(Best of 3)
No. 4 Austin Prep 2, No. 5 Central Catholic 1
In between a frenzied start and frantic finish there were relatively few prime scoring chances. Central Catholic controlled large stretches of play but couldn’t solve AP goalie Elijah Harris (31 saves) until a late power play goal.
Austin exploded out of the gate, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes. First Bobo Carpenter zipped a mid-slot wrist shot past Central’s Colin Soucy (20 saves) just 35 seconds into the game. Then Jack McKenelley beat Soucy between the pads for a 2-0 lead at 2:51. Andrew Cross and Mike Eagan had the assists.
Soucy kept the deficit at two with a pair of mid-period glove gems on AP’s Mike Eagan, then shut down Carpenter closing in from the right side. Midway through the period Central began to assert the control that would lead to a 24-10 shot advantage through the final two periods.
Harris, though, was unfazed. His best save may have been a flashing right-pad kick out on a shorthanded bid by Central’s Christian Thompson, closing from the left side midway through the second period. Thompson did finally get Central on the board with a power play tally with 1:01 to play, swatting a puck out of mid-air and past Harris. That set off a final Central swarm but Harris had one final stellar stop, denying Lloyd Harris from the bottom of the left circle as time wound down.
Game 2 is Thursday night at Tsongas Arena in Lowell (8 p.m.).