NORTH ANDOVER -- With uncertainty hanging in the air, Matt Sullivans overtime winner gave BC High a big boost, as they skated off with a 3-2 victory over St. Johns (Shrewsbury) at Lawler Arena on Sunday.
The victory provided the Eagles with the hopes of moving on to the crossover round on Wednesday, but not before the outcome of the Hingham-Malden Catholic game played out.
We could've quit, we could've have packed it away, but we didnt, said BC High coach John Flaherty. Im proud of the resilience. We dug our heels in, fought back and Im proud of them for that.
The Eagles jumped to a first period lead when, thirty seconds into a power play, Sam Topham wound up from the point with a blast that Mario Pizzeri (37 saves) kicked off to his right. Matt Sullivan was camped in the left circle and pushed forward, pounced on the rebound and deposited it into the open left side of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 6:45 mark.
The Pioneers got on the board in the second, when Topham misfired as he tried to clear the puck out from behind his own net. The puck slowly drifted into the slot and Kevin Emmerling came in, popping it high over Peter Cronins left shoulder to tie the game at 6:18.
After a strong push in front of the Eagles net, Emmerling worked the puck behind the net and found Jay Duquette coming left-to-right into the slot where he wristed his shot glove side to beat Cronin (17 saves) high for a 2-1 lead, which would hold up heading into the third period.
A late, third period boarding call on St. Johns Andrew Smith gave the Eagles the man advantage with just 3:33 left in regulation and BC High worked their power play to perfection, cycling through the zone and firing point blank shots on goal.
Tom Besinger launched a shot from the left side that Pizzeri saved, but the puck stopped at the base of his right pad and after whacking at it three more times, Besinger was finally able to tie the game.
Knowing they needed a two-goal win to even think about advancement, the Pioneers were forced to pull their goalie in a tie game, but could not muster enough of an attack in the final minute and the game went into overtime.
I was telling them see if we can get it down [in their zone] and call a timeout, said St. Johns coach Brian Murphy. It was kind of strange in a 2-2 game to pull the goalie, but thats what we had to do.
Things got physical in the extra frame and both teams traded off matching minors, leaving the penalty boxes congested with time ticking away in overtime.
Pioneers forward Chris Coveney started to take his puck out of the St. Johns zone, but was halted by Sullivan who ripped the puck from his stick, turned in the slot and fired a shot that beat Pizzeri glove-side.
We made a quick change, Sullivan said. The defenseman got caught with the pucks between his skates, I shot the puck low and it went in.
6:02 overtime: BC High 3, St. John's (S) 2 -- St. John's played hard in overtime despite already being eliminated, but Matt Sullivan forces turnover in the Pioneers' zone and goes top shelf on Pizzeri from the slot for the unassisted game-winner. Keep it right here for updates from game No. 2 between Malden Catholic and Hingham.
End of regulation: St. John's (S) 2, BC High 2 -- This one will require extra time...shots on goal, 37-16, for BC High through three periods. Let's see what St. John's brings in overtime, they are now eliminated from the tournament even if they win due to goal differential.
12:09 3rd period: St. John's (S) 2, BC High 2 -- We've got a new game. Second power play goal of the day for BC High. Besinger walks in on Pioneers goalie Mario Pizzeri...Pizzeri makes the initial save but Besinger is able to take a few extra hacks and jam it past him. Assists to Brian Furery and Bartley Regan.
11:27 3rd period: St. John's (S) 2, BC High 1 -- BC High takes its timeout with three and a half minutes left...Eagles about to go on the man advantage for the third time with Andrew Smith in the box for boarding.
End of 2nd period: St. John's (S) 2, BC High 1 -- BC High couldn't pull even on the power play late in the period and the Pioneers take the one goal lead into the locker room despite a 14-6 Eagles shot advantage for the period.
10:59 2nd period: St. John's (S) 2, BC High 1 -- Jay Duquette gives the Pioneers their first lead of the game...takes a feed from Emmerling from behind the net and picks the top corner from just above the left circle...assists to Emmerling and Vin D'Amato.
6:18 2nd period: BC High 1, St. John's (S) 1 -- Besinger back on the ice for BC High, just in time to see Kevin Emmerling score the tying goal, top shelf glove side on BC High netminder Peter Cronin...unassisted.
4:00 2nd period: BC High 1, St. John's (S) 0 -- BC High's Tom Besinger drops his stick and glove and heads for the bench in pain...looks like a wrist/hand injury.
End of 1st period: BC High 1, St. John's (S) 0 -- The Eagles hold on to the one goal lead on Sullivan's goal...led first period in shots on goal, 9-3.
6:45 1st period: BC High 1, St. John's (S) 0 -- Matt Sullivan on the door step after a Sam Topham shot from the point. Power-play goal...assists to Topham and Tom Besinger.
The first of four games are underway at Lawler Arena. It's round three of the Super 8 hockey tournament and before the end of the day four teams will advance to Wednesday's crossover round while four will hang up the skates for the year.
Originally published on the blog The High School Sports Blog