St. John's Prep Skates to 4-4 tie with Hingham
The Eagles take strides with a solid outing against the defending Division 1A champions this week.
All things considered, it's understandable that St. John's Prep hockey coach Kris Hanson had mixed emotions following Wednesday night's 4-4 tie with Hingham before an energized crowd at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
On the one hand, Prep (1-0-1) never trailed and battled the unbeaten defending Division 1A State Champions on even terms. On the other, the Eagles surrendered the lead three times and settled for a single point when two were there for the taking.
"It was an evenly-played game and a good early test for us against a very good team. They (Hingham) graduated a lot of guys from last year's team but they still have a good nucleus back and are very solid. Obviously, I would have preferred the two points but we'll take the one," said Hanson.
How even was it? Both teams finished with 23 shots on goal and both goalies, David Letarte of St. John's and Derek McInnis of Hingham, seemed uncomfortable at times while matching one another with 19 saves each. The Prep kept Holy Cross-bound Hingham sniper Tim Driscoll off the score sheet but four other Harbormen tallied single goals.
Hanson said the game revealed areas the Eagles must work on in order to achieve their goals of competing for a Catholic Conference championship and qualifying for this year's Division 1A Tournament.
"We need to be more determined and win the one-on-one's – I need to see us win more of those battles. And there are simple things we need to improve upon such as backchecking properly and correct positional play," he said. "But, we have some young kids out there. We're starting Brian Pinho (sophomore), Shane Eiserman (freshman) and Tyler Bird (freshman) on our second and third lines and none of them have played in a game of this magnitude before. They're still learning."
The Prep grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period on goals by senior defenseman Joe Currie at 4:46 and junior forward Sam Kurker on the power play at 9:30.
Hingham cut the lead in half in the second minute of the second period on Dan Griffin's strike; however, the Eagles' Jon Farrow matched that at 8:44 of the period, restoring the Prep's two-goal cushion. The Harbormen shifted into overdrive in the period's late stages, scoring two goals within a span of 1:28 to send the teams off tied, 3-3, after two.
Kurker staked St. John's to a 4-3 lead with his second goal with 6:05 left in the game but the Harbormen pulled even for the third and final time on Austin O'Connor's goal with 4:34 to play.
St. John's begins league play on Monday when it faces perennial power Catholic Memorial at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena (2 p.m.). Catholic Memorial is an uncharacteristic 1-2 in the early going with losses to LaSalle Academy of Rhode Island and Independent School League power St. Sebastian's, but Hanson said the Eagles will be prepared for nothing less than a full-on 45-minute assault by the defending league champion Knights.