MALDEN — There have been times over the last several seasons when rival Malden Catholic has been a stop sign for the St. John’s Prep hockey team.
Last night, thanks to the play of their Green Line, the Eagles got the green light and sped through that particular road block with a 5-2 decision at Valley Forum II.
Senior Paul Crehan crashed the net and scored the game-winning goal just 1:58 into the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie as linemate Justin Longo did the dirty work on the boards to free the puck and set up the chance.
“Malden Catholic is a third period team and we said to ourselves that we had to step up. We had to be the team making big plays in the third period — and that’s what we did,” said senior Cam Shaheen, who centers the Green Line and picked up an assist on Crehan’s goal.
Juniors Tyler Bird and Jack McCarthy scored later in the third to ensure the Prep (10-2) won its fifth straight contest and swept the season series with the Lancers for the first time in head coach Kristian Hanson’s six seasons. MC (4-5-3) dropped its third straight.
With the win, the Eagles (4-1 in Catholic Conference action) move into a first-place tie in league play with B.C. High (3-0-2), making Saturday’s Derek Hines Memorial Game at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington (2:30 p.m.) monumental in the championship chase.
“This was a critical two points. We’re fighting with B.C. High and Catholic Memorial, and points are at a premium. You have to bring your best effort every night in this league,” said Hanson, whose team officially qualified for state tournament play with last night’s win.
Senior goalie Billy Price made 27 saves for St. John’s, including 11 of 12 in the first period. The Eagles were ahead 2-1 after one stanza despite being outshot (12-5) thanks to goals by seniors Derek Osbahr (at 2:53 of the period) and Shaheen (at 11:15).