STONEHAM — St. John’s Prep started its series against Central Catholic with a loss, but finished strong with two must-wins to move on to the semifinals of the Super 8. The Eagles knocked off the Raiders, 4-2, in the rubber game Sunday night at Stoneham Arena.
Unlike in Game 2, Central Catholic (15-7-3) did not put its hopes of winning solely on the back of goalie Colin Soucy. The junior did makes 17 saves, but his offense provided 25 shots on goal. Unfortunately for the Raiders, not enough of those shots beat Prep goalie Billy Price.
“I thought he matched what Soucy did,’’ Eagles coach Kristian Hanson said.
The first period set the tone for what would be a back-and-forth battle, but the scoreboard did not light up until the second period.
James Currier opened the scoring
at 5:38 of the second for the Prep (19-3-1). The junior spun around in front of the net and beat Soucy. Lloyd Hayes and the Raiders did not let Currier and Co. celebrate for long, however.
The junior scored four minutes later on a power play. Hayes finished the series with three goals, his team’s first goal in each game.
Paul Crehan scored the Eagles’ second goal with a shot that grazed the crossbar before finding the back of the net late in the second period.
Central Catholic’s Christian Thompson scored 7:34 into the third period to tie it again, but the Prep’s Brian Pinho answered 26 seconds later to make it 3-2.
“That was the best goal I’ve scored in my life,’’ said Pinho, the Catholic Conference co-MVP. “Soucy robbed me probably five times. After the second [period] I was frustrated, but Coach told me just to relax.’’
Hanson’s words calmed his captain and led to the Eagles’ most important goal of the night.
“Brian was frustrated. Soucy kind of had his number this series. He had his opportunity and he seized it,’’ Hanson said.
Pinho also tallied an assist late in the third, feeding Tyler Bird with 1:08 to play.
“I’m happy we won would be my initial reaction, relieved would certainly be another,’’ Hanson said. “After last Sunday and the way we looked [in Game 1], I certainly wouldn’t have guaranteed this.’’
St. John’s Prep will play Austin Prep in the semifinals Wednesday at Tsongas Center. The Eagles handed the Cougars their only loss of the season Jan. 19.
“They’re a great team, very tough to beat. Forget about when we beat them, that was January. It’s springtime now,’’ Hanson said.