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

Prep hockey team needs to right its ship quickly after poor Super 8 opener

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Monday, March, 03 By Phil Stacey
Staff writer

Things could not have gone much worse.

You name it and it happened to the St. John's Prep hockey team Saturday afternoon, a gloomy day that resulted in a gloomy 4-2 loss to Malden Catholic in the first round of the Super 8 hockey tournament.

Here's a quick summary of the bad luck and poor play that haunted the Eagles:

"Basically, they outworked us. We were lazy all day," said Pettoruto, who should have his lunch purchased for him by his teammates all this week after his yeoman work between the pipes Saturday. Hanson called him "one of our only guys who worked hard the whole game."

Simply put, the Eagles were flat and Malden Catholic made them play. It wasn't any super secret to the Lancers' success, either; they attacked the Prep with their speed and won virtually every battle for loose pucks.

When Malden Catholic dumped the puck into the Prep zone, it got there before the Eagles' defensemen did to set up their offense. When the Prep tried to do the same thing in the MC end, the Lancers' six rotating defensemen not only got to the puck first, but usually followed that up with a bodycheck to a Prep forward against the boards.

"Today was our day," said MC (14-4-3) head coach Chris Serino after the game. "I thought we controlled play in all three zones. We put a lot of pressure on them and did a good job neutralizing their offense."

The Prep had not played a game in 12 days, and it clearly showed. Losing Prior so early in the game clearly hurt, too. "You take away one of the guys on arguably the best line in the Catholic Conference," said Hanson, "and that's definitely going to be a factor."

After Eagles captain Christian Cowles scored his 22nd goal of the year on an unassisted thundering slapshot 2:38 in, it was all MC. They scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead early in the third and clearly owned all of the momentum.

Even after Prep senior right wing Dan Lawton buried a give-and-go with Derek Dubois to make it 3-2 with a little over 10 minutes to play, the Eagles didn't play with the urgency they needed to get back in the hockey game. Sensing that, MC kept attacking the Prep and finally knocked them out for good when Craig Carbonneau scored his second goal of the game, a high wrist shot off a breakaway, with 43 seconds remaining.

"We still didn't have anything there," Pettoruto said, describing the mood of his team after Lawton's goal. "For whatever reason, we never had it."

Although the Super 8 tournament makes allowances to teams for losses, St. John's Prep is clearly now playing for their postseason lives. They now need to beat two teams that they've already lost a combined three games to this winter | Xaverian and Hingham | on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell to have any shot of advancing to the Super 8 semifinals.

"Things will definitely change next time out. Mark my words," said Pettoruto.

We'll soon find out if those words right prophetic.

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