, Salem, MA

December 20, 2013

New faces, same result: St. John's Prep hockey hammers Bishop Fenwick in season opener

By Matt Williams
Staff writer

---- — WILMINGTON — It was only one game, and with a plethora of new faces in the lineup the St. John’s Prep hockey team knows this season is going to be a work in progress.

But even the most cautious Eagles supporter had to like to what they saw in the Prep’s first game of the season last night at Ristuccia Arena.

Nine different Eagles had points as St. John’s dispatched fellow North Shore Division 1 foe Bishop Fenwick, 8-1. In all, four of the Prep’s goal scorers were playing major varsity minutes for the first time, and they controlled the flow of the puck from the outset like seasoned veterans.

“It was important for us to get guys into their first games and get that experience, because we’re going into a hostile environment in Hingham tomorrow night,” said St. John’s Prep head coach Kristian Hanson.

“It’s too early to single anybody out. What’s important for us is carrying it over. It was a good opening night.”

Senior Jimmy Currier had two goals and three assists to lead the Prep (1-0). Defenseman Evan Leclerc had a goal and two helpers, including his team’s first of the season on a first period power play. Mark Etherington (goal, assist) and Athanasi Kourkilous (goal, assist) also had multi-point nights.

“Jimmy established himself as a solid offensive player in the second half of last season,” Hanson said. “We’re looking for him to make that step to do it night in and night out this year.”

It was baptism-by-fire for Bishop Fenwick’s sophomore goalie, Bobby Lombardi. The young keeper wearing brown pads that made him look like a 1970s era Gerry Cheevers in Fenwick’s black-and-gold uniforms faced 20 shots in the first period alone.

Lombardi had good lateral movement and protected his crease down low, but in general there wasn’t much he could do about the Prep’s onslaught. He stopped 11 of 13 in the second period and finished with 38 stops on 46 shots.

“I thought our goaltender played very well,” said Fenwick coach Dan Lynch, whose team has had a bit of a trying transition in this, now its third season playing Division 1 hockey.

The Crusaders (0-1, though last night’s game was exempted for state tournament consideration) skate 10 sophomores and five freshmen — and they’ll get better, the coach said.

“The opportunity to play a team like St. John’s will only make us better. Our young players get to see a high level team,” Lynch noted. “We got better in every period, and I think early on our youth really showed.”

The Prep took a 4-0 lead after the first period and extended that to 6-0 in the second. They led 8-0 before Fenwick’s Chris Napolitano got his team on the board on a wraparound tally with 2:40 to play.

The Eagles split their workload in net. Senior Anthony Selvitella got the start and made three saves in the first period; freshman Zach Laramie made three stops in his first varsity action in the second; and senior Brian Conroy stopped three out of four in the third.

“All three goalies are competing for the starting job and it was good to be able to see them all play,” Hanson said. “We really don’t know who’s going to start our next game.”

Seth Murray and Kyle Lynch also scored for the Prep, which was 2-of-3 on the man advantage. Fenwick finished 1-of-5 on the power play.

St. John’s Prep 8, Bishop Fenwick 1

at Ristuccia Arena, Wilmington

Bishop Fenwick: 0 0 1 — 1

St. John’s Prep: 4 2 2 — 8

First period: SJP, Evan Leclerc (Jimmy Currier, Ean Mendeszoon), ppg, 2:33; SJP, Kyle Lynch (Currier, Conor Dolan), 4:53; SJP, Athanasi Kourkoulis (Evan Leclerc), 6:50; SJP, Currier (Lynch), 8:36.

Second Period: JP, Scott Newton (Leclerc), 10:56; SJP, Currier (Lynch, Mark Etherington), 13:44.

Third Period: SJP, Etherington (Currier), ppg, 3:08; SJP, Seth Murray (Kourkoulis), 3:18; BF, Chris Napolitano (un), ppg, 13:20.

Saves: BF, Bobby Lombardi 38; Anthony Selvitella 3; Zach Laramie 3; Brian Conroy 3.

Records: BF, 0-1; SJP, 1-0.