BOSTON — After being outplayed in the first period, St. John’s Prep took control of the game and rallied its way past Catholic Memorial in a potential Super 8 match preview, 4-1, Saturday at Walter Brown Arena.
St. John’s Prep (6-2-0, 2-1-0 Catholic Conference) couldn’t buy a scoring chance in the first as Catholic Memorial and Liam Coughlin made easy work of the Eagles. Coughlin led the first period charge for the Knights as he gave Catholic Memorial the early, 1-0 lead. The Knights outshout St. John’s Prep by an 8-1 margin during the first period.
“We only generated one shot in the first period, and [our struggles] kind of carried over from Wednesday against BC High,” St. John’s Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said.”
Luckily for the Eagles, their goalie, Billy Price (29 saves) was doing his best impression of Tim Thomas; Price tries to model his own play after the former Vezina Trophy winner.
“Billy has been playing well all year, and he played well tonight,” Hanson said. “He did a great job keeping his composure, especially late in the game because they put a ton of pressure on him.”
St. John’s was outshot, 30-19, but the Eagles were able to keep Catholic Memorial on the perimeter and outside on most of their shot attempts.
“Our defense this season has been great,” Prep defenseman Ean Mendeszoon said. “We are always getting pucks away from net and blocking shots. We’re just doing our job and that’s not really too much. We also try to keep our opponents to the outside and perimeter so they can’t get good quality chances down low.”
In the second period, Prep came to life in all aspects of the game. Coughlin was not getting the looks he was in the first as the Eagles keyed in on the Knights' star scorer.
“Catholic Memorial is a very talented team with kids like Coughlin on it,” Hanson said. “We are paying attention to whom their [top] players are, so that we can limit their opportunities.”
St. John’s finally broke through late in the second period as Nic Gianelli flipped a backhander by Catholic Memorial goalie, Brandon Collett (15 saves), on a breakaway.
Before the end of the period, the Eagles were able to take the lead as Justin Longo rifled a rebound shot to the back of the net with Collett down and out.
“The rebound just came right over to me, and I got a little lucky because I just was able to put it in.”
In the third, it only took 13 seconds for Andrew Brandano to bang home a rebound goal, which came off of a two-on-one rush with Tyler Bird.
With 2:59 remaining in the third, Catholic Memorial (8-2-0, 2-1-0) went to the power play with Gianelli in the sin bin. Unfortunately for the Knights, Price stood tall, and the St. John’s penalty kill never let the Knights get a quality opportunity.
“Our guys did an excellent job tonight by getting in the shooting lanes, forcing them to the perimeter, and preventing the back door chance,” Hanson said.
Catholic Memorial was not done making a last minute push though as Collett sprinted to the bench for an extra attacker. The Knights were looking for their fourth comeback win of the season.
“We have been behind a number of games this year, and have been able to come back,” CM head coach Bill Hanson said.
The Knights had some late pressure on Price, but once again the St. John’s net-minder was not giving in. Price turned away several shots from in the slot and through traffic before Bird iced the game with an empty netter.