Super 8 recap: St. John's Prep 3, St. Mary's 1

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- St. John's Prep needed some offense, and found it in a couple of familiar places.

Third-period goals by Sam Kurker and Brian Pinho helped the Eagles skate past St. Mary's 3-1 in the third round of the Super 8 tournament Sunday night.

Kurker, who has committed to Boston University, collected two goals and an assist in the victory and leads the team with 61 points (31 goals). He has seven points in three tournament games.

Pinho is the team's No. 2 scorer with 43 points. He has six points in the tournament.

“When the game was on the line, our top guys stepped up – including David [Letarte] in net,” St. John's Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “Sam's a senior, and in the biggest game of the year he came through.”

St. John's Prep finished pool play with a 3-0 record and advanced to the crossover round. The Eagles' victory also allowed Central Catholic (2-1) to advance. Central Catholic defeated Springfield Cathedral 5-4 in overtime earlier Sunday.

St. Mary's was eliminated after posting a 1-2 record in three tournament games. Its other loss came against Central Catholic in overtime.

“I gotta reflect on my guys and what a great year we've had,” St. Mary's coach Mark Lee said. “Brought this program to a new level. I'm so proud of these guys. Somebody had to win. Somebody had to lose. Bounce here, bounce there, it might have been different.”

It was 1-1 entering the third. Cam O'Neill converted a rebound to give St. Mary's a 1-0 advantage at 8:15 of the opening period, and St. John's Prep tied the game on Kurker's power-play goal 3:49 into the second.

Kurker gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead when he took advantage of a St. Mary's turnover at 11:40 of the third. His wrist shot from the left faceoff circle found its way past St. Mary's goaltender Bailey MacBurnie.

Pinho doubled the lead with 1:50 to play.

“We were playing four lines early and I think that may have given us a little edge depth-wise, energy-wise as the game wore on,” Hanson said. “We felt they would come in with a lot of energy. Our goal was to play them even early. Try to wear them down a little bit and then as the game went on we felt we would get our chances. It worked out that way, but it certainly could have gone the other way too.”

Net asset

Letarte, who made 27 saves, raised his record in Super 8 games to 7-1.

“I thought David played great tonight,” Hanson said. “They put a lot of shots on net, crashed the net, looked for rebounds – and they got one early. David was really sharp. He got some bounces. The game certainly could have gone either way.

“They're a very hard-working team. They're a skilled team. They're a legit title contender, and they'll be back next year.”


St. John's Prep will face BC High in Wednesday's crossover round at Merrimack College. Central Catholic will meet Malden Catholic in Wednesday's other crossover game.

The winners will play for the Super 8 title March 18 at TD Garden.

“We know [BC High] pretty well – we split with them during the year,” Hanson said. “They're confident they can win and we're confident we can win, but only one of us is going to, so it's gonna be interesting.”