WILMINGTON — St. John’s Prep hockey coach Kristian Hanson knew exactly how visiting Danvers would attack his Eagles in last night’s inaugural ‘Oniontown Classic’ at Ristuccia Arena.
It might have taken the Prep a bit too long to realize it, with the Falcons scoring the game’s first goal. The favored Eagles responded quickly, however, getting the last five of the night to win, 5-1.
“Having coached in Salem, I was very familiar with Danvers hockey and that pride and tradition. I knew they’d come in here doing everything they could to win, and that they’d never quit,” said Hanson, whose team evened its record at 4-4-1.
The Falcons (5-6 overall, but 5-5 for state tournament purposes as last night’s game was an exclusion contest) played a disciplined, physical brand of hockey. Danvers blocked eight shots in the first period, finished its checks and took the lead midway through the first period.
Trevor Daly tied up his man on an offensive zone faceoff, which allowed freshman winger Robert Tibbets to slam the puck by Prep goalie Zach Laramie for a 1-0 lead.
“It was really important for us to be ready to go, and we were. I was pretty proud of our effort throughout the whole game,” said Danvers coach Kevin Brown.
The Eagles didn’t allow Danvers to play with the lead for long. Captain Jimmy Currier took control of a loose puck in front of the cage and scored just 73 seconds later. Later in the first, the Prep took a lead it did not relinquish when Seth Murray tipped Ean Mendeszoon’s blast by Falcon goalie Alex Taylor (27 saves).
“I thought Danvers’ goalie played really well. He’s a big kid and he made a lot of big saves,” Hanson said. “We didn’t do a good enough job getting to the net, and we had too many shots come from the perimeter.”