Division One’s most prolific offensive team was at it again Saturday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena as Springfield Cathedral overwhelmed St. John’s Prep, 10-2.
The totality of the performance was such that it should assure Cathedral of a Top Four ranking when the Division 1A Tournament seeds are set.
The Panthers (13-2-4) – 5-0-3 since a mid-January loss to Central Catholic – got hat tricks from Holy Cross-bound junior Peter Crinella (4 goals) and eighth-grader Devan Tongue as well as two goals and two assists from Quinnipiac-bound junior D.J. Pettruzzelli. Defenseman Dan Petrick added a single goal.
Crinella (24-24-48) and Petruzzelli (19-28-47) continue to rank one-two in Division One scoring. Tongue, playing on the second line with UMass-Amherst commit Johnny Leonard, has added 10 goals to the Panthers’ season output of 111.
“They (St. John’s) are a Super Eight caliber team and they’re in desperation mode trying to qualify. We expected them to come at us hard and the first period was as physical a period as we’ve been in all year,” said Cathedral coach Brian Foley. “But, this was a big game for us – we’re still looking at this like we can get a [1A] number one seed.”
Crinella got it going early for Cathedral when his long-range wrist shot from the left wing eluded Prep’s freshman keeper Zach Laramie at just 2:02.
St. John’s tied it with 3:30 left in the period, converting a pretty 2-on-1. Nick Latham carried to the right circle and delivered the puck to Mark Etherington, whose return backhand dish set up Latham for an open-side finish past the Panthers’ six-foot, six-inch freshman keeper Keith Petruzzelli (20 saves), also headed to Quinnipiac.
Crinella made it 2-1 on the power play with 2:02 left in the period, deflecting the defenseman Petrick’s shot from the umbrella past Laramie. The man advantage resulted from a too many men on the ice infraction that the Prep coaching staff protested loud and lustily without effect.
“Getting that goal at the end of the first period was a big boost. Between periods, we talked about letting our speed and skill take over,” said Foley.
Which it did. Crinella’s third, at 6:27, triggered a four-goal burst in a span of 3:45 that included Tongue’s first and a pair from D.J. Petruzzelli – the first chased Laramie and the second came on the first shot against new goalie Brian Conry.
It was more of the same in the final period as Tongue completed his hat trick and Crinella netted his fourth. Prep senior Zach Pearce accounted for the final with a short-handed goal in the final minute.
“They scored on every other shot. It’s tough to win when that happens,” said Prep coach Kris Hanson. The 7-9-2 Eagles must win their final two games to qualify for the post-season. “Our backs have been against the wall for the last month. Our tournament has started and it’s up to us to step up and play. All we can do is forget about this and come back ready to move forward.”
Prep meets Winchester Wednesday night (Ristuccia, 8) while Cathedral takes on Bridgewater-Raynham Tuesday afternoon (Bridgewater Arena, 1) before hosting its annual tournament next Thursday. The field includes three-time reigning 1A champion Malden Catholic along with St. Mary’s of Lynn and Needham.