St. John’s Prep Pushes Past St. John’s Shrewsbury 5-1, Advances to D1 Final Four

Middleton, MA – MassNZ dropped by the Essex Sports Center, as did the Pioneers of St. John’s Shrewsbury to face the Eagles of St. John’s Prep, the defending State Champions, in the Elite 8. One team would advance to the Final 4, one win away from the TD Garden, we were primed for this matchup with a packed house that was juiced up from the start.

From the puck drop St. John’s Prep carried the play. They played fast, physical and with urgency. They took advantage of their speed, getting pucks deep behind the Pioneers defenseman and caused havoc. Pioneers senior goalie Ryan Melanson was busy early, and often making some key saves to keep the game tied at 0-0. SJP wouldn’t be denied and would finally beat Melanson. With 9:23 to go, junior Christian Rosa beat the SJS defenseman wide and got a puck to the net. The rebound came off Melanson’s pad and onto the stick of junior forward Jake Vana who buried it, giving the Prep the 1-0 lead. SJS went on the power play looking to tie up the game but the SJP kill was too strong.
With 3:59 to go in the period, SJP would go on the power play, and it wouldn’t take long to double their lead. Junior Cam Umlah had the puck on the side wall and fed senior defenseman Aidan Holland at the point. Holland fired a quick shot that was tipped home by senior Ben McGilvray. That would conclude the scoring and the period would end 2-0 SJP.

SJP continued to push the pace in the second. but Melanson continued to stand tall in the net. The Eagles controlled offensive zone time and did a good job getting pucks on net creating multiple scoring chances and wearing down the Pioneers’ defensemen. With 6:30 to go, SJP went on the power play. Vana collected the puck and set up behind Melanson. He found senior Jimmy Ayers open in the slot who beat Melanson with a one timer, to give SJP the 3-0 lead. The period got chippy at the end with both teams trading power plays but ultimately it would end 3-0 as we moved into the final frame.

The third period began with SJP on a 4-on-3 power play. Holland hit Umlah with a nice pass on the right wall, he walked down and ripped a shot short side high on Melanson extending their lead to 4-0. The Eagles kept their foot on the gas and it was a shooting gallery for a bit in the Pioneers’ zone. With 13:52 to go, the lead would extend to 5-0 when senior Will Van Sicklin beat the SJS defensman down the right side and snapped a shot past Melanson beating him five hole. The Pioneers would go on a 5-on-3 power play with a few minutes left in the period. Senior defenseman Andrew Brown hit junior Luke Gerardi with a pass on the left elbow and he beat SJP senior goalie Brian Cronin to get them on the board. SJP controlled the rest the period and took home a convincing 5-1 win. With this win, the Eagles advance to the Final Four for the second straight season to meet Pope Francis for a chance to play at TD Garden.

Three Stars:

  1. D Aidan Holland, St. John’s Prep
  2. F Cam Umlah, St. John’s Prep
  3. F Jake Vana, St. John’s Prep