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October 25, 2013

Ex-SJP star McCarthy thrives playing first NHL game in Boston for Sharks

BOSTON — The end result was not at all what he and his teammates were hoping for.

But the simple fact that John McCarthy was able to play his first professional hockey game before family and friends at the TD Garden last night was a nice consolation.

McCarthy, the former St. John’s Prep and Boston University captain, skated a regular shift for the San Jose Sharks last night during their heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Bruins — a game in which the visitors dominated statistically, but the hosts won on a goal with 8/10ths of a second remaining.

“It was cool, a great experience for me,” said McCarthy, now 27 years old and in his fifth pro season.”It’s not the outcome we were looking for, but it was a good experience for me. And my family, girlfriend and some friends from home were able to see me play, which was cool.”

The Andover native, who wears No. 43, began the night skating left wing on the Sharks’ fourth line with center Andrew Desjardins and newly acquired enforcer Mike Brown on the right side, but was moved up to the third line late in the second period after teammate Tommy Wingels suffered an injury and did not return.

For the night, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder played 17 minutes and 17 seconds over 25 shifts. He was credited with one shot on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (a wrist shot in the slot that Rask knocked away), one hit, a blocked shot and won his only faceoff. He also spent 41 seconds killing a San Jose penalty.

“I got a lot of ice time and got moved up to the third line, which was nice,” he said. “I thought we played well defensively and got some momentum going on the forecheck. That’s pretty much my role.”

McCarthy, who figured he’s the only born and bred Red Sox fan in the San Jose locker room (although some of the Sharks’ players scored tickets to Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night at Fenway), was a healthy scratch the only other time he was up with the Sharks and they came to Boston (Feb 5, 2011). Last night, he was a regular contributor for a Sharks team that lost for the first time in regulation (8-1-1) this season, the last NHL club to do so.

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