MARLBOROUGH — It’s 5:20 a.m. when Mike Mead pulls into the parking lot at New England Sports Center. His St. John’s of Shrewsbury hockey players, still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and lugging huge bags of equipment through the hall, wander in one by one as the 6 o’clock practice draws near.
The sun will not be up for another hour, but the Pioneers are OK with that. Actual dawn matters little when you are busy working toward the dawn of the next era for St. John’s hockey.
Under Mead, their first-year head coach, the Pioneers are 9-4-3 as the regular season starts to wind down; and on Sunday they were named to the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association’s Super 8 “Watch List.” Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.