St. John’s Prep Defeats St. John’s Shrewsbury 4-3 in OT

Middleton, MA MassNZ traveled to Essex Sports Center for Senior Night to watch the top-ranked St. John’s Prep Eagles battle it out with the 13-ranked St. John’s Shrewsbury Pioneers. The Eagles looked to keep their three-game winning streak alive, while the Pioneers were seeking revenge as their last matchup the Eagles dealt the Pioneers a 6-1 setback.

In the first period, St. John’s Prep started out with some hard and heavy forechecking which led to some early chances for the Eagles. As a result of the hard checking from the Eagles, senior forward Christian Rosa jumped on a puck down low and found the left shot senior Johnny Tighe in the slot and he made no mistake with a one-timer labeled for the corner. After going down 1-0, the Pioneers started to push for some chances thanks to the strong efforts and playmaking abilities of junior forward Daniel Menyalkin. Despite the chances provided by St. John’s Shrewsbury, the Eagles pushed back with many heavyweight checks and their relentless forecheck. The hard work paid off for St. John’s Prep as they earned themselves a power play late in the first. With less than a minute into the power play, senior defenseman Brady Plaza found junior forward Mason Luciano with a nice stretch pass to gain zone entry, where Luciano found senior captain Jake Vana in the slot. Making no mistake, Vana put the Eagles up 2-0 to end the first period.

In the second period, the game got very chippy as we saw numerous penalties and lots of special teams work for both teams. This penalty-filled period started 20 seconds in which sent St. John’s Shrewsbury to the power play. Shortly into the power play, junior defenseman Anthony Desimone caught a puck at the point and slid it over to senior forward Luke Gerardi where he found the top corner, getting the Pioneers within one. Less than three minutes later, the Pioneers returned to the power play. Desimone started a tic-tac-toe passing play where he found Menyalkin who slid a pass through the seam to find Gerardi getting his second of the game. The Eagles got their own chance on the power play a few minutes later but came up empty. Coming off the power play empty-handed, the Eagles were swarming. A seemingly innocent shot from the point by senior defenseman Jack Doherty bounced behind the net and right onto sophomore forward Ethan Goodrich’s stick where he put it upstairs to get the Eagles back ahead by one. The chippiness continued, leading to four-on-four and power play chances for all, but no one capitalized. With about a minute left, Menyalkin showed off his hands and found Gerardi close by to pot his third of the period.

In the third period, both teams came out flying looking to find the elusive go-ahead goal. A few minutes into the period, St. John’s Prep was sent to the power play as a result of a great hustle play from the Eagles’ sophomore forward Cooper Hosmer. There were plenty of good chances for St. John’s Prep, but much like the rest of the game, junior goalie Dante Sousa stood tall for the Pioneers. Around the seven-minute mark, the Eagles looked to have scored, but the play was blown down by the officiating crew. As a result of the no-goal call, the intensity picked up on the ice and in the stands from the vociferous student sections. The period continued to be filled with heavy hits and a fast pace, but regulation ended with the score still knotted at 3-3.

In the overtime period, there were a plethora of chances at both ends of the ice. St. John’s Prep was working the puck around and maintaining possession, but St. John’s Shrewsbury was not going away quietly. The Pioneers had a few strong opportunities late, but the Eagles continued to push back. In the waning seconds of the overtime, St. John’s Prep’s senior leading scorer Rosa carried the puck into the offensive zone where he found Vana in the slot, who then bumped the puck back door for Doherty to give the Eagles the overtime 4-3 victory.

Three Stars: 

  1. D Jack Doherty, St. John’s Prep
  2. F Luke Gerardi, St. John’s Shrewsbury
  3. F Jake Vana, St. John’s Prep