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Super 8 hockey tournament

BC High tips Tanners

Besinger’s strike sparks the Eagles

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By Jake Seiner
Globe Correspondent / March 10, 2011

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NORTH ANDOVER — The final score last night read BC High 1, Woburn 0, but as far as Eagles’ coach John Flaherty is concerned, the Super 8 round-robin contest could’ve easily gone the other direction.

“I asked one of my assistants if it was too late to go play the lottery,’’ Flaherty said, “because when we got out of here tonight, it was luck.’’

Lucky or not, the Eagles (15-4-3, 2-0 Super 8) clinched a spot in the crossover round, and did the same for Catholic Conference-rival St. John’s Prep. BC High and the Prep will play Sunday with the winner earning the right to play the second-place finisher from the other round-robin bracket.

The loss eliminates Woburn (17-5-1, 0-2), as well as Needham, who will also play Sunday.

BC High took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a goal by Tom Besinger. The play up until that point had been timid, especially coming from the Woburn side, but that changed drastically after Besinger’s goal.

The Tanners piled scoring chances aplenty on BC High goalie Peter Cronin (18 saves).

It was the chances Cronin didn’t stifle that hurt Woburn the most.

Late in the second period, Woburn’s Casey Shea — who netted six goals over the Tanners’ first two Super 8 games, including five against Springfield Cathedral in a play-in game — earned a golden opportunity, only to have a piece of faulty equipment eliminate the chance.

Shea positioned himself to the left of the BC High crease, and was looking at an empty cage after a teammate’s pass threw Cronin off the scent.

As Shea went into his downswing, his stick blade snapped from the shaft, forcing Shea to duff the shot wide and costing Woburn a golden shot at tying the score.

“I bought that stick yesterday,’’ Shea said. “It just snapped right above the blade.’’

“That’s a goal,“ Flaherty said. “That’s in the back of the net if that stick doesn’t break. That’s a goal and I could see it because of the angle we were at.’’

The tough break wasn’t Woburn’s last golden chance. Later in the second period, Dan Shea hit the post from beneath the right hashes.

Then, in the third, a Woburn point shot actually got behind Cronin, but an alert Matt Doherty saw the puck trickling toward the goal line and, with a diving effort, swatted it out of harm’s way.

St. John’s Prep 5, Needham 1 — Freshman Shane Eiserman scored just 2:31 into the game, and the second-ranked Eagles never looked back against the Rockets.

Despite the lopsided victory, Prep (16-5-1, 2-0 Super 8) coach Kristian Hanson said he was disappointed with his team’s effort.

“I told these guys in there tonight, they better change their mind-set for Sunday’s game against BC High,’’ Hanson said. “I think at times tonight, we took it for granted that we had a lead, didn’t think we had to work as hard, and took some shifts off.’’

The Eagles got off to a hot start in the first. Colin Blackwell was the catalyst, creating the first goal by weaving through the Needham (12-8-4, 0-2) defense to force his way to the slot from the left half-wall.

The Harvard-commit fired into a screen set by Eiserman, and the freshman collected the rebound and poked it in.

Blackwell scored in the second, rushing the zone on a one-on-two break. He deked both defenders before roofing in the Prep’s third goal at the doorstep.