Andover and St. John’s Prep; Division I North MIAA Semi Finals
Lowell, MA-Two of the more respected and well coached teams took the ice in the second D1 North semifinal at Tsongas Arena tonight. The St. John’s Prep Eagles played a patient, poised game and came away with a 3-1 win over a talented Andover squad. Ryan Hart (N. Andover, MA) scored the game winner with just 2:55 left. 2004 goalie Jackson Irving (Newbury, MA) got the start for the Prep and the win. Senior Alex Trottier was solid, stopping 28 in a losing effort for for Andover.
The first period was mostly controlled by St. John’s Prep as they had the puck a lot and outshot Andover 11-4. Andover, however, scored the only goal as sophomore Anthony Previte wristed one home, top corner from the slot with 4:10 left. Classmates Sam Murray and Shane Lachance picked up assists. That’s how it ended with Andover leading 1-0 after 1.
In a reverse of the first, Andover seemed to gather more traction and outshot the Eagles in the second. However, it was SJP who was able to score the only goal. Irving made a couple of quality saves early. Then with 7:31 left junior Ryan Webb (Rockport, MA) scored from Patrick Moran (N. Andover, MA) and Ned Malolepszy (N. Andover, MA) on a line rush to even the score at 1-1. Teams went back and forth and Trottier even stopped a 2-0 with two minutes remaining. Andover outshot St. John’s Prep 16-10 giving the Eagles only a one shot advantage through two periods. 1-1 after two.
The third period with both team trying to establish the physical game and hits were plenty. Play was pratty even. The Eagles struck first as Ryan Bradley (Peabody, MA) fired home a low shot from the slot from Zach McKennelley (Middleton, MA) and Evan Moore (Salem, NH.) With 5:46 left Andover’s Evan Arpin alertly jumped on an odd bounce. He attacked the net, held and held until he was around Irving for the open-net score. Things got tense at but that’s when he Prep’s leading scorer decided to make a huge play. Hart went end to end, going by others like they were standing still, got to the net and slid the puck five-hole calmly for the score. 2:55 was left on the clock. Moran would add an empty netter and SJP would take home a 4-2 win. They will play Winchester for the DI North title Monday at 7:30 at Tsongas Arena.
1st Ryan Hart (SJP)
2nd Patrick Moran (SJP)
3rd Jackson Irving (SJP)
NZ’s Take: Overall the game was even and both these teams have lots of talented young players who will be back next season. Things looks bright for both teams. Both goalies played well but we did think overall the Eagles had an advantage on the blue line. They played smart on the lines and hit to defend. Andover has some players that can skate and that’s an area they used to their advantage through stretches. For SJP; Jack Riley (Winchester, MA) is a bit inconsistent but showed flashes of tough defending ad solid play up the ice. McKennelley has good size and quick hands. Puck does not slow and the 2002 is interesting. Shot gave the goalie trouble and he played his role well. Up and down with physicality and got pucks to the net. He has more to show. Hart’s goal was just his deciding to end it. The 2002 junior is their leading scorer and he showed up at a big moment tonight. Ned Malolepszy is interesting 2002; good feet and stayed around the play. Will Perry (N. Andover, MA) hit at his blue line and used his long reach very well. Lateral mobility looked excellent. Intriguing player. Good mobility at 6’4”, great on the PK, love his upside. Moran has good speed, played in all situations and worked hard back to his end. Played all 200 feet. Tyler Raposa (Newburyport, MA) made crisp outlets, balanced on his skates and is smart positionally. Jack Gilligan (Salem, MA) is smart and keeps things under control back on the blue line. Good size and feet. Leads by example. Jackson Irving is a recently turned 15 year-old who looked poised and relaxed. He is not big yet but has elite instincts in the net. For Andover; Trottier should not hang his head. He was tough and played with grit in the crease. 2003 Shane Lachance is big, strong and dominated some shifts here. He is good right where he is at Andover as big guys take longer; no rush. He has soft hands and a nice release. Can play the cycle game or see the second layer on the line rush. Jam around the cage and his shot is tough to read off his blade. Evan played defense on one PK. Has some wiggle and a high ceiling. Sam Murray is slick and quick. Evan Arpin is explosive and poised. Leo Byers has great vision and is shifty and clever. Matthew Schuhwerk, the team captain played like it. He was good in all situations and protected the puck, took hits to make plays and blocked shots. At 6’2’, he clogged lanes all game. Steve Ingram has a heavy game, played PP and also blocked shots, solid 2002 with upside. All but two of the Andover players mentioned here are due back and they should go back. It’s a talented, young group.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling Images