Quick strikes lift St. John’s
Blackwell leads charge for Eagles
LOWELL — Of the 12 round-robin games played in the Super 8 tournament, nine were decided by a goal or less.
Last night’s nightcap wasn’t one of them.
Harvard-bound senior Colin Blackwell put No. 2 St. John’s Prep on the board 10 seconds in, and the Eagles soared to a 6-1 victory over No. 3 BC High.
The win makes Prep (17-5-1, 3-0 Super 8) the top team out of Bracket 2, meaning St. John’s will skate against Bracket 1 runner-up Weymouth Wednesday. BC High (15-5-3, 2-1) will face Malden Catholic, the Bracket 1 winner, in the other crossover game.
Over its previous six games, BC High had allowed three goals total. St. John’s matched that in the first 1:37 last night.
Blackwell’s goal was the first of four Prep tallies in the first period. Blackwell scored the breakaway goal by breaking down the left wing, cutting at the left dot, and backhanding one through Peter Cronin’s five-hole.
“Right before we went out, I said, ‘They’re going to give up a goal tonight,’ ’’ St. John’s coach Kristian Hanson said. “When I said that, I didn’t think I was gong to be 10 seconds into the game.’’
Blackwell netted a goal and two assists, giving him 60 points for the season.
“If you look at his goals, the majority of them come from the crease because he’s beating you in the first 190 feet,’’ BC High coach John Flaherty said. “Then he’s in clean on the last 10.’’
Thirty seconds later, Devin Murray turned a Ryan Palmer breakout pass into another breakaway finish. Then, 57 seconds after that, Prep played pinball with the puck as Blackwell one-touched a pass to John Farrow on the doorstep, where Farrow one-timed in the third goal.
With 25 seconds left in the first, St. John’s Prep again struck on a breakaway. Freshman Shane Eiserman scored, beating Cronin with a sweeping forehand-to-backhand deke.
“Obviously, getting off to a start like that, it’s not something you plan for,’’ Hanson said. “Certainly you’re happy to have it happen for your team. That’s a lot of momentum.’’
“We weren’t ready to go, and I’ll take the blame for that,’’ Flaherty said. “As a coach, you’re supposed to have your team ready to go, and we weren’t ready to go.’’
The Prep improved to 3-0 vs. their Catholic Conference rivals, beating BC High, 6-3 and 4-1 in the regular season.
“If you look at our record, and you look at the blemishes on our record, or the lopsided scores, they’re all from that locker room,’’ Flaherty said, referring to the Prep. “On paper, yeah, I think we match up with them, but clearly not on the ice.’’