By John Lynds
For the first time ever, the East Boston High School Jets hockey team won an emotional game last Tuesday night at the Porrazzo Rink in East Boston in the annual Deep Freeze Hockey Tournament.
The Jets beat Ashland in a close 3-2 contest to claim the title.
The 15th Annual Deep Freeze Hockey Tournament took on a special meaning this year for EBHS Coach Bob Anthony and his family. The Tournament was founded by Anthony as a tribute to Anthony’s wife Jacki, who battled breast cancer for many years. The tournament has raised over $30,000 for BMC Breast Cancer Research and more recently raises money for Children’s Hospital. Sadly, Anthony’s wife lost her battle against cancer in June of this year.
“Winning this tournament for the first time in 14 years was amazing,” said Anthony. “The emotional feeling of the event without having Jacki there really took a toll on me personally, but the boys would not let us down.”
In the first game of the tournament the Jets beat O’Bryant 11 to 3 with Justin Capo in nets. Capo, who has Cerebral Palsy but through treatment and physical therapy was strong enough to have the braces removed from his legs four years ago, played two periods in the net for the Jets.
Ashland then beat Revere 3 to 1 to take on the Jets in the Championship game.
With the game tied 2-2 with 28 seconds left Ryan Gray scored the winning goal. The winning goal and his other goal in the game earned Gray the MVP of the tournament.
“Between the second and third period of play as we were in the locker room and my daughter and Jacki’s daughter, Carrie Brangiforte, spoke to the boys and told them win or lose she and Jacki were proud of them for all they have done,” said Anthony. “In all my years Jacki would never come into the locker room and speak and Carrie brought a message in to them that I believe helped them win the game but I also think that Jacki pushed that puck over the goal line to make the victory for the Jets and everyone there.”
Coach Anthony said aside from Gray the other standout players were Kenny Lockhead, John Lockhead, Kyle Regan and Thomas Guarino.
“Jacki was a huge part of the high school hockey program she was the first person you saw as you entered the rink and always loved the boys and parents,” said Anthony. “She would attend every game she could up until the last month of last season when she had a hard time getting around. But she came even when she did not feel good. She was the true hero for our team and the boys have dedicated the season to her and they have not let anyone down being up now seven and one on the season.”
Anthony added that every win is not just for Jacki but for everyone that has suffered from cancer or any disease in their life.
“Everyone on our team has in one way or another been effective by this and this is something that they are able to display on the ice and in the stands, we stand as one,” said Anthony. “The ice rink is our sanctuary and our place to be a big family with everyone contributing to get the job done and if we bring a smile to some faces we have done our job.”