By Gianna Addario
---- — WILMINGTON — The St. John’s Prep hockey team sailed away with its first victory of the season over Lexington last night at Wilmington’s Ristuccia Arena.
It was almost identical to last year’s opening night victory over the Minutemen and for the second straight season the Prep handled its first opponent of the season with an 8-1 win.
The Eagles, who have nine returning forwards back from last season, jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period. Senior Andrew Brandano capitalized on an early power play opportunity to net the first of his three goals of the evening.
“We’re always a bit nervous coming in, especially being the opener,” said Prep head coach Kristian Hanson, whose team out shot Lexington 47-4. “I am happy we got off to a good start. I thought our team speed was excellent tonight and our depth is pretty good right now.
“As the year goes on and the opponents get tougher, it will be a little better measuring stick to see where we are.”
The starting line of Brandano, captain Brian Pinho and Cam Shaheen, along with the defensive pair of Brent Murray and James Brightney tallied nine points, including five goals.
Brandano netted his other two goals in the second period, both of which were assisted by Pinho who scored the final goal of the game for the Prep.
“I think the lines worked well together,” said Hanson. “The kids are pretty comfortable playing with each other. We’ve only had really two weeks of practice to prepare, so you never know if the lines will stay the way they are long term. For right now, I was satisfied with the chemistry out there.”
Senior Billy Price started in goal for the Eagles and played 19 minutes, before junior Anthony Selvitella came in to finish out the game. Between the two goalies they combined for three saves and were nearly perfect between the pipes until Lexington’s Henrik Nilsson beat Selvitella on a breakaway in the third period.
“Obviously David Letarte started for us the past four years,” Hanson said of his goalie situation. “Coming in we have Billy and Anthony fighting for the starting position. We felt preseason-wise Billy had a little bit of edge, so he got the start.”
The Providence College-bound Pinho centered the first line with ease, setting up his line mates with a handful of scoring opportunities and even creating some for himself. Pinho, who was second in scoring for the Eagles last season, never missed a beat in the opening contest.
“We wanted to come out and set the tone for the season,” said Pinho. “We have a lot of guys returning, so it was a nice way to build our confidence.”
St. John’s Prep 8, Lexington 1
at Ristuccia Arena, Wilmington
Lexington: 0 0 1 — 1
St. John’s Prep: 2 4 2 — 8
First period: SJP, Andrew Brandano (Cam Shaheen), ppg, 4:42; SJP, Paul Crehan (un), 12:36).
Second Period: SJP, Tyler Bird (Jack McCarthy), 1:45; SJP, James Brightney (un), 4:06; SJP, Brandano (Brian Pinho, 4:54; SJP, Brandano (Pinho), 11:45.
Third Period: L, Henrik Nilsson (un), 1:31; SJP, McCarthy (un), 12:20; SJP, Pinho (Brandano), 13:20.
Saves: SJP, Billy Price 2, Anthony Selvitella 1; L, Macallan Sutton and Tommy Agne 39.
Records: SJP, 1-0; L, 0-1