Bob Conceison admittedly isn’t big on individual statistics when it comes to the Burlington boys’ hockey program. But when the longtime coach tries to quantify reasons for the continued success of the Red Devils, some numbers he can cite are the eight consecutive seasons he has had at least one of the three O’Halloran brothers.
The latest of that trio, Ryan O’Halloran, scored his 100th career point last week against Wakefield. The senior added a hat trick Wednesday night as the Red Devils blanked Middlesex League rival Stoneham, 4-0. Burlington has won seven consecutive games since a season-opening loss to Woburn.
Shane O’Halloran was the first brother to suit up for the Red Devils, skating as a freshman defenseman on the 2012-13 Division 1 state championship team. Patrick O’Halloran , another defenseman, followed a year later and was a senior when Ryan joined the team in 2016-17. But Ryan’s goals of one day being on the ice started much earlier.
“When we went to the Super Eight in 2009, there were a lot of guys on that team I always looked up to,” O’Halloran said of the Red Devils team that lost in the championship game vs. Catholic Memorial at the Garden. “I watched them win the first state championship in , then watched my brother win it his freshman year.”
As the youngest of three, Ryan joined in on constant pick-up games around the house or in the neighborhood — whether it was hockey, football, or baseball, sports all three brothers played for Burlington.
“I was just always more advanced, I would say, because I would be with the older kids all the time and doing things they would do at a younger age,” O’Halloran said.
Conceison, who considers Ryan as more of a pure scorer when compared with his brothers, is particularly proud that his senior is not one who has piled up “garbage time” statistics.
“I don’t think we’ve had many games we’ve been ahead by three or four goals,” Conceison said. “They’re all close games, so all of his goals are meaningful.”
But while the O’Hallorans were different players on the ice, their other contributions to the Burlington program for much of the last decade have been consistent.
“The similarities are definitely leadership ability, the intangibles of leadership,” Conceison said. “Shane was a little bit more outgoing in terms of his leadership, Pat was a really good leader in the locker room. Ryan’s a really good leader by example. He’s not particularly loud, but he demands that respect.”
Conceison calls them one of his “favorite families in Burlington,” a true throwback in this age of sports specialization. All three have been Middlesex League Freedom Division MVPs, Shane in football and the other two in hockey. Shane now plays baseball at Stonehill, but Ryan hopes to continue playing hockey in college.
The brothers also started a 7-on-7 touch football game to raise funds for breast cancer research after their mother, Denise, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Held on Thanksgiving weekend, O’Halloran estimates the annual event at Marshall Simonds Middle School draws about 500 players, “but there will be about 1,500 different people who will come that day.”
Said Conceison: “It’s incredible, it’s like a reunion. For me to go down there and see all of these players who played sports and played hockey at Burlington High School, and they’re doing it for a great cause. That’s the type of family the O’Hallorans are. And I’m going to miss them as a family and as a part of our family.”
■ Family bragging rights also could be on the line soon in Swampscott, where senior Drew Olivieri scored his 100th career point for the Big Blue in last Saturday’s 5-4 victory against Peabody.
Olivieri became the 10th player in Swampscott history to crack the century mark, a list that also includes his older brother, Louis , who finished his career in 2017 with 113 points. The program record of 130 career points, held by Nick Fagone (2005), could be within reach by season’s end.
■ E.J. Field and Gloucester had quite an eventful week. The senior scored twice in the third period of Saturday’s 3-1 victory against Winthrop, the first time the Fishermen have beaten their Northeastern Conference rival since 2008. Field then followed that with a goal and three assists in Wednesday’s win against Swampscott, putting him over 100 points for his career.
■ When Plymouth North stunned Patriot League rival Duxbury with Wednesday’s 4-1 victory, it was the first time the Blue Eagles beat the Dragons since . . . well, no one knows for sure if it ever has happened.
North had been 0-8-2 in the series since joining the Patriot League for the 2014-15 season, and it doesn’t appear the teams met on the ice before that going back to the turn of the century.
Taking it a step further, it is the first time Duxbury had lost to a fellow PL Keenan Division team — Quincy, Silver Lake, and Whitman-Hanson are the others — since the Dragons reentered the league from the independent ranks in 2011-12.
■ One other streak came within seconds of ending Wednesday night. When Evan Phaneuf scored with six seconds left to give Pope Francis a stunning 4-4 tie with St. John’s (Shrewsbury), it helped the Cardinals (previously Springfield Cathedral) avoid their first loss to the Pioneers since February 2011.
Games of the Week
Saturday, Bedford at Cambridge (at Simoni Rink, Cambridge, 3 p.m.) — Bedford suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday against Newton South, and now the visiting Buccaneers will try to hand the Falcons the same in a Merrimack Valley/Dual County 3 matchup.
Saturday, Hingham at Burlington (at Burlington Ice Palace, 6 p.m.) — Look for this meeting between two of the top Division 1 public programs to have an impact on the Super Eight discussions next month.
Wednesday, Austin Prep at St. Mary’s (at Connery Rink, Lynn, 6 p.m.) — The host Spartans already beat their Catholic Central foes, 2-0, on Dec. 27, and could take a huge step toward a possible league title, which would end the Cougars’ run of six straight.
Wednesday, Catholic Memorial at Xaverian (at Canton Ice House, 7 p.m.) — With wins against St. John’s Prep and BC High already, the Knights are the early leader in the Catholic Conference.
Jim Clark can be reached at email@example.com.