Central Catholic Raiders Boys Ice Hockey '13-'14

Sun, Mar 02, 2014 12:00 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 Final
Central Catholic 0 0 1 1
Austin Prep 2 0 0 2

Haverhill's Harris outstanding as Austin Prep upends Central Catholic in Super 8 opener

  • Currently 0.0 with 0 votes.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Sunday, March, 02 By David Willis
Staff writer

BOSTON — It took less than a minute, but for Haverhill's Elijah Harris it felt like an hour.

With only 1:01 left in regulation Central Catholic scored to cut Austin Prep's lead to just one goal, and after pulling their goalie and holding all of the momentum, the Raiders began unleashing shots on the junior goalie.

But, standing in the crease directly below the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup banners, Harris shined his brightest.

During the 60-second onslaught, Harris slid to left to stop one puck with his skate, stopped another with his right pad then was there to knock aside the rebound, made a save with his stick and went into a split to stop a flurry in front of the net.

"That was a crazy minute," he said. "But it was fun."

Behind Harris' dynamic 31-save effort, No. 4 Austin Prep locked down a 2-1 victory over No. 5 Central Catholic in Game 1 of the Super 8 first round series at the TD Garden yesterday afternoon.

"Elijah did a great job for us," said Austin teammate Bobo Carpenter of North Reading. "We believe in defense first, and it all starts with him."

The two teams will meet again on Thursday in Game 2 of the best-of-3 series, with that contest at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. Time is TBA.

"We came out flat," said Central coach Mike Jankowski. "They took it to us a little in the first period and it took us a while to get our legs back. I feel like we played better in the later periods, but it wasn't a great game for us. The great think about this tournament, though, is that we get another shot on Thursday."

For Harris, a life-long Haverhill resident, the chance to play at the home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics had been a goal since his Cougars fell to Malden Catholic in the Super 8 title game a year ago.

"It's an incredible experience to play here," he said. "I have been here before and I wanted to get back. Watching the Bruins game (Saturday) night, I started to think about how I would be in the same crease as Tuukka Rask. It's a thrilling feeling. But there was a game to play."

Before many fans had settled into their seats, Carpenter had already struck to give his team the lead, scoring just 35 seconds into play.

"We wanted to come out fast and get to the loose pucks," said Carpenter, the son of NHL great Bobby Carpenter and brother of Olympic women's hockey star Alex Carpenter.

"I got a pass in the slot and put it in. It was a very good feeling, but we had to remember it wasn't time to get too excited."

Austin Prep extended that lead to 2-0 just moments later, as Jake McKenelley, a Middleton resident, scored only 2:51 into the game.

Austin continued to control the puck in the first, firing 12 shots on Central goalie Colin Soucy, who turned in a few stellar saves of his own including a stop on Carpenter that took his glove clean off his hand, halting play.

But as the second period kicked off Central Catholic, who was 1-1 against Austin during the regular season, began to show its muscle.

The Raiders controlled play in the second, firing nine shots on Harris. But the goalie turned aside each one to sustain the two-goal advantage, including his favorite save of the night when he slid from one side of the net to the other to deflect a shot that appeared headed for an open net..

"They were on the powerplay and then went across the ice from one (faceoff) circle to the other," he remembered. "It wasn't something you can anticipate. It was all reaction and instincts from playing the game. It felt great."

Trailing by two goals, Central Catholic entered the third period flying. The Raiders out-shot Austin Prep by a whopping 14-5 advantage in the final period, but Harris would not give.

The Division 1 college prospect turned in a few eye-popping spots, including diving well out of the crease to take the puck away on a breakaway, using a split to stop a rebound and kicking the puck away on a shot that looked as if it was already past him.

"I thought Elijah was just sensational," said Austin Prep coach Louis Finocchiro. "They had some great shots and made some terrific passes in front of the crease and he made some amazing saves."

Finally with 1:01 left, Central broke Harris' shutout when Christian Thompson knocked home a rebound. But Harris would allow no further damage, stoning the Raiders on the last-second flurry to clinch the win.

"Elijah was great," said Carpenter. "And the first win is always so big in the Super 8. We really couldn't ask for much more in this game. Hopefully we will keep rolling from this."


Central Catholic will look to avenge this loss when the two teams meet again on Thursday. A Raiders win would force a decisive third game, while a loss would end Central's season.

"We didn't show up the way we wanted to," said Thompson, who scored his ninth goal of the season. "I think the Garden got into our head a little and we picked it up too late. Hopefully the late goal and late play can get us going."

Game Statistics:

Goals: CC — Christian Thompson; AP — Bobo Carpenter, Jake McKenelley

Assists: CC — Richie Greenberg, Lloyd Hayes

Saves: CC — Colin Soucy 21; AP — Elijah Harris 31

0 Story Comments