STONEHAM — From the opening faceoff last night at Stoneham Arena, the St. John’s Prep hockey team poured everything it had onto the ice. The Eagles seemed willing to exude every bit of themselves to stay alive in Game 2 of the their Super 8 quarterfinal series with Central Catholic.
The result with an intense game that felt more like a battle of wills, which the Eagles ultimately won, 3-1, thanks to Nic Gianelli’s third period winner and an empty-netter by Jack McCarthy.
All the Prep (18-3-1) earned, however, was the chance to play again tomorrow in the winner-advances, loser-goes-home Game 3 rematch with the Raiders back in Stoneham at 6 p.m.
How do the Eagles summon the energy they had last night for one more 45-minute struggle of attrition?
“We just have to work,” said Gianelli. “We know Central will come out even harder, so it will be time for us to get back to work.”
With just 48 hours to recharge their batteries after a game that was tight and physical the entire way, you might think the Eagles are at a disadvantage. Last week’s Game 1 came after a long layoff, however, and was the Prep’s worst game of the season; they welcome the opportunity to get right back on the ice.
“A lot of the momentum we built during the season, we lost during that layoff,” said Eagles coach Kristian Hanson. “Tonight, we got back to what we’re good at, and I’m happy there’s a quick turnaround. My guys are ready to go right now.”
Central Catholic (15-6-3) was hanging on thanks to a 42-save effort from junior Colin Soucy. The Raiders no doubt feel that he’ll keep them in Game 3 if they can manufacture enough offense to oust the Super 8’s top seed.