Middleton, MA – MassNZ traveled to Essex Sports Center in Middleton to watch the Eagles from St. John’s Prep take on the Spartans of St. Mary’s Lynn. With a packed arena as Rink 2 held a battle between Essex Tech and Winthrop, the crowd on Rink 1 continued to grow throughout the night.
In the first period, it was easy to see that the Eagles came to play. Through heavy hits and lots of speed, they created numerous chances early, but could not find the back of the net due to the efforts of St. Mary’s Lynn’s sophomore goaltender Matthew Smith Jr. The pressure continued to rise as the St. John’s Prep defensive core was jumping into the play to complement the heavy forecheck brought on by the big Eagles forwards. As a result of the dominance in possession from St. John’s Prep, St. Mary’s Lynn was forced into playing a dump-and-chase style game going into the second period still knotted at 0-0.
In the second period, it was evident that St. John’s Prep would not be denied for much longer. Less than a minute in, a tic-tac-toe passing play started by a drop pass from senior captain Jake Vana to senior defenseman Jack Doherty, found another senior captain Christian Rosa streaking in for a tip-in goal to put the Eagles up 1-0. With the floodgates opened, St. John’s Prep continued to pour it on. Shortly after Rosa’s tally, Doherty got a pass up the wall from senior Rosa who ripped a shot that the goalie had no chance on due to the big-body screen from Vana. Around two minutes later, another shot from the point found the twine as senior forward Caleb White found the right shot defenseman Brady Plaza in the slot to put the Eagles up three. St. John’s Prep continued owning the period as they controlled the neutral zone with authority, which put them on the power play with 8:13 left in the second. After some sustained zone time and a great stop from the senior defenseman Plaza at the blue line, he found the sharp-shooting Rosa, who labeled a one-timer to the top corner to extend the Eagles lead to 4-0. To close out the period, St. Mary’s Lynn went to the power play and was not able to find the back of the net. 4-0 St. John’s Prep with 17 minutes to play.
In the third period, it appeared like St. John’s Prep was going to add another, but due to the net being dislodged the lead stayed at four for the Eagles. Despite the early chance, St. Mary’s Lynn came out of the locker room with more speed and physicality led by junior forward Nick Thornton. The Spartans fought back, but could not match the Eagles’ relentless forecheck. That forecheck caused a turnover that found its way onto the senior Doherty’s stick, where his shot deflected off a Spartan defenseman increasing the lead to 5-0. Once again, building off of the momentum, the Eagles added another as the senior Vana slides a cross-crease pass to fellow senior Johnny Tighe which enhanced the lead to six. With apparent frustration on the St. Mary’s Lynn side, tempers began to rise causing some power play and 4-on-4 action late in the game. Despite the special teams minutes, the game concluded with a dominant 6-0 win for St. John’s Prep over St. Mary’s Lynn.
- F Christian Rosa, St. John’s Prep
- D Jack Doherty, St. John’s Prep
- F Jake Vana, St. John’s Prep