But the Eagles would have the final say. On the very next shift, the Prep’s top line delievered as Pinho took a pass from Bird (who sold Central goalie Colin Soucy on a great fake) and easily slammed it into the empty cage for a 3-2 lead. The goal, Pinho’s first of the postseason, came just 26 seconds after the Raiders had tied it.
“I had been gripping my stick so tight (this series),” said Pinho, emulating wringing an invisible stick after the game. “It was so good to get that one. Hopefully there’s more coming.”
The Eagles then capitalized on the man advantage with under three minutes to play. Not in a power play formation so much as they had their first line on the ice, St. John’s found themselves in an odd-man situation in the Raider zone and buried it when Bird knocked home a rebound to Soucy’s right.
“They’re a tough, tough team,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski of the Prep. His team split four meetings with the Eagles this season. “It was a great series.”
Junior left wing Jimmy Currier broke the ice for St. John’s Prep 5:38 into the second period, throwing a turnaround shot on goal from the right circle that slipped under Soucy’s pads. Lloyd Hayes’ power play tally four minutes later tied it for Central before the Eagles retook the lead before the end of the period on Paul Crehan’s one-timer off a Justin Longo rebound.
For both Currier and Crehan it was their seventh goals of the season.
“We’ve got 15 seniors in our locker room and they never stopped, to be honest,” said Hanson. “We’ve got great senior leadership, great captains. Right from the drop of the puck ... right from the bus, I should say ... they were motivating each other. They didn’t want this to be their last game.”