NORTH ANDOVER – Sam Kurker’s overtime winner capped another thriller on Day 1 of the Super 8 tournament at Lawler Arena as St. John’s Prep escaped with a 4-3 victory over Springfield Cathedral.
“Everybody knows how important that first game is in the tournament,” said St. John's Prep coach Kristian Hanson. “We wanted to come out today and get a win. In the end we were fortunate to get a bounce.”
The last time these two teams met, just two weeks ago, the Prep made a miraculous comeback scoring four goals in the final five minutes of the game to walk away with a 5-5 tie.
The Eagles wanted to avoid being behind the eight-ball in this one and Andrew Brandano ensured that they wouldn’t be playing from behind at all when he stuffed home a puck just 1:28 into the game to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The second period started with another quick St. John’s Prep goal as Brian Pinho won a draw forward, picked up the puck and swept in on the left side before stuffing it past John Liquori for a 2-0 lead just 0:53 seconds in.
“We were just trying to get the puck deep and on net,” Pinho said. “I just skated hard to the middle and put one on. Our game plan was to crash the net and it went in for me.”
Frank Crinella got the Panthers on the board mid-way through the second period after picking the puck from the stick of Sam Kurker, then sweeping in from the left to backhand it past David Letarte on a short-handed bid, making it a 2-1 game.
Frank Crinella would pull Springfield Cathedral even when he followed up on a rebound off a shot from Peter Crinella, popping it past Letarte for his second of the game to make it 2-2 before the second intermission.
A power play opportunity allowed the Prep to start the third period like the other two, by scoring first, this time on a missile by Pinho just past the blue line to make it 3-2 at the 3:28 mark.
“I thought Brian was our best player out there,” Hanson said. “He had two big goals and he played well defensively. He was our player of the game.”
Two minutes later Peter Crinella knocked in a rebound for the Panthers second short-handed goal of the game, evening the score at 3-3 and as just like two weeks ago, regulation was not enough time to determine a winner, so a 12-minute sudden death overtime was tacked on to the proceedings.
As the extra frame wound down, a bouncing puck fell in front of Liquori who was unable to snag it in the air and Kurker swooped in on the doorstep to deposit the rebound, giving the Eagles the victory.
“Who better than Kurker to be the guy standing there,” Hanson said. “I saw that far, top-side open and Sam did a great job of putting it up there.”
Springfield Cathedral vs. St. John's Prep, overtime
9:21 overtime: St. John's Prep 4, Cathedral 3 -- After a sprawling save by John Liquori on a shot by Brian Pinho, the rebound came out to a streaking Sam Kurker, who tallied his 29th goal of the season to send the Eagles home with the overtime win. Tyler Bird gets the second assist.
Springfield Cathedral vs. St. John's Prep, third period
After 45 minutes of play, St. John's Prep and Springfield Cathedral are tied at 3-3. There will now be a 12-minute overtime period.
5:41 3rd period: St. John's Prep 3, Cathedral 3 -- Peter Crinella picks up the puck in the offensive end and registers a shorthanded goal to bring the Panthers back even with the Eagles.
3:28 3rd period: St. John's Prep 3, Cathedral 2 -- Brian Pinho tallies his 16th goal of the season, unassisted, as he rifled a power play goal past John Liquori.
Springfield Cathedral vs. St. John's Prep, second period
9:57 2nd period: St. John's Prep 2, Cathedral 2 -- Peter Crinella's shot from the left faceoff circle was deflected wide by David Letarte, but Frank Crinella was there to tally his second goal of the period.
7:44 2nd period: St. John's Prep 2, Cathedral 1 -- Frank Crinella picked off a pass at his defensive blue line, outskated a defender, and tucked a backhander over the pad of St. John's goalie David Letarte for his 13th goal of the season.
0:53 2nd period: St. John's Prep 2, Cathedral 0 -- Nick Pandelena finds the loose puck to the right of Cathedral's net and squeezes it in between John Liquori and the near post.
Springfield Cathedral vs. St. John's Prep, first period
1:28 1st period: St. John's Prep 1, Cathedral 0 -- Andrew Brandano takes the pass from Nic Gianelli and sneaks it past John Liquori glove-side. Jack McCarthy gets the other assist on the goal.
We are live from Lawler Arena on the campus of Merrimack College for the first round of Super 8 hockey. In the third game this afternoon, No. 3 St. John's Prep will take on No. 6 Springfield Cathedral. We will be providing updates here throughout the day, so stay tuned for what is sure to be an intense day of hockey action.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
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- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
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- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
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- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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