WILMINGTON — The St. John’s Prep hockey team showed its inexperience Saturday afternoon in a 5-3 loss to unbeaten Central Catholic, squandering a two-goal first period lead while allowing the Red Raiders to score three times in the third period.
The Eagles now sit at 3-3 and, with a tough schedule ahead of them, need to find a way to grow up — and grow up quick.
“It’s like that every game,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said about the tough competition. “Last year we were older and had experience and could handle it. This year we’re young and inexperienced ... and we’ve got a lot to learn.”
The Eagles struck twice in the first frame, scoring a pair of goals in a span of just 27 seconds. Senior captain Ean Mendeszoon fired a wrist shot from the point on the power play that beat Central’s all-star keeper Colin Soucy, who was screened by Mark Etherington. Then, Etherington scored off of assists from Jimmy Currier and sophomore Kyle Lynch less than half-minute later to put the Prep ahead, 2-0.
After the Red Raiders (5-0-1) evened the game in the second period, Currier connected with Tyler Scearbo for a one-timer in the slot to give the Eagles the lead again at 3-2. Currier showed great patience on the play, waiting to draw the defender to him and away from Scearbo before threading the pass out front.
Despite the goal the visitors were gaining momentum, and with a lot of power play time in the second period the Red Raiders really started to carry the play offensively. The theme continued in the third when they scored twice to take the lead (4-3) before Alex Hester put the contest away with an empty netter in the final seconds.
St. John’s Prep, which ousted Central Catholic in the best-of-3 first round of the Super 8 playoffs a year ago, was outshot, 28-6, over the final two periods Saturday.