Editor's note: St. John's Prep senior captain and Harvard-commit Colin Blackwell checks in with his first Player Diary installment taking a look back at the Eagles' journey toward a Super Eight berth.
The second half of the season is finally underway. The first 10 games we showed a lot of inconsistency. At times, we proved that we could skate with anyone in the state and displayed flashes of brilliance. However, we also showed spots of inconsistency where we did not play a full 45-minute game against our opponents. Now with the regular season coming to a close at the end of the month, we have 16 games under our belt and four left to play. Right now, we stand at 10-5-1, putting our destiny for the Super Eight in our own hands with the most important stretch of the season yet to play. With these four games left, we have our mindset on only one thing, the Super Eight.
Just after the midway point of the year, we have been streaking as of late, winning four in a row, with some big Catholic Conference wins against BC High, Xaverian and Catholic Memorial. These last four games have been a boost of confidence for every player on the team. We have finally have figured out how to put together a “complete” game with aggressive offense, defense, and all-around strong performances. As a team, we have had some strong practices lately and it’s a good sign that we are playing well-disciplined hockey during this time of the year. We had been affected by the snow for a short period of time, which prevented us from playing two games against Catholic Memorial earlier in the season and kept us off the ice in the meantime. Finally, the weather has been cooperating with us as of late.
In the last two weeks, we have pulled off exciting victories with a 4-1 win over Austin Prep, 4-1 win over BC High and a 4-1 win over Xaverian. We faced-off against Catholic Conference rival CM and pulled a huge upset in the rankings. It seemed like no one really gave us a chance, but we pulled out a 4-2 win on the road as the underdogs. We get another shot at them again in a make-up game at the end of the season. After the CM win, we took a disappointing loss to a gritty Springfield Cathedral squad, 4-1. Even though we outshot them by a large margin, we did not get many quality scoring opportunities, ran into a hot goalie and they buried and capitalized on our mistakes. We went to the drawing board after a long bus ride home from Springfield and went back to work immediately for a game that following Monday. We quickly went back to playing “Eagles Hockey” and bounced back with a great 6-0 shutout against a talented team from Woburn, a powerhouse in the Middlesex League. That was a huge win for us as well because we knew what it meant for our playoff opportunity, and was also a statement game where we stepped up as a team and finished as strong as we started. As the final stretch of the season is right around the corner, our team is finally finding our own identity, realizing what we are capable of, and the sacrifice it takes in order to be the best team we can possibly be. We have a great mixture of veterans on the team with a bunch of seniors and third-year players, as well as a group of young and talented freshman and sophomores. We have a lot of talent, but talent will not win us a championship, it’s all about what “We” do with it.
It’s not how you start a season, it’s how you finish it, and I would like nothing more than a Super Eight tourney bid for my Senior season.