BOSTON –- Tuesday was something of coming out party for Shane Eiserman. After the St. John’s Prep freshman forward netted a hat trick and factored in each of the Eagles’ goals in a 4-2 victory over Catholic Memorial at Walter Brown Arena, he was razzed by his teammates outside the locker room.
But Eiserman couldn’t help thanking his teammates for what they’d contributed to a crucial Catholic Conference victory.
“The defensemen really stepped up huge today, like Scott Derrickson played unbelievable,” Eiserman said. “It was just a huge win, offensively, defensively, it was just an all-around great win.”
Eiserman immediately put his stamp on the game, tallying Prep’s first goal a little more than 2:30 into the first period with assists from Christian Gutowski and Joe Currie. He went on to net the game-winning goal with nine minutes remaining and capped off the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
He also picked up an assist on Derrickson’s second-period goal.
“Shane’s fortunate to be able to handle that part of the game as a freshman, obviously, he’s a pretty big kid,” Eagles head coach Kristian Hanson said. “He’s just dedicated to the game.”
Aside from the first-year player’s exploits, the sixth-ranked Eagles (9-4-1, 4-3-0) dictated play for long stretches and outshot the No. 3 Knights, 30-13. Although sophomore goaltender Shane Starrett did his best to keep CM (7-6-1, 2-3-1) close in a 26-save performance, the Knights simply were their own worst enemy.
“We just didn’t have the compete level against them as we have against other teams,” Knights head coach Bill Hanson said. “We’re not as skilled as they are and unless we compete and win those little battles, we’re going to be in trouble.”
Despite falling behind, CM rallied to tie the game on Liam Coughlin’s power play goal with 3:08 remaining in the first.
However, Prep went to the room with a one-goal lead after Derrickson’s blast from the point on Eiserman’s face off win. It was just a small sampling of the Eagles’ dominance inside the circle as Prep’s centers took 27 draws against CM’s 12 face-off wins.
The Knights worked to tie the game once again in the second when sophomore defenseman Justin Ryder followed his shot into the goal (literally) off a 3-on-2 chance.
Prep took the lead for good in the third when Eiserman got some help from a talented senior linemate.
“He’s such a good player,” he said of winger Colin Blackwell. “It’s awesome to play with him. He makes me a better player on the ice.”
Blackwell put Eiserman’s game-winner into motion with a tremendous individual effort down the right wing boards. The Harvard commit sidestepped two Knights’ checks coming through the neutral zone before working the puck into the slot with a tape-to-tape pass onto Eiserman’s stick.
From there, the Eagles continued to clamp down on defense in front of netminder David Letarte, including a crucial penalty kill midway through the third period. Along with an impressive display of shot blocking, there was much to be impressed with in the Eagles’ effort.
“I think it’s a credit to the effort we put in defensively,” Kristian Hanson said. “We really made a conscious effort the last several games to the defensive side of the game and the kids have responded well to that. We’re playing our best hockey right and we have to continue doing that because we haven’t qualified for everything yet.”