St. John's Eagles Boys Ice Hockey '07-'08

St. John's Prep senior Kyle Pettoruto of Andover is at his best in the big games. He's beaten two-time defending Super 8 champion BC High twice this winter. » Tim Jean, Staff Photographer

Andover's Pettoruto carrying red-hot St. John's

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Thursday, February, 07 By David Willis
Staff writer

The memories stuck with St. John's Prep goalie Kyle Pettoruto for the entire offseason.

It was the third round of the Super 8 tournament last season and Pettoruto had held superpower Boston College High to one goal for the better part of two periods.

But then disaster struck.

"The puck took a crazy bounce off the glass," the Andover resident remembered. "And it went in the net."

The goal propelled BC High to a 3-1 victory, and the Eaglets went on to win their second straight Division 1A title, while the Prep was eliminated from the tourney.

"I really wanted to get BC High back for last season," said Pettoruto. "I knew that we could hang with them and beat them."

This season, Pettoruto has delivered on his promise. BC High, the No. 2-ranked team in Eastern Mass., has only two losses this season, and Pettoruto has been in the opposing net for both of them.

Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said, "He has really stood out in both. He has made key saves to hold them off."

In his first game against the Eaglets on Jan. 9, Pettoruto made 22 saves in a 3-1 win. On Jan. 26 he made 27 stops in a 3-2 victory.

"It was so great to get them back," he said. "Beating the defending state champions twice is amazing."

But that success is nothing new to Pettoruto this season. In eight starts, the 17-year-old has posted a dazzling 1.88 goals-against average and shutouts over St. John's of Shrewsbury and Essex High (Vt.).

"I'm ecstatic with my season," he said. "It's great to play the best competition in the state. Every game is a big game. I have to play my best because if the goalie isn't playing well, then the team probably won't win."

Pettoruto is 5-2-1 for the 7-3-3 Eagles, who are ranked No. 9 in Eastern Mass. That record would put them in line for a return trip to the Super 8 tourney.

"The Super 8 means everything to us," he said. "My birthday is March 14, and the Super 8 final is a few days after. A Super 8 championship would be the best birthday present ever."

Hanson feels good knowing his veteran backstop is there for him.

"He's a butterfly goalie that's aggressive and confident," said Hanson. "He's the kind of goalie that you want in net in a big-game situation."

Prepping for success

Pettoruto does admit there is at least one negative to going to St John's.

"I have to drive 25 minutes," said Pettoruto, who also considered Central Catholic. "It's not so bad, but there are days after games that I just wish I could roll out of bed and drive two minutes to class.The Prep is great. I wanted the academic challenge, and we have great, passionate fans."

Pettoruto plans to do a post-grad year at either the Kent School in South Kent, Conn., or Hotchkiss in Lakeville, Conn.

He hopes to play both hockey and baseball wherever he attends. He saw spot duty as an outfielder for the Eagles last spring.

Even though he has never suited up for Andover High, the Golden Warriors do have a Pettoruto in net. His sister Megan Pettoruto, a junior, is the goaltender for the Andover girls team. She leads the area in shutouts by a girl with four.

"I used to try to give her advice," said Kyle. "But she thinks I'm too harsh on her. But she seems to be doing pretty well on her own."

Local connection

Pettoruto has plenty of help from another local standout, senior Christian Cowles of Georgetown. He leads the Eagles in goals with 15 and overall points with 24. Other area players for St. John's are senior center Dan Haugh of Andover, the club's second leading scorer (6-11-17), senior forward Colin Prior of Georgetown (6-9|15), junior forward Derek DuBois of Haverhill (0-3-3) and freshman Colin Blackwell of North Andover (2-0-2).

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