MIAA Boys Division 1 State Final: St. John’s Prep Beats Winchester, 3-2, On Disputed Goal, Secures Second D1 Title In Three Seasons

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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In a bizarre a finish as you could imagine, St. John’s Prep emerged victorious in the MIAA Boys Division 1 state final, getting a 3-2 win as senior Johnny Tighe punched home a loose puck as time expired in regulation play.

The on-ice officials conferred after the goal and after a brief discussion, allowed it to stand, giving the Eagles the 2024 D1 state championship, the team’s second title in three seasons. Numerous videos of the goal on social media appeared to show it crossed the goal line after time had expired.

Tighe also scored a goal earlier in the third period to tie the score, after Winchester, an underdog coming in, had a 2-1 lead, and led by a yeoman performance from goaltender Aidan Emerick, were looking for the big upset.

SJP Coach Kris Hanson celebrates 3-2 win over Winchester and MIAA Boys Division 1 championship with some Eagles players

The Prep outshot Winchester 24-5 in the third period, and 47-15 for the game.

“We have a ton of respect for Winchester and its coaching staff,” said St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson. “I thought they executed their game plan well and limited our second chance opportunties. Their goalie played excellent. We knew coming in this would be a tough game. Not for a minute did I think that we are playing an 11 seed, it should be easy. We prepared as hard this week in practice as we ever have.”

The Eagles (22-3-0) scored the only goal of a fast-moving first period. It came at the 12:11 mark when sophomore blueliner JR Goldstein connected from the left point after taking a pass from Carson Irving.

** Listen to SJP players Johnny Tighe, Jake Vana, Brady Plaza and Christian Rosa talk about the game here:

At 5:46 of the second period, the Red & Black went on a power play and it took them just 10 seconds to cash in. Adam Krogmeier slid a perfect pass from the side of the cage through Prep goalie AJ Farese’s legs to a wide open Chris McCarthy, who buried it into the open side to tie it at 1-1.

The Eagles outshot Winchester 15-5 in the middle frame, but Emerick (44 saves) stood tall, keeping it a 1-1 game into the third period.

St. John’s got a power play advantage in the first minute of the third period and threw a barrage on Emerick, but the junior stopped them all to keep the game tied.

A few minutes later, Danny Collins spring McCarthy on a break-in behind the Prep defense. He buried the shot and Winchester had its first lead at 2-1.

But just over a minute later, on another power play chance, Tighe, stationed just off the left post, converting a nifty cross ice feed from Jake Vana.

The Prep continued its assault, but Emerick was there each time.

As the final seconds ticked off and it appeared this game was headed to overtime, Eagles defenseman Brady Plaza collected the puck at the right point. He fired on goal. The puck squirted over to Tighe, in just about the same position as he was for the tying goal, fired it home with the clock at 0:00.

As the Eagles celebrated, the on-ice officials met and ruled Tighe’s shot was a good goal. According to MIAA rules, a video review of the goal was not allowed, and Tighe’s game-winner stood, giving the Prep the victory.

“I think we really showed our resiliency, our never quit attitude,” Hanson said. “We got down 2-1 in the third and to see the emotional support Winchester had and with its crowd, we knew it would be a tough hill to climb.”

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