St. John’s Prep didn’t see anything they didn’t expect when they faced off in an MIAA Boys Division 1 semifinal against Catholic Conference rival BC High. The SJP Eagles knew they would be in for a defensive battle.
BC High almost pulled it off. A second period goal put them ahead and they held that slim one-goal lead into the game’s final minute.
But the Prep got the job done, tying the game with 52 seconds left and goalie Payton Palladino out for a sixth attacker to send it to overtime, where the top-seeded Eagles prevailed on sophomore Christian Rosa’s goal 4:25 into the second extra session, giving SJP a 2-1 win and a berth in Sunday’s state final, where they will face another Catholic Conference rival – Xaverian, who also advanced in a double-overtime thriller over Arlington.
See Christian Rosa’s game-winning goal here:
“Obviously, we were well aware that BC High had won their last two tournament games 1-0,” said St. John’s coach Kristian Hanson. “We were aware of the type of game they were going to play. They tried to prevent us from getting anything around the net. They layed down and they blocked shots and did a helluva job doing it. It worked for the majority of the night. You have to give credit to their coaching staff and players. It got them to the semifinals and almost to the finals.
“But give credit to our boys as well for not quitting and with the goalie pulled getting that tying goal and then winning it in overtime.”
As regulation time wore down, BC High iced the puck, creating an offensive zone faceoff for SJP with 1:07 to go. The puck was worked around. Will Van Sicklin fired into the crease from a tough angle. BC High blocked the pass, but the puck ricocheted out to Aiden Holland just past the top of the circles, and the defensmen blasted a wristed to the top corner.
See Aiden Holland’s tying goal here:
The goal seemed to ignite the Prep, who controlled play in the first overtime period, outshooting BC High 7-0. BC High did have one great opportunity to win it late in the from, but Ricky Robinson’s bid from in close bounced off the crossbar.
Prior to that, St. John’s Prep was awarded a penalty shot with 2:20 to go after a BC High defender covered a loose puck in the crease. BC High goalie Jack Burke was up to the task, making a great stick save on Van Sicklin to keep the game even.
On the game-winner, during the 3-0n-3, Tommy Sarni was able to grab the puck behind the BC High net. He sent a perfect feed out front to Rosa, who quickly snapped home a wrist shot, sending SJP to the TD Garden.
“I think that deflated them (BC High) a bit, giving up a goal in the last minute,” Hanson said. “I think we kind of stole the momentum from them. And you know what? we are the #1 seed and we have a lot of good hockey players. I felt with the 4-on-4 and 3-on-3, it would be to our advantage. Thankfully they executed.
The Prep enjoyed a 10-6 shot advantage in a scoreless first period. The second period was a defensive struggle. BC High finally broke through at the 5:13 mark. Luke O’Sullivan knoced home a loose puck in the crease, after a great rush down the left wing by Frank Shediac.
BC High finished its season at 10-13-1 overall. Seeded 13th, they knocked off Milton(3-2), Catholic Memorial (1-0) and Austin Prep (1-0) to reach the semifinals.