after the Bulldogs completed their season with a 6-2 win over Tewksbury (Mass.) in the state final. “This was their goal from Day One. I can’t believe the amount of maturity that they showed after that happened. They were focused; they didn’t let that discourage them.”
Canton finished 25-0-1 and outscored its opponents, 131-23, on the season, including 29-3 in five postseason games. The Bulldogs were the first Massachusetts team to not lose a game since 1998, when Catholic Memorial won the state title with a senior defenseman named Brian Shuman, who has won 232 games in 14 years at the helm.
The Bulldogs, who also won the Division 2 state title in 2010 behind the play of current New Jersey Devils center Kevin Rooney, made it clear early on that Tewksbury didn’t stand a chance. Canton scored three goals in the first period and cruised to the title. Senior Ryan Nolte had a goal and four assists while junior Johnny Hagan scored the final three goals for a hat trick.
Nolte was the team’s leading scorer with 32 goals and 39 assists. Goalie Michael Staffiere, a first-year starter, recorded 12 shutouts and a 0.89 goals against average.
“We played with a lot of pressure on us, but it’s amazing when you have a crew like these guys how quickly they can strike,” Shuman told the Boston Globe. “It just goes to show the quality of players we have.”
ONE YEAR AGO: Who made the ALL-USA Team last season?