Tuesday, March 6, 2018

BC High Nips St. John's Prep in Super 8

Photo by Eamon Convey
By Michael Abelson (@ABELS0N)

Lowell, Mass. - Come state tournament time, pretty doesn’t matter.

BC High took another step closer to getting to the Garden with a grinding, ugly, 1-0 win over St. John’s Prep at Tsongas Center in the second round of the Super 8 tournament.

BC High senior Joe Dragon scored the lone goal of the game 2:45 into the first, and from there it was all about missed opportunities by both sides, and some timely defense late by the victors.

“They have some dangerous guys, and you have to limit their time and their space,” BC High coach John Flaherty said. “Our goal was to try to make sure we weren’t giving them free reign. Our goal was to try to fill those lanes, clog things up. When they did get some quality shots our goalie stood tall and made the saves.”

BC High controlled much of the play, especially in the neutral zone, but jamming St. John’s Prep and keeping them to the outside. BC High held Prep without a shot on goal for the first 9:42 of the game.

When Prep was able to get through junior goalie Luke Garrity was there. Garrity stopped all 17 shots that came his way to preserve the win.

“A lot of guys in the room were in the room two years ago when they knocked us out,” Garrity said. “We didn’t want that to happen again, especially in this building. We knew what we had to do. We executed.”

BC High kept finding ways to not score an insurance goal. Prep goalie Cam Ludwig stopped 25 shots, and BC High helped him by ringing the post four times. BC’s last post came when the net was empty with 25 seconds left.

“It’s never really a high-scoring game between us two,” Flaherty said. “Scoring one early, I thought we would be able to get one or two more, and then we hit four posts. You start thinking about those posts thinking if they’re going to come back and haunt you. Fortunately for our guys they stuck with it.”

The win advances BC High to Saturday’s semifinal against Hingham. However, due to the double elimination format, the loser of that game will have an additional chance to make it to the Garden via the loser’s bracket.

BC High has not played in a Super 8 final since losing to Malden Catholic in 2012.

“It means everything, especially in double elimination, we have two chances to get there,” Garrity said. “The guys have been working hard all season long, and the fact that we’re at this point says a lot about the guys in the room. We’re playing our best hockey right now.”

Saint John’s Prep threatened in the final minutes but couldn’t solve the BC defense. The loss snaps the Eagles 11-game unbeaten streak. Their last loss also came against BC High, back on January 21.

For Prep, they face elimination when they take on Saint John’s (Shrewsbury) Wednesday night at Chelmsford Forum.

“I expect them to put this behind them, regroup, and come out and play their best game of the season,” Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “We lost to BC High back in early January and we hadn’t lost a game in 10 or 11 straight since then. We’re looking to go on the same type of run now.”

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